Chichicastengo’s colorful cemetery is well worth a visit if you’re in town for the famous market day.
Latin America / Central America and South America
It might be small, but the Templo de la Enseñanza packs in an incredibly ornate Mexican Baroque interior.
The Tejada Library features a massive wrap-around mural by painter Vlady that depicts various aspects of revolution.
Originally designed to house the national theater, the Palacio de Bellas Artes has become a cultural hub in arguably the most beautiful building in Mexico City.
The Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico is an Art Nouveau gem in the heart of Mexico City’s historic district.
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.
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.
Mexico City’s impressive National Museum of Anthropology showcases the region’s endlessly rich and diverse pre-Columbian cultural heritage.
Dominating the northern side of the Zocalo in the historic quarter of Mexico City, the Metropolitan Cathedral is the the largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Americas.
Panama isn’t an island, but with such a high proportion of coastline to land, it might as well be. So it’s only natural that seafood figures prominently in Panamanian cuisine.
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.
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.
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.
The open-air observation deck on the 44th floor of the Torre Latinoamericana offers spectacular views out over Mexico City.
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, in Casco Viejo and dating to 1673, is most famous for its massive Golden Altar (Altar de Oro) that survived pirate raids in 1671.
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.
Dating back to 1680, La Iglesia de la Merced sits in the heart of Casco Viejo, just a couple of blocks from Independence Square.
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.
The Catedral Metropolitana in Casco Viejo, Panama City’s old quarter, is one of the largest churches in Central America at dates to 1688 to 1796.
Opened in late-2014, the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo focuses on Panama’s biodiversity and how the isthmus of Panama has changed the world.
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 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.
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.
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.
The distinctive yellow and white Granada Cathedral dominates the city’s skyline and is Granada’s most important of the city’s several churches.
Historic and pretty Granada is on Lake Nicaragua (Lago Nicaragua), but the lakefront isn’t all it could be.
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.
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’s city cemetery is Nicaragua’s oldest. And because of Granada’s historical significance, the cemetery is unusually beautiful and ornate.
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.
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.
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.
Punta Arenas, in southern Chile, reveres 16th century explorer Ferdinand Magellan. A massive new sculpture on the waterfront helps celebrate him and the ocean.
The Metropolitan Cathedral has pride on place on a corner of Plaza de Armas, a the historic and cultural heart of Santiago, Chile.
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!
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.
Cenote Xkeken, near Valladolid, is one of the prettiest of the 3,000 or so underground cenotes scattered across Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.
You’d never know it today, but Coba, on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, was once an important and powerful Mayan city. But it has long been in ruins.
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.
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.
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.
Just outside Antigua, Pacaya is one of several active volcanos that make up the Central American Volcanic Arc.
There are many Maya civilization sites on the Yucatan Peninsula, but none has a more beautiful location than Tulum, not far from Cancun.
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.
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.
Guatemalans sure love their fireworks. And Chichicastenango, in the Guatemalan highlands, is not a place that considers fireworks only night-time entertainment.
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.
Excellence Playa Mujeres resort, just north of the traffic and bustle of Cancun, is a great place if you’re looking to just get away to relax by the beach.
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.
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.
There’s much to love about Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and the beach fish market is one of the town’s gems.
Valladolid is a place to stop and savor. A charming Spanish colonial town in the center of the Yucatán Peninsula, it’s within easy striking distance of Cancun and Merida.
Chichen Itza is one of the most famous, most impressive, and most visited of the Mayan ruins sites on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.