Daily Escape

Thatch Caye

Photo by Michael Hanson / Aurora Photos

Thatch Caye

Dangriga, Belize

Who needs a stuffy hotel when you can stay in an open-air thatch cave on the edge of the Caribbean Sea? Surround yourself with salt water, sun, and bliss as you doze off to serene tropical breezes, the gentle crashing of waves, and other perks of a life aquatic.


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Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Ipanema Beach is located in the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There are always circles of people playing soccer, volleyball and footvolley, an invented sport that is a combination of volleyball and soccer. With waves reaching up to 9 feet in the winter, it’s also a great destination for surfers. 960 1280

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Punta Tombo, Argentina

Punta Tombo, Argentina

Just by looking at Argentina’s Punta Tombo Beach, you probably wouldn’t know that over a million Magellan penguins return here every autumn to mate. The beach is part of the Punta Tombo National Reserve, located in south Patagonia. 960 1280

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Tayrona, Colombia

Tayrona, Colombia

Cañaveral, Arrecifes, La Piscina and El Cabo are 4 popular beaches to visit in Colombia’s Tayrona National Park. Travelers looking for beaches that are off-the-beaten-path should try one of these beach destinations, but remember to pack light. Cañaveral Beach is the only beach reachable by car. The other 3 beaches will require a hike to reach the sandy shore, which is ideal for eco-friendly tourists and backpackers. 960 1280

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Máncora, Peru

Máncora, Peru

Avid surfers head to Máncora, a small beach resort town in northwestern Peru. It’s known as a popular place to ride the waves throughout the entire year. And in addition to great waves, the beach isn’t crowded, but after dark, the local nightclubs attract the party crowd. If you’re staying in Lima, buses run down the coast to city and vary in price and quality. 960 1280

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Montañita, Ecuador

Montañita, Ecuador

Surfing, bodyboarding, scuba diving, water skiing and windsurfing are a few reasons why tourists and locals flock to Montañita, Ecuador. High tourism season for the town starts in January and hits its low in June. The town’s liberal, party beach is the only place in Ecuador where it isn’t illegal to smoke marijuana. And it’s not uncommon to see same-sex couples holding hands freely with support from the locals. 960 1280

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Reñaca Beach, Viña del Mar, Chile

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Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil

Travel to rustic Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil. With only 4 main streets, tourists can relax and unwind with the locals in this old fishing village, packed with bars, restaurants, art and crafts shops, hotels and other businesses. The 7 miles of beach make it ideal for watersports and for communing with nature and the local wildlife. 960 1280

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Punta del Este, Uruguay

During its summer tourist season, Punta del Este, in southern Uruguay, explodes from a population of 7,300 people to more than 150,000. The town sits at the point where the Río de la Plata meets the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches here become less crowded the farther you get from the center of the town. Some of the Punta del Este’s beaches include Montoya beach, Bikini Beach and Manantiales Beach. 960 1280

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Punta Carnero Beach, Salinas, Ecuador

Punta Carnero Beach, Salinas, Ecuador

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San Bartolo, Peru

Lima’s San Bartolo district attracts scores of beachgoers every summer. Surfing is the popular watersport. Other districts in Lima, Punta Negra and Santa Maria del Mar, are also hot beach destinations. 960 1280

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Sea Lion
Sea Lions

Sea Lions

Some travel companies on the Galapagos Islands offer tours that provide tourists with an opportunity to see sea lions chillin’ in the sun. There are 2 species of sea lions on the islands. A sea lion (featured) has a thin fur coat and usually hangs out on beaches and rocky shorelines. Fur sea lions only live on rocky shorelines and have a thick fur coat. 960 1280

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San Cristóbal Island

San Cristóbal Island -- aka Chatham Island to English speakers -- is the easternmost island in the Galapagos Islands, and one of the oldest geologically. The island has 2 popular dive sites, Kicker Rock and Isla de Lobos. If you’re into birdwatching, then head to the Laguna El Junco, the largest freshwater lake in the archipelago. The lake harbors a large population of birdlife. 960 1280

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Blue-Footed Boobies

Birdwatchers flock to this part of the world to see a variety of wildlife unique only to the Galapagos Islands. Visit Espanola Island and North Seymour Island for an up-close-and-personal view of the blue-footed booby. Males and younger birds usually have lighter feet than females. 960 1280

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Giant Tortoises

Giant Tortoises

Some Galapagos tortoises can weigh over 500pounds and measure 6 feet from head to tail. These turtles have a unique water storage capacity; they can go more than a year without any food or water. Some subspecies are threatened or in danger of extinction, while others have stable and growing populations, thanks to the efforts of conservationists and the Charles Darwin Foundation. 960 1280

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Land Iguanas

Land Iguanas

Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Espanola and South Plaza Islands are home to between 5,000 and 10,000 land iguanas. English naturalist Charles Darwin claimed that there were so many iguanas on James Island that setting up a tent was a monumental task. 960 1280

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Galapagos Hawks

These hawks are the largest birds on the Galapagos Islands. The buzzard-like birds feed on lava lizards, snakes, young marine iguanas and chicks of sea birds. The best places to spot these feathered creatures are on Espanola, Santiago, Santa Fe, Isabela and Fernandina Islands. 960 1280

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Barthlomé Island

Barthlomé Island

Take a stroll along a path to Pinnacle Rock Overlook to get an awe-inspiring view of Bartolomé Island, a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island. The island was named after Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, a lifelong friend of naturalist Charles Darwin. 960 1280

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Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos Penguins

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Surfing

Surfing

Hit the waves! The Galapagos Islands are a popular destination for surfers. Baltra Island’s Aeolian Cove, San Cristóbal Island’s Punta Carola, Santa Cruz Island’s Las Palmas and Isabela Island’s Playa Barahona are just a few of the best surfing spots in the archipelago. 960 1280

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Darwin Island

Darwin Island

Take a dive near Darwin’s Arch off the coast of Darwin Island. This island was named in honor of naturalist Charles Darwin, and it is among the smallest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. The tropical waters around the island are a prime spot for divers to explore the marine life, including whale sharks, green turtles, manta rays and dolphins. Darwin Island is not open to land visits. 960 1280

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Whitetip Reef Sharks

Whitetip Reef Sharks

Whitetip reef sharks can be easily identified by their pointed nose, silver-gray color and the white tips on their tail. Fearless and curious, whitetip reef sharks may approach swimmers closely but are seldom aggressive unless provoked. Devil’s Crown on Floreana Island and Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz Island are just a couple prime places to see this specific species of sharks. 960 1280

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Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island

The second largest island after Isabela, Santa Cruz Island is a large dormant volcano, located in the center of the archipelago. Its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the most populated urban center in the islands. The town’s southern shore is lined with cactus, marine iguanas, pelicans and the blue-footed booby that coexist among tourist boats, restaurants, small hotels and houses. 960 1280

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Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Go snorkeling to see batfish (pictured), hawkfish, blue-chin parrotfish, bumphead damselfish and more. The myriad fish in the Galapagos are enough to keep any swimmer entranced for hours. The best time for snorkeling is from December to May. 960 1280

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Lava Lizards

Lava Lizards

Head to Santiago, San Cristóbal or Santa Cruz Islands for your chance to get a glimpse of a lava lizard. There are 7 different species of lava lizards found in the Galapagos. The male lava lizard is larger than the female and they look distinctly different. The overall color patterns are different, and the females have bright red skin under their throats. 960 1280

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