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Paige

Paige

Nicaragua

I'm a freelance travel writer specializing in Central America and Southern Mexico.

Dec262012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Manaus

Manaus

My Recommendation Tip

This was once Brazil’s boomtown, where untold billions were made off the bounty of the rainforest.

Dec052012

Travel Recommendation

When to Go to Patagonia

Patagonia

My Recommendation Tip

As South America narrows to a slender cone, pointing the way toward icy Antarctica, the climate and landscape change dramatically.

Dec042012

Travel Recommendation

Villa Grimaldi in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Once a lovely old mansion sprawling in the hills of the posh Penalolen neighborhood on the outskirts of Santiago, the melodically named Villa Grimaldi became much more after September 11, 1973.

Dec042012

Travel Recommendation

Hiking El Penol from Medellin

Medellín

My Recommendation Tip

One of the most relaxing day trips from Medellin is an excursion to El Penol. This popular outdoor destination is located about 86km (53mi) northeast of Medellin proper, close to the adorable little town of Guatape.

Nov162012

Travel Recommendation

Bogota’s La Candelaria Neighborhood

Bogotá

My Recommendation Tip

The Spanish Colonial heart of Bogota, Colombia, is La Candelaria, and unlike other historic districts you’ll find when strolling in Latin America, this vibrant, artsy neighborhood is anything but quaint.

Nov152012

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica in Rainy Season

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Everyone knows that the best time to visit Costa Rica is in dry season, from mid-December through April or so, when the sun is shining and prices are at a premium. Or is it?

Nov132012

Travel Recommendation

Day Trips From Lima

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

There are wonders well worth exploring in Lima, from the fascinating Spanish Colonial center and ancient pre-Columbian huacas, to the upscale enticements of Miraflores and the Costa Verde.

Nov022012

Travel Recommendation

La Fortuna Waterfall

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Though Arenal Volcano is no longer spewing lava, the neighboring town of La Fortuna remains a great base for all sorts of activities, including hiking, horseback rides, canopy tours, spelunking and of course, soaking in the region’s wonderful hot springs.

Oct312012

Travel Recommendation

Maras Salt Pools

Cusco

My Recommendation Tip

The Incas were the masters of the terrace, carving their steep Andean territory into enormous staircases, where layers of crops could be grown.

Oct302012

Travel Recommendation

First Time Visitor Tips to Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Vast and varied, timeless and tempting, Brazil beckons travelers from all over the world.

Oct242012

Travel Recommendation

Summer in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Feeling chilly? Consider a trip to the sunny Southern Hemisphere, where summer is just about to get started.

Oct192012

Travel Recommendation

Traveling With Children in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Friendly and beautiful, Costa Rica is a fine destination to introduce children to the adventure of travel.

Oct162012

Travel Recommendation

Paragliding in Peru

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Soaring silently through the skies, hair flowing in the wind as the world whirls by, may be humankind’s oldest dream. Travelers, more than most, seem tempted to take the leap.

Oct152012

Travel Recommendation

Exploring Fortaleza, Brazil

Fortaleza

My Recommendation Tip

There’s a reason why this vibrant metropolis, the capital of Ceara, is one of Brazil’s favorite places to vacation and relax.

Oct122012

Travel Recommendation

Getting around in Rio

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Though this city beckons temptingly with its beaches and sequins, Rio de Janeiro’s Portuguese-speaking expanse of more than six million people can intimidate the average traveler.

Oct102012

Travel Recommendation

Tax-Free Shopping in Ushuaia

Ushuaia

My Recommendation Tip

There are many reasons, believe it or not, to come to the “Southernmost City in the Americas,” Ushuaia, Argentina (with a nod to neighboring Puerto Williams, Chile, which shares that tourism tagline).

Oct082012

Travel Recommendation

Whitewater Rafting in Argentina

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

With its glacier-crowned mountains—dozens of which top 19,680 feet (6,000 meters)— and incredible scenery marbled with rushing rivers, it’s no wonder that whitewater rafting and kayaking have become popular outdoor sports in Argentina.

Oct042012

Travel Recommendation

Wildlife Encounters in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

One of the best reasons to visit Costa Rica is to see the wildlife, obsessively protected by both the government and private interests, and often easily spotted from beautifully maintained trails in its dozens of national parks and conservation areas.

Oct012012

Travel Recommendation

Morro de Sao Paulo

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

When you really want to get away from it all, this island paradise in a remote corner of Bahia State awaits. The island is officially named Tinhare, but everyone calls it Morro (“Hill”) for the main village, Morro de Sao Paulo. Once you step off the boat, or plane, you’ll find yourself in a different world.

Sep282012

Travel Recommendation

The Best Museums in Mexico City

Mexico City

My Recommendation Tip

Mexico City is a cultural hub upon which MesoAmerica turns, home to more than 20 million people (in the metropolitan area), 100 major art galleries, the third largest number of theaters in the world (after New York and London) and at least 160 museums.

Sep282012

Travel Recommendation

Five Festive Day Trips from Rio

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

While the wet and wild city of Rio has plenty to entertain you, it also makes a most festive base for exploring Southern Brazil.

Sep262012

Travel Recommendation

Wine Tasting in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

One of the main reasons why travelers choose Chile is because of its wine, though it is possessed of such spectacular beauty and fascinating cultural quirks.

Sep242012

Travel Recommendation

The Palermo Viejo Neighborhood of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

Buenos Aires’ largest barrio, or neighborhood, is called Palermo, and visitors to the city will almost certainly be spending plenty of time here.

Sep202012

Travel Recommendation

Tortuga Island in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

The most popular island escape off Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is this idyllic spot—actually two neighboring islets, Alcatraz and Tolinga—known as Isla Tortuga, or Turtle Island.

Sep182012

Travel Recommendation

Free Things to Do in Lima, Peru

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

While Peru was once a budget traveler’s dream (and parts of it certainly still is), many of the most popular spots will have backpackers going through soles at an alarming rate.

Sep172012

Travel Recommendation

Brazil by Train

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Brazil’s rail system was once extensive, built in the 1800s largely to accommodate the coffee trade and enormous rural population. By the middle of the 20th century, the drop in coffee prices, migration of wealthy landowners to the city, and rising automotive imports conspired to make the rail lines largely unprofitable.

Sep142012

Travel Recommendation

What to Do in Macumba Beach

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

One of the top surf spots in Rio de Janiero is just west of the city proper, along the wilder white sand beaches that run along 17-km Barra da Tijuca (Rio’s longest beach) and Barra de Guaratiba.

Sep142012

Travel Recommendation

Romantic Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas

Los Cabos

My Recommendation Tip

With its soft, sandy beaches lined with glittering resorts, and fantastic sunsets against those wave-crashed spires of rock just offshore, it is no wonder that Cabo San Lucas is a favorite romantic destination for celebrities, jet-setters, backpackers and honeymooners, from all over the world.

Sep122012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Tierra del Fuego

Patagonia

My Recommendation Tip

Where the southern cone of South America narrows to a point, fringed with chill islands and glacier-carved granite peaks, lies the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego.

Sep102012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting an Estancia in the Argentine Pampas

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

Much of Argentina’s national mythology is symbolized by the gaucho, or cowboy, of the vast and windswept pampas.

Sep062012

Travel Recommendation

What to Eat in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Some say that you don’t come to Costa Rica for the food. And it’s true that the simple, tasty, healthy cuisine of this beautiful country just can’t compare to its glorious beaches, cool mountains, dramatic volcanoes and gorgeous eco-resorts.

Sep042012

Travel Recommendation

Things To Do in Ollantaytambo

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

While the climax of the epic Inca Trail is magnificent Machu Picchu, the iconic hike along that ancient Andean road begins at a place no less important: Ollantaytambo.

Sep042012

Travel Recommendation

Things To Do in Salvador de Bahia

Salvador da Bahia

My Recommendation Tip

While Rio de Janeiro gets all the ink (and Sao Paolo, the business), the true birthplace of what we now think of as Brazilian culture is the tropical capital of Bahia State, Salvador de Bahia.

