map of Jamaica
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Copyright © All World
- A Tropical Paradise by Denny Phillips
From the brilliant white sand
beaches to the diverse island culture, Jamaica is one of our favourite
Caribbean tourist destinations. The crystal clear ocean waters and the
year-round warm climate makes it the ideal travel vacation for sun-lovers.
There are many diversions to keep visitors happy: fishing, scuba diving,
wind surfing, horseback riding, swimming, snorkelling, golfing just to
name a few. In the evening there is fine dining at Jamaica’s elite restaurants
and resorts—combined with truly unique Jamaican cuisine, and the night
life is certainly hopping!
One of the best things that
I have found about Jamaica is the warm, friendly people and the rich, diverse
Island culture blended from around the world. In fact, Jamaica’s motto
is “Out of Many, One People.”
|Although African and European
influences dominate the culture, the British, Spanish, Irish, Indian, Chinese
and German are all represented as well. The official language of Jamaica
is English, but sometimes you wouldn’t know it as you will most likely
hear “Patois” which sounds like a foreign language but is actually a combination
of rhythmic English and slang. “Irie mon” is a common phrase you may hear,
which really just means “cool” or “everything is good.” The currency in
Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar, but US dollars are widely accepted.
Jamaica is the largest English-speaking
Island in the Caribbean and it is the third largest island overall, spanning
4,400 square miles. The best tourist spots are on the north coast, with
Montego Bay and Ocho Rios being the most popular, as well as Negril on
the west coast. I have toured the whole Island, from Kingston (Jamaica’s
capital) through the Blue Mountains to Port Antonio, around the north coast,
on down through Mandeville, Alligator Pond and Treasure Beach and back
around to Kingston, so I am well able to tell you a bit about each destination
you may wish to travel to.
Vendors, Kingston, Jamaica
Ocho Rios is located, as
I said, on Jamaica’s north coast and is known as Jamaica’s garden centre.
Some of the most popular daytime activities include biking, diving, deep-sea
fishing and golf. Ocho Rios also has one of the best polo facilities in
Rios, Jamaica, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
|Of course, the must-see
attraction in Ocho Rios is the famous Dunn’s
River Falls, where visitors, lead by a sure-footed Jamaican guide,
are able to climb up a series of falls that cascade from the mountains
to the sea. The falls themselves are a spectacular sight and climbing the
falls is an adventure not to be missed. As a bit of trivia, in the film
“Cocktail” with Tom Cruise, Duns River Falls is in a memorable scene. Close
by, just off of Main Street in Ocho Rios are two craft parks, the Ocho
Rios Craft Park and the Olde Market Craft Shoppes, and The Ocean Village
Shopping Centre is also nearby. Here there are hundreds of vendors selling
local crafts, and everything from gold watches to wood carvings and the
famous Blue Mountain coffee. Also, you will be able to sample the traditional
jerk pork prepared over an open grill – a spicy culinary experience for
the adventurous. There is also duty-free shopping at the Taj Mahal Shopping
Just west of Ocho Rios in
Aracobessa is another favourite tourist attraction, James Bond Beach and
Ian Fleming’s former home called Goldeneye.
|Montego Bay is where most
travelers arrive in Jamaica, which is home to the North Shore airport and
the island’s busiest cruise ship pier. Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second
largest city and is Jamaica’s original tourist hotspot.
Montego Bay’s attractions
include a number of plantation tours, as well as a new attraction featuring
the legendary great, Bob Marley. For the adventure traveller, there are
also bamboo river rafting tours. As well, there is great fishing by fishing
charters for marlin, tuna and kingfish. One may also go cycling, golfing,
horseback riding or scuba diving here, and there is another popular local
shopping district. A popular tour from Montego Bay is to Wyndham Rose Hall
Plantation which was once a legendary 18th century sugar plantation, and
a popular spot for golfers would be on the Robert von Hagge Championship
Of course, the beaches in
Montego Bay are not to be missed. But beware – a friend, while visiting
Jamaica, sat under a coconut tree and got conked on the head by a falling
coconut, in fact three coconuts! I asked her why she didn’t move away after
the first one hit her (of course, the coconuts fell in a bunch of three
– but I thought it was funny!) (P.S. – She wasn’t really hurt!)
over Montego Bay, Jamaica
Negril is located on Jamaica’s
western coast with a seven-mile long fantastic white sand beach. It extends
from the nineteenth-century Negril Lighthouse in the parish of Westmoreland
in the south to Bloody Bay (so named for the days when whalers cleaned
their catch there) in Hanover Parish in the north. Negril is famous for
its “hippie” era where the hippies set up a colony there and enjoyed the
laid-back lifestyle and “ganja”. From this hippie-era colony, Negril has
been labelled the “Capital of Casual”. Although I wasn’t interested, Negril
does offer some clothing optional beaches.
