46 Slices
Medium 9781907099786

MEXICO, BELIZE AND HONDURAS

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

MEXICOaaa,
BELIZEaa and
HONDURASa

Where can you find idyllic Caribbean beaches, verdant rain forests, ancient ruins and the infrastructure to support visitors of all ages and budgets? Three countries, actually. While Mexico, Belize and Honduras might not be the first countries that come to mind when someone says “Caribbean vacation,” these are regions that have the resources to appeal to travelers from all walks of life.

On the Caribbean side of southeastern Mexico is the Yucatán Peninsula, a broad, limestone plank that extends from the State of Chiapas north toward Cuba. The peninsula includes hotspots like Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya, encompassing everything from laid-back beach communities and old fishing villages to high-rise hotels and all-night party zones, as well as ancient relics of Maya civilization along the way. Those diverse elements aren’t just limited to Mexico. Belize and Honduras also have the gorgeous beaches and lush jungles that draw water enthusiasts and vacationers in search of R&R. And the enduring Maya legacy exists in these countries as well, through exceptionally well-preserved sites like the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and the ancient Classic-period city of Copán.

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Medium 9781907099779

CBD AND THE WAREHOUSE ARTS DISTRICT

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

CBD AND THE
WAREHOUSE
ARTS DISTRICT

There’s more to art in New Orleans than vendors hawking street art in the French Quarter and the historic works shown in museums. Want to see where contemporary art in New Orleans is made and where artists live? Then head to the revitalized warehouse district, known as the “SoHo of the South.”

The neighborhood began as an industrial zone in the 19C, its warehouses were built to store grain, coffee, and other imported goods shipped through the port. In 1976 the neighborhood had an initial facelift with the opening of the Contemporary Arts Center. The 278sq m/3,000sq ft center has art on display as well as theater and dance performances and it fueled the fire for the area’s revitalization, followed by the 1984 World’s Fair. The area’s abandoned warehouses became the home to contemporary art spaces, studios and galleries.

Most of the art galleries are located on Julia Street (aka Gallery Row). The galleries in the neighborhood host an evening Art Walk on the first Saturday of every month, where you can mingle with local and international artists showcasing their latest works. Today the chic arts district also has some of the city’s top restaurants: does the name Emeril Lagasse ring a bell? This New Orleans icon paved the way for foodie’s when he opened Emeril’s.

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MUSIC AND DANCE

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

Architecture

The palm-thatched wood dwellings Columbus saw in today’s Dominican Republic were similar to current vernacular Caribbean architecture. The Cuban bohío is a present-day example, though corrugated metal might have replaced the palm, and walls may be made of concrete block. Thatched structures known as malocas are still used in the indigenous Kogui village in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta near the Caribbean Sea.

Ancient Structures

At the thinnest point in Mexico, near the Gulf coast, what is known as Mesoamerica’s first civilization, the Olmeca (“men of rubber” in the Aztec language) established their earliest-known center. San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, where 10 of the 17 known colossal heads were found, rests on a branch of the Coatzacoalcos River that diverges then rejoins its source downstream, forming the island of Tacamichapan. Here, the architecture of the Olmeca dots a rolling, man-made mesa, not unlike the Acropolis featured in the cities of its Maya successors. It boasts more than 200 earthen mounds that have revealed elaborate stone sculptures. Despite the simplicity of flattening out plazas as one builds earth up into strategic heights, these structures have stood firm since 2500 BC. Farther south, in Mexico’s Chiapas and Yucatán, as well asin Guatemala and Belize, are stone remains of grand Maya cities. Palenque is an elegant, artistic token of Maya creativity. At Chichén Itzá’s Castillo, an architectural and astrological phenomenon sends the feathered serpent Kukulcán slithering down the north steps each year at the spring and autumn equinox.

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WHAT TO SEE AND DO

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

What to See and Do

Sightseeing

Local tourist offices can usually supply in person and online maps, names of local tour companies and even brochures of walking or cycling tours. For exploring on your own, bicycles, mopeds and/or scooters are commonly available to rent in most towns, as are car rentals.

Another source is your hotel concierge or desk staff; be aware that some might try to steer you toward their own preferred services that may not be the best available. For additional tour operators, visit the official tourism website for each destination (see PLANNING YOUR TRIP for tourism office websites). Unless otherwise stated, tours below are in English.

Here is just a sampling; Adventure Tours

Bahamas: Day-long dolphin encounters at Blue Lagoon Island www.dolphinswims.com.

Jamaica: Barrett Adventures www.barrettadventures.com and Chukka Caribbean Adventures www.chukkacaribbean.com provide general tours of the island. Jamaica’s free People to People program pairs visitors with locals to fish, garden or cook together, for example. www.bahamas.com.

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Medium 9781907099762

RECOLETA

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

RECOLETAaa

Most people first visit Recoleta to see the cemetery. The 5ha/13-acre Cementerio de la Recoleta is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, and much of that celebrity is because it is the final resting place of Evita Perón. However, Recoleta is so much more than a cemetery—it’s really for the living, not the dead.

Beside the cemetery is the Basílica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, one of the oldest churches in the city. The basilica’s Spanish Colonial architecture is impressive and even those who are not religious can enjoy sitting in on services here.

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America, and nowhere is this more apparent than the French-style residences, large gardens, squares and broad avenues of this neighborhood. With all this beauty, it’s not surprising that Recoleta is also one of the priciest of Buenos Aires’ barrios. Most of the city’s luxurious hotels are located in Recoleta. The hotel prices are predictably steep, but you’ll have outstanding service as well as a unbeatable location next to many of the barrio’s national monuments.

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