Aug302012

Travel Recommendation

When to Go to the Galapagos

Galapagos Islands

My Recommendation Tip

The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination, with something to offer every month of the year.

Aug292012

Travel Recommendation

Chilean Independence Day

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Much more than just a one-day holiday marking Chile’s independence, September 18th (“Dieciocho”) is really a month-long fiesta that celebrates all things Chilean.

Aug272012

Travel Recommendation

Taking a Day Trip to Colonia del Sacramento From Argentina

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

Buenos Aires, bustling and modern, is the Argentine capital and an endlessly fascinating urban landscape to explore.

Aug232012

Travel Recommendation

City Guide to Montezuma, Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Close to the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula lies the laid-back, famously bohemian beach getaway of Montezuma.

Aug222012

Travel Recommendation

Shopping at the Markets of Cusco

Cusco

My Recommendation Tip

The ancient city of Cusco has been a market center since long before the Incas made it their imperial capital.

Aug202012

Travel Recommendation

Adventure Activities in Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Brazil is an enormous country—the fifth largest in the world—and home to some of the most astounding ecosystems and outrageous adventures on the planet.

Aug152012

Travel Recommendation

Skiing in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

While the Northern Hemisphere bakes in the hottest summer on record, savvy skiers are headed south to hit the slopes in Chile’s icy Andean highlands.

Aug132012

Travel Recommendation

Festival of Wines and Vineyards in Argentina

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

September means springtime in Argentina, when all of Buenos Aires is in full bloom.

Aug092012

Travel Recommendation

The Cloud Forests of Monteverde

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Beckoning cool, misty and green above the humid tropical rainforests and hot, dry savannahs of the Costa Rican lowlands, beautiful Monteverde sits atop Central America’s high-altitude continental divide.

Aug072012

Travel Recommendation

El Señor de los Milagros in Lima, Peru

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

October is the “Purple Month” in Lima, when one of the largest religious processions in the world envelopes the Peruvian capital with incense, prayer and song.

Aug062012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting the Amazon from Manaus

Manaus

My Recommendation Tip

The Amazon is famously the world’s largest rainforest, and its biggest city is Manaus: simultaneously a florid, humid, beaux arts-ish monument to the golden age of the rubber barons and a thriving, modern free-trade zone energizing and rapidly modernizing Brazil’s Amazonas state.

Aug032012

Travel Recommendation

Romantic Things to Do in Acapulco

Acapulco

My Recommendation Tip

Since the 1950s, a glittering golden age of Hollywood stars and starlets who flocked to this perfect bay, Acapulco has been synonymous with glamorous hotels and gorgeous beaches.

Aug032012

Travel Recommendation

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Most people think of Rio de Janeiro as a decidedly adult destination: a global party capital known for its nightlife, string bikinis and of course, the debauchery of Carnival.

Jul302012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Salta

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

This remarkable northwestern provincial capital’s full name is Salta La Linda, “Salta the Lovely,” appropriate to its graceful Colonial architecture and truly beautiful natural surroundings. The fertile Lerma Valley stretches moist and verdant to the west, while a multihued desertscape to the east is drenched in that glorious quality of light found only at these altitudes (1187m/3893ft) tempt adventurers to explore.

Jul262012

Travel Recommendation

Sarchi: The Handicrafts Capital of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

In the misty coffee-growing altitudes of the Central Valley is Costa Rica’s colorful crafts center, Sarchi.

Jul242012

Travel Recommendation

Seeing the Nazca Lines in Peru

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Among the most enigmatic attractions in this most mysterious of countries are the Nazca Lines, enormous figures carved into the desert by the ancient Nazca civilization between 200BC and 500AD.

Jul232012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Paraty

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

While the two biggest draws on Brazil’s southern coast are also among South America’s biggest cities—wonderful Rio and business-savvy Sao Paolo—travelers may find themselves eager to escape the urban jungle. Happily, there are still several quaint Colonial towns with walkable streets and uncrowded beaches that await along the Pacific Coast. One of the best is Paraty.

Jul202012

Travel Recommendation

Hiking Pedra de Gavea in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Rising above Rio de Janeiro’s Sao Conrado and Leblon skyline from Tijuca National Park is a shear granite monolith known as the Pedra de Gavea. Sailors, who still use it for coastal navigation, named the massive 842-mile (2762-foot) peak “Topsail Mountain,” for its squared-off silhouette.

Jul202012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Todos Santos, Mexico

Baja California Peninsula

My Recommendation Tip

Close to the tip of Mexico’s arid Baja Peninsula, this quiet, colonial village of some 5,000 people is the relaxed and refined alternative to much more famous Cabo San Lucas, about an hour away.

Jul182012

Travel Recommendation

Foods to Try in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

The world’s longest country isn’t well known for its cuisine.

Jul162012

Travel Recommendation

Bariloche National Snow Festival in Argentina

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

The stunning mountain town of Bariloche is Argentina’s top destination for active travelers year round, offering amazing hiking, mountain biking and climbing during the summer.

Jul122012

Travel Recommendation

Where to See Sloths in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Sloths, or “perezosos,” are quite common in Costa Rica, and can be found everywhere from the cool cloud forests of Monteverde to the steamy lowland jungles along both coasts.

Jul122012

Travel Recommendation

Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Spots Near Cancun

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

With its perfect beaches, cheap airfare, world-class Mayan ruins, endless tourist attractions and more than 100 hotels, Cancun is famously one of the world’s top destinations, attracting more than three million travelers per year.

Jul102012

Travel Recommendation

Hiking the Lares Trail to Machu Picchu

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

The epic hike to the sacred city of Machu Picchu is one of the most coveted adventures in Latin America.

Jul092012

Travel Recommendation

Cachaca and Caipirinhas: What to Drink in Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Brazil, world-famous for its beaches, bikinis and glittering nightlife.

Jul062012

Travel Recommendation

Shopping at Rio’s CADEG Market

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

One of Rio de Janeiro’s hidden treasures is tucked away in the Zona Norte, far from most traditional tourist attractions (with the notable exception of the Quinta de Boa Vista, a gorgeous park constructed in the 1800s by the Brazilian imperial family, and today home to the National Museum).

Jul032012

Travel Recommendation

Shopping in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is the second-largest metropolitan area in South America (after Sao Paulo, Brazil) and the best spot in the country to pick up items you might have forgotten before your trip or to find souvenirs to take home.

Jul032012

Travel Recommendation

Family-Friendly Activities in Valparaiso, Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Chile’s second city, known for its dramatic hills and magnificent ocean views, has plenty of family-friendly activities.

Jun282012

Travel Recommendation

Visiting Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Arguably the most beautiful national park in Costa Rica (Forbes magazine ranked it as one of the 10 loveliest in the world) is Manuel Antonio.

Jun282012

Travel Recommendation

Exploring the Cenotes around Cancun

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

The Yucatan Peninsula, particularly the northern half, is very dry.

Jun262012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

Cusco

My Recommendation Tip

The ancient Inca capital of Cusco has reigned over the Andes for almost 1,000 years, an architectural achievement of unsurpassed glories glittering in the high desert sun.

Jun222012

Travel Recommendation

Tips for First-Time Visitors to Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

While Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s favorite destinations for beach lovers, party people and culture lovers who like it hot, not everyone comes prepared to make the most of their visit.

Jun202012

Travel Recommendation

Day Trips from Santiago in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Despite its stunning setting and sleek, ultra-modern air, few would characterize the capital of Chile as an endless assortment of tourist attractions on par with, say, Cancun.

Jun182012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Buenos Aires During Winter

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

While most travelers choose to visit beautiful Buenos Aires during the languid summer season, from December through March, there is a whole other side to the Argentine capital.

Jun142012

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica's Best Beach Towns

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

This sliver of paradise caught between the crashing waves of the Pacific and beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean is a dream come true for beach lovers. Costa Rica offers something for everyone.

When choosing the perfect beach destination for your Costa Rica vacation, there are several considerations, perhaps most importantly the weather. The Pacific beaches have clearly defined wet and dry seasons, though these have been less reliable in recent years.

Jun142012

Travel Recommendation

Cancun’s El Rey Polo Country Club

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

It begins unlike any other polo match you’ve ever seen, a Mayan priest signaling the start with the evocative call of the conch shell.

Jun122012

Travel Recommendation

Experience Quechua Culture in Peru

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

The colorful culture of the Quechua-speaking peoples seems mysterious to many travelers, an exotic element of Peru’s Andean population, always visible in bright woolen textiles, yet separate, inscrutable. Some enterprising folks will furnish photo ops at top tourist destinations, whole families in traditional dress—including a stylish bowler hat for the ladies—and perhaps an adorable llama for flavor. That will be $1, senora, and would you like to buy a souvenir.

There is much more, however, to Quechua culture, and adventurous souls are more than welcome to explore its strength and beauty on your visit to Peru, or anywhere in the Andes.

Jun112012

Travel Recommendation

Things to do in São Paulo

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

While Rio gets all the international press, São Paulo is in many ways the heart of all things Brazilian. Home to more than 20 million people, including immigrants from all over the world, it is the nation’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. CEOs commute to work in helicopters buzzing high above the innumerable skyscrapers, while the Brazil’s cultural and economic engines throb in their shadows, fueling South America’s most important stock exchange.

Jun082012

Travel Recommendation

Chapultepec Park, the Largest City Park in Latin America

Mexico City

My Recommendation Tip

At the center of enormous and chaotic Mexico City, lies a 686-hectare (1695-acre) shady sanctuary of quiet lagoons, groves of trees and grassy expanses covered with families having picnics during the weekends.

Jun082012

Travel Recommendation

Enjoying the Nightlife in Rio

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Rio de Janeiro, the marvelous city, is where “the world comes to party.”

Jun042012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Mendoza, Argentina

Mendoza

My Recommendation Tip

Of course, you’re here for the wine. Wonderful vintages, most famously Malbec, but also beautiful cabernet sauvignons, chardonnays, cerezas, tempranillos and more, are grown at some of the highest altitudes in the world, of 2,640–4,920 feet (800–1,500 meters), where they breath truly rarefied air.

May312012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do on Isla Mujeres in Cancun

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Just off the coast of Quintana Roo lies Isla Mujeres, a slightly less corporate alternative to the classic Cancun vacation.

May312012

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica for Coffee Lovers

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

The misty mountainsides of Costa Rica, rich with fertile, volcanic soils, are famed for growing some of the finest coffee in the world. If you’re curious about how your daily dose of wide awake makes it from the field to the cup, why not indulge in one of Costa Rica’s many coffee tours? They can be arranged throughout the country, most easily in central Costa Rica, close to the mountains, rather than the low-altitude coastal plains close to the best beaches. Plan accordingly.

May292012

Travel Recommendation

Huaca Pucllana: Dining in the Ruins

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

There are two top reasons why travelers choose Peru: The nation’s awesome archaeological sites, and its cuisine. While many visitors are under the impression that they’ll need to sacrifice access to Lima’s fine dining in order to experience the ruins—Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Nazca, Kuelap, Chan Chan, and so forth—that’s not always the case.

May252012

Travel Recommendation

Day Trips from Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

It can be tough to leave the marvelous city, as its seemingly endless attractions—beaches, rainforests, nightlife, and so much more—conspire to keep the traveler here long past his or her plans.

May232012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in the Atacama Desert in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

The driest spot in the world is Chile’s Atacama Desert, which receives less than a single millimeter of rainfall per year.

May222012

Travel Recommendation

Great Day Trips from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

While beautiful Buenos Aires, with its boulevards, fine museums, and fantastic tango spots has plenty to keep the average traveler entertained for a week, it also makes a great base for visiting the surrounding sites.

May212012

Travel Recommendation

Great Day Trips from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

While beautiful Buenos Aires, with its boulevards, fine museums, and fantastic tango spots has plenty to keep the average traveler entertained for a week, it also makes a great base for visiting the surrounding sites.

May172012

Travel Recommendation

Getting Around in Cancun

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Mexico’s premier travel destination is quite easy to navigate, thanks to an excellent public transportation system geared to tourists who speak little or no Spanish.

May172012

Travel Recommendation

Exploring Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

At the far southwestern corner of Costa Rica is the Osa Peninsula, dangling lush and tempting from the mainland.

May152012

Travel Recommendation

San Telmo Sunday Market in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

The cobbled streets of San Telmo, the Argentine capital’s old city, are a delight to wander at any time. Renowned for its shady sidewalk cafes, sultry milongas (tango clubs), and antique stores, it is an appealing destination throughout the week.

May152012

Travel Recommendation

The Best Beaches in Lima, Peru

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

The capital of Peru is famous for many things: Its magnificent Spanish colonial city center, amazing cuisine, and outrageous museums, among others.

May142012

Travel Recommendation

Best Surf Spots in Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

With some 7491km (4644mi) of fabulous Atlantic coastline, it’s no surprise that Brazil has dozens of spectacular surf spots to explore.

May112012

Travel Recommendation

Exploring Tijuca National Park in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

While Rio de Janeiro is growing rapidly—the metropolitan area now clocks in at some 6.3 million inhabitants—it has preserved, at its heart, one of the largest and loveliest urban greenspaces in the world.

May032012

Travel Recommendation

Things to Do in Recife

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

The largest city on Brazil’s Northern Coast is Recife, so called for the coral reefs just offshore its almost equatorial islands and bays

May032012

Travel Recommendation

What to Do in San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose

My Recommendation Tip

There’s a joke, in tourism circles at least, that says, “San Jose: It’s only 45 minutes from Costa Rica!”

May012012

Travel Recommendation

Live Music and More for Lima, Peru’s 477th Birthday

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

Semana de la Fundacion de Lima (Week of the Foundation of Lima) occurred back in January, with Peru’s Spanish Colonial capital celebrating the 477th year since conquistador Francisco Pizzaro first proclaimed the seaside enclave the “City of Kings.”

Apr272012

Travel Recommendation

Bicycling in Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Though Rio is one of Latin America’s largest cities, with some 6.3 million people in the city proper, and (in)famous for its security problems, it also happens to be outstandingly bicycle friendly.

Apr232012

Travel Recommendation

Take Time to Tango in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

The sensuous signature dance of the Rio de la Plata—both Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay, have a legitimate claim to its ardent excess—is the tango.

Apr202012

Travel Recommendation

Paragliding in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Rio’s world-famous landscape is a vision to fly above, though most of us will see it only from the famous cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain and the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer.

Apr192012

Travel Recommendation

Hot Springs of Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano National Park

My Recommendation Tip

When an active volcano like Arenal, erupting almost continuously since 1968, meets a moist and well-watered rainforest, things can get a little steamy.

Apr162012

Travel Recommendation

Miraflores District of Lima, Peru

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

While you should certainly take time to see the historic center of Lima, with its monumental Spanish architecture and remarkable museums, you may find (like many limenos) that you love Miraflores even more.

Apr042012

Travel Recommendation

Buzios Day Trip from Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Even locals can’t agree on how many beaches there are here in Armacao dos Buzios (or just Buzios, among friends) though most put the number somewhere between 20 and 25. It’s a matter of interpretation along the dramatically carved coastline of this gorgeous peninsula, reaching with rocky headlands, smoothly hewn sea caves and gently scalloped stretches of sand from the Costa del Sol.

The name, Buzios, is that of an iridescent spiral of seashell, cast up upon the lovely shore. Seers say that these shells, well thrown, will reveal to curious seekers their fortune. No matter what you’re looking for in this sophisticated spot, your desires will almost certainly be fulfilled.

Apr032012

Travel Recommendation

Peru Gears Up for the 17th Bolivarian Games

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

While the bulk of international visitors travel Peru’s southern loop—usually taking in Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Arequipa, the Nazca Lines and/or Colca Canyon—the north beckons with its own amazing ruins, rainforests, beaches, and culinary delights.

