Costa Rica is a relatively small country--about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont put together. And that means getting around is easy and inexpensive, and you have a variety of options. For trips to nearby towns and from outlying areas into town, there are regular bus routes, as many Costa Ricans don’t have cars.
This year marks the centennial of the opening of the Panama Canal, and celebrations are taking place throughout the year. The first boat to make the ocean-to-ocean transit of the canal was the SS Ancon on Aug. 15, 1914. Most visitors who come to Panama make a point of seeing the canal, usually at the Miraflores Locks just outside of Panama City, or the Gatun Locks, just west of Colon city. Personally, I can think of no better way to honor and enjoy this wonder of the modern world than to see it at eye level and take a boat trip on the Panama Canal. The complete transit takes about nine hours, passing through three sets of locks. There are a number of ways to do this, and no matter which one you choose it will be a memorable experience.
Costa Rica doesn't get much attention as a culinary destination. The national cuisine (known locally as comida tipica) hasn't extended across borders. And you won't find Costa Rican restaurants anywhere but Costa Rica. Yet, most tourists and expats find that this country is actually full of some great food. It's tasty, filling, healthy, and, in most cases, very reasonably priced.
Before I arrived in Croatia, people told me that it was one of the most beautiful places in Europe. "If you love Italy, you'll love Croatia," they said. "After all, the Croatian coast is where the Italians go to vacation." Most of Croatia's coast is along the historic Dalmatian region—a place that perfectly meshes Italian and Eastern European inspirations in architecture, food, and even language. I based myself in Split...
“Rio de Janeiro.” The name alone conjures up images of broad beaches populated by impossibly beautiful people. But while everyone has heard of Rio, far fewer know that “The Marvelous City” lies in a state of the same name. Rio de Janeiro state, though small in size, is geographically quite diverse. Mountains parallel the coastline, sometimes veering down into the sea. Broad swaths of the original mata Atlântica (Atlantic forest)—one of the most biodiverse areas in the world—still blanket the hillsides. Scores of lakes and lagoons lie within sight of the shimmering South Atlantic. Majestic beaches stretch literally for miles; others lie sheltered in secluded coves, accessible only by boat. Tantalizing palm-studded islands, most uninhabited, await the more adventurous.
While traveling in a pair or groups is always fun, there is nothing more exciting than going on a solo vacation. It’s a feeling of freedom that gives you the desire to embrace the entire world at once. From my own experience, I have five suggestions that should help you make the most out of your solo trip.
Advances in technology have opened up the world. Planes, trains and the Internet are all getting faster and—if you know where to look—you can embrace these changes and make your dream of exploring dozens of overseas destinations come true. Right now, living internationally...
Montevideo, Uruguay's capital city, has a culture that many North American expats find comfortable. It's a place where the traditional and the modern weave together. For example, Montevideo has a prosperous economy, but people still take time for one another. It has new gleaming malls, but it is also teeming with small family-owned shops. Each child in the country receives a free laptop computer, but time with family is still cherished above all else.
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.
Today, the best restaurants in Panama City aren’t necessarily the fanciest (and the most pretentious tend to have impressive “barks” but may fail to deliver when it comes time to bite).