Mayan glyphs. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Pre-Colonial Mayan Inhabitants

Guatemala’s history is complicated and fascinating, though it often reads like a tragic novel. A basic understanding of its history is a crucial element for the well-informed traveler hoping to get the most out of a visit to this mystifying land of culture and contrasts.

A small bowl of shrimp ceviche sits on a wooden table.

Where to Eat in Cartagena’s Old City

Seafood reigns supreme in Cartagena cuisine, and though many restaurants in the Walled City sport Manhattan prices, an inexpensive meal is not impossible to find. Here are local favorites from Caribbean-influenced dishes to always-popular pizza and pasta to truly authentic fritos, all with an Old City touch and a perfectly-matched drink.

A surfer walking on the beach in Malpais. Photo © Keith Levit/123rf.

Things to Do in Malpaís and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

The shoreline immediately north of Cabo Blanco is a lively surfers’ paradise with some of the best surfing beaches in the country. The past few years have seen phenomenal tourism development, propelling the contiguous communities of Malpaís and Santa Teresa from offbeat obscurity to huge popularity. With this boom comes a surge in nightlife, outdoor activities, and more and more ways to spend your time.

Puerto Ferro Berdiales Lighthouse Ruins Archeological Site. Photo © Michael Hopkins/123rf.

Sights on Vieques, Puerto Rico

From the overgrown ruins of a sugar mill to a restored 19th century Spanish fort to an incredible bioluminescent bay, there’s plenty to see on Vieques–and most you can do for free. Here are the most interesting sights to see, along with the island’s best beaches for a break between all the activity.

Diving at the RMS Rhone National Park wreck site. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Salt Island and the Wreck of the RMS Rhone

Many islands in the Virgins have salt ponds where crystal salt was collected, but no island had a larger or more productive pond than Salt Island. It’s also home to the wreck of the RMS Rhone, the preeminent dive site in the British Virgin Islands and one of its most visited attractions. Learn about the island’s history and how to thoroughly explore the Rhone’s remains.

A red door in a pale green wall surrounded by graffitied names.

Crime in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is considered one of the safer countries in Central America. Tourism-related crime like petty theft and scam artists (and the occasional robbery and assault) sometimes occur, usually at night and involving alcohol. Stay safe during your travels by keeping informed, following these tips, and most of all, know where and how to avoid a sticky situation.

A howler monkey at the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

The Best Wildlife Spotting in the Belize Cayes

Filled with national parks and wildlife reserves, Belize home to an estimated 145 species of mammals, 139 species of reptiles, and at least 500 species of birds, many of which can be spotted along the cayes. An island vacation doesn’t mean missing out on any of the wildlife—here is what to look out for both inland and offshore.

Atop Tikal's Temple IV. Photo © Al Argueta.

Petén and the Maya Biosphere Reserve

Petén is without a doubt the cradle of Mayan civilization, as it lays claim to some of the oldest known Mayan sites along with the earliest evidence of the writing and royal dynastic rule characterizing the civilization that flourished here. The massive Maya Biosphere Reserve, established to protect the forests, ruins, and unexcavated sites, could keep you busy for weeks. However long your have for your visit, our expect author is here to help you effectively plan your time.

Playa Sardinera in Hatillo. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time on Puerto Rico’s North Coast

The north coast of Puerto Rico is a wild expanse of rocky coastline and gorgeous ocean views, hilly karst country, and green farmland. It’s also thick with industrial plants, shopping centers, fast-food restaurants, road construction, and traffic. Despite the urban sprawl, though, the north coast has a lot going for it.