Discover Grenada’s underwater sculpture park

A circle of children hold hands in eerie stillness while nearby, a man sitting at a desk taps blankly at his typewriter.

This surreal world lies beneath the calm waters of Grenada’s Molinere Bay where are number of life-size figures made mainly from concrete sit at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, nibbled by tropical fish.

Hurricane Ivan swept through the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada in 2004 tearing up trees, houses – in fact, anything that stood in its path. The destruction occurred underwater too. The coral surrounding the island that had made it so appealing to snorkellers and divers was also severely damaged.

Killing two birds with one stone, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor installed a series of underwater sculptures which also act as artificial reeds on which marine life can develop. They have attracted tourists armed with snorkels and diving gear, easing pressure on other reefs in the area, and have also drawn a wide range of marine life back to these waters.

The sculpture park continues to grow, with artists continuing to add their own work to the surreal space.

Return of the Rock

Prior to 2017, Saba Rock had developed a reputation as a famous island getaway for celebrities and the like.

And while the Hurricane Irma caused major destruction across the British Virgin Islands, Saba Rock included, it is now back and open for business.

The redesigned Rock has a contemporary aesthetic, with a fresh take on the destination’s nautical lifestyle and features. There are just seven guestrooms, and two suites designed as a chic retreat that plays up the island’s reputation as a kiteboarding and sailing destination.

The island also has an expansive, open-air restaurant, lounge, two very epic-looking bars (including a rooftop sunset bar), spa room, and retail space, that also serves as a museum with artefacts from nearby shipwrecks.

Made famous by diving pioneer Bert Kilbride in the 1960s, we reckon the new Saba Rock might even be just as good as the old one.

Epic Costa Rica

Costa Rica is, relatively speaking, a pretty small country. Which makes it the perfect place to cram a heap of experiences into a small timeframe.

Adventure World Travel (AWT) has an epic 12 day journey that takes in the equally epic Tortuguero, Arenal and Corcovado National Parks.

Among the highlights is Pacuare Reserve, a wildlife haven hidden in dense jungle along the Caribbean Sea, and accessible only by boat.

The trip is a Make Travel Matter journey endoresed by the Treadright Foundation – one with a focus on experiences that have a positive social and environmental impact on the destinations (and those who experience them). And that’s a good thing, right? You’re travelling, but you’re also being a bloody legend as well!

As well as intimate wildlife and conservation activities (think turtles, monkeys, macaws and jaguars) you’ll squeeze in absurdly attractive beaches, cloud forests, hot springs, volcanoes and more.

You can find more socially and environmentally positive trips like this one here. 

Mexican Indulgence

When picturing Baja Club, think old school Mexico combined with modern indulgence like a rooftop bar and opulent swimming pool.

This newly opened hotel in La Paz, Mexico is an example of masterful architectural minimalism, providing luxury but also paying homage to more modest roots.

If you’ve heard of La Paz it might be because it’s the setting for John Steinbeck’s classic 1940s’ novella The Pearl. Located at the bottom of Mexico’s South-Western arm, the city has also been building for some time as a hot-bed for eco-tourism.

Travellers frolic in seaside ‘balnearios’ that line La Paz’s spectacular bay, where whales, whale sharks and dolphins are known to frolic themselves.

The hotel has its own library, as well as a boutique shop. But for us, taking in the Mexican sunset with a tequila or seven on the roof is where it’s at. Get me there now.

Hidden delight at Tulum Treehouse

You’re shrouded from view by a thicket of greenery thriving beyond your windows. Just moments from your sanctuary are Mayan ruins, a shimmering white coastline and a bohemian beach town. Welcome to eco-friendly jungle living at Tulum Treehouse. Concocted by a coterie of artisans, architects and designers, this private five-bedroom oasis is all about shining the spotlight back on nature: from the white walls to the locally sourced wood, the upcycled furniture, the Oaxacan ceramics and the plush Mexican textiles.

Each room features a wrap-around balcony and a hammock, yet the pièce de résistance is the rooftop – perfect for a mezcal-infused tipple after a day exploring the Yucatan Peninsula’s best assets.

