A Visit To Pigeon Island National Landmark

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With the rainy season almost over, I find myself eager to explore the beaches of Saint Lucia.  The Pigeon Island National Landmark located in Gros Islet, is one of the island’s most important attractions and is as beautiful as it is historically significant.  On my recent visit I had a chance to get to know the park a bit better.

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The Pigeon Island National Landmark or National Park as it is sometimes called, portrays vivid representations of historical and cultural monuments, depicting the battle for control of the island between the English and the French.  This breathtaking, 44 acre park was originally an island in its own right, but was joined to the mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway.

I did not know that this landmark held so much history and was even more amazed as I walked through this living museum.  I discovered some of the ruins from the war and immediately thought that this would be an excellent location for colonial-style weddings.

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There is an Interpretation Centre that tells you all about the war and how The French in 1778 declared war on the British but then lost.  The battle for The Helen of the West which is sometimes used interchangeably for Saint Lucia continued for fourteen years.  The British built a Naval Base at Gros-Islet Bay, which protected Pigeon Island from being captured.   At that lookout point, they were able to observe the French fleet in Martinique which lead to the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saints in 1782.  Further into the park, you will find a secluded restaurant at the water’s edge serving locally caught seafood, a hidden pub amongst the ruins and a look out point called The Fort with the best views of the northern part of the island.

I love the white sands of the beaches nearby and the way the grounds are so well maintained.  Many major cultural festivals are held in the opening space including the well known Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival.  I was so happy to have discovered that this relaxing location is only a twenty minute drive from Marigot Bay as I knew I wanted to come back here very soon.

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Would you like to visit the Pigeon Island National Landmark?  Be sure to ask your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant to arrange your special tour to the live museum.   And be sure to stay tuned as I continue to share insider experiences with you about the lovely island of Saint Lucia.  

Discovering Soufriere, Saint Lucia

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In the month of August, Saint Lucia celebrates the two most beautiful flower festivals in the Caribbean region.  The Feast of La Rose originated from the seven years that Saint Lucia was fought over by the British and The Feast of La Marguerite was named after the French who also fought for this island for seven years.  Of all the things I enjoy the most about this beautiful island of Saint Lucia, I am always charmed by the indigenous flowers and plants found in gardens everywhere.  From Jade Vine to Torch Ginger, all 238 square miles are dotted with such a delightful variety of flora.

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In celebration of the flower festivals, I went on a tour to the most decorated town on the island, the town of Soufriere.  Soufriere played host to the flower celebrations this year and is also one of the most spectacular areas on island.  Before the parade began, I drove to the magical Botanical gardens which is where many of the plants are exclusively found in Saint Lucia. As I ventured further into the gardens I discovered the Diamond Falls.  This amazing waterfall is part of the world renowned Sulphur Springs which are a product of the worlds’ only drive in volcano.  Tourists and locals alike, travel specifically to this region to bathe in the healing waters of the Sulphur Springs and to experience their rejuvenating effects on the body.  The Sulphur Springs from which the town of Soufriere got its name, came into formation due to weak spots in the crust of an enormous collapsed crater, the result of volcanic eruptions of gigantic proportions that took place some 410,000 years ago.

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Similar hot springs feed the mineral baths into the Diamond Falls located on the Diamond Estate built originally in 1784 for the troops of King Louis XVI of France so that they could benefit from the therapeutic waters.  I was amazed at the thought that the springs contained healing properties and was really tempted to jump in.  On my way back to watch the parade I looked up to witness the most mesmerizing view of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the twin pitons.   These two volcanic spires, Gros Piton and Petit Piton are one of the main reasons why people visit this beautiful island.

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After enjoy the view, I returned to town just in time to see the denizens of Soufriere in colorful cultural wear as they  put on an event of pomp and pageantry, celebrating the island’s mixed heritage of English and French.  As the event continued with cultural  folk dances such as the Quadrille, the Mappa and the Belair, I could not help but be once again impressed by the beauty and energy of Saint Lucia.

creole-wearIf you are in Saint Lucia during the month of August, be sure to ask your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistants about the flower festivals, Feast of La Rose and Feast of La Marguerite.  And even if it isn’t August, make sure to make time to visit Soufriere, one of the many magical towns here in Saint Lucia!

