News Stories Tagged central america
Panama City's got a bit of everything—history mixed with the new and modern, a low-key but still metropolitan vibe. And with two new resorts on Playa Bonita, it's got a beach within a stone's throw.
Looking to get away? Private islands offer the kind of seclusion for those who mean business. But they vary wildly in how hard they hit the wallet. Read on for budget-friendly options...and a few indulgences.
The vibrantly colored red-eyed tree frog, like the white tent bat, sometimes rests on the underside of large jungle leaves; gently turn a few leaves over as you're hiking and take a peek. You might get lucky.
The dollar is the de facto currency; the Panamanians refer to it as the balboa, named for explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa who "discovered" the Pacific Ocean and claimed it for Spain.
The best way to experience the incomparable Maya ruins is to get up just before the birds do, from a hotel within the park, and head toward the deserted plaza with a guide. From the top of one of the scalable pyramids the well-trained guards can show you an enormous array of wildlife that disappears from the park during the day.
Antigua's streets are full of women and children peddling their wares, but only converse with them if you're serious about buying. The vendors get aggressive, and will follow you around in the hope that you'll break down and buy something.
Beach breaks are the best type for beginners. Waves break over sandbars and the seafloor. Jacó, Hermosa, and Sámara are all beach breaks. Point breaks are created as waves hit a point jutting into the ocean.
The Blue Flag ecological rating system evaluates water quality—both ocean and drinking water—trash cleanup, waste management, security, signage, and environmental education. Blue flags are awarded to communities, rather than to individual hotels, which feeds a sense of cooperation.
The ubiquitous Tourist Information signs you see around downtown are really private travel agencies looking to sell you tours rather than provide unbiased information. The ICT is the official tourist office.
Guatemala's network of red public buses logs dozens of thefts (and a few armed robberies) each day. Your chances as an outsider of escaping unscathed are slim, so we advise against using the system.
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