I’m sitting atop the Escalinata, eighty-eight steps above the streets of Havana. Between the crumbling pastel high rises I can just make out the blue stripe of the Straits of Florida, one shade darker than the sky. I’m writing a letter in my notebook to my best friend back in Wisconsin. Later, during my 30-minute weekly-alloted internet time at the study abroad program office, I’ll copy it into an email. I lean back against one of the Corinthian columns, which open onto the leafy University quad
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Travel Writing

Walking in the wind

When we arrive in Santa Elena the wind has already been blowing for 24 hours, downing trees and sending roofs sailing all over town. Even the internet is effected, at least that’s what they tell us at the hostel when they can’t find our reservation. But we are lucky chicas, says the manager. There is one room left at his other hostel, the world’s only hostel located both “downtown and in the cloud forest.” It’s a private cabin, but he’s willing to charge us the same rate we reserved online.

The Best Romantic Hotels in Boston

Luxury and location make for an unforgettable stay at the Four Seasons. Ride the swan boats at Boston Public Gardens, directly across the street from the hotel, or take in a Broadway show two blocks down at the Colonial Theatre. Die-hard romantics note: the hotel is also handy for the brownstone-lined thoroughfares of Newbury Street and Commonwealth Avenue, modelled after the Champs- in Paris. Afterwards, enjoy a couples massage or candlelit dinner without leaving the privacy of your room, or w

Mexico's Yaxchilán Ruins: Portal To A Lost Civilization

The path leads me deeper into the jungle, where towering gum and ceiba trees block the sunlight, their limbs dripping with lianas and red bromeliads. The canopy is alive with humming insects, bird song, and howler monkeys’ eerie guttural cries. I round a bend and suddenly a pyramid looms before me, overgrown with moss and vines. It’s easy to imagine I’m the first explorer to stumble upon these ruins. Deep in the jungle of Chiapas, where monkeys still outnumber tourists, slumbers the ancient c

The Best Luxury Hotels in Boston

It’s not the Asian-contemporary decor, Frette linens, or in-house French bistro that earns the Mandarin Oriental the most rave reviews – it’s the spa, which consistently gobbles up awards. The ritual begins with a hot towel and fragrant cup of tea before moving on to the quartz-crystal steam room and the heated Vitality Pool – all this before your treatment even begins. Choose between favorites like the Himalayan Salt Stone Massage or the Millennial Posture Treatment.

The best places and programs for studying abroad in Mexico

Study abroad offers insight not only into a foreign culture, but into our own. This is especially true for US students studying in Mexico. The two countries are connected not only by geography, but history – most of the southwestern US belonged to Mexico until 1846 – and immigration, which has given new vitality to Mexican culture within the US. As you consider the many different study abroad locations, programs, and living arrangements in Mexi

Where to Stay in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Set on a former dude ranch in the sunlit foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado feels secluded, but is actually just 10 minutes from downtown galleries and restaurants. Plan the expedition of your dreams – traverse the red rocks of Abiquiú in the footsteps of Georgia O’Keeffe, or ride the rapids of the Rio Grande – with the help of the hotel’s Adventure Center. Or stay and enjoy the enchanting mountain views from your private patio or the hillside p

WaterFire heats up fall nights in Providence, Rhode Island

“WaterFire?” I say to Travis, my friend and tour guide, when she invites me to WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island. “It sounds like the name of a New Age bookstore or a Native American healing ceremony.” She patiently explains that WaterFire is actually a living sculpture created by local artist Barnaby Evans. During WaterFire, one hundred bonfires illuminate the three rivers that converge in downtown Providence, and gondolas ferry passengers up and down the fire-lit waterways. I still can’t

Never Forget June 14th: Revisiting Oaxaca Ten Years Later

“Is Trump really going to build a wall?” Sofi wants to know. She Armando and I are at Micheland, a new bar in Colonia Reforma that specializes in Micheladas—beer flavored with salt and chile. “I don’t think so, not literally. It’s expensive and impractical. Not even all the Republicans support it.” “From where we sit,” Armando says. “It seems like half of America is racist.” I try to explain the electoral college over the cumbia music. “I’m not saying there isn’t racism, but a lot of it is ju
Marisol Benitez

The People's Guelaguetza: Oaxaca Reclaims its Most Time-Honored Tradition

Despite the threatening clouds, the procession swelled in size, stretching as far as I could see in either direction. I was swept along by the crowd, down winding cobblestone streets and past colonial buildings painted tropical fruit colors. In doorways and windows, behind the wrought iron curlicues, whole families stood and cheered. This kind of procession, called a calenda, is how the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, traditionally kick off a fiesta, and the Guelaguetza of Lunes del Cerro is the bigges

Starting Fresh at Lake Atitlán [Hit Reset in Guatemala]

Two weeks after quitting a high-stress job in Boston, I’m standing on the shores of Lake Atitlán in southwestern Guatemala. I can see why writer Aldous Huxley called Atitlán, the most beautiful lake in the world. Twelve miles across at its widest point, the lake’s glassy surface reflects the shifting light, clouds, and the blue cones of the surrounding volcanos. Although the lake has long attracted foreign visitors, the towns and villages around Atitlán largely conserve their traditional Mayan