No dramas on Isla Damas

There is only one way to get to the tiny rocky outcrop of Isla Damas, one of three making up Pingüino de Humboldt National Park: hitching a lift with a fisherman from Punta de Choros. There is nothing on this 60-hectare island bar an unmanned lighthouse, a campsite with a couple of toilets and two beaches (La Poza and Las Tijeras) with white sand and azure water, that will make you think you’re kicking it in the Caribbean.

Except the water here is significantly colder, thanks to the current from Antarctica. It meets warmer water flowing down from Peru, making this a playground for marine wildlife, including sea otters, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles and the Humboldt penguin, the park’s namesake.

Sun and games at Casa de Piedra Beach

South of legendary party town Acapulco you’ll find Playa Ventura, a fishing village with a perfect golden arc of sand. The area sees just a smattering of visitors, including the turtles who lay their eggs on some protected parts of Casa de Piedra Beach, so it’s perfect if you’re after sunshiny days and quiet nights. Catch a wave off the shore, watch the pelicans diving for fish or stare out to sea looking for dolphins, Playa Ventura is one of those beaches you need to get lost to find.

As the sun sets locals cook fresh seafood on barbecues and cold Corona’s are sold at local prices.

Once the sun is down make your way to one of the few bars in the main square. Here you’ll find yourself mixing with the locals hopefully with a local band looking after the soundtrack.

Your own Caribbean sanctuary

It’s supposed to be a secret, but this boutique retreat is just so appealing we can’t resist spilling the beans. From its perch on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Secret Bay ticks all the boxes – incredible location, creative design and an eco-friendly ethos. Then it piles on more extras than you could possibly squeeze into one week-long stay.

For adventurers there’s diving, kayaking, caving and horse riding into the rainforest. Those looking to chill will be drawn to the waterfalls, white sand beaches and hilltop yoga sessions in warm air scented with guava, sweetsop and pineapple. Best of all there are just six villas, so your downward-facing dog technique is kept between you and the jungle.

Chilled vibes at Coco Tulum Beach Club

All-white everything is the theme of Coco Tulum’s beach club, and we gotta say, this stylish hotel-turned-bar is one of the prettier venues in Mexico’s crowded Yucatán Peninsula. With the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea lapping at the white sand beach, it’s hard for Coco Tulum to look bad, but the team behind the recent refurbishment have really taken things to the next level. It’s still a little bit unpolished but that just adds to its charm, alongside a sense of sophistication and cool confidence.

Think hammocks, bean bags and deck chairs, rows of hanging fairy lights, and an impressive range of signature cocktails. Plus, recognising a good thing, Coco Tulum has added to the number of its signature over-water swings, meaning there are more seats than they’ve ever had before. The mood is rather chilled-out here, and the music reflects that – so don’t expect any hardcore trance parties that rage into the night. That said, Coco Tulum know how to throw a pretty epic Sunday sesh, and they’re known to get quite lively so it’s best not to lock in plans for the next morning, just in case.

Make Like A Mayan in Belize

The Caribbean may be a modern-day playground for sun seekers, but for those prepared to explore beyond the powder white beaches, there is a treasure trove of history deep within its forested heart.

No trip to Belize is complete without a speedboat ride through steamy jungle waterways to explore ancient ruins of Mayan cities. It’s a good hour-long bus ride to the launch site on the Rio Nuevo then a 90-minute speedboat ride that only slows to pause for photo opportunities with bird life, howler monkeys, three-toed sloths or crocodiles. Finally the river opens and the boat arrives at the Mayan city of Lamanai – the name means ‘submerged crocodile’ – which was occupied for more than 3000 years.

The further you venture into the jungle, the heavier the humidity feels, but exploring the ancient city is worth any discomfort. The scale is incredible and only matched by the precision architecture and stonework. You’ll likely want to linger and capture incredible images, as expert guides provide in-depth information that helps you to imagine the bloody history of this complex and long-lived civilisation.

Unless the stones have been made slippery by rain, it is possible to climb the largest pyramid, known as the High Temple, to take in the commanding views over the jungle. Venture deeper into the site to see the Jaguar Temple with amazing carved stone heads depicting the big cat. With much of this site still yet to be excavated and documented, so many more discoveries are yet to be made.