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Bastimentos Island, Panama
These little red frog are the namesake of a beautiful stretch of sand on Isla Bastimentos, an island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The island is easily reached by water taxi from Bocas del Toro and has a few good trails...
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Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
Of the many boat excursions available in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, the trip to Playa Estrella stands out for its numerous multicolored starfish residing in the tranquil, crystal-clear waters. The beach is truly an "oasis" of calm and the...
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San Blas Islands, Panama
A visit to the incredible 365-island archipelago (also called the San Blas Islands) within the communal lands of the Guna Yala indigenous nation provides some extraordinary seaside experiences. The islands making up the outer archipelago...
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Calle 8 Este con, Av. B, Panamá, Panama
Located in Casco Viejo, Tantalo Hotel is a great home base for exploring Panama City. Rooms here are entirely unique, each one featuring work by a different local artist as well as colorful, modern décor and spacious rain showers. When...
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Clayton, Panama City, Panama
The Panama Canal, an early 20th-century industrial marvel, continues to amaze engineering, construction, history, and maritime buffs. An expansion to double its capacity is in progress and slated for completion in 2015. The upper deck of the...
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La Loma, Bahia Honda Isla Bastimentos, Bastimento, Panama
As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I live in what might be the birthplace of foodie-ism. Surrounded as I am by world-class restaurants and beautiful local food, I still dream about the meals I experienced at a secluded treehouse on a...
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Gatun Lake, Panama

In the 17th century, the pirate Henry Morgan traveled the Chagres River to attack Panama City. In the early 20th century, the Chagres River was dammed to create the 53-kilometer-long (33-mile-long) Gatún Lake, at the time the largest...

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We trekked in a hand-carved canoe on Rio Gatun into the rainforest to meet one of Panama's most intriguing indigenous tribes, the Embera Indians. Native to the Darien region of the south--reputed to be one of the most dangerous places in the...
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Casco Antiguo, Panama City, Panama
So many stylish restaurants are popping up on the gourmet scene in the old quarter, and Veggie Moon is a fairly new one with quite a following. The decor of white chairs and tables against a backdrop of stone walls creates an inviting setting for...
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Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
On my recent road trip through the provinces of Costa Rica, one of our stops was the Monteverde - Santa Elena cloud forest reserves in the province of Guanacaste. One of the most popular activities here is zip lining as you get to zip through and...
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Costa Rica
The thermal hot springs in Rincón de La Vieja at Rio Negro (Black River) may not be as well known as those in the Arenal area, but we had the pools and surrounding forest to ourselves. From where we stayed at the Hacienda Guachipelin...
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Bajo Garita, Provincia de Alajuela, La Garita, Costa Rica
No cage...just a perch under the forest canopy at the "Zoo Ave" bird sanctuary, just west of San José, Costa Rica. Several of the parrots and macaws do "speak," but most of these splendid creatures are not pets; tame enough, though, so you can...
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Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Hike up to El Arenal’s gray volcanic cone for a magnificent view of La Fortuna, one of Costa Rica’s most celebrated destinations. Locals and expats alike are mad for the area’s hot springs, fun locavore restaurants,...
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Known by indigenous peoples as Sibú Mountain—a sacred name that means “Creator of Life and Wisdom”—Poás Volcano, which soars to 8,885 feet, cannot fail to impress. The active volcano is a perennial favorite...
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Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
A stunning national park on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio has it all: nonstop beautiful beaches, lush tropical rain forest, and oh, the wildlife and flowers, everywhere you look. Monkeys abound on these beaches, and they are not timid around...
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Av 6, Provincia de Alajuela, Atenas, Costa Rica
Every Friday from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Farmers' Market is in full swing in downtown Atenas. Featuring choice eats and treats from all the surrounding farms, it doesn't get any more 'natural' than the selections here. You'll be able to find...
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50 meters from Hotel Diria, diagonal hotel Mar Rey, Centro comercial Galeria del Mar, Tamarindo, 50309, Costa Rica
El Be Tamarindo Beach Club will never go out of style. Take your pick between the bar terrace and DJ—ideal for dancing all night—or the Sandbar, where you can relax on the beach. In either spot, you'll enjoy an authentic Costa Rican...
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Guanacaste Province, Coco, Costa Rica
If you are a diver, or have always wanted to take scuba lessons, Playa del Coco is a great jumping-off point for exploring the deep blue. Visibility may not be as good as in the Caribbean, but the area makes up for it with the rich and varied...
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Guanacaste Province, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Even if you don't have anything specific in mind to buy, go to browse Tamarindo's main avenue for well-priced souvenirs. Here you'll find traditional coffee and chocolate next to art and wood crafts. There are also supermarkets, drugstores, and...
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Playa Conchal G Cabo Velas, Provincia de Guanacaste, 50308, Costa Rica
Sometimes, the best day of vacation is spent hanging out at and around the hotel and finishing off the evening with some entertainment. On-site at the Westin is the Astrea Theater Bar and Lounge, where guests can enjoy live performances by local...
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Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Monteverde, one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife refuges, also attracts humans in search of their own wild lives. Adrenaline bursts can be administered according to each visitor’s tastes. Airborne adventures include...