 

Exploring Dusseldorf On Wheels

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As soon as the weather changes to summery temperatures, I feel like spending time outside.  There are so many fun activities available in Dusseldorf – sometimes I can’t decide what to do first!  My most favorite outdoor activity is inline skating.  I’ve skated at many places in Germany, but Dusseldorf honestly has the best scenery along The Rhine Promenade.

exploring dusseldorfIn my opinion, inline skating is the best form of exercise, but even if you prefer cycling, I promise you that exploring Dusseldorf on wheels is a great adventure.  Of course, this is especially true if you follow my favorite route: The prettiest round starts at the Old Town continuing to Kaiserswerth and back.  I always start in the Old Town to get myself into the right mood for my skating trip.  And if you want to start the adventure with a meal, the best place to have a delicious dish with an Altbier is the Uerige!  It’s one of Dusseldorf’s traditional Altbier breweries and you can enjoy your Altbier outside.

The tour I take is about 20 kilometers long and I am sure you will enjoy every meter of it just as I always do.  Why? Because during the tour you see several sights!  The Tonhalle for example: The Tonhalle is a place where a lot of concerts, usually classical concerts, take place and it is very close to the Promenade.  Secondly, the entire path is located next to the Rhine, which is very idyllic – it makes me feel so free as the wind blows through my hair and I watch the boats move down the river.

In Kaiserswerth, I take a break at the beer garden Galerie Burghof as I am a big fan of their freshly made waffles.  And have you ever heard of the drink Radler?  It is beer mixed with lemonade.  I know it sounds weird, but it is very refreshing and gives you the necessary push for the trek back to the Old Town.
If you are looking for different routes for your personal Dusseldorf skating or biking tour our Personal Assitant’s can provide you with all information and tips during your next stay at the Breidenbacher Hof.  I am sure that they will arrange for exceptional activities for you to explore!

Capella Pedregal’s Signature Todos Santos Day Tour

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There are so many wonderful towns in and around Los Cabos and visiting them is something both locals and tourists love to do.  One of the most popular day tours is a trip to the idyllic town Todos Santos, which translates to All Saints.  According to legend, the city takes its name from the saints hung outside local’s homes.  Marina, Capella Pedregal‘s Lead Personal Assistant, invited me to try the Signature Todos Santos Day Tour. I gladly accepted so I could experience it myself and tell you everything you need to know about this unique experience.

rsz_323Fabrizio, certified guide and driver, picked me up at 9:00 am from the hotel in a beautiful Escalade (not a bad way to travel!), and we began our journey.  The town is located about 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas and is a peaceful and relaxing town that shines for its art community, surfing and unique natural beauties. This small town is an oasis located where the desert meets the ocean and Sierra la Laguna Mountain. The Mexican Tourism Secretary named Todos Santos a “Pueblo Magico” (Magical Town) in recognition of their efforts in keeping the cultural and historical wealth of Mexico.  The beauty of this special town has attracted a large number of Mexican and international artists who find inspiration in its surroundings. Todos Santos is now considered a destination for artists, musicians, poets, and surfers.

Our first stop on our way to Todos Santos was to a local blown glass factory, where the glassmakers showed me the process of making a glass heart.  This was especially interesting, because this glass heart is used as decor around Capella Pedregal!  We spent about 30 minutes at the factory, as  I wanted to try and blow glass myself. It was such an interesting process and admittedly, much more difficult than it looked.  Moving forward, I’ll leave it to the experts!

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro , Indigo Gallery

The drive to Todos Santos is complete with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the desert and cactus on the other.  Once we got there, our first stop was Hotel California, founded in 1950.  For several years, it was the only bar and hotel and therefore the house for surfers and people looking for a special place to relax and unwind.  The hotel is famous for the Eagles song “Hotel California,” although there are no records or proof that the musicians were actually there.  There is a photo of one of the band members that was taken during his visit to Todos Santos.  If you listen to the song carefully, you find a lot of similarities that make fans believe the hotel is the one.  Each day, tourists go there looking for souvenirs and to listen to the famous song that plays in the gift shop throughout the day.

