Take a trip away this March. Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to go and what to eat in some of Cayman’s favorite overseas destinations.
CULTURE Take the opportunity to learn a traditional local skill for yourself. WAK Japan delivers masterclasses in the art of the tea ceremony, calligraphy and kimonos, or you can try your hand at age-old fabric dyeing techniques at the Kodai Yūzen-en gallery. Kyoto is also on the frontier of the UNESCO-listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, so make sure you book a hiking tour through this serene landscape for a truly Zen experience.
SHOPPING The city has arcades and department stores galore, but for a taste of more authentic old-world Kyoto head to the narrow lanes of the eastern Higashiyama District where handicrafts (like the renowned Kiyomizu-yaki pottery) and specialty foods are sold.
FOOD Kyoto is the capital of kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal involving dishes based on sashimi, grilled meat and rice, and concluding with a green tea ceremony. One of the area’s finest spots to try it is two Michelin-starred restaurant Miyamasou, where the chef forages fresh seasonal ingredients from the surrounding forest and river.
COCKTAILS You can’t stay in Kyoto without sampling sake; K6 Bar is a veritable temple to the stuff with 1,200 different varieties on offer. The venue also has a penchant for Scotch, listing around 600 single malts, plus lots of expertly made cocktails.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Parks and gardens are awash with pretty pinks right now – yes, it’s cherry blossom season. Make like the locals and practice hanami (blossom viewing) with a picnic beneath the trees.
CULTURE There’s much more to Scottsdale than golf courses and spas. Feast your eyes on the origami-esque contours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Taliesin West studio, and observe the desert skies as you’ve never seen them before with James Turrell’s Knight Rise installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
SHOPPING This city is a hub of Western shops and vintage boutiques. Hunt for cowboy boots at Saba’s, pre-loved Lanvin at Vintage by Misty, and ornate belt buckles at Sewell’s Indian Arts.
FOOD The fairy-lit porch at FnB is a beautiful location for romantic dinners, and the restaurant’s farm-to-table Mediterranean fusion menu is equally enticing. Dishes include Sicilian sausage pasta with ricotta and fennel, and ribeye with eggplant and basil chimichurri.
COCKTAILS The Margarita is Arizona’s unofficial state cocktail, and you’ll find 10 salt-rimmed options to choose from at The Mission – from tart Blood Orange to the Elderflower Paloma or even a frozen avocado option.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Fifteen Major League Baseball teams are in town for Spring Training. Games kick off at 1 p.m. daily in the city’s stadium.
Douro Valley, Portugal
CULTURE The Douro Valley is the world’s first officially designated wine region, which means spending a large portion of your trip in vineyards. One of the best is 15th-century estate Quinta de Nápoles at Santo Adrião. Even the museums involve a sousing: at the Museum of Bread and Wine in Favaios village, the €1.50 entry scores you a tumbler of sweet muscatel.
SHOPPING Head to Porto, the regional capital, now home to a score of hipster concept stores. Converted warehouse Armazém offers antiques, vinyl and jewelry, while boutique mall CC Bombarda is the place to pick up stylish home knickknacks, urban wear and organic cosmetics.
FOOD Award-winning riverside restaurant DOC puts a modern spin on signature regional dishes, in a modern building that maximizes gorgeous views of the water and vineyard-covered mountains. You can even dock your boat right up at its wooden terrace.
COCKTAILS Unsurprisingly, you’ll be quaffing no end of luscious vintages on this trip. For something a little different, Espaço Porto Cruz’s 360º Terrace Lounge in Gaia (just across the river from Porto) has a menu laden with port cocktails, using aged bottlings from its epic cellars.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH As the almond trees bloom, villages across the valley pay homage to these beautiful white blossoms – the folklore festival in Mogadouro is just one example. There’s even a designated Almond Blossom Route, which makes for a stunning cycle ride.
Baja California Sur, Mexico
CULTURE Set aside a couple of days to see the San Francisco Mountains, boasting cave art dating back 2000 years as well as even older rock carvings of shamanistic symbols. See these prehistoric wonders on a guided horseback trip around the El Vizacino biosphere reserve.
SHOPPING For extraordinary souvenirs, duck into darkly lit, labyrinthine shop Faces of Mexico in the town of Todos Santos, where ethnic masks, sculptures and Día de Muertos beaded decorative skulls await.
FOOD Seafood is the specialty at clifftop restaurant El Farallon, and there’s even a ‘fresh fish market’ showcasing the catch of the day. After making your selection, have it simply prepared on the flat grill with herbs and butter.
COCKTAILS The Mojitos, Margaritas and Mescal flow freely at Uno Mas?, a lively and relaxed choice in Cabo San Lucas.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH You’ll be arriving right in the middle of whale-watching season, so hop on a marine safari and prepare for one of the most astounding wildlife encounters on the planet. Friendly, inquisitive grey whales come right up to the boats for a tickle, or you could spot the acrobatic breaching of humpbacks, even a mighty blue the size of a Boeing 737.
CULTURE Dominated by palaces and sparkling water, it’s no wonder Udaipur is dubbed the Venice of the East. At the center of its iconic lake lies Bagore-Ki-Haveli, an 18th-century mansion housing bejeweled costumes. Clue up on local history in the City Palace museum, then wander among the bougainvillea, fountains and pavilions in Saheliyon-Ki-Bari (the garden of Maids).
SHOPPING Rajput royalty get their poushaks to the bandhgalas made by the expert tailors at Sandouk: The House of Fashion. After being measured up and selecting a fabric and design, you’ll soon have a garment that fits like a glove. You can even bring photos of outfits you like and have them run up a skillful copy.
FOOD At Neel Kamal, in the iconic Taj Lake Palace hotel, authentic Mewari cuisine is prepared on wood-fired stoves in an open kitchen. Live classical music, throne-like chairs and a lily pond add up to an enchantingly regal setting.
COCKTAILS Floating on Panera Bar’s rooftop pool while sipping a glass of bubby or exotic fruit cocktail, you may well start thinking you’re a maharaja. The venue’s glamorous Rajastani décor includes royal portraits, huge mirrors and chandeliers. It’s one of the city’s best watering holes for sunset views, too.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH There’s no missing the colorful celebrations of the Mewar Festival, which sees garlanded statues of Isar (Lord Shiva) and Gangaur (Goddess Parvati) carried through the streets and set on boats across the lake. Shopfronts are decked with lights and decorations, and the skies are lit up by fireworks.