La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © Otto Dusbaba/123rf.

Planning Your Time in León and Chinandega, Nicaragua

In León and Chinandega, you can delve into the volcanic half of “the land of lakes and volcanoes.” Explore the Ring of Fire by peering into a crater lake at the top of Cosigüina, catching a glimpse of lava at night from Telica, or sliding down Cerro Negro at high speeds. There’s plenty to do, whether you come for two days or two weeks–exploring the cities, the shore, and places like Las Peñitas, Isla Juan Venado, Padre Ramos, and other points outside León that require more effort to reach but are excellent destinations.

Notom-Bullfrog Road. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Plan a Visit to Capitol Reef National Park

Although Capitol Reef gets far less attention than the region’s other national parks, it is a great place to visit, with excellent hiking and splendid scenery. It’s easy to spend 2-3 days camping at the park campground or staying in nearby Torrey and taking day hikes in the park’s core district. Even travelers short on time will enjoy a quick look at visitors center exhibits and the Scenic Drive, which offers access to viewpoints and hiking trails.

Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. Photo © jejim/123rf.

Spend a Day in San Francisco Like a Local

Dedicate a day to living like a true San Franciscan by jumping on a bike, pedaling through the hippest neighborhoods, shopping for local designs, and—most importantly—eating and drinking your way through the city.

A puffin in North Iceland. Photo © Bjorn Ludviksson/Dreamstime.

Iceland’s Animals

Iceland may not be known for its land mammals—other than sheep, cows, horses, reindeer, and arctic fox—but animals in the ocean and sky are varied and ample. Here’s a look at what you’ll find in the water and the air; whale- and bird-watchers will be delighted with the sheer number of species!

Warning signs are posted in areas where wildlife are likely to block the road. Photo © Harris Shiffman/123rf.

Driving Tips for a PCH Road Trip

Before you gas up the car and go, make sure you’re prepared for the challenges of the Pacific Coast Highway! The highway has many sharp curves, steep ledges, and high cliffs without guardrails; long, isolated stretches of blacktop; low visibility at night; wildlife encounters; and the chance for inclement weather any time of year. Slow down, stay safe, and enjoy the scenery!

Horseback riding on the beach in Nicaragua. Photo © Boy Driessen/123rf.

Things to Do on Nicaragua’s Northwest Coast

Although a trip to the scenic crater that makes up the highest point of Reserva Natural Volcán Cosigüina is the center point of a trip to this area, you can also relax in the Padre Ramos Wetlands Reserve, take a horseback ride, explore, fish, or lounge on the beach.

Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Photo © Ann Marie Brown.

Sights Near Glacier Point in Yosemite

Often referred to as “the grandest view in all the West,” Glacier Point is a 7,214-foot overlook with a vista of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and all its granite neighbors, and the High Sierra. Nearby are other amazing–and often overlooked–vistas, along with the Badger Pass Ski Area. Badger Pass is the oldest ski resort in California, great for playing in the snow or simply stopping for lunch on a sunny day.

Woman in New Zealand

Being a Woman in New Zealand

There’s a lot of good news when it comes to being a woman in New Zealand. Generally, women are educated, well treated, and respected in New Zealand. But the picture isn’t all rosy. They face the same challenges as women in the US and Canada with compromises to their careers as primary caregivers and the pervasive danger of violence against women.

Avenue of the Giants. Photo © Suppavut Varutbangkul/123rf.

Explore Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Surprisingly, the largest stand of unlogged redwood trees isn’t on the coast, and it isn’t in the Sierras; it’s here in Humboldt, bisected by U.S. 101. Come to this park to hike and camp beneath the 300-foot-plus old-growth trees of the Avenue of the Giants, and cool off with a swim or boat trip down the Eel River.

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge

Howler monkeys and birdcalls will wake you bright and early in Los Guatuzos. Los Guatuzos contains dense populations of crocodiles; caimans; feral pigs; jaguars; and howler, white-faced, and spider monkeys. This is also home to a rare, ancient species of fish called the gaspar (Actractoseus tropicus), a living, armored relic of the Jurassic age. Between February and April, flocks of migratory species fly through in spectacular concentrations.