Laws control resort development
and no building is allowed to be taller than the tallest palm tree. Negril
doesn’t offer the extensive shopping of Ocho Rios, but it does have an
assortment of unique shops, including the Negril craft market.
Table at Pickled Parrot at Sunset, Negril, Jamaica
|Negril is said to offer
some of the best scuba diving in Jamaica. You can also enjoy deep-sea fishing
excursions, a vast amount of water sports, and golf at a new golf course,
Negril Hills. If you choose to go parasailing, the sight of the sparkling
azure waters and the dazzling white sand beach is a truly memorable experience.
Other activities can include tennis, squash, glass-bottom boat reef trips,
sunset catamaran cruises and spectacular nightly entertainment.
Although I stayed at a number
of different locations in Jamaica, a memorable one was at a family-oriented
all-inclusive resort. They offered everything one could want, from unlimited
alcoholic beverages for adults to baby-sitting services, and even a special
snack bar geared to children with all-you-can-eat pizza, macaroni ‘n cheese,
and hamburgers. I was very impressed with how the staff entertained and
watched over our children. In one instance, our kids were kayaking around
a little bay area.
Being adventurous they ventured
out towards open water. The staff member followed them in his kayak and
gently herded them back. I was very impressed how he handled it. It was
a very pleasant stay there.
On the whole, I love Jamaica,
from the warm friendly people to the crystal clear waters and all-year
round warm climate. There is not much that Jamaica doesn’t offer for an
ideal vacation. The Island is unique in its culture and cuisine (have you
tried boiled green banana, saltfish and ackee, jerk chicken or fried breadfruit?)
The resorts are experts in what they offer guests – especially the all-inclusive
ones. The only thing that I might caution you about is travelling alone/unaccompanied
outside of the resorts. It can be dangerous, but if you stay within your
resort or take guided tours, you shouldn’t have any problems. “No problem,
Denny Phillips, who majored
in English at University, has created several articles inspired by her
love of cooking, travelling and art. Read other articles by Denny on her
River Falls in Jamaica by Clint Leung
One of the ports of call for
our Royal Caribbean cruiseship during the week of November 28/04 was Ocho
Rios, Jamaica. Probably the most famous site in the region is Dunn's River
Falls and we chose to tour it on our own rather than through one of the
cruiseship tours. Once we disembarked from the cruiseship, there were cabs
and shuttlebuses available at the pier. Cabs to Dunn's River Falls were
$22 US for a return trip. Cabs allowed 1-3 people per vehicle. We were
also told at the pier that small shuttlebuses also go to the Falls at $5.50
US per person. These were also based on return trips. The only problem
with shuttlebuses was that we had to wait until they filled up the shuttle
before leaving for the Falls so since we were the first on the bus, we
had to wait about 15 minutes for it to fill up. The driver then asks you
when you want to be picked up at the Falls for the return trip. Our driver
suggested 2 hours to see the Falls so we agreed on this time duration.
|Once at the Falls, a woman
then came onboard the shuttle to sell tickets for admission to the site
at $10 US per adult person which was the same rate at the park's ticket
booth. Once inside the Dunn's facility, there were rentals for special
rubber shoes as well as lockers. We carried a small backpack so we didn't
require paying for a locker. We also brought along our scuba diving booties
so we didn't have to rent those rubber shoes on site either. The cruiseship
shop was also selling these rubber shoes in advance. Shoes of some type
are highly recommended as the rocks on the Falls can be slippery and some
of the bottoms of the water pools are a bit rocky. If you have old sneakers
you don't mind getting wet, they will be suitable for the climb up the
falls as well. Our scuba diving booties turned out to be sufficient.
at Dunn's River Falls, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, West Indies, Central America
The entrance to the site
is at the top of the falls so we took some stairs that were adjacent to
the falls to the bottom where the beach and entrance to the climb were.
There are official guides
dressed in blue polo shirts and shorts who will take groups up the falls.
