[BRENTA DOLOMITES, ITALY] — During the ski season, Madonna di Compiglio attracts people from all over the world. During the “off season” — which I can’t relieve believe they call it that, it is such a gorgeous time of year — it is uncrowded and the scenery is just jaw-dropping. And the view from the boutique luxury BioHotel Hermitage in the Dolomites of Italy is about as great as any I’ve seen. Stunning. _________________________________________________ We were sad to leave Milano, but we were jonesing for the next stop. After a quick lunch in quaint medieval Bergamo, finally we went, up into the Dolomites. Spindly little roads needling through small mountain towns, we threaded our way up the spine, chuffed by a long rough patch, waiting
[SANTIAGO, CHILE] — There are lots of great neighborhoods in Santiago — take some time to read about each one — I was just in and out for a night on each end of my trip to Chile, but these are some of my favorite places I stumbled onto. Santiago is so cool. Lots of barrios, each with their own personalities. And so clean. Everyone’s well-educated, with great style and gathering together to talk about what’s happening in the world. And Chile. And one thing I walked away with was the power that the internet has had on the world. Our world used to be dependent on manufacturing and industry, now all these great capitals are thriving with thousands of internet, app and web design firms popping
[PURMAMARCA, ARGENTINA] — Right on the Salta/Jujuy provincial borders are two must see stops: the dusty Andean town of Purmamarca and just around the corner, the incredible Camino de los Colorado, a two mile amusement ride of colors that wrap around behind Purmamarca. Stop in for a lunch in town, dominated by the stratified colors of the Hill of the Seven Colors — you’ll see why they named it that. When I read about this place in the NYTimes, I knew I had to go there. You should, too. Here’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal about Salta. Where else can you read a unanimous fivce-star rating on TripAdvisor?? Here’s an overly long video that brings to life the geography of Salta:
[FERNANDO DE NORONHA, BRAZIL] — As a still developing tourist destination..and only 450 tourists allowed on the island a day… the restaurant scene on Fernando de Noronha still has some ways to go. But there are some incredible standouts I tried. And am still thinking about. About the most dramatic is Merhulhao, right overlooking the harbor. Perfectly positioned to catch the full length of the island at sunset, you just can’t beat the view….maybe one of the best in the world. Clouds, currents, boats sailing in and out, awesome chill music, extremely nice young couple that runs it. Oh…and the food. Perfect, clean, simple seafood. Excellently prepared. Man, the energy of this place is just really remarkable. And one of the coolest coffee preparations I’ve ever
[JUJUY, ARGENTINA] — Play the voiceover from the Voice of God dude in movie trailers: “In a world where…” and you’ll get a feeling what it’s like to make the trip to Salinas Grandes, a well-worth-it side detour from traveling up the Humahuaca Gorge in Jujuy province. Taking a steep and windy left from the main road, you go up and over the switchbacks, often through the clouds, into a high arid plain, with the Salinas Grandes (salt flats) looming as a mirage at the distance. You see it and you keep driving. It seems close, but it is far away. Cranking great Salteno music on the stereo and chomping on cocoa leaves, it is like descending into the dream sequence of your own personal movie.
(Salta, Argentina) — On a northern spur of highway, just north of Salta city lies the stratified painter’s palette of the Humahuaca Gorge, one of several UNESCO World Heritage sites in the jaw dropping valleys and deserts of Salta province. The gorge starts on the northern edge of Salta province and continues into Jujuy province (which is a hoot to just say: “hoohooee”) Who knew there were so many shades of green in rock? With my trusty guide Augustin, we just just dipped into the gorge up Ruta 9, just north of Purmamarca before we diverted over the mountain pass to see the stunning Salinas Grande. Riding along a curvy riverbed (that was absolutely gorging with water from recent rainfalls when I was there
[POSITANO, ITALY] — This is my second favorite place in Positano. It’s a hoof to get down the steps from the main road, but when you’re there, you are just clinging to the side of the cliff. It really doesn’t suck. Very nice people, exceptional rooms. Can’t go wrong. Expensive, but worth every penny, especially if you splurge for one of the rooms that has this shower overlooking the sea. It’s a great hotel with super sweet people that run it and that combination is why even all the barking dogs on TripAdvisor rank this puppy 5 out of 5 stars. You know you’re doing something right when you have a four star hotel pulling down five stars. Albergo MiraMare website
(Costa Careyes, Mexico) — High above a nearly deserted coastline, Costa Careyes is a remarkable compound of a couple dozen villas (each with their own architectural theme), casitas and small hotel. Owned by a one-eyed Italian count and designed by an Italian architect, this place looks like a bizarre movie set — think Planet of the Apes (in a good way) combined five star luxury and you get it. Really cool designs tucked into every square inch. Most of the living areas are outdoors, under thatched roofs and no windows. An incredible attentive staff looks after your every need. We stayed in Altiplano, but took a tour of several other of their properties, including a stunning rooftop house with a 180 degree pool that surrounds