Mar122012

Travel Recommendation

Epic Four-Year Calving Cycle Begins at Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier

El Calafate

My Recommendation Tip

The glittering star of Argentina’s remarkable Los Glaciares National Park is the crystalline, 30km (18mi) river of ice called Perito Moreno Glacier. It is the planet’s third-largest reserve of fresh water and one of the continent’s only advancing glaciers. This photogenic natural wonder is also one of the most easily accessible glaciers in Latin America, and perhaps the most popular destination in Patagonia for visitors both mild and wild.

Mar092012

Travel Recommendation

Big Beer Flavor at Costa Rica’s Tiny Microbrews

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

When people think about Costa Rican beer—not an altogether unusual sentiment, particularly when presented with the perfect palm-shaded beach hammock—it is usually Imperial that comes to mind. The light, bright, clean-tasting lager rarely earns international acclaim, but it goes back smoothly on a hot, sunny day. And this is, after all, the tropics.

Mar082012

Travel Recommendation

Peru’s Bahuaja Sonene National Park a Haven for Undiscovered Species

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

On the Bolivian border, not far from Puno and famed Lake Titicaca, the “highest navigable body of water in the world,” is a unique conservation zone clinging with lush abandon to the Andes, as they plunge toward the thickly jungled Amazon Basin.

The star attraction is Peru’s Bahuaja Sonene National Park, connected by a network of public and private lands to Tambopata Natural Reserve, Peru’s most visited wildlife preserve. Madidi National Park and Pilon-Lajas Biosphere Reserve are both on the Bolivian side of the border. Together, they protect one of the most biodiverse hotspots on Earth, home to more than 1000 bird species, including the rare military macaw, blue-headed macaw, and Amazonian parakeet.

Feb292012

Travel Recommendation

Chile: The Lone Star

North Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Chile is sometimes called La Estrella Solitaria, “The Lone Star,” for the single celestial body on its tricolor flag. When the bandera was first adopted in 1912, however, its designers probably had no idea that Chile would one day boast the finest skies for stargazing in the world.

The high deserts of Northern Chile, are the driest on the planet; parts of the Atacama haven’t had a drop of rain in the four centuries since records have been kept. There’s very little moisture between you and the deep blue, and at altitudes ranging to 4400m (14,400ft) and peaks of 6885m (22,589ft), you aren’t that far from outer space to begin with.

Feb272012

Travel Recommendation

The Modest Malbec and Rise of Argentine Wines

Mendoza

My Recommendation Tip

The long, luxuriant days of the Argentine summer are upon us. Even in the cooler Mendoza highlands, verdant rows of ripening grapes glow in the afternoon sunlight, as if in anticipation of the early March harvest. This is Argentina’s wine country – most famously home of the increasingly popular Malbec.

The roots of Argentina’s winemaking industry are primarily Spanish, with a few other European vintages aging in the arid Andean foothills of western Argentina, which produces about two-thirds of this nation’s wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Criolla Grande, Tempranillo, and Cereza grapes are all pressed into export-quality bottles that get plenty of international press. But it is a modest French grape, back home usually mixed with better vintages into hearty table wines, that is making a fuss.

Feb232012

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica’s Sloths on the Move, to Monteverde and Around the World

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

The subject and site of almost all the sloth videos in existence, including Cooke’s, is the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, also known as Aviarios del Caribe. Located just north of the mellow, reggae-infused Caribbean beach town of Cahuita, the world’s first sloth rescue operation has been providing refuge and rehabilitation for two-and three-toed sloths for almost two decades.

Feb212012

Travel Recommendation

Skateboarding along the Spine of South America, from Peru to Chile

Cusco

My Recommendation Tip

The barren altitudes of the Andes and shifting dunes of South America’s Pacific deserts are known well as a place to test oneself. From the Inca engineers responsible for South America’s first real road system, to competitors in the Dakar Rally, going where no road can be made, this is just the sort of harsh and beautiful environment that attracts natural adventurers.

The perfectly paved highways that have replaced steep Inca trails, winding through the pinnacles and chasms of this rare world, appeal to a very mobile group you might not expect to find on the tourist trail.

This month, three New Zealanders (Alan Carnaby, Troy Bilbrough and Guy Parsons) completed a five-week, 1600km (992mi) trek from Arequipa, Peru, to La Serena, Chile.

Feb172012

Travel Recommendation

Discover the Hidden Beauty of Rio's Favelas

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Rio de Janiero, like most of Brazil, is riding a wave of economic prosperity that makes more developed nations sigh with envy. Last month, Brazil eclipsed the UK to become the world’s sixth largest economy—larger than the rest of South America combined. The favelas, or urban slums, that famously cling to the hillsides overlooking Rio proper, have historically been home to the poorest of the poor. But as this city rises to international star status, even these neighborhoods are being integrated into the festivities.

Feb132012

Travel Recommendation

Buenos Aires Subway

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

The Buenos Aires Subte, or subway, used to be the best deal in Argentina, offering what may have been the cheapest underground mass transit in the world. Last month, however, backpackers and budget travelers (not to mention Buenos Aires’ working poor) were saddened to learn that fares were rising from AR$1.10 (US$ 0.26) to AR$2.50 (US$0.58).

Fare prices had been frozen for decades, despite Argentina’s infamous inflation, thanks to massive subsidies doled out to the “private” company that runs Buenos Aires mass transit system, Metrovias. The Kirchner government is cutting off federal money in 2013, when responsibility for the Subte is handed over entirely to the city.

Feb092012

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica and the Space Age

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

When most people think about visiting Costa Rica, their daydreams include wildlife conservation, national parks, luxury ecotourism, zip-line canopy tours, pristine beaches, epic surfing, and perhaps the nation’s long-standing commitment to peace. They may not even realize that Costa Rica is also on the cutting edge of space exploration.

The Ad Astra Rocket Company, located just outside Liberia, Guanacaste, is currently developing a plasma engine set to revolutionize interplanetary travel. Current US and Russian technologies can get human beings to Mars, theoretically, but the voyage would take at least nine months, exposing astronauts to potentially deadly doses of radiation, not to mention years of their lives. Costa Rica’s Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) will be able to take us to the Red Planet in just 39 days.

Feb082012

Travel Recommendation

Oaxaca’s Ceramic Traditions Live On

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

People come to Mexico’s mountainous southern state of Oaxaca for many reasons: the architecture, the culture, the food, and often the handicrafts. Oaxaca has a long tradition of creating beautiful ceramics and pottery, as visitors will surely notice once they arrive. Recently, archaeologists have speculated that these Zapotec ceramic traditions date back even farther than they had originally thought, and yet this art form still thrives in the region.

Feb072012

Travel Recommendation

Cajamarca Protests Over New Mines

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Organizers Promise that Upcoming Protests and Marches Won’t Interrupt Transport or Business in Peru.

Big protests are afoot in some of northern Peru’s tourism destinations, and for the next few weeks, savvy travelers in the region will want to stay aware of events as they unfold. Since late 2011, protests of up to 10,000 people have rocked the beautiful mountain town of Cajamarca, normally better known for its hot springs, ice cream, and historical significance; this is where Conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his scruffy band of some 200 feverish Spaniards somehow defeated the overconfident Inca Emperor Atahualpa.

Feb062012

Travel Recommendation

Technology and Social Networking in Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

At the outset of the Google+ vs. Facebook wars of 2011, Brazil—South America’s economic powerhouse—was often held up as proof positive that Google would one day reign over all social media. The Google-based network, Orkut (pronounced “Or-koo-chi”), created by Google’s Turkish offices in 2004, became wildly popular Brazil (and briefly India), even as Facebook cornered the rest of the global market for candid party photos and clever status updates.

Feb032012

Travel Recommendation

Carnival in Rio

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

It’s almost that time of year again in Rio de Janeiro, home to the planet’s most spectacular party: Carnival. Though the main event doesn’t officially kick off until Friday, February 17, energy is already crackling through the streets.