Normally, they will ask to carry all cameras for you so they can take photos
of you as you climb. Of course, they expect to be well tipped for their
services. Also, groups were told to hold hands forming a human chain up
the falls. This was suppose to make things safer but as we witnessed, this
method of going up the falls is not a guarantee against falling. We saw
a woman let go and she fell down the rocks during one of the steeper sections.
She wasn't badly hurt but we imagined that she sustained some nice bruises.
There are various points along the falls where you could get off the falls
and back on the stairs to walk up the rest of the way. Not everyone there
attempted to climb the falls as many were happy to just walk dry along
the side on the stairs. We chose not to go with any of the groups which
tend to go up the left side of the falls. We made our way up on our own
mostly on the right side. With some breaks for photos, we made it all the
way up the falls in about 30 minutes. Going with a group would have taken
longer for sure. The water is a bit cool and if you have a wetsuit, it
is highly suggested that you wear it for the climb. Cameras used there
up the falls are also recommended to be water resistant since they likely
will get wet. We left our digital camera on the ship and took one of those
$25 underwater cameras.
After climbing the falls,
we headed back down to the relatively small but uncrowded beach where the
ocean water was warmer until it was time to depart. The exit back at the
top of the falls was strategically located at the end of a market so we
did have to go through some locals who tried to sell us their souveniers.
These locals who worked inside the Dunn's site were hustling but not as
aggressively as those in the town of Ocho Rios. The shuttlebus arrived
at the site parking lot on time as agreed. The total amount we spent including
the park admission and the shuttle was $31 US for the two of us. Taking
an organized tour through the cruiseship would have cost more than double
this amount. So it is quite possible to tour Dunn's River Falls on your
own rather than take the more expensive tours. We were glad that we did
see Dunn's River Falls but we thought that it was not nearly as impressive
as depicted on photos in travel brochures.
The official website for
Dunn's River Falls is http://www.dunnsriverja.com
|Clint Leung is owner of
Free Spirit Gallery http://www.FreeSpiritGallery.ca,
an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American
art including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous
information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native
Indian art as well as free eCards.
more hotels in Kingston and expanded area
HOTELS IN KINGSTON, JAMAICA
more hotels in Kingston and expanded area
Hotel and Suites, Kingston
Located in Kingston, this
business-friendly luxury resort is conveniently close to the airport, near
National Arena and National Indoor Arena. Courtleigh Hotel And Suites
has a health club, an outdoor pool, and a fitness facility. There are 2
restaurants as well as a bar/lounge and a poolside bar. A hot and cold
buffet breakfast is complimentary to guests. Transportation services at
this property include an airport shuttle (surcharge) (available on request)
and an area shuttle (surcharge). The staff can arrange concierge services,
tour/ticket assistance, wedding services, and event catering. Additional
amenities include a nightclub, multilingual staff, and gift shops/newsstands.
The property has designated areas for smoking.
This business-friendly property
is located in the business district, in Kingston, close to National Gallery
of Jamaica and National Arena. Hilton Kingston has tennis courts, an outdoor
pool, a sauna, and a fitness facility. This 3.0-star Kingston property
features massage and treatment rooms, a hair salon, and beauty services.
Hilton Kingston has a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a poolside bar. Room
service is available during limited hours. Amenities featured in guestrooms
include air conditioning, coffee/tea makers, and televisions.
Pegasus Hotel, Kingston
Soaring 17 stories above
the financial and business district of Kingston, the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel
is an ideal destination for business and leisure travelers. The hotel is
within easy walking distance of many international offices, embassies,
historical landmarks, cultural venues, fine restaurants and retail boutiques.
From the spacious conference rooms, equipped with the technology critical
in today's business environment to the lush tropical gardens, perfect for
weddings and other never-to-be-forgotten occasions, the hotel envelops
guests in elegant warmth, comfort and functionality.
Spanish Court Hotel, Kingston
This city-center hotel is
located in Kingston, close to National Indoor Arena and National Arena.
The Spanish Court Hotel has an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. Business
amenities at this 4.0-star property include a business center, complimentary
wireless Internet access, and meeting rooms for small groups. Guests are
served a complimentary breakfast each morning. This property provides an
airport shuttle (surcharge). Event facilities include conference rooms.
The staff can arrange tour/ticket assistance, wedding services, event catering,
and dry cleaning/laundry services. Additional amenities include air conditioning
in public areas, self parking, and secure parking. This is a smoke-free
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