Americas

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Saucer Magnolias at the Enid Haupt Garden in Washington DC

I took this photo last spring during the very brief blooming of the tulip magnolias (or saucer magnolias) in Washington DC. They’re one of the spring’s first dramatic blooming varieties in the DC area, usually beating the more famous cherry blossoms by a couple of weeks.

Templo de la Ensenanza Main Altar and Nave

Templo de la Enseñanza

It might be small, but the Templo de la Enseñanza packs in an incredibly ornate Mexican Baroque interior.

Streets of Historic Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

Panama City’s Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is up-and-coming part of Panama City. Which might sound like an odd thing to say about some of the oldest parts of the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

World War II-era Batteries at Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina

Defending Charleston Harbor

Fort Moultrie isn’t as famous as its neighbor, Fort Sumter, but it has played crucial roles over the centuries in defending Charleston Harbor.

Stained Glass Windows of Greek Goddesses at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City

Chapultepec Castle (Mexico’s National Museum of History)

Sitting high above one of Mexico City’s best green spaces is Chapultepec Castle. It sits on top of a hill that has been a sacred place for Aztecs and housed a military academy, imperial residence, and presidential home. Now, it’s a museum.

Stone of the Sun (Aztec Calendar Stone) at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City

Mexico’s Cultural Treasures

Mexico City’s impressive National Museum of Anthropology showcases the region’s endlessly rich and diverse pre-Columbian cultural heritage.

Sacristy in Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral

Dominating the northern side of the Zocalo in the historic quarter of Mexico City, the Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Americas.

Iglesia de San Bernardo, Mexico City, Mexico

Templo de San Bernardo

Dedicated to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Templo de San Bernardo dates to 1680 and was once part of a larger convent complex. Now only the church remains.

Mary and Child Statue at Iglesia de Santa Ines, Mexico City, Mexico

Iglesia de Santa Ines

It’s not the most lavish of the many churches in Mexico City’s Centro Historico district, but this church dedicated to Saint Agnes of Rome is one of the more tastefully decorated.

Statue Preservation at Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad in Mexico City, Mexico

Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad

While it’s not as opulent as some of the other churches nearby, Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad has a charm of its own as a quiet sanctuary from the bustle in the busy streets around it.

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis Casco Viejo Panama

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis

The bell tower of Iglesia San Francisco de Asis stands tall above the rest of Casco Viejo, on the waterfront of the historic heart of Panama City, Panama.

Iglesia San Jose Casco Viejo Panama City Panama

Iglesia San Jose

Iglesia San Jose, in Casco Viejo and dating to 1673, is most famous for its massive Golden Altar (Altar de Oro) that survived pirate raids in 1671.

Ancon Hill Panama City Tourists with Skyline

The View from Ancon Hill

You can spot Ancon Hill from all over Panama City. It makes for wonderful views out over Panama City and the entrance to the Panama Canal. It also has historical significance.

La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of María de Cervello

La Iglesia de la Merced

Dating back to 1680, La Iglesia de la Merced sits in the heart of Casco Viejo, just a couple of blocks from Independence Square.

Arco Chato at Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo

Iglesia Santo Domingo and the Arco Chato

The Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo is mostly crumbling ruins but is best known for its Flat Arch spanning the interior that stood without supports for centuries.

Biomuseo Theater

Panama City’s Biomuseo

Opened in late-2014, the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo focuses on Panama’s biodiversity and how the isthmus of Panama has changed the world.

Streets of Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

With its colorfully painted buildings, cobblestone streets, and Spanish colonial architecture, Granada is a picturesque town that wears its history on its streets.

Parque Central at Dusk, Granada, Nicaragua

Granada’s Parque Central

Parque Central is a hustling, bustling center of town. As in so many Spanish colonial towns, the park forms the heart of a grid that radiates out through the city’s streets.

Iglesia de la Merced, Granada, Nicaragua

Iglesia de la Merced | Granada

Behind the run-down facade of Iglesia de la Merced is one of the most important churches in Granada. And its clock tower offers the best view of the city.