Steps away, you will find the Mission of Todos Santos, from which the town adopted its name. The mission contains the statue Virgin of Pilar, which is the focus of Todos Santos’ main festival in October each year. A must see!

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

Sculpture Benito Ortega Vargaz showing us a mold

We continued our tour visiting Indigo Gallery and Galeria Logan were we found artist Jill Logan painting. We also met local sculptor Benito Ortega Vargaz and pottery artist, Ruben Gutierrez.  Every corner of this town has something interesting!  After exploring and enjoying art, we stopped at a traditional Mexican restaurant for lunch.  Fabrizio gave me the option of having some free time for shopping or visiting Cerritos Beach.  I decided to finish the tour with a little of both.  I did not want to miss a thing!

To learn more about this Magical Town, please check out my interview with Mr. Carlos Arnaus, resident of Todos Santos and successful businessman.  If you are interested in experiencing the local culture of Todos Santos, please be sure to talk to your Personal Assistant at pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com. They would love to help you!

Favorite Things To Do In Cabo San Lucas

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December is here and with it the most festive and traditional season of the year!  This is also the month with the most visitors to our town, and the month when my Capella Pedregal colleagues and I receive many questions from our guests about what to do in Cabo San Lucas.  If you are planning your trip to our small piece of paradise, I hope you find my list of things to do in Cabo San Lucas useful!

Things to do in Cabo 1For Families:

–  Whale watching – a unique Baja experience from December to March.  You can enjoy whale watching from your Capella Pedregal suite, pool, or beach, or join a whale watching tour.

–  Baby turtle releases– each year, turtles come to our beaches to lay eggs.  You can participate in a baby turtle release and watch the hatchlings make their first journey to the sea.

–  Swim with dolphins, or become a dolphin trainer for a day – just steps from Capella Pedregal you can spend time with these beautiful and gentle animals.  Ask your Capella Pedregal Personal Assistant for more details.

–  Enjoy Los Cabos’s unspoiled beaches – spend the day at some of our most popular swimmable beaches: Medano beach, Santa Maria bay, El Chileno bay; or visit La Paz for many swimmable beaches.

For The Romantics:

–  Sunset Cruise – enjoy the view of Cabo San Lucas from the sea at a wine and jazz tour, or other sunset cruises.

–  Picnic or Private Dinner on The Beach – our team will help you create a wonderful experience with a romantic setup and delicious treats that will help you enjoy and cherish the moments together with your loved one.

-  Cooking classes and/or margarita making classes – two of our most popular and fun classes; learn to make dishes that you can share with friends and family.

-  Wine or tequila tasting– visit our wine and spirits cellar and learn more about the wines and try some of our Wine Director’s favorites.  Or learn about the history of tequila.  You can taste the many varieties and pick your favorite!

For Ocean Lovers:

-  Surfing, SUP, kayaking, kiteboarding – Baja is the best place to engage in water sports.  If you are skilled or ready to learn, experienced professionals will teach you any sport you’d like!

–  Snorkeling and diving – Jacques Cousteau named the Sea of Cortez “The Aquarium of the World” for a reason!  Explore the rich sea world of Baja in any of the numerous snorkeling and diving spots from Cabo San Lucas to Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park and beyond.

–  Visit Baja’s islands – visit UNESCO protected and uninhabited island Espiritu Santo, Coromuel island and others, and explore these beautiful remote places of Baja.

For The Adventurous:

–  Explore the Baja desert on ATVs – go deep into the desert with guided tours and live Baja as never seen before!

–  Swim in the hot springs of Santiago – nestled in the Sierra de La Laguna mountain range, a protected biosphere, these hot springs are a true gem for nature and adventure lovers.

–  Explore adjacent towns like San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos, Los Barriles, La Ribera, El Triunfo, La Paz, and others – each of the towns will charm you in its own way.

For more ideas and recommendations for things to do in Cabo San Lucas and Baja California Sur, please email Capella Pedregal’s Personal Assistants with your desires and needs.  They will be able to help you plan and organize your ultimate Baja experience!

Have you visited Cabo San Lucas and/or Baja yet?  I would love to hear about your favorite activities in the comments below.

