Panama City, the capital of Panama, is a modern city framed by the Pacific Ocean and man-made Panama Canal. Casco Viejo, its cobblestoned historic center, is famed for colonial-era landmarks like the neoclassical Palacio Presidencial and bougainvillea-filled plazas lined with cafes and bars. The Miraflores Locks offers views of ships traversing the canal, an essential shipping route linking the Atlantic and Pacific.
Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town in Mexico, along the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip of Caribbean shoreline. In the state of Quintana Roo, it’s known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs. Its Quinta Avenida pedestrian thoroughfare runs parallel to the beach, with blocks of shops, restaurants and nightspots ranging from laid-back bars to dance clubs.
Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s known for its beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. The main building is a large stone structure called El Castillo (castle), perched on a rocky cliff above the white sand beach and turquoise sea. Near the ruins is the Parque Nacional Tulum, a coastal area with mangroves and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes).
Mexico City is the densely populated, high-altitude capital of Mexico. It’s known for its Templo Mayor (a 13th-century Aztec temple), the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors and the Palacio Nacional, which houses historic murals by Diego Rivera. All of these are situated in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo.
Cancún, a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula bordering the Caribbean Sea, is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife. It’s composed of 2 distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Cancun is also a famed destination for students during universities’ spring break period.
Bacalar is a town in southeastern Mexico near the Belize border. It’s on Lake Bacalar, also called the Lagoon of Seven Colors due to its blue and turquoise hues. Fuerte de San Felipe is an 18th-century fort that now houses a piracy museum displaying colonial-era weapons and artifacts. The colonial San Joaquín Parish Church has a vaulted ceiling. To the south is Cenote Azul, a small, deep lake with underwater caves.
Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.
Calgary, a cosmopolitan Alberta city with numerous skyscrapers, owes its rapid growth to its status as the centre of Canada’s oil industry. However, it’s still steeped in the western culture that earned it the nickname “Cowtown,” evident in the Calgary Stampede, its massive July rodeo and festival that grew out of the farming exhibitions once presented here.
Montréal is the largest city in Canada’s Québec province. It’s set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked hill at its heart. Its boroughs, many of which were once independent cities, include neighbourhoods ranging from cobblestoned, French colonial Vieux-Montréal – with the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica at its centre – to bohemian Plateau.