• South and Central America

An Unforgettable Amazon Adventure

Immerse yourself in one of the world's most amazing destinations -- The Amazon. See spectacular sights, stay in exotic lodges, explore indigenous tribes and enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities.

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Isla Taboga
Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga, aka Island of Flowers, is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Panama that has become a bustling tourist destination. Local companies provide hiking, nature walk, snorkeling, sightseeing, whale watching and fishing tours. The island has beautiful beaches, but Isla Contadora, Playa Bonita and Play Veracruz are a couple alternative spots to go. 960 1280

Adam Reeder, Flickr  

Metropolitan Cathedral Casco Viejo

Metropolitan Cathedral Casco Viejo

Located in Panama City’s suburb of Casco Viejo, the Metropolitan Cathedral -- built between 1688 and 1796 -- is an example of the country’s religious colonial architecture. After a $4 million dollar renovation in 2004, the cathedral will be remodeled to house a museum that will follow the construction, function and future of the Panama Canal. 960 1280

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Panama Canal

Panama Canal

Completed in 1914, the 48-mile long Panama Canal is a major international trade route, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. So it’s no surprise that the American Society of Civil Engineers declared the canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world. 960 1280

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Plaza de Francia

Plaza de Francia

Take a stroll around Plaza de Francia while chomping on a raspado or Sno-cone. Toursists should head down Calle 1a. It turns into the lovely Paseo Esteban Huertas, a walkway on top of las bovedas (the vaults), which originally functioned as a Spanish dungeon and later as a jail, storehouse and offices. 960 1280

Daniel Escobar Paz, Flickr  

La Piedra Pintada

La Piedra Pintada

Hop on a bus in Panama City to visit La Piedra Pintada, a 15-foot boulder with ancient petroglyphs carved underneath it. It’s a simple remnant of El Valle’s pre-Columbian culture, and a great spot for history buffs. 960 1280

Hector Romero, Flickr  

Downtown Panama City

Downtown Panama City

Panama City is the capital and the largest city in Panama. A political, administrative, international and commerce hub for the country, Panama City is also the largest city in Panama. The city has a dense skyline of mostly high-rise buildings, surrounded by a large belt of tropical rainforest. 960 1280

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Monkey Island

Monkey Island

Take an eco-friendly journey along the Panama Canal with stops in Sounds of Silence and Monkey Island (pictured), where tourists can see 4 different species of monkeys and other wildlife, all within 40 minutes of Panama City. 960 1280

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Plaza Bolivar

Plaza Bolivar

Surrounded by 19th-century architecture, Plaza Bolivar is a great spot for locals and tourists to congregate for drinks and dinner at various cafes located around this popular social spot. Street musicians perform tips near a monument built to honor Venezuelan general Simon Bolivar -- located in the center of the plaza. 960 1280

whl.travel, flickr  

Albrook Mall

Albrook Mall

Albrook Mall is the largest amusement mall in Panama. The magical atmosphere -- filled with balloons, bright decorations, music, an Italian carousel and more than 400 stores -- is perfect for the whole family. Artesanias Panama Bahia, Flory Saltzman Molas, Avenida Central Mall, Galeria Arte Indigena and La Ronda are a few other spots to shop in Panama City. 960 1280

Rogelio, Flickr  

Ceviche

Ceviche

La Marea, Segundo Muelle, Ego, Machu Pichu and Mercado de Marisco are all restaurants to sample delicious ceviche. Panamanian ceviche is usually made with Squid, shrimp, octopus, lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper and sea salt. Most local restaurants serve ceviche de corvine (white sea bass) as an appetizer. 960 1280

Carlos Casas, Flickr  

Los Diablicos

Los Diablicos

Part of Panama’s rich culture and folklore, the Diablicos Sucios is a religious-themed celebration that often includes a lively devil dance that portrays the age-old battle between good and evil. Dancers, donned in devil masks and multi-colored clothing, usually perform the devil dance as a method religious conversion. 960 1280

Darien Montanez, Flickr  

El Nispero Zoo

El Nispero Zoo

El Nispero is not your typical zoo. Most of the animals found here are former pets that were donated or confiscated from their owners by government authorities. Tapirs, collared peccaries (wild pigs), jaguars, white-face capuchin monkeys, macaws, Asian golden pheasants and white peacocks are just a few animals tourists will spot while taking a leisurely stroll through this zoo. 960 1280

Orban Lopez Cruz, Flickr  

Chorro de Macho

Chorro de Macho

Take a canopy tour over 85-foot tall Chorro El Macho, the most famous waterfall in El Valle. If a zip-line tour isn’t your thing, then we recommend a hike along the trails in the surrounding forest near the falls or taking a dip in the swimming pool located at the base of the towering waterfall. 960 1280

Chuck Holton, Flickr  

Sancocho

Sancocho

Sancocho de gallina is Panama’s national dish. It’s made with chicken, cilantro, yuca, mazorca and otoe. Yellow squash is added to create a regional version of the dish called Sancocho chiricano. Rumor has it that this delicious dish is not only used as a metaphor for the country’s racial diversity, but it’s also a great remedy for a hangover. 960 1280

remo del orbe, Flickr  

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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