Nave of La Capilla Maria Auxiliadora, Granada, Nicaragua

La Capilla Maria Auxiliadora

La Capilla Maria Auxiliadora isn’t the grandest or most famous of Granada’s churches. But it makes a credible claim to be the most beautiful.

Altar Piece in Cathedral of Granada, Nicaragua

Catedral de Granada

The distinctive yellow and white Granada Cathedral dominates the city’s skyline and is Granada’s most important of the city’s several churches.

Yuca Root at Granada's Market (Mercado Municipal)

Granada’s Market

Granada’s market is especially good. It’s large and colorful, pungent and bustling. And it’s the only show in town, so everything is concentrated here.

Facade of Centro Cultural Convento San Francisco, Granada, Nicaragua

Granada’s San Francisco Convent and Museum

Behind that impressive facade, standing above most of the city of Granada, is the city’s main museum. Its exhibits are rather eclectic, but many of them relate in some way to the history of Granada and the nearby region.

Granada Municipal Cemetery

Granada Cemetery

Granada’s city cemetery is Nicaragua’s oldest. And because of Granada’s historical significance, the cemetery is unusually beautiful and ornate.

Our Lady of Pilar Basilica in Buenos Aires Agentina

La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery’s most famous resident is Eva Peron. But her plain burial site might just be the least ostentatious in the whole cemetery.

Statue in Mercado Central de Santiago

Santiago’s Mercado Central

Santiago’s Mercado Central is a mecca for fresh seafood. And a series of restaurants in the center of the market serve up delicious market-fresh meals.

Monte Olivia Ushuaia with Clouds

Ushuaia, The World’s Most Southern City

Ushuaia claims the title of the world’s southernmost city. These days its main industry is tourism, serving as a gateway to Antarctica. But the town also has charms of its own.

Maritime Monument in Punta Arenas Chile

The Waterfront of Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas, in southern Chile, reveres 16th century explorer Ferdinand Magellan. A massive new sculpture on the waterfront helps celebrate him and the ocean.

Historic Prison at the Maritime Museum of Ushuaia Argentina

Ushuaia’s Maritime Museum

It’s the jail at the end of the world. It would have been very cold, very drafty, and, even compared to the low bar set by late-19th-century prisons, altogether rather unpleasant. But if you could sneak to a window, what a view!

Our Lady of Pilar Basilica

Despite a checkered history, Our Lady of Pilar Basilica in Buenos Aires has survived as the second oldest church in Buenos Aires and looking none the worse for wear.

Niagara Falls Viewing Telescope

Niagara Falls

Although not the highest or even the wettest, Niagara Falls might just be the most famous waterfalls in the world. And they’re very easy to visit.

Boston city skyline at night

Boston’s City Skyline at Night

I took this panorama of Boston’s city skyline at night from the end of Long Wharf looking back at the city. At one point during the colonial era, Long Wharf was the busiest pier in America. It was also much longer at the time–in the centuries since, landfill has created reclaimed land, but originally the shoreline was up near Faneuil Hall.

Maple Syrup Taffy Lollipops being made in Quebec City's Rue du Petit-Champlain at night at Christmas

Winter Charms of Old Quebec City

Quebec City is a kind of Paris-in-miniature, set on a beautiful spot on the Saint Lawrence River and full of old-world charm. At Christmas it really shines.

Tikal Mayan Ruins and Morning Mist

The Mighty Maya City of Tikal

Tikal, in northern Guatemala, was once one the largest and most powerful of the Maya cities. Today it has been most taken over by jungle.

Newark New Jersey Downtown Aerial Photo at Night

Newark at Night from the Air

Newark, New Jersey, isn’t exactly known as a jewel of the American northeast. But from certain vantage points, it can actually be quite pretty. Glittery, even.

Chicken Buses Antigua Guatemala Painted

The Chicken Buses of Central America

Central America is where American school buses go to retire. In the balmy tropical climes of places like Guatemala and Honduras, they’re given a new, colorful lease on life.

