Big Bend Nat’l Park is big even for Texas

By: Glenda C. Booth

Visitors paddle canoes down the Rio Grande River in Texas’s Big Bend National Park. The sprawling park covers nearly 1 million acres in the southwestern part of the state.Photo by Glenda BoothAny mention of Big Bend National Park invokes powerful descriptors: “One of the most remote,” “large and vast,” “one of the least visited,” “darker than... READ MORE

River cruises: smaller and more intimate

By: Anne D’Innocezio

I’ve been a land-based traveler for most of my life. Motor coaches and cars have helped me explore everything from Italy’s Tuscany region to Ireland’s Ring of Kerry.But recently I discovered a love for river cruising. After returning from a cruise on the legendary Rhine, I’m happily considering trips to other iconic waterways such as the Danube for next year.Sure,... READ MORE

Reveling in New Orleans’ eclectic charms

By: Victor Block

A paddlewheel steamboat docks along the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Boat cruises offer visitors views of the city, food and entertainment.© Ken Cole | Dreamstime.comHow can you not love a city where rogues and scoundrels are among local “dignitaries” who have streets and bridges named after them? A place that celebrates its oddball residents on a website called... READ MORE

Coping with travel gouges at holiday time

By: Ed Perkins

With Christmas and New Year’s Days falling on Tuesdays, many of you will also be taking the two Mondays off from work, meaning two successive four-day weekends and an 11-day period with only three working days.A vacation clearly beckons. But travel suppliers can also look at the calendar, and many hike their rates for what they expect to be top-demand times.Best days to flyEvery year, ... READ MORE

Festival of Lights makes season bright

By: Connie George

A winter wonderland of freshly fallen snow, horse-drawn carriages, live reindeer, an outdoor ice skating rink, cheerful holiday decorations, 17th-century-style carolers and other live entertainment — illuminated by the brilliant effect of more than 3.5 million twinkling lights — await Coachella Valley residents only about an hour away in historic downtown Riverside.The 20th... READ MORE

Costa Rica preserves its natural wonders

By: Victor Block

Two spider monkeys show off their human-like expressions in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. They are among the thousands of species of wildlife that live in the country, which prizes its preservation efforts.© Hugoht | Dreamstime.comI knew before traveling to Costa Rica that it has a well-deserved reputation for preserving its magnificent environment. I was aware of the... READ MORE