Belize: It’s like a giant saltwater aquarium that isn’t all full of fish poop.

People don’t come to Belize for white sandy beaches. They come for what most islands don’t have: an epic, ocean-taming barrier reef.

Quito, Ecuador: Living on an earthquake fault seems sane by comparison.

Though Quito was merely the second capital of the Inca Empire, it was, and still is, first in “cities surrounded on all sides by active volcanoes.”

Urubamba Valley, Peru: aka “Yucay Valley,” aka “Sacred Valley,” aka “Holy Crap! Valley.”

Since there aren’t any nonstop flights to Machu Picchu — the Incas were advanced, but not enough to build airports (dammit!) — we had to get there from Cusco by traversing Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Cusco, Peru: Not everyone who lives in the Andes Mountains crashed their airplane.

Incas thought the Andes was a great place to build a capital city. Of course, they were hopped up on coca leaves most of the time.

South America: We visited our fellow Americans below the equator.

South America is full of amazing places like Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Galápagos, and other places we didn’t visit.