In the last four years, I've traveled to many parts of this beautiful country and taken some amazing photos. I've photographed mighty whales, off the shore of the seaside village of Puerto Lopez, breaching the water.
Wisps of steam rose up from the hot springs, billowing above the red volcanic rockscapes, vivid green succulents, and exotic tropical plants. Every muscle in my body had melted like wax and my skin felt as smooth as silk.
Joseph Hogue loves the flexibility that living and working in Medellín has given him. "I usually work a regular 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. workday from my home," says the 40-year-old from Iowa.
I'm writing to you from a beach where the sand sparkles like stars. Locals tell me it's the volcanic matter in the sand that makes it dance in the sunlight. And this region, known as Panama's Dry Arc, is a mecca for sun seekers.
"I love walking along the Tomebamba River," says Janda Grove. "I think it's one of the nicest things about Cuenca." Boasting romantic 18th-century architecture, and a rich artistic and cultural tradition, the colonial city of Cuenca is set high in Ecuador's Andes Mountains.
"Three years ago I started learning to surf," says Janet Blaser. "It's something I always wanted to do." The sixty-year-old had lived in America's surf capital, California, for nearly 30 years, but she'd never had the chance to learn to surf.
"Cancún is so beautiful." says Nancy Leifer. "The colors, the dozens of shades of blues and greens in the Caribbean Sea are literally breathtaking. I've never seen such colors in nature anywhere else. It's such a difference from Long Island."
"I grew up in such a small town, a farming community in Colorado in the Four Corners region," says Monique. "Going abroad for the first time really opened my mind, and I realized the possibilities. It changed my life."
In 2009, Nicole Brewer was at her wits' end. She'd been laid off from her market research job and, after several months of unemployment in the U.S., there were no real prospects on the horizon. "I decided to try my hand at teaching English overseas after seeing an advertisement online,"
Gary Scott and his wife Merri have journeyed to the Dominican Republic, where they ran property tours. In Ecuador they owned a hotel for a spell in the cool-weather mountain town of Cotacachi.