The International A-List
|A jaguar on the prowl (Corel)|
Copper's Canyon (Mexico)
The canyon's main inhabitants, the Raramuri (meaning "men of light feet"), form part of the most primitive aboriginal culture left in the northern half of the Americas. Known for their endurance, it's said these cliff-side cave dwellers possess unbelievable stamina and can outrun deer. Long before our ultra-marathons, they competed in races that stretched non-stop for over 100 miles at a time. The Copper Canyon's labyrinth of 200 gorges (forming a series of six massive, interconnected canyons, each one larger than Arizona's own Big Ditch) will require some of that same kinetic Raramuri spirit to fully explore. Hardcore cyclists take on the canyon's stellar singletrack, hikers enjoy treks as far as their legs can carry them, and history buffs immerse themselves in legends of Pancho Villa.
Gateway City: Chihuahua
Size/Acreage: 25,000 square miles
When to Go: April through June and October (rainy season lasts from July to September, and temps drop from November to March)
Accessibility: Easy to difficult, depending on route and mode of transport
Prime Activities: Hiking, biking, climbing, historic travel
Inside Scoop: Less extreme travelers can skip the painful exertion but still get the impressive views via train, leaving the canyon interior to the more hardcore set.
More on Copper Canyon:
Corcovado National Park (Costa Rica)
Corcovado National Park covers only 0.0001 percent of the landmass of the Americas, but it hosts a staggering 10 percent of the Americas' mammals. In a country already world-famous for eco-tourism, the Osa Peninsula, on Costa Rica's southwest corner, distinguishes itself with its unsullied, rugged beauty. The park's 160 square miles embrace eight different protected habitats, including mangrove swamp, jolillo palm groves, and montane forests. The 2,471-acre Corcovado Lagoon, in the mid-western section of the park, is a prime spot to see wildlife like crocodiles or the shy and elusive jaguar.
Gateway City: Puerto Jimenez
Size/Acreage: 134,711 acres
When to Go: On the Osa Peninsula, January through April is the dry season and the best time to visit.
Accessibility: Medium to difficult
Prime Activities: Hiking, bird-watching, wildlife viewing
Inside Scoop: The Osa Peninsula is relatively inaccessible, so the tourist tread is that much lighter on this section of the Pacific coast.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication