A giant tortoise with people gathering fairly close to view it.

Tortoises and Turtles of the Galápagos

Visitors to the Galápagos Islands will marvel at the amazing array of wildlife. For those interested in turtles and tortoises, Ben Westwood explains the different types and where to spot them.

A sea lion on the rocky shore raises its head into the late afternoon sun.

The Wonder of the Galápagos Islands

A visit to the Galápagos Islands changes you, as it changed Charles Darwin. You will return from these islands filled with a sense of wonder, and a clearer view of nature’s fragile beauty. The Galápagos is a glimpse of what life was like before humans threw their weight around, and a reminder that when we seek out perfection, we throw a wrench in nature’s works.

A sea lion with its head and neck raised on the beach.

Observing Galápagos Wildlife and Protecting South American Jungle

The Galápagos give a glimpse of what the world must have been like at the dawn of time, reminding us of both the power and playfulness of nature. Reptiles (such as giant tortoises and iguanas) rule the land, and a magnificent array of fish, rays, sharks, sea lions, turtles, and penguins present a natural spectacle underwater. The rugged volcanic landscapes—blackened lava trails and smoldering craters —make the geology as fascinating as the wildlife.

With mountains in the distance, golden light reflects off calm ocean water as the sun descends beneath a high layer of cloud cover.

Alaskan Wilderness: Tracy Arm, Fords Terror, and Vicinity

Located 50 miles southeast of Juneau, the 653,000-acre Tracy Arm–Fords Terror Wilderness contains country that rivals Glacier Bay National Park but costs half as much to reach. With massive glaciers and lots of wildlife, including harbor seals, killer whales, mountain goats, and black bears, there’s a lot to experience in this wild part of Alaska.

Laura bundled up and ready to ride on a snowmobile.

A Southern Girl’s Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone

Back in January, Laura Martone was fortunate enough to be invited on a press trip to Yellowstone National Park – and even though her husband, Dan, who just happens to be her favorite traveling companion, wasn’t able to join her on the trip, it was truly a memorable excursion into a fascinating winter wonderland.

The thin stream of McWay Falls takes backseat to the dramatic rocky cove studded with pines.

Coastal California Road Trip: The Sights of Big Sur

Soaring cliffs dropping to sporadic white-sand beaches exemplify the Big Sur coastline made legendary in film and literature. The region is explored via Highway 1, also called the Pacific Coast Highway, a road that hugs sheer cliffs and passes several state parks, resorts, and restaurants like Nepenthe, seemingly perched on the edge of the world.

Lightning strikes far in the distance beyond the flat calm waters of the lake.

Laguna de Apoyo in Masaya, Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s cleanest and most enticing swimming hole is Laguna de Apoyo, just outside of Masaya. Actually a lake that formed in the drowned volcanic crater of the long extinct Apoyo Volcano, the lagoon floor reaches 200 meters in depth—the lowest point in all of Central America. Considering how easy it is to reach the lagoon, it is surprisingly untouristed.

View of colorful houses clustered on a verdant shore across a calmly rippling lake.

Guatemala’s Petén Department: Sights Near Flores and Santa Elena

There are a variety of attractions in and around Flores and Santa Elena that work well if you have a day or half a day while awaiting connecting flights or onward travel. ARCAS, Petencito Zoo, and Tayazal are a five-minute boat ride across the lake from Flores’s north shore, while the Parque Natural Ixpanpajul covers an area of nine square kilometers and is conveniently just off the highway toward Guatemala City.