The museo subacuático de arte is one of our surreal man made dive sitesAndriy Nekrasov/Shutterstock

In videos: 12 surreal man-made dive sites

From lost ancient cities to the world’s largest underwater theme park, these man-made dive sites are sure to intrigue

At Atlas & Boots, we’ve dived some astonishing sites, from Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef to the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba. We’re pretty hopeless at fish identification, so when it comes to diving, unless it’s a truly amazing reef system, we’re generally more interested in something unusual or unique (like an airplane or enormous bommie).

Arenal Volcano is one of the best day trips from San Jose, Costa RicaErin Donalson/Shutterstock

Best day trips from San José, Costa Rica

From fairytale forests to violent volcanoes, we share the best sights in Costa Rica that can be reached in a day from San José

If we ask you to picture Costa Rica, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll think of San José. This unassuming capital city isn’t known for architectural grandeur, fine dining or world-class theatre. Rather, it’s a springboard for Costa Rica’s natural wonders: the lush forests and hulking volcanoes, the startling wildlife and movie-set scenery. 

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021GPI

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2022

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2022. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria.

However, the world is a slightly less peaceful place as the number of countries experiencing violent internal conflict rose, the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) suggests.

mountaineering calendar whitney usaDreamstime

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me

As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills still leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like.

map of the poorest countries in the world

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

A hiker in Finland – the world's happiest country

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2022

Finland tops the rankings of the happiest countries in the world for the fifth year running

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

japan has the most powerful passport

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2022

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports with the UK and US in joint sixth. We take a look at the rest of the results

It feels a little masochistic to look at the world’s most powerful passports after yet another year of recurring lockdowns. However, as we’ve said before, we remain hopeful about the future of travel. We believe that exploration is a human instinct and that as soon as it is safe, people will return to the road.

Jorge Argazkiak/Shutterstock

The travel that changed me: Nadine Matheson

Crime author Nadine Matheson tells us why a last-minute trip to Portugal changed her life forever

Nadine Matheson is the author of The Jigsaw Man, a deliciously dark cat-and-mouse thriller that pits the best new detective in fiction against a truly menacing killer. Described as a ‘macabre love letter to South London’, the novel has a noirish, nightmarish quality redolent of hardboiled fiction recast for a contemporary audience. 

world's most urban countries lead

Concrete jungles: the world’s most urban countries

We take a look at the world’s most urban countries and why they go hand in hand with the most stressed

City life is stressful. It presses on our weary bones, wafts through windows on pungent fumes and boxes up our personal space.

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

17 megadiverse countries of the world

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

International borders Mexico-USA on Pacific CoastROSARITO TV/SHUTTERSTOCK

International borders: 10 remarkable frontiers

From mountains to libraries, we take a look at some of the most extraordinary international borders to be found across the globe

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices.

10 books to transport you to the world’s most visited countries

Sample the world’s most popular destinations without leaving your home

On a normal spring day, you can expect the Champ de Mars in Paris to be teeming with tourists. This vibrant swatch of green offers iconic views of the Eiffel Tower and hosts droves of visitors every year – possibly as many as 80 million. France is after all the most visited country in the world. 

Interesting facts about the bahamasAtlas & Boots

17 interesting facts about The Bahamas 

From record-breaking free diving to mysterious swimming pigs, we share the most interesting facts about The Bahamas gathered on our short but sweet visit

We didn’t spend nearly enough time in The Bahamas, but with 700 islands to explore, it’s probably fair to say that no one does. 

We spent our short time on Eleuthera island swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing – with a Bahama Mama or two thrown in for good measure. 

Eye-opening moments from our Caribbean cruise

After a busy year of trekking and writing, we decided to treat ourselves to a touch of indulgence

I’m not going to lie: I was in two minds about our Caribbean cruise. We had initially planned a cruise in Alaska but it clashed with commitments around my book. We pushed back our dates to December and were left with one obvious destination: the Caribbean. 

Fanjingshan in Chinasanyanwuji/Shutterstock

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites offer outstanding cultural value

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

a waterfall in Costa RicaNICHOLAS COURTNEY/SHUTTERSTOCK

18 interesting facts about Costa Rica

We share the most interesting facts about Costa Rica collected during our visit to this diverse destination

The tiny republic of Costa Rica is a Central American success story. Democratic, prosperous and stable, the country is an oasis in the midst of an often-turbulent region of the world.

We visited Costa Rica for nine days on our first-ever National Geographic Expedition. Highlights included clambering the slopes of a misty volcanic peak, hiking through a fairytale cloud forest in Santa Elena, searching for sloths in Manuel Antonio National Park and planting trees at the Monteverde Institute.

Horse riding in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Horse riding in Monteverde prompts Kia to rethink a few things at home in the UK

I was dubious about horse riding in Monteverde. I had been told that we wouldn’t be given helmets and that the local guides couldn’t speak English. The latter I could deal with, but the former was a problem.

I’ve caused myself a fair amount of damage by not wearing a helmet in the past. After falling off a horse in 2017, I promised myself to never ride without one. Still, I was keen to go riding in Costa Rica, so went to the stables to see for myself.