Feb012012

Travel Recommendation

Isla Salas y Gomes

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Not far from enigmatic Easter Island is another, lesser known island paradise, long uninhabited and a safe haven for the wildlife that has been all but exhausted around its more famous neighbor. Just 390km (242mi) northeast of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Isla Salas y Gomez rises above the water, the apex of a volcanic undersea range off the coast of Chile.

Jan302012

Travel Recommendation

Tension over Falkland Islands

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

It’s been almost thirty years since Argentina and the United Kingdom went to war over the Falklands Islands (or Islas Malvinas, as Argentina continues to call them). Despite decades of peace, history sadly seems on the verge of repeating itself.

Jan262012

Travel Recommendation

Elton John Coming to Costa Rica

San Jose

My Recommendation Tip

On February 3, superstar Elton John will be performing in San Jose, Costa Rica, with a very special opening act: Minister of Culture and Youth Manuel Obregon. Appointed to the position by President Laura Chinchilla in 2010, Obregon is arguably Costa Rica’s most accomplished musician.

Jan192012

Travel Recommendation

The Dakar Rally's Path through Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

The world’s wildest motorsport race just finished and announced its winners! Racers crossed the Andes into Chile on January 6th beneath the watchful cone of the world’s highest volcano, Nevado Ojos del Salado (6879m/22,563ft) in the Parque Nacional Nevado.

Jan112012

Travel Recommendation

Coffee Harvest in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

The coffee harvest is in full swing in Costa Rica, with much of the country taking time out to pick the sweet, red fruits that were once the foundation of the nation’s economy. Although you can take a coffee plantation tour year round, now is the perfect time to appreciate the time and care that goes into producing the perfect cup.

Jan102012

Travel Recommendation

Top 5 Archaeological Sites in Peru Beyond Machu Picchu

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

While the ancient city of Cusco is considered the Archaeological Capital of the Americas, Peru offers much more for serious history buffs. Here are 5 more sites worth seeing.

Dec212011

Travel Recommendation

Visiting Antarctica from Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

http://thingstodo.viator.com/chile/visiting-antarctica-from-chile/

Dec152011

Travel Recommendation

Fiestas de Zapote

San Jose

My Recommendation Tip

This isn’t say, however, that the Costa Rican capital doesn’t celebrate the season in style. The second-largest party in the country begins the day after Christmas in San Jose, Las Fiestas de Zapote. The Fiestas de Zapote run through January 2, bringing in party people from around Costa Rica, as well as a few interested travelers.

Dec092011

Travel Recommendation

Monarch Butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

The monarch butterflies have begun to arrive to Michoacan State’s UNESCO Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, as they do every November, reaching peak butterfly density—perhaps a billion individuals flitting about the trees—by mid-January. Visitors from all over the world come to see the magnificent creatures in the mountainous pine forests just north of Mexico City (though they are often so tuckered out after their 3000km (1800mi) trip, that they just hang there quietly in the trees).

Dec012011

Travel Recommendation

Top Beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Dry season, or verano (summer) has almost arrived in Costa Rica, which means it’s time to choose the perfect beach for your upcoming vacation. From December through May, the sun shines gloriously across this tropical slice of heaven (well, the Pacific side, anyway; Caribbean beaches have their own weather patterns, with plenty of rain year-round), welcoming surfers, sunbathers, family, and friends.

Nov112011

Travel Recommendation

Public Bike-Rental Program in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

With its remarkable weather, fantastic vistas, and more than 200km (124mi) of bicycle paths and lanes (plus many other roads closed to automobile traffic on Sundays and holidays), Rio de Janeiro is fast becoming one of the most bicycle-friendly metropolises in South America and the world.

Nov092011

Travel Recommendation

Teatro del Lago

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Frutilla’s top attraction is the Teatro del Lago (Theater of the Lake), which offers outstanding entertainment year-round, most famously Semanas Musicales (Musical Weeks), a ten-day classical music festival held in January and February, featuring some 40 performances by Chilean and international artists. Though the popular event dates to 1968, the new venue makes it that much more spectacular.

Nov072011

Travel Recommendation

Finding the Right Fiesta Just Got Easier for Party People

Buenos Aires

My Recommendation Tip

The nightlife scene in Buenos Aires is legendary, a party capital of Argentina and the world that pulls on its sky-high stiletto heels when most cities are getting ready for a nightcap. Some say that you haven’t even experienced this city until you’ve watched the sun rise after dancing the night away. But for those who want really up-to-date information, there’s only one place to go: social media. The GEOclubbing guide taken over Buenos Aires, which gathers all the independent Facebook pages and information into a one-stop shop of all clubbing and party info anyone could need.

Oct262011

Travel Recommendation

Chilean Art on the Move: Traveling Light

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Visitors to Santiago with a taste for more modern offerings have plenty to enjoy: MAVI, the Museum of Visual Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art, the free Museo Ralli, and finally, Sculpture Park, where you could enjoy a most inspiring picnic.

Oct242011

Travel Recommendation

Cocktails on Ice: Carved Glacial Bar in Patagonia

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

While it is well worth drinking deeply of the scientific knowledge at the glacier museum, you may also want to check out the Glaciarium’s newest “exhibit,” the GlacioBar. A dozen craftspeople worked for nine months on the bar, which is entirely—tables, chairs, walls, glasses, everything—hewn from Perito Moreno Glacier.

Oct182011

Travel Recommendation

Mistura Gastronomic Festival Highlights Peruvian Cuisine

Lima

My Recommendation Tip

While many travelers first come to Peru for Machu Picchu, they return—again and again—for the food. Widely revered in foodie countries like France, Mexico, and Italy, Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the world’s finest.

Oct132011

Travel Recommendation

Six More Mayan Sites to See on the Yucatán Peninsula

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Splendid Chichén Itzá (600AD–1000AD), one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is quite rightly the most famous of Mexico’s pre-Columbian cities.

Oct072011

Travel Recommendation

Commemorating Irish Involvement in Mexico's War

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

One of the little known episodes in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), the creation of the San Patricios Battalion. Hundreds of Irish soldiers who had joined the US military, many to escape the Irish Potato Famine, were so horrified by the war that they abruptly changed sides, and began fighting for the Mexico.

Oct062011

Travel Recommendation

October Means Carnival in Limón

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

While the heaviest rains of the season fall on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, keeping crowds small, prices low, and adventurous tourists a bit damp, the Caribbean Coast is gearing up for the biggest party in Costa Rica: Carnival. Thousands show up to the gritty port city of Puerto Limón to partake in a week of live music, dancing, beauty contests, cultural events, and much, much more.

Oct042011

Travel Recommendation

Peru’s New President Creates a New Ministry of Tourism

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Tourism is already a priority for Peru’s brand-new President Ollanta Humala, sworn in on July 28. The nation’s third-largest industry (after fishing and mining), tourism is also Peru’s fastest growing. Classic destinations such as Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Nazca Lines are enjoying record crowds, to the point that the government has been limiting visitors to the most popular spots.

Oct032011

Travel Recommendation

Rio Implementing High-Speed Wireless for All

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Development in Rio de Janiero, and throughout Brazil, continues apace for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Sometimes it seems like President Rousseff is announcing a fabulous new national advance with every address, and this past month was no exception.

Oct032011

Travel Recommendation

New Monkey Species Found in the Brazilian Amazon

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Though it sometimes seems as if our world were entirely tamed, this is emphatically not the truth. Nowhere is this more clear than the depths of the Amazon rainforest, a region—though increasingly crisscrossed with roads, razed by loggers, and devastated by dams—considered the world’s most biodiverse, and the pride of Brazil.

Sep292011

Travel Recommendation

Cozumel Hosts the First Annual Lionfish Hunting Safari

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Off the Yucatán Coast are some of the world’s most beautiful denizens of the deep, the colorfully “maned” lionfish. Its showy fans of brilliantly hued spines and quiet, fearless demeanor make it prized by collectors and beloved by divers, who once had to swim the Indian Ocean to enjoy resplendent specimens in the wild.