Actividades Favoritas En Cabo San Lucas

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Con la llegada de diciembre llega también la época más festiva y llena de tradiciones del año!  Este es también uno de los meses con mayor afluencia a nuestro destino, y el mes donde mis colegas en Capella Pedregal y yo recibimos muchas preguntas de nuestros huéspedes sobre que hacer en Cabo San Lucas.  Si estás planeando tu viaje a nuestro pequeño pedazo de paraíso, espero que encuentres útil mi lista de cosas que hacer en Cabo San Lucas!

Things to do in Cabo 1Para familias:

-  Avistamiento de Ballenas – De diciembre a marzo puedes disfrutar de una de las experiencias únicas de la Baja, el avistamiento de ballenas ya sea desde tu suite de Capella Pedregal, la alberca, playa, o incluso tomar un tour de avistamiento de ballenas.

–  Liberación de tortugas bebé – cada año las tortugas llegan a nuestra playa a desovar.  Tu puedes participar en una liberación de tortugas y observar como las crías realizan su primer viaje al océano.

–  Nadar con delfines, o incluso ser un entrenador de delfines por un día – a sólo unos pasos de Capella Pedregal puede pasar tiempo con estos hermosos y nobles mamíferos acuáticos.  Pregunta a tu Personal Assistant de Capella Pedregal más detalles al respecto.

Disfrutar de las prístinas playas de Los Cabos – pasa el día en alguna de nuestras playas para nadar más populares:  El Médano, Bahía de Santa María, Bahía El Chileno; o incluso visitar La Paz para muchas playas para nadar.

Para los románticos:

–  Crucero a la puesta del sol – disfruta las vistas de Cabo San Lucas desde el mar en un tour de jazz y vino, u otras opciones para cruceros al atardecer.

–  Picnic o cena privada en la playa – nuestro equipo te ayudará a crear una maravillosa experiencia con un decorado romántico y deliciosos manjares que te ayudarán a disfrutar y valorar esos momentos especiales junto a tus seres amados.

–  Clases de cocina o clases de margaritas – dos de nuestras actividades más divertidas y populares; aprende como preparar los mejores platillos para disfrutar con tus amigos y/o familia.

-  Cata de vinos o tequila – visita nuestra cava de vinos y aprende más acerca de los vinos y prueba algunos de nuestros vinos favoritos.  O también aprende sobre la historia del tequila.  Puedes probar la basta variedad y elegir tu favorito!

Para los amantes del océano:

-  Surfing, SUP, kayaking, kiteboarding – Baja es el mejor lugar para practicar deportes acuáticos.  Ya sea que tengas experiencia o estés listo para aprender, profesionales expertos podrán asesorarte en el deporte de tu elección!

–  Snorkeling y buceo – No por nada Jacques Cousteau llamó al Mar de Cortéz “El Acuario del Mundo”!  Explora este rico mundo submarino de la Baja en cualquiera de los varios sitios para practicar snorkel o buceo de Cabo San Lucas al parque nacional de Cabo Pulmo y aún más allá!

–  Visita las islas de la Baja – Visita la virgen Isla Espíritu Santo protegida por la UNESCO, Coromuel y muchas otras que puedes explorar y sentir lo remoto de la Baja.

Para los aventureros:

–  Explora el desierto de la Baja en ATV – adéntrate en el desierto con tours guiados y ve la Baja como nunca la has visto!

–  Nada en las aguas termales de Santiago – a los pies de la Sierra de la Laguna, una biósfera protegida, esta agua termales son una verdadera gema para los aventureros y amantes de la naturaleza.

–  Explora poblaciones cercanas como San José del Cabo, Todos Santos, Los Barriles, La Ribera, El Triunfo, La Paz y muchos otros – cada uno de los pueblos te encantará con sus colores y costumbres.

 

Para más ideas y recomendaciones de que hacer en Cabo San Lucas y Baja California Sur, por favor envía un email a nuestros Asistentes Personales con tus deseos y necesidades.  Ellos serán capaces de ayudarte a planear y organizar la mejor experiencia de la Baja!

Has visitado Cabo San Lucas y/o la Baja ya?  Me gustaría escuchar cuáles son tus actividades favoritas en los comentarios abajo.