46 Chapters
Medium 9781907099786

ST. LUCIA

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

DOMINICAa

Nature as it was intended—the Old Caribbean, undeveloped and unspoiled—that’s the Commonwealth of Dominica. Rightfully calling itself "The Nature Island," this sparsely populated island nation is a lush, mountainous zone blanketed in tropical forest. Less than 290 square miles in size, Dominica emerges from the ocean between Martinique and Guadeloupe, the most mountainous island of the Lesser Antilles. Early navigators could see its 3,000-foot peaks from a long way off. Formed by geothermal volcanic activity, the island is continuously evolving. It has only a few beaches of gray sand, but offers a world of experiences in ecotourism and total immersion for nature lovers. Trails thread the mountainous sections, and hundreds of rivers snake through the region, passing cascading waterfalls and lush forests. Hot springs that dot the landscape and the aptly named Boiling Lake are reminders of the island’s volcanic heritage.

Dominica was named by Columbus for the day of the week he spotted it, Sunday. (It was originally called Waitukubuli by the indigenous Carib tribe.) European forces drove away the Carib inhabitants, and battles continued over who maintained official control. France handed over the tiny island to the United Kingdom in 1763. It achieved indepedence in 1978, and is populated by a mix of English, French, African and Carib descendants, with England and Creole as the primary languages (even English is tinged with a French lilt).

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Medium 9781907099779

GARDEN DISTRICT AND UPTOWN

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

GARDEN
DISTRICT
AND UPTOWN

The Garden District may be residential, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. For starters, it’s far from your average residential neighborhood. I’m not talking about apartment complexes or small ranch houses. No, I’m talking about some of the most historic and grand Southern mansions in the city. In fact, the Garden District is part of a larger designated National Historic Landmark area, noted for the collection of homes representing architecture styles from antebellum to the early 20C. The leafy neighborhood was once inhabited by wealthy Southerners who did not want to live close to the Creole community in the French Quarter. Many of the 19C homes are still impeccably maintained and there are several notable and historic structures, including a handful of celebrity-owned homes. The Garden District boasts the fascinating and evocative Lafayette Cemetery, bounded by Washington Avenue, Prytania Street, Sixth Street and Coliseum Street. As one of the oldest above-ground cemeteries it does attract tourists, but it remains a peaceful place to stroll.

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Medium 9781907099786

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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Medium 9781907099762

BELGRANO

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

BELGRANO

In every neighborhood of Buenos Aires, you can find locals at work or at play. But Belgrano is where the locals actually live. That is not to say the neighborhood is without places to visit—on the contrary, Belgrano has several excellent museums and a Chinatown.

Belgrano is the most populous of the city’s many barrios. Situated to the north of ritzier Palermo, Belgrano is a residential neighborhood with a suburban feel. Named after Manuel Belgrano, the designer of the Argentinian flag, Belgrano is split into four sub-neighborhoods: Belgrano C, Belgrano R, Belgrano Chico and Bajo Belgrano.

Belgrano C is the most interesting of the districts for tourists. It is where you will find most of the borough’s museums and the Barrancas de Belgrano, another of French landscaper Charles Thays’ designs. The promenade at Barrancas de Belgrano is a local favorite, and you’ll often find families gathered there on weekends. Just east of Belgrano C in Bajo Belgrano, you can visit the tiny Barrio Chino, a Chinatown made up of mainly Taiwanese immigrants. If you’re looking for some variety, the area has the city’s most authentic Asian restaurants.

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Medium 9781907099793

WESTERN CUBA

Michelin Travel & Lifestyle ePub

DISCOVERING

WESTERN CUBA

The westernmost province is one of Cuba’s most fascinating regions. It’s difficult to forget the sight of the mist clearing in Viñales Valley, resembling, perhaps, the smoke curling from a cigar originating in the country’s finest tobacco-growing area. The tropical valley is dotted with distinctive limestone mounds known as mogotes between the sprawling tobacco plantations called vegas. With its little palm-thatched bohios scattered over the countryside, its charming small towns and deserted beaches, western Cuba tempts discerning travelers to take the time to discover these many delights.

Large swaths of land are also devoted to sugarcane crops, as well as tropical fruit groves. Western Cuba boasts a series of unspoiled beaches with some of the best dive sites in the country. One of the premier spots, Cayo Levisa, offers access to exceptionally rich and colorful coral reefs that fringe the coast. Outdoor enthusiasts come here for hiking and rock climbing, while adventurous spelunkers explore the ample caves carved within the hills.

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