Sep272011

Travel Recommendation

Argentina Begins Implementing Glacier Protection Law

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

Last October, Argentina passed a conservation law unique in the world, protecting the nation’s glaciers. Although the law, which primarily effects mining operations, suffered considerable resistance in this era of record gold prices, the government has finally began implementing the Glacier Law.

Sep222011

Travel Recommendation

Forbes Names Manuel Antonio as One of the World’s Most Beautiful Parks

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Forbes magazine, the respected business biweekly, recently selected Costa Rica‘s Manuel Antonio National Park as one of the world’s most beautiful protected areas. With 7000 of the planet’s prettiest spots to choose from, it must have been tough to whittle the list down to only a dozen.

Sep202011

Travel Recommendation

The Peruvian Amazon: Rich in Wildlife, Rich in Gold

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

The Peruvian Amazon is one of the most best kept secrets for travelers interested in visiting the rainforest. The melodies of Peru‘s Madre de Dios wilderness are sung by scores of frogs and more than 1000 species of birds, a symphonic soundtrack perfect for the world’s most biologically diverse region.

Sep192011

Travel Recommendation

Brazil Gets Its First - Of Several - Solar Stadiums

Salvador da Bahia

My Recommendation Tip

The deal has been sealed on Brazil’s first solar stadium, just one of twelve set to go green in time for the 2014 Olympics. The flagship for this ambitious initiative is Estádio de Pituaçu (more formally known as Estádio Metropolitano Roberto Santos), in the beautiful beachfront city of Salvador da Bahia.

Sep162011

Travel Recommendation

Copacabana Glitters Once Again

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Copacabana

Sep152011

Travel Recommendation

President Calderon Takes Us on a Guided Tour of the Yucatan and Beyond

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

One doesn’t usually think of Felipe Calderón, the tough-as-nails president of Mexico best known for his encyclopedic policy knowledge and unflinching crackdown on borderland narcotrafficking gangs, smiling and scuba diving through the clear blue waters of the Yucatán. This month, however, he does just that, descending into the peninsula’s famous cenotes, or freshwater-filled sinkholes, considered sacred by the Mayans and spectacularly beautiful to everyone else.

Calderón took time out earlier this year to show popular travel journalist Peter Greenberg the wonders of Mexico, which include some of the Yucatán’s brilliant blue gems.

Sep142011

Travel Recommendation

Rodeo Season Kicks Off in Chile

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

The 18th of September is Chilean Independence Day, merely one highlight of a month-long celebration known as Mes de la Patria, Month of the Fatherland. Visitors will enjoy parades, flag-waving, kite-flying, traditional cueca dances, and delicious asados, or pit barbecues, beneath the woven-branch roofs of temporary fondas set up all over Chile for the occasion.

While El Dieciocho, as Independence Day is often called, is sure to be a party, it kicks off an even older and perhaps more important national tradition: the Chilean Rodeo. Though first recognized as a national sport in 1948, going fully professional in 1962, Chilean Rodeo dates back to the 1500s.

Sep092011

Travel Recommendation

Chiapas, Mexico Gears Up For Adventure Travel Summit

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

The Adventure Travel Trade Association, perhaps the most important business organization in adventure tourism, will be having its annual conference in Chiapas, Mexico, this coming October.

Speakers will include founder of GAP Adventure and Planeterra; Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance; and Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico: “Throughout my travels in the effort of diplomacy worldwide, it has become clear that connecting on a basis of a sense of place can be a lynchpin for creating peace,” explains Richardson. “Understanding of local cultural heritage and possessing a sense of adventure is paramount.”

Sep082011

Travel Recommendation

Taking in Costa Rica’s Volcanic Views

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

The delicate land bridge that links the Americas was born of volcanoes, thrust up above the ocean’s surface only 30 million years ago—the flick of a hummingbird’s wing in geological time. Costa Rica itself was merely a fiery archipelago of smoking islands until the sediments settled and Central America formed 27 million years later.

Sep062011

Travel Recommendation

Peru’s Place of Memory Set to Unveil History

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

The upscale Lima neighborhood of Miraflores is today known for its fine cuisine, trendy nightlife, eye-catching architecture, and appealingly rocky coastline. In July 1992, however, the posh hotspot made international headlines because of the Tarata bombing, when truck bombs detonated by the Shining Path—Maoist guerrillas or simply terrorists, depending on your source—killed 24 people, seriously wounded 200, and gutted the neighborhood.

The bombing ushered in a federal crackdown on left-wing activity across Peru, spearheaded by former President Alberto Fujimori. Today, though lauded in some circles for his successful efforts, he is serving time for human rights violations committed during that period—including massacres perpetrated by his notorious anti-communist paramilitary force, the Grupo Colina.

Aug312011

Travel Recommendation

The Chilean Miners Go Hollywood

North Chile

My Recommendation Tip

On August 5, 2010, deep in the Atacama Desert, the San José copper mine in Copiapó collapsed. It was assumed that all those trapped inside had perished, until a drill bit sent Quixotically into the deep came back up emblazoned with the now famous note, "We are well in the refuge, The 33."

Aug302011

Travel Recommendation

Rock in Rio Comes Home

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

The biggest music festival in the world, Rock in Rio, Cidade do Rock is returning home. The past four incarnations of this mega festa have been held in Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain, but this year, for the first time since 2001, the festival comes back to Rio de Janeiro. More than 150 artists will appear over the course of the concert, which runs from September 23 to October 2 (an extra day was added due to popular demand—by both fans and musicians).

Aug292011

Travel Recommendation

Beaver Problems in Tierra del Fuego

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

The chill, windswept tip of South America must have seemed, to a Canadian, the perfect place for a profitable beaver colony. It took some convincing, but in 1946, Argentine President Perón authorized the introduction of 25 breeding beaver couples from Manitoba, Canada, to the island of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. He even paid pilot Tom Lamb US$650 per animal, much coveted for their fur.

Such a deal. Today, an estimated 250,000 of their descendants have spread far beyond Lake Fagnano, in the middle of Tierra del Fuego, where they were originally introduced. They’ve even swum the Beagle Channel, establishing colonies on several islands and the Brunswick Peninsula, part of continental Chile.

Aug262011

Travel Recommendation

TEDx Returns to San Miguel de Allende

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

Following its successful 2010 turn as host of the most popular TEDx conference in the organization’s history, the graceful Spanish colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico has once again brought together some of Mexico’s, and the world’s, finest minds.

Aug252011

Travel Recommendation

Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

As Costa Rica‘s rainy season (“green season” in tourism terminology) intensifies, peaking in September and October, tourism slows to a crawl. Though the warm and jungled beaches may not be packed with sun lovers, however, the huge tropical moon shines over a far older migration.

Aug232011

Travel Recommendation

Peruvian Airlines Grounded for 90 Days

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Since 2009, Peruvian Airlines has offered low-cost flights between Lima‘s Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) to seven popular tourist destinations: Arequipa, Cusco, Iquitos, Ilo, Piura, Tacna, and Tumbes. This past August 18, however, the Peruvian government shut down the airline due to noncompliance with air safety regulations, including maintenance problems discovered after an emergency landing on August 2.

Aug222011

Travel Recommendation

Getting Real (R$) about Stretching Your Budget in Brazil

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

The price of success can be steep, and Brazil has had a great run in recent years. It's one of the developing world's success stories, today ranked the seventh or eighth largest economy on Earth (depending on who you ask) and a global powerhouse by any estimation. Brazil has also become the most expensive country in South America.

Aug192011

Travel Recommendation

Rio Hosts the Fifth Military World Games

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Rio de Janeiro is currently gearing up to host two of the biggest sporting events in the world, the 2014 Men’s World Cup and 2016 summer Olympics. This past July, the city also got an outstanding warm up, successfully hosting the Fifth CISM Military World Games, sponsored by the International Military Sports Council.

Aug182011

Travel Recommendation

2012 Mundo Maya Tourism Campaign

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

If you’ve tried to research anything online about the Mayan Empire in recent years, you’ve had to wade through pages of apocalyptic prophecies, all promising the end of the world before Christmas 2012, for the price of a few page views. You aren’t the only one who has noticed that virtual snake oil sales were eclipsing actual information about Kukulkán, the Feathered Serpent and patron of the Mayan priesthood.

