Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous singer.
The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. It's known for its beaches, resorts and golfing. Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.
Mexico is a country between the U.S. and Central America that's known for its Pacific and Gulf of Mexico beaches and its diverse landscape of mountains, deserts and jungles. Ancient ruins such as Teotihuacán and the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá are scattered throughout the country, as are Spanish colonial-era towns. In capital Mexico City, upscale shops, renowned museums and gourmet restaurants cater to modern life.
Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. Its islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor's WWII memorials.
Aruba, a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, has dry, sunny weather, blond beaches and gentle surf. Constant trade winds bring cool breezes and cause the divi-divi trees to slope southwesterly. European influence shows in architecture that features Dutch gables painted in tropical pastels. It’s also evident in language, with English, Dutch and Spanish spoken alongside the local tongue, Papiamento.
London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Paris, France's capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Spain, a country on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, includes 17 autonomous regions with diverse geography and cultures. Capital city Madrid is home to the Royal Palace and Prado museum, housing works by European masters. Segovia has a medieval castle (the Alcázar) and an intact Roman aqueduct. Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona, is defined by Antoni Gaudí’s whimsical modernist landmarks like the Sagrada Família church.
Italy, a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has left a powerful mark on Western culture and cuisine. Its capital, Rome, is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins. Other major cities include Florence, with Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s "David" and Brunelleschi's Duomo; Venice, the city of canals; and Milan, Italy’s fashion capital.