HOME TO VIVID STREET ART, a bounty of sculptures and paintings by Botero, Colombia’s only public transit system (including cable cars) and a burgeoning dining scene, Medellín transformed from Pablo Escobar’s former hangout to one of the safest and most vibrant destinations in South America. It doesn’t hurt that this city of 4 million people sits in a valley surrounded by mountains at an altitude close to a mile high, offering sublime temperatures around 70–80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. This lends itself well to outdoor cafés and bars, the ideal places to start your night out on the town.
When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.
HIGH UP IN THE MOUNTAINS with views of the Pacific coast, the weather in Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve is surprisingly cool for a Central American locale. A perpetual dampness creates a slick layer of moss that covers the branches and trunks of trees. Thick vines drop down from towering ficus trees, and clay-covered trails are laden with fallen passion fruit.