Aug152011

Travel Recommendation

Tango World Championships in Argentina

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

With the turn of the 20th century, a new dance called the tango swirled out of Rio de la Plata's teeming urban underclasses. It combined Spanish, Italian, and French steps remembered by poor European immigrants; the candombe beats brought by former slaves from their native Africa; and sensual moves beloved by ladies of the evening, who gathered dancers together in their Buenos Aires and Montevideo brothels, and gave birth to the most fiercely passionate dance in the world.

By the onset of WWI, the tango had gone global, thanks largely to singer Carlos Gardel, "El Zorzal Criollo," whose international hit Mi Noche Triste inspired a global tango revolution. The dance has gone on to become one of the world's most popular, reaching new artistic heights in Finland, Japan, the United States, and elsewhere.

Aug122011

Travel Recommendation

Reflections on the Past, Written in Lights

Mexico City

My Recommendation Tip

The Plaza of Three Cultures is weighted with history. It is fitting that the heart of Mexico City’s Tlatelolco neighborhood is now a place of artistic intent and understanding. The plaza sits atop a particularly unsettling fault line through city’s history, marked by the architecture of transformative eras. The pyramids were built by the Aztecs of Tlatelolco, twin city of Tenochtitlán.

Aug092011

Travel Recommendation

Protecting the Pristine Andean Peak of Nevado de Huaytapallana

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Though the most popular image of Peru is that of Machu Picchu, rising from the cool, arid Andes to an air-catching 2430m (7970ft), this is an incredibly diverse nation. From the steamy Amazon rainforests of Iquitos, to deserted Pacific beaches rolling in pristine dunes toward the crashing waves. Few, however, think of Peru, a country that just grazes the equator, as a land of ice and snow.

Aug082011

Travel Recommendation

Seven New Mayan Archaeological Sites Discovered Close to Mérida

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Once known as Ichcaanzihó, or “City of Five Hills,” the capital of Yucatán State is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the hemisphere. The “five hills” were actually Mayan pyramids, though their stone extravagance was subsequently dismantled by Spanish settlers, and used to build the modern metropolis christened Mérida.

Aug082011

Travel Recommendation

Ed Stafford's "Walking The Amazon" Hits the Shelves

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

The Amazon winds 6992 kilometers (4345 miles) through the South American rainforest, connecting Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and of course Brazil with its massive flow and endless network of tributaries. Though the length of the great river is contested—purists say it's only 6400km (3976mi), making it a bit shorter than the Nile—following it is a long hike indeed.

Thanks to Ed Stafford, who completed the journey from Camana, Peru, to the mouth of the Brazilian Amazon, in August 2010, we know that it takes 860 days—almost 2-1/2 years—to walk the great river's banks 2000-mile detour thanks to illegal deforestation and resulting flooding.

Aug052011

Travel Recommendation

Seamounts Marine Management Area

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

It’s not easy being green, and Costa Rica‘s protected areas—roughly 20% of the country are expensive to protect. Only the most popular national parks, and those with easily observed borders, have enough rangers to keep poachers and loggers at bay, and even then imperfectly.

Aug032011

Travel Recommendation

Air Service At Last to Chile's Chiloé Island

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

As the Chilean coastline plunges south toward the Antarctic, it begins to fray into glacier-carved fjords and rain-forested islands, beginning with the Chiloé Archipelago. All but lost in the mists that mark the edge of human habitation, these forty isolated islets line the icy shipping lanes headed into the Straights of Magellan. They are a world unto themselves, long isolated from Santiago and the mainland, at least until Puerto Montt, 90km (56 miles) away, was founded in the mid-1800s.

Aug022011

Travel Recommendation

Brazil’s ADAPTA Looks to Climate Change

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Though the climate change debate remains contentious (in the USA, at least), there is at least one aspect of global warming that cannot be denied. Current conditions in the Brazilian rainforest are very similar to early predictions of a major drought in the Amazon, should atmospheric CO2 levels be allowed to rise.

Aug012011

Travel Recommendation

The Razing of One of the World's Wildest Places

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

The vast and almost impenetrable plains of the Gran Chaco ("Big Hunting Ground") spread from Northern Argentina in a low, sweltering swath through parts of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. Though the admittedly more charismatic Amazon gets all the attention, the Chaco is the second-largest forest on the continent, and even more remote, covered with dry tropical forest thick with thorn trees, cactus, and dozens—perhaps hundreds—of endemic species as yet unknown to science.

Jul292011

Travel Recommendation

The "Colossal Masterworks of the Olmeca World" Return Home to Mexico City

Mexico City

My Recommendation Tip

Centuries before the Mayans erected their first stone pyramid, and millennia before the Aztecs arrived in what's now Mexico City, a far older civilization began laying the foundations for the rich Mesoamerican culture. Often called the "mother civilization of the Americas, the Olmec nation rose to power between 1400 and 400BCE, when Rome was still a provincial farming village.

Jul252011

Travel Recommendation

Crowdsourcing the Amazon: Brazil Creates the World's First Botanical Wiki

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

It is an honor—but also a responsibility—for any nation to be entrusted with the care of one of the most the most biodiverse, ecologically sensitive, and globally important regions of the world. The challenges of preserving the massive Amazon Rainforest would be hard for even developed nations to meet, and Brazil, despite its recent growth is still struggling to eradicate basic poverty while defending Mother Nature.

Jul252011

Travel Recommendation

Brazil Legalizes Same Sex Partnerships

Rio de Janeiro

My Photos

  • Sau Paulo Gay Pride Parade

Jul212011

Travel Recommendation

Tequila Herradura Sensory Museum

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Though Cancún is known for many things—fantastic beaches, outstanding dive sites, glorious Mayan ruins, and fantastic natural parks—perhaps the resort town’s main claim to fame involves that golden liquor so dear to Mexico’s heart: Tequila.

Jun292011

Travel Recommendation

High-Speed Railway to Connect Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Campinas

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Soon, you will be able to sit back with your laptop and enjoy Brazil’s first sleek, gleaming, high-velocity train, as it leaves Rio de Janeiro for the 80-minute, 280kph (175mph) journey to São Paulo. The trip to South America’s most important city now takes at least six hours by car or bus; heck, the train may even beat air connections, once you consider check-in time. Enjoying the ride? Continue aboard another 35 minutes to visit Campinas, a fine city just off the average tourist’s radar...

Jun292011

Travel Recommendation

Puerto Williams Opening Up to Increased Antarctic Travel

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

For decades, Puerto Williams, Chile, and Ushuaia, Argentina have vied for the title of “world’s southernmost city.” While Puerto Williams is slightly farther south, it has only 2000 residents (1700 of whom are in the Chilean Navy), and must call itself the southernmost town in the world. The popular resort town of Ushuaia, on the other hand, boasts a more respectably urban population of some 70,000, and can thereby claim the title of southernmost city...

Jun242011

Travel Recommendation

New Transoceanic Highway Through the Amazon

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

In the works for almost 40 years, the Transoceanica will soon be completed, winding 5,500km (3,400mi), like a paved river, from the Brazilian Atlantic to the Peruvian Pacific. With a single bridge left to complete, this long-anticipated highway will shrink trips that once took days down to hours.

Jun242011

Travel Recommendation

RIO Brings Brazil to the Big Screen

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Flying high on great reviews and an even better soundtrack featuring Brazilian bossanova legend Sergio Mendes, the animated film RIO is playing to packed theaters around the world...

Jun172011

Travel Recommendation

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Arrives to Cancún and the Yucatán

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

The swirling currents of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico shift with the seasons, bringing female sea turtles, heavy with eggs, to the Yucatán Peninsula. The lovely ladies begin to arrive in late May, rolling in with the rising tide. Once they arrive on these storied shores, the haul their heavy bulk onto dry sand, where every evolutionary advantage they’ve developed over the past 130 million years is practically worthless...

