Machu Picchu: Incredible Inca Ruins

American archaeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Be an explorer and visit the ruins of the Inca -- pre-Columbian South America's most advanced civilization.

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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

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

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

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

The biggest populations of Galapagos penguins are on the islands of Fernandina and Isabela. This type of penguin is distinguishable from other species because of an upside-down horseshoe shape around its stomach, which extends down to its legs. 960 1280

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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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Roatan Island, Honduras
Roatan Island, Honduras

Roatan Island, Honduras

Located between the islands of Utila and Guanaja, 37-mile-long Roatan Island is surrounded by one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. It’s a great destination for snorkelers and divers who can experience face-to-face encounters with marine life, including sea turtles and eagle rays. We recommend spending an hour or 2 walking along the beautiful beach near Turquoise Bay. 960 1280

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Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Hike a path that leads to impressive lava flows from the still simmering but young Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Since October 2010, Arenal’s volcanic activity has been decreasing and explosions have become rare. Enjoy the picturesque scenery and take a fun road trip around Lake Arenal located nearby. 960 1280

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Cangrejal River, Honduras

Cangrejal River, Honduras

Feeling adventurous? Experience the rapids of the Cangrejal River, one of the best places in Central America to go white-water rafting. Experienced rafters can brave the river’s challenging class IV and V rapids. 960 1280

Andrew Baskett, flickr  

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

The Concepcion and Maderas volcanoes form Isla de Ometepe, a jungle island that’s home to 35,000 people, countless birdlife, cattle and howler monkeys. The island is sacred ground. Archeology buffs will enjoy spotting rocks carved into figures and pre-Columbian petroglyphs found all around the island, including its lush tropical forest. 960 1280

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Barrier Reef, Belize

Barrier Reef, Belize

Belize’s most popular tourist attraction is its 190-mile series of coral reefs. The Belize Barrier Reef is a hot destination for scuba diving and snorkeling, attracting half of its 260,000 visitors each year. 960 1280

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Panama Canal, Panama

Panama Canal, Panama

Visit the site in Panama City where the Atlantic Ocean intersects with the Pacific Ocean. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects, the 48-mile Panama Canal was built as a safe shortcut instead of taking the Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America. 960 1280

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Granada, Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua

The Iglesia de La Merced stands high above Granada’s multicolored one-story cottages and townhouses. We recommend taking a stroll along the town’s cobblestone streets to see the opulence and history of the old Spanish Empire. 960 1280

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Costa del Sol, El Salvador

Costa del Sol, El Salvador

Sample fresh seafood at a restaurant while witnessing an amazing sunset in Costa del Sol, El Salvador. It’s the largest beach in the country and there several activities to keep beachgoers active, including sailing, horseback riding, jogging and playing a couple rounds of beach volleyball. 960 1280

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Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Travelers visiting the islands in the western Caribbean should not miss Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. Go kite surfing in Caye Caulker, snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley, bird-watching at Lalas Bird Sanctuary and golfing at Caye Chapel Golf Resort & Marina. End the day by sitting on the pier while the waves lap at your toes. 960 1280

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Once a funky beach town, Tamarindo is now a prime spot for commercial development, including a variety of shops, bars and hotels. Most tourists and locals flock to the town’s beaches. We recommend heading to Playa Langosta or Playa Grande for swimming and surfing. Other outdoor options include diving, sports fishing, wildlife watching and canopy tours. 960 1280

Tamarindowiki, Wikimedia Commons  

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Guatemala’s Dulce River flows out of Lake Izabal and is a popular destination for sailboats. Surrounded by a lush forest, the entrance to the river is the Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, a Spanish fort once built to stop pirates from entering the lake from the Caribbean when this part of Guatemala was an important shipping port. 960 1280

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Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua has several ruins of colonial churches as well as well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture. Visit Cerro de la Cruz for the best view of the city or mingle with the locals around the newly reconstructed water fountain located in the city’s Parque Central (Central Park). 960 1280

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La Libertad, El Salvador

La Libertad, El Salvador

Experience the gritty vitality of La Libertad, El Salvador. The small port town has a steady flow of tourists because it is known as the country’s surf capital, hosting regional and international surfing championships. The town has a serious drug problem and in some cases, foreigners are easy targets for theft and assaults. So keep your guard up and travel in numbers when possible. 960 1280

