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Stories from the Americas

St Lucia was one of the first Caribbean nations to open its doors again. Here we take another visit to the fabulous Cap Maison hote, and as  flights to Grenada take off, we go back to True Blue!

 Above: Rum tasting at True Blue Bay, Grenada and below; Cap Maison St Lucia 

FEATHER IN ST LUCIA’S CAP

Cap Maison in st Lucia is one of a growing number of hotels adding gastronomic experiences to the Caribbean cocktail of sun and sea.

Thanks to its terrain and climate the lovely eastern Caribbean island of St Lucia is blessed with bounty as well as beauty, and is fast becoming a gastronomic must go-to. Hotels such as Cap Maison in the north of the island, an area which has the best beaches and some of the best hotels and villas, are enticing visitors with a mix of fine dining, wines and rums and elegant relaxed glamour.

And they are finding out about the food as well as eating it. I met Cap Maison’s Executive chef Craig Jones earlier this year at Drake’s Brighton where he was taking part in t...

Holidays in the sun and trips to exotic faraway places may seem like distant memories at the moment but the day will come when once again we can pack our bags and spread our wings.

By then, will our attitude to  travel have changed? 

Crowded beaches, packed bars and long queues at tourist attractions may seem alien. We have grown accustomed to keeping our distance and respecting personal space, enjoying walks in local parks and simple home pleasures. In London we have relished the clear skies and birdsong in a flight free world.  So will the post COVID traveller be more respectful and more appreciative of the world’s natural beauty?

Appreciating  nature whether it is in the jungle or under the ocean and experiencing conscious luxury in eco-hotels both at home and overseas are experiences available to careful travellers who don’t  want to compromise on style.

BACK TO NATURE IN DOMINICA

The Caribbean may be synonymous with hedonistic glamorous resorts but Dominica has always been kn...

Beer, chocolate and stunning mountain views - Argentina's lake district is a feast for the senses 

 Image: Beautiful Bariloche

The Patagonian Lake District in Argentina is as pretty as a picture with its Alpine style  chalets, beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains. San Carlos de Bariloche  is the main tourist town in the Argentinian Lake District  with a colourful tram that runs past the main square and a distinctive European feel. The area attracted Swiss, Austrian and German settlers with its fresh mountain air, snowy peaks and challenging hikes. Although Argentina is famous for its wines, there are a surprising number of small breweries in Patagonia and the craft beer bars in places like Bariloche add to its Germanic feel.

This area is famous for its chocolate and there are as many chocolatiers on the main street in Bariloche as you would find in Geneva and the quality products are in the same league. There is a Chocolate Museum and a number of shops have cosy tables...

​Believe it or not, the entertainment capital of the world is increasingly being recognised for showcasing world-class art – whether on The Strip or the streets of Downtown, in secluded galleries or in the showiest of resorts. The longstanding Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and the MGM resort are still undeniable anchors for traditional art in Las Vegas, but today the once edgy Arts district has the city’s highest concentration of galleries.

If you feel like a different kind of Las Vegas trip, you can enjoy street art and murals splashed all over Downtown or, for a staggering $100,000 a night, sleep with art by Damien Hirst at The Empathy Suite at Palms. Clark County Government Center and the Nevada Museum of Art both beautifully celebrate the natural beauty of the desert landscape, the definitive creation surrounding Las Vegas. It is just part of an ever changing vision for the city in 2020.

Jane Egginton is the author of several guide books about Las Vegas, including the AA CityPack...

Tobago's cuisine is a unique blend of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Latin American influences, as well  as from Syria, Lebanon and Italy. This fascinating culinary fusion reflects the  multiracial population of Trinidad & Tobago,

Curry and roti are national favourites. Roti originated in East India, but, like all West Indian curry dishes, has now been thoroughly localised and is quite different to the East Indian variants. It is basically a thin flat unleavened bread (flour pancake), not dissimilar to a tortilla. Fillings include  curried chicken, goat, shrimp or conch with potato chunks and channa (chickpeas).

Crab and Dumpling is a local speciality. Its impossible to eat without making a mess, and best enjoyed outdoors, ideally on the beach. Miss Trim's food shack on Store Bay is one of the best places on island to try it

 Away from the international restaurants found in the more populated areas of the island, virtually every restaurant serves variations of the same basic...

Casa Bonita Tropical Loge is a boutique resort tucked in the heart of the rainforest. Formerly a private home the pretty 18 room hideaway has a canopy tour of the jungle and rooms have views of the Caribbean Sea or the Sierra Barahuco mountains.

Barahona is the only place in the world where they mine larimar, a semi-precious stone the colour of the ocean.  Locals say larimar can heal a broken heart. You can visit the mine and at  Casa Bonita’s Tamana spa masseuse Miranda uses it as part of a unique experience where she stands with her feet in the river as I lie on a bed with the water rushing beneath me.

Ocoa Bay is the only vineyard in the Caribbean. Found in Azua about one and a half hours from the Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo, its position between the Central Mountains and the sea has a dry climate perfect for cultivating grapes.  I sampled a lovely Temparillo followed by  a French Colombard of a quality to satisfy any connoisseur.

Maria Claudia and Guillermo Mallarino left careers as oncologists in the USA when they fell in love with this location.  ‘We noticed vines growing in gardens’ says Maria Claudia ‘The climate is the same as California so it seemed natural that wine could be produced here’. That has been happening for three years on the 27 acre sustainably run plot and the couple have plans to open villas and a vineyard hotel.

www,ocoabay.com

Famous for its pink sands, turquoise ocean and of course that infamous triangle, the small island of Bermuda with its  quaint Englishness has a charm all of its own. And there is so much more to it than just the beaches.

One of my favourite ways to see the island is by walking the disused railway line which stretches the length of Bermuda. Known affection ally as Old Rattle and Shake, the line was made into a national park in 1984 and over the past few years bridges connecting parts of the trail have been opened. Open only to cyclists and pedestrians, this is a peaceful trail through glades and there are information points along the route explaining the history of the railway. Pause to listen to some melodic birdsong  including that of Bermuda’s iconic yellow bird.

St George’s

The former capital St George’s is one of the earliest English settlements in the New World where British sailors were  shipwrecked in 1609 while travelling to Jamestown, Virginia. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site I...

Friday night is usually Fish Fry night in The Islands Of The Bahamas when parties take off, tasty fish and chicken is deep fried over a smoky camp fire, music starts, rum punch is poured and the local Kalik beers are cracked open. Young and old, locals and tourists all join in at locations such as pretty Governor’s Harbour on tiny Eleuthera when this otherwise sleepy spot jumps into life.

Wednesday nights alright for frying on Grand Bahama

But in Grand Bahama Island Wednesday night is when we head to Smith's Point for the weekly Fish Fry. For Get there early (about 6)before the queues form. Eat at tables overlooking the lovely beach and watch the sunset, then party until the small hours with music and dancing enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. A fish dinner with fresh snapper or grouper, rice and peas and sides is about $12. Don’t miss the guava duff for pudding and wash it down with a rum punch or local Kalik beer.

Conked Out

No one can visit The Bahamas without experiencing a Fish Fry...

Looking back on our trip to Mexico last year which took us to Playa del Carmen, Izamal, Chichen itza, Merida, Vallidolid, Cozumel and, earlier in the year, Tumul and Coba, we found these lovely images,  Rick Stein may have focused on the food in this colourful country in his recent TV series, but here are some of our favourite pictures  of the amazing architecture we witnessed.

 Convent at Izamal

 Chichen Itza

 Valladolid

 Merida

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