Jun172011

Travel Recommendation

Brazilian Air Passes Now Easily Available Online

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Brazil is enormous: At 8,514,215 square kilometers (3,287,357 square miles), it occupies almost half of South America, an area just larger than the continental United States, and a bit smaller than all of Europe. If you’re planning to see the sites by bus or boat, be sure to budget your time accordingly...

Jun152011

Travel Recommendation

Nature Air Now Connects Costa Rica and Nicaragua

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Costa Rica’s northern neighbor, though not yet nearly as popular a destination, has been getting plenty of attention in recent years. Nicaragua boasts unique attractions, such as the architecturally stunning Spanish colonial cities of Granada and León, and the mysterious lake island of Ometepe, its hourglass figure formed from two towering volcanoes—one of them active—recently declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve...

Jun152011

Travel Recommendation

Cancún International Airport Ranked Latin America’s Best

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

For the second year in a row, Cancún International Airport (CUN), Mexico’s second busiest, has been ranked the best airport in Latin America. Airports Council International (ACI), which presented the award on April 7 in Delhi, India, points to excellent service, a flawless layout, and a successful renovations among the criteria for the well-deserve accolades...

Jun152011

Travel Recommendation

Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

New Spain’s once all-important trade route, the Royal Road of the Interior Lands, today spans vast deserts, enormous mountains, broad rivers, and two nations, Mexico and the United States of America. They work in concert to protect what is sometimes called America’s First Superhighway, blazed in 1598 by Zacatecas-born and notoriously bloodthirsty conquistador Juan de Oñate, oftencredited with founding the first European city in the USA...

Jun142011

Travel Recommendation

Surf’s Up in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Though perfect curls roll in on both of Costa Rica’s coasts throughout the year, April marks the beginning of the Central American Pacific’s big wave season. From the southernmost swells on the Panamanian border, where an endless left crashes into pristine Pavones; to epic Ollie’s Point in the far northwest—named for Oliver North, who handed off supplies to Nicaraguan Contras here during the 1980s—the options are endless...

Jun142011

Travel Recommendation

UNESCO World Heritage Committee Recognizes São Francisco Square

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

The city is easily Sergipe State’s loveliest, boasting harmonious baroque buildings cast in gently settling stucco, softly lit in the warm tropical night. The beautifully arcaded Convent of San Francisco Church rises above a sea of terra cotta-tiled roofs, which gracefully protect centuries-old buildings, which line the old cobbled streets...

Jun102011

Travel Recommendation

Artifacts from Machu Picchu To Be Displayed at New Cusco Museum

Cusco

My Recommendation Tip

For decades, the government of Peru has asked museums and universities around the world to return ancient artifacts recovered during the chaotic early years of archaeological discovery. Most experts admit that these early adventurers operated more like Indiana Jones than responsible scientists, but convincing first-world facilities to relinquish their priceless collections has been a difficult proposition...

Jun072011

Travel Recommendation

Costa Rica’s New National Stadium Set for Inauguration

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Gracefully open to the capital’s crisp tropical highland climate is this remarkable new structure, the most modern (if not quite the largest) sports venue in Central America: Costa Rica’s magnificent new National Stadium. Built in just 20 months at an estimated cost of some US$105 million, the Estadio Nacional will host more than 35,000 fans during its first FIFA football (soccer) match on March 29, which pits the Costa Rica National Team against Argentina...

Jun022011

Travel Recommendation

Celebrate a Cosmic Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Evocative and impressive at any time of year, the massive, well preserved ruins of Chichen Itza make for an unforgettable day trip into the world of the ancient Maya. The site upon which Chichen Itza stands has been occupied for millennia, thanks to the deep “cenotes,” or natural limestone wells, that provide a city's worth of water during the long, dry, Yucatán summer. By 600 AD, it was one of the most powerful cities, planned along astronomical lines, in the Mayan Empire...

May272011

Travel Recommendation

Birders and Conservationists Enthusiastic about New Parks

Brazil

My Recommendation Tip

Most visitors to Brazil’s lush, wealthy Brasilia State come to enjoy the fantastic beaches, such Praia de Forte, Costa de Sauipe, and Itaparica Island, as well as the rich cultural milieu, historic architecture, and wild festivals of the state capital, Salvador.

Birders and other wilderness tourists eager to explore one of the world’s most biodiverse places, however, head inland, to the richly forested and, until recently, woefully unprotected, interior.

May252011

Travel Recommendation

Chile Tops the Travel Charts

Chile

My Recommendation Tip

Though 2011 is still young, it’s already been an excellent year for Chile’s rapidly expanding travel industry. This is awards season in tourism, and Chile has scored top spots on two of the world’s most influential travel lists...

May242011

Travel Recommendation

UNESCO Recognizes Prehistoric Caves in Oaxaca

Mexico

My Recommendation Tip

There is a reason why Mexico is home to more than 30 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking sixth in the world for such an accumulation of honors. In addition to preserving some of the planet’s most fascinating natural heritage sites, Mexico is one of the great cradles of human civilization, marked by such monuments as Chichen Itza, Palenque, and many more...

My Photos

  • Yagül

May232011

Travel Recommendation

Rio de Janeiro Gears Up for the World’s Biggest Party

Rio de Janeiro

My Recommendation Tip

Have you been having an uncontrollable obsession for feathers, sequins, and sexy dance costumes just perfect for performing the samba, Brazil’s national dance? Don’t fight it—it’s Carnival time, and your symptoms indicate a serious need to head south for the biggest party of the year...

Mar102011

Travel Recommendation

Telecom Tycoon Opens Fabulous, Free Art Museum in Mexico City

Mexico City

My Recommendation Tip

Rising dramatically from Mexico City’s posh Polanco District is a gleaming, new, curvaceous structure unlike anything this architecturally innovative city has seen. It is a brand new art museum, poised to rank among Latin America’s best, a gift to the city from world renowned businessman Carlos Slim, who was until recently the world’s richest man. It is said that Slim controls about 5% of Mexico’s total GDP, including 85% of the nation’s telephones (through Telmex and Telcel), more than 50% of its Internet access, and other holdings that range from department stores and hotels to coffee and cigarettes...

Mar032011

Travel Recommendation

Two Cool New Museums Open in Argentina

Argentina

My Recommendation Tip

Travelers headed to the Southern Cone have two cool new attractions to enjoy in Argentina. The first is already inspiring Beatles fans from across the universe to make a special trip to beautiful Buenos Aires, where the world’s largest collection of Fab Four memorabilia opened as El Museo de los Beatles in January...

Mar012011

Travel Recommendation

New Discoveries Tempt Visitors toward the Moche Trail

Peru

My Recommendation Tip

Though most archaeologically inclined travelers headed to Peru plan their visit around magnificent Machu Picchu and other wonderful ruined cities surrounding the old Inca capital of Cuzco, Peru is the final resting place for a far older, and more exotic, indigenous legacies...

Feb232011

Travel Recommendation

Collection of Pre-Columbian Treasures Headed Home to Costa Rica

Costa Rica

My Recommendation Tip

Despite its wealth of remarkable pre-Columbian artifacts, including iconic polychrome pottery, enigmatic stone spheres, and priceless jade and gold pieces, Costa Rica once struggled proud to display the work of its ancient indigenous artisans. These unique styles, crafted where North and South American nations have long mingled, have only in recent decades been accorded the museums they deserve, such as the excellent Jade Museum, glittering Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and the National Museum of Costa Rica...

Feb232011

Travel Recommendation

Cancún’s Museum of Underwater Modern Art’s SILENT EVOLUTION Complete

Cancun

My Recommendation Tip

Shimmering in the liquid blue light just off idyllic Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is a remarkable work of art unlike any you’ve ever seen: Jason deCaires Taylor's La Evolución Silenciosa. The marvelously detailed piece, hidden just beneath the Caribbean, includes more than 400 life-sized human figures, alive with lobsters, urchins, eels, and all kinds of colorful fish, for whom the underwater sculpture is truly intended...

My Photos

  • Underwater sculptures, Cancun Museum of Underwater Modern Art

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