Susana Soto, flickr  

Panama City, Panama

Panama City, Panama

With a blend of old Baroque architecture and modern skyscrapers, Panama City’s landscape tells a tale of 2 cities. The city’s Casco Viejo neighborhood is steeped in rich colonial history whereas the city’s Punta Paitilla neighborhood is thriving with office towers, banks, hotels, restaurants and shops. We recommend visiting Playa Kobbe, a beach less than 20 minutes from downtown, and taking a stroll through Parque Natural Metropolitano to see more than 200 species of birds. 960 1280

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Windsurfing
Windsurfing

Windsurfing

Belize is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination for adventurous travelers because of the vast array of outdoor activities available to do, including windsurfing. For intermediate windsurfers, the best time to travel to Belize is between July and November. The country’s windy season spans from February to July. 960 1280

Chris Willis, Flickr  

Cave Rafting

Cave Rafting

This group of adventure tourists is traversing through 4 caves by raft and kayak on Caves Branch River in Central Belize. It’s another way to explore Belize. 960 1280

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Jungle Hiking

Jungle Hiking

Be adventurous and explore Belize’s diverse wildlife while hiking. A few popular places for jungle hiking include Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve, Caves Branch River, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Che Chem Ha and Clarissa Falls to Bullet Tree Falls. 960 1280

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Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding

Go paddleboarding at Long Caye. The calm lagoon is perfect for learning the easy skills necessary to control the board. Paddleboarding or stand up paddling has become the hottest new sport on the water, and now it is the fastest growing paddle sport in the country. 960 1280

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Kayaking

Kayaking

Enjoy a serene trip along Belize’s waterways to explore the country’s awe-inspiring landscapes. Saddle Caye South, Queen Cayes, Glover’s Reef, Laughing Bird Caye and Ranguana Caye are the best places for kayakers. 960 1280

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Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

Belize is considered one of the top scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, runs the length of its coastline. Head to Shark-Ray Alley & Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Cay Caulker, Turneffe Island, Glover’s Reef Atoll and Gladden Spit, for a great diving experience. 960 1280

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Caving

Caving

Caves are tied to the history of Belize and to the Maya religion. Tourists can see where the Maya performed their most sacred rituals and examine ancient artifacts --primarily in the form of old pottery. Explore the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal, Black Hole Drop, Barton Creek and Flour Camp, Caves Branch, just to name a few. 960 1280

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Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Go snorkeling in Ambergris Caye or the Belize Barrier Reef. Explore the country’s 40 species of coral and its diverse marine life, including lemontip sharks, parrotfish, angelfish, butterfly fish and clown fish. 960 1280

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Sport Fishing

Sport Fishing

Belize is a popular destination for fly fishing and deep-water fishing. In some spots, you do need a permit to fish, but it’s worth it! Bonefish, tarpon, barracuda, grouper and Bluefin tuna are just a short list of what experienced fishermen have been able to catch when fishing on Ambergris Caye. 960 1280

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Cave Tubing

Cave Tubing

Cave tubing is a fun outdoor activity for families. Awaken your senses with a floating excursion past limestone and crystal formations where ancient Maya people once worshipped. And you may spot some of the indigenous wildlife, including crocodiles, iguanas and howler monkeys. 960 1280

Asten, Flickr  

Photos

Africa's highest peak is Mount Kilimanjaro where hikers may encounter elephants moving across the African savanna. 960 1280

  

The trek through Nepal's Annapurna Circuit promises 21 days of crossing jungles, rivers and mountains. 960 1280

Explore Glacier National Park with a hike through the Logan Pass. 960 1280

  

Australia's Larapinta Trail, a 130-mile trek through the Northern Territory, is almost entirely through the desert. 960 1280

Photo by andydolman through Flickr Creative Commons  

Head to the hills in Cape Town, South Africa, for a scenic hike through the trails at Table Mountain. 960 1280

  

If you're looking for history and incredible vistas, head to Peru's Inca Trail for a 27-mile hike to Machu Picchu. 960 1280

  

The Val di Fassa in Italy is in the heart of the European Alps with gassy paths and endless mountain views. 960 1280

  

The John Muir Trail is a 211-mile stretch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains stretching from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. 960 1280

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