Weekend winging away

Long weekends are the best kind – and even they seem too short
sometimes – but luckily within reach of Cayman are many locations that can be
reached within hours. Individually and collectively they present a wide range
of options all of which can inject a different vibe and a welcome change of
pace. In other countries, when people go on holiday they go to a paradise
island with beautiful beaches, friendly people and a welcoming vibe. The
brilliance about all these destinations is that when we leave them, we’re
coming back to exactly that – every day.


November in Atlanta might not be
the first choice when thinking of a long weekend, but the city centre of over
half a million is worth considering. With temperatures between 43 and 63
degrees Fahrenheit, its cooling breezes and autumnal climate will be refreshing
and the high-rise modernity of the skyline will attest to its metropolitan
status. Yes, it’s a centre for commerce but downtown also hosts a great
classical music scene and many theatres and art galleries, including the Georgia
Museum of Contemporary Art. The museums include the Martin Luther King Historic
Site and the civil war museum. For the kids the Fernbank Science Center and
Imagine It provide education and entertainment. There’s also the little matter
of the World of Coca-Cola; as you might imagine, it’s a 20 acre complex all
about that sugary drink that so fascinates the West. It’s situated in the
centennial Olympic Park – just across from Georgia Aquarium and the forthcoming
Center for Civil and Human Rights.


There are of course many reasons to
visit Havana, particularly during this truly intriguing period of political and
social history. But Cuba has always been much, much more than its bustling,
confusing, beautiful capital paradox. 
Try Pinar del Rio for wonderful countryside, lush vegetation, the Cuevas
del Indio – stalactites abound – and the city itself, where cigars are born. Varadero
is a wonderful scuba centre and beach resort, and the lovely Cienfuegos
deservedly appears on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its gorgeous architecture.
Further east, Camaguey will always be associated with Ernest Hemingway and for
music fans a visit to Santiago de Cuba will delight; it’s here that Son
originated, a uniquely Cuban mix of Spanish guitar and African percussion. Like
the country, it’s rhythmic, melodic, slightly edgy and utterly compelling.


La Ceiba calls itself the
eco-tourism and entertainment capital of Honduras. With a lively nightlife and
plenty of beach and parklife, it’s certainly bustling. For a long weekend it
may well be best to head out of town toward the Pico Bonito National Park,
which provides a dramatic backdrop for the city. Other natural attractions
nearby include the Cangrejal River and the Salado Wildlife Refuge – famous for
its wild manatees. Elsewhere, the Mayan society left real treasure in Copan,
considered one of the most spectacular cities of that advanced pre-Columbus civilization.  The ruins of plazas, temples and more include
the acropolis, tunnels, a ball court, hieroglyphic stairway and the great
plaza. On-site is a museum and there’s another in Copan itself.

Montego Bay

Jamaica’s second city is the
tourism capital of Jamaica and as such has an arguably more relaxed atmosphere
than Kingston. The beaches comprise fifteen miles from west to east and are
fringed by mangrove wetlands and mountains. Obviously, water sports, river
rides and two world-class golf courses are possibilities but a visit to a bird
sanctuary in the hills provides something different. Of course, if all you want
to do is kick back and have the world stop for a few days, there’s always the
Sandals all-inclusive resort. The bay is notable for its high standard of
restaurants and shopping, with numerous resorts based on old sugar cane
plantations. From Montego Bay, it’s possible to book many excursions including
jeep safaris; jungle river tubing and a canopy tour and zip line if you’re
feeling particularly adventurous.


Just a short hop on British Airways
but often overlooked when planning holidays, Nassau can provide a very
different experience to Cayman. The golf courses at Cable Beach and Ocean Club,
the spa and fitness centre at Atlantis, Scandals and Marley Resort and Wyndham
Nassau’s Day Spa are top class for relaxation, before heading down town for
international and local cuisine of a high standard. Try the lobster at Arawak
Cay for an example. Nassau’s nightlife is considered to be lively with options
including upscale lounge Sea Glass, the Aura Nightclub and the huge casinos at
Atlantis and Crystal Palace. It might not be for everyone, but everyone doesn’t
have to participate; the beauty of a holiday is that whilst there may be
numerous options to hand, one of those is simply to kick back… and do nothing
at all.