Check out our recommendations for what to do, where to go and what to eat in some of Cayman’s favorite overseas destinations this January.
Los Lagos, Chile
CULTURE Quaint German architecture clings to the shores of Chile’s southern lakes – legacy of the many European immigrants who settled here in the 19th century. Learn about their stories at Frutillar’s Museo Colonial Aleman, before heading on a hiking or fishing expedition into the 251,000-hectare Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
DINING Puerto Varas’ best seafood spot is Casavaldes, offering lake views and innovative dishes such as crab-stuffed piquillo peppers. Or, if you’re craving fine South American steaks, nearby La Marca is the spot.
SHOPPING Looking for some authentic souvenirs? You’ll find some beautiful Mapuche textiles, as well as high-quality jewelry and ceramics, at the non-profit Fundación Artesanías de Chile.
COCKTAILS The town of Pucón boasts the liveliest nightlife around Lagos, concentrated along the bustling thoroughfare Avenida O’Higgins. Try El Bosque for quality cocktails or the rooftop patio at Entre 3, before dancing the night away at Mamas & Tapas.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Besides the incredible weather (Chile is currently enjoying high summer), the 50th annual Frutillar Musical Week has visitors flocking to the region in January. Located on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, Frutillar will host more than 40 classical concerts performed by both Chilean and international artists.
CULTURE Once you’ve marveled at San Marco’s gilded mosaics and explored the grand gilded salons of the Doge’s Palace, feast your eyes on some modern art masterpieces at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Take a vaporetto to islands beyond the Centro, such as Murano, famous for stunning colored glassware.
DINING Locals love to graze on cicheti – the Venetian version of tapas – at Cantinone Gia Schiavi, an atmospheric spot opposite a gondola repair yard. For a special supper, meanwhile, reserve a table at Osteria alle Testiere. A simple room with just 20 seats, chef Bruno Cavagni works his magic on classic Venetian seafood dishes, using the freshest market ingredients.
SHOPPING Bypass the tourist tatt in favor of historic specialty stores such as Dittura, which sells traditional gondoliers’ velvet shoes (a chic alternative to slippers for both men and women), or spice merchant Drogheria Mascari, a true treat for the senses with its exotic dried goods, truffles and candies.
COCKTAILS You’re in the home of the Bellini, the delectable combination of Prosecco and pureed white peaches (succo di pesca). Sip yours at Harry’s Bar, where the cocktail was created back in 1934. If that venue is a tad stuffy for your tastes, however, student types flock to Campo Santa Margherita’s Caffè Rosso for the signature aperitivo, Spritz.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Don your mask and prepare to be dazzled by Venice Carnival, from Jan. 27 to Feb. 13. While well-connected types with deep pockets can attend the opulent masquerade balls (many require an invitation), other spectacles such as candle-lit boat parades, concerts and street theater performances are free and open to all.
CULTURE Cricket lovers will know that the Adelaide Oval is one of the best Test grounds in the world – and it’s a great time to visit, now the venue is fresh from a $610 million refurbishment. Art Gallery of South Australia is another must-visit for its impressive collections of Australian and Aboriginal art, and Adelaide is also the gateway to three great wine regions so be sure to book in a vineyard tour.
DINING Appellation was one of the first restaurants in South Australia to embrace the “paddock to plate” philosophy, and Chef Ryan Edwards puts an edgy and indulgent spin on delicious local produce. The huge wine list and valley view make the experience even more special.
SHOPPING Rundle Street is now something of a fashion and food hub, with stores selling sustainable jewelry, vintage threads and single-gear bicycles. For a slice of authentic Outback style, select a pair of riding boots or rawhide belt at R.M. Williams, a little factory in Prospect that made saddles and boots for station hands across Australia.
COCKTAILS Locate the hidden door in a tunnel along Peel Street and descend to Maybe Mae, a moodily-lit 1950s-style bar where Don Draper would feel right at home. The talented mixologists will even concoct you a personalized drink according to your taste preferences.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Step aside cricketers: January brings sporting talents of a different stripe to Adelaide, with the three-day World Tennis Challenge (Jan. 8-10). The tournament gives the chance to watch both current stars and legends in action – this year’s line-up counts Andre Agassi, Jamie Murray and Bob Bryan. Many players use it to hone their skills ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam.
CULTURE An upscale ski resort in the Swiss Alps, Gstaad has more than 130 miles of slopes and caters to all abilities. If you prefer to enjoy the scenery from a more leisurely point of view, take a horse-drawn carriage ride. To clue up on the region’s skill in farming, cattle breeding and cheese production, the Museum of the Countryside provides an excellent walk back through history.
DINING Melted cheese is very much on the menu in various glorious guises – perfect for keeping out the cold and powering those winter sports. Le Petit Chalet, a mountainside log cabin, serves fabulous raclette and fondue, while in town the cozy cellar restaurant of Hotel Gstaaderhof is equally adept at hearty fromage dishes.
SHOPPING Catering to the well-heeled crowd who live or holiday in Gstaad, the Promenade through the town center is lined with luxury boutiques – Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Prada, the list goes on…
COCKTAILS Follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald with a trip to Gstaad Palace hotel, perched high above the town. In the lobby bar, order a Scherz cocktail (named after the owner) which combines Tanqueray Gin with Martini Dry and Martini Rouge on the rocks.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Winter’s answer to the Tour de France, the Snow Bike Festival (Jan. 18-21), zooms around the Alpine landscape this month. It is the world’s first UCI race on snow, and the accreditation as a Stage Race Class 1 means you can expect top professional riders to participate.
CULTURE Palatial colonial-era architecture greets you at every turn in Mexico’s “White City.” Museo Casa Montejo was the mansion of Mérida’s founder, Francisco de Montejo, and has incredibly decorative rooms. Get a glimpse of how Merida’s founding fathers made their millions at Sotuta de Peon, a centuries-old Henequén Hacienda turned living museum. A railroad car takes visitors through rows of the magnificent agaves, which are processed into fibers for rope-making.
DINING World-class gastronomy is on the menu at Néctar, where Chef Roberto Solís (who trained with Noma’s René Redzepi) puts a modern avant-garde slant on classic Yucatán recipes to surprise and delight the palate. For a casual lunch of oh-so-fresh fried fish, meanwhile, sink into one of the red vinyl booths at Marlin Azuland.
SHOPPING If ever you’ve lusted after a hammock, this is the town to finally purchase one. Hamacas el Aguacate, a family-run shop Plaza Artesanal Santa Lucia, has an excellent selection. More locally-made woven crafts await at Kukul Boutik and Color Amor, with specialties including Yucatecan linen tops, and beach totes made from henequen or sisal fibers.
COCKTAILS There’s a crop of trendy agave-focused bars in Merida and the best is La Fundación Mezcalería, lined with hundreds of bottles of artisan tequilas and mezcals. Sample the spirits while enjoying Oaxacan nibbles, live music and dancing.
WHAT’S HOT THIS MONTH Merida International Arts Festival gets everyone toes tapping from Jan. 4 to 21. Paying tribute to the region’s pre-Hispanic heritage, the carnival vibe sees more than 162 (mostly free) activities across the city, from concerts to art exhibitions.