The Hawaiian Islands owe their existence to a volcanic hotspot, whose spewings over millions of years have created the archipelago. Host David Yetman climbs over old and new lava flows to observe new lands emerging from the ocean. At night manta rays flock to the newly created seafloor of the Kona Coast.
Archaeologists have only recently begun to restore the important Maya city of Ceibal, situated along the Passion River deep in the Peten forest of Guatemala. We travel to the site with scientists directing the latest excavations and visit the homes of the Maya workers who are restoring the site.
Chiloe is the second largest island in South America and just one island of an archipelago of southern Chile. Chilotes, as the residents are known, consider themselves a people apart, a proud mixture of indigenous and Hispanic origins. Host Dave Yetman joins Chilotes who demonstrate the traditions of food, towns, and society that extend back well before the arrival of Europeans.
California's Sierra Nevada is the largest and highest mountain range in the continental United States and, until recently, a geological puzzle. The source of colossal wealth in the form of gold and, now, water, it was a formidable roadblock to settlement of the state. Wevisit the range with renowned tectonic specialist Eldridge Moores.
On September 16 each year, Mexicans from all parts of the Republic flock to the small city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato to commemorate the "Grito," the call for independence from Spain. The grito's originator, the popular but unconventional priest Miguel Hidalgo, issued the call in 1810 from the steps of the town's stately church. The annual celebration involves the entire community but we are offered a special tour by one of Father Hidalgo's descendants.
Each year on January 6, pilgrims travel to the ancient Maya city of Tizimin in the Yucatan peninsula to celebrate Epiphany. The festival of the Day of the Kings combines pre-Columbian and modern themes, all of them gilded with the touch of the Mayas.
Panama City has been a pivotal shipping port for hundreds of years-over water and over land. Today it has become an economic powerhouse, the Hong Kong of the Americas, thanks to its booming canal. But the canal cannot function without the services provided by the huge rainforest that envelopes it.