Flores Guatemala Boys Fishing From Canoe on Lake

A Caribbean Island 100 Miles from the Sea

I’m on a real Caribbean island. But it’s 100 miles from the sea. Flores is a tiny island village in Guatemala’s Lake Peten Itza. It makes for a convenient jumping off point for visiting the nearby Maya ruins of Tikal.

Pacaya Volcano Tour Group at Summit

Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

Just outside Antigua, Pacaya is one of several active volcanos that make up the Central American Volcanic Arc.

White House in the Snow

A Washington Winter Wonderland

Heavy snow shuts down Washington DC, but it also transforms the National Mall, its monuments, and other Washington landmarks like the White House into a winter wonderland.

Gallows Point Resort

Gallows Point Resort on St. John in the beautiful US Virgin Islands is a fantastic place to watch some stunning Caribbean sunsets.

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was one of the great engineering feats of the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States.

Photo of Tulum Beach at Mayan Ruins on Mexico's Mayan Riviera

Tulum, The Original Maya Riviera

There are many Maya civilization sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, but none has a more beautiful location than Tulum, not far from Cancun.

Chichicastengo market fruit and vegetables wide-angle

Market Day in Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango is a town where buying and selling is everything. Its markets are reputed to be the largest in Central America; the range of wares on offer is truly impressive. And the indigenous Maya culture adds a distinct local flavor to the town.

Children playing in Antigua, Guatemala

The Town that Defied God and the Government

If God and the government had their way, Antigua wouldn’t exist. But it’s a good thing it does. With charming Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and a vibrant cultural life, it’s a wonderful place to visit.

Fireworks in Chichicastenango Guatemala Fire Wheel

Fireworks in Chichicastenango

Guatemalans sure love their fireworks. And Chichicastenango, in the Guatemalan highlands, is not a place that considers fireworks only night-time entertainment.

Catedral Metropolitana on Parque Central in Guatemala City

Guatemala City’s Zona 1

Guatemala City isn’t a popular tourist destination, in large part because of the scourge of violent crime, but there are some things worth seeing in this otherwise crowded and poverty-stricken city.

An Oasis in Texas

Austin is a city that’s young, fun, and takes pride in being a bit off-kilter.

Sandy Beach of Hawksnest Bay St John US Virgin Islands

The Beautiful Beaches of St. John

St. John boasts some of the Caribbean’s most picture perfect beaches. White sands from the coral reefs and beautiful turquoise seas, along with reliably warm tropical weather, make for an idyllic setting.

Interior Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal

Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica

The interior of Old Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica has to rank it as one of the most stunning churches or cathedrals in North America.

Sunset at Zihuatanejo panorama

Zihuatanejo, a Gem on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Zihuatanejo is a small fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast that’s just bursting with local flavor. From the beautiful scenery, laid-back and welcoming locals, and ultra-fresh seafood, it’s a great place to be.

Space Shuttle Enterprise

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

One of the world’s most visited museums, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum has an incredible array of original artifacts from the history of flight and space exploration.

Ek' Balam Tomb of Ukit Kan Le'k Tok'

Ek’Balam, Maya City of the Jaguar

It might not be for the vertigo-challenged, but getting to the top of the Acropolis at Ek Balam is definitely worth the effort. It is, quite literally, a view fit for a king.

Zihuatanejo Fish Market

Zihuatanejo’s Fish Market

There’s much to love about Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and the beach fish market is one of the town’s gems.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a manicured, safe, and family-friendly area of an otherwise hardscrabble city.

El Castillo at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza’s Maya Ruins

Chichen Itza is one of the most famous, most impressive, and most visited of the Mayan ruins sites on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

Delta Queen at night

Chattanooga and Ruby Falls

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is clearly a city that puts heavy emphasis on being “livable,” and so far it seems to be doing a pretty good job of it.

Virginia State Capitol

The Virginia State Capitol building, completed in 1788, is the seat of the oldest legislative body in the United States, the Virginia General Assembly.