Countries covered: Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico & Costa Rica
Best known for centuries-old pyramids, exotic beaches and clear waters, mariachi bands, tequila, Corona, and fattening but delicious cuisine, Mexico is no less enchanting for its historic towns and cities. It is here where natives dine outside under colonial arcades, middle-aged men read the newspaper at cafe shops, older women sit on benches to gossip, and the youth perform traditional dances to crowds with the sound of folkloric music in the background. Mexico is not only a place for seeing but for doing as well, such as swimming in sinkholes, climbing volcanoes and going whale watching. As nice as the resorts are, you shouldn’t limit your time in Mexico to just tanning on the beach and enjoying your hotel room. There is a rich journey awaiting your discovery.
An island characterized by extremely rich culture, crumbling grandeur architecture, lively salsa music, passionate dancing, people on the streets romancing, rum, exotic beaches, mojitos, classic cars and world renowned cigars, rest assure there is much more to communist Cuba than billboard propaganda and the government eavesdropping into your phone calls and emails. Although Cuba is one of the most controversial destinations you could ever visit, there are plenty of reasons to be enchanted by it. There is just absolutely nowhere else on earth like it.
Most visitors to the Dominican Republic stick to the private hotel resorts and their exotic, clear water and powdery beaches…and you really can’t blame them. After all, things can be a bit rough: street hustling, ramped crime, prostitution, etc. However, at least for the more experienced travelers, there’s a LOT to offer here. For ecotourism, definitely consider the Los Haitises National Park. For adventure tourism, consider Cabarete for windsurfing and kite boarding as well as Pico Duarte for trekking. For those who love architecture, Santo Domingo’s zona colonial (a.k.a. colonial zone or Old Town) features great charms…as well as an incredible nightlife scene.
Puerto Rico ranks among the Caribbean’s most popular destinations with good reason. The island boasts tropical rainforests, mystical caves, colorful coral reefs, exotic beaches, clear waters, bright architecture, fascinating forts, and tasty food. It otherwise serves as the birthplace of internationally renowned reggaeton music. Home of a long list of attractions, Puerto Rico feels much larger than what it physically is. Puerto Ricans like to call their island Borinquen, which is the indigenous Taino name for Land of the Valiant Lord. Feisty, sexy, and passionate, Puerto Ricans are undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. They dress to impress and love dancing the night away. Although characterized by an admixture of US, Caribbean, and European influences, Puerto Ricans ultimately march to the beat of their own drum. Their way-of-life itself is half the reason to visit the island.
Showered with biodiversity and renowned for its rainforests crowded with wildlife in addition to mangrove swamps, volcanoes and white-sand beaches, the peaceful and exotic Central American nation that is home of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as well as countless adventurous activities can be none other than Costa Rica. Bathe in hot springs, preferably near the Arenal Volcano. Go fishing, rafting, and/or horseback riding. Explore inside dark and bat-laden caves. Check out a coffee plantation. Spot a Baird's tapir in the dense jungles. Zip-line across mountains and above jungles at the Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves. Costa Rica is a place where man and nature become one.
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Your ability to map out the best possible routes to the most amazing spots in Mexico and the Caribbean is what helped my spouse and I plan an unforgettable anniversary trip. We have been wanting to go since the kids were little, but with no experience traveling we had no idea what all it required: knowledge about the food, the culture, the crime rate, the customs. You are an amazing helper, my man!
I will never be afraid to travel anywhere alone ever again – well, not as long as CharlieTheTraveler writes a book about it first. Charlie, your uncanny ability to methodize traveling into an efficient adventure is astounding. No joke, you are the reason why I 1) saved money on unnecessary things, 2) never had a dull moment, and 3) didn’t lose my mind when things got hectic. You’re a lifesaver, Charlie.