Holbox: Mexico’s Enchanting and Remote Tropical Island

Just a 25-minute boat ride off the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is a sliver of an island called Holbox (pronounced ol-bosh). In the Mayan language it means “black hole.” For the increasing number of visitors (as well as a small number of pioneering—mostly part-time expats and full-time business owners) who make their way here it’s a tropical getaway that’s quite different than spots like Cancún and Playa del Carmen on the nearby Riviera Maya.

In Pictures: Costa Rica’s Wild Beaches and Pacific Views For Less Than $170,000

I first visited Costa Rica's southern Pacific coast in 2005 on my honeymoon. Back then, it felt like a real adventure to get to what is officially known as the Southern Zone. The coastal highway was incomplete, with a long, bone-rattling section of rutted dirt and gravel. And the bridges looked like they might fall over in a stiff breeze.

Choose Your Paradise in Sunny, Affordable Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be a small country—it’s about the size of West Virginia—but it’s incredibly diverse as far as the landscape, climate, lifestyle, and “feel” you’ll experience in its different regions. You’ll find plenty of lush rainforests filled with capuchin monkeys and sloths, and jungle-covered mountains cascading down to the glittering Pacific.