Located about 20 minutes from Montego Bay, this is sure to be a hit with the kids. The water actually lights up when you agitate it. Head there in the evening and enjoy this wonder of nature. Your family will enjoy this!
In a quiet corner of the Caribbean are The Caves, a boutique hotel nestled on the limestone cliffs of Negril on the west coast of Jamaica. This hedonistic hideaway consists of twelve cottages and suites, each one with a character of its own. This multi-layered tropical paradise is connected by winding cliff paths that give the feeling of complete privacy and seclusion as you make your way to your room.
The lucid blue sea below is perfect for snorkelling and swimming, as well as a great way to explore some of the more out-of-the-way caves. Also, if you were to swim around the headland from this romantic retreat, you would find yourself on Negril’s superb seven mile stretch of white sand beach.
The Caves cater almost exclusively to couples (no children allowed!), offering massages and spa treatments, dining in private candlelit caves strewn with flower petals, and a private ocean-view jacuzzi that can be reserved for sunset. All of this is sound-tracked by the gently lapping waves of the Caribbean Sea. Now really, is there anything more romantic than that?
It starts at night and runs until sunrise. You get to dance to the coolest music in the warm tropical nights. If you get tired you buy a reggae bed (a flattened cardboard box) and have a nap. Life doesn't get more chilled.
It's usually held in Jamaica but in 2009 it is going to be in Florida (USA) and Brazil - not sure why, see
Lime Tree Farm, in the Blue Mountains and overlooking Lime Tree village, is a working coffee farm with 3 simple but luxurious cottages (huge bed, coffee machine, bathroom, view to die for). You eat (delicious and generous home-cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner) on the veranda (view to die for) with the farm's husband and wife team, Charlie and Suzie, whose relaxed, friendly and interesting stories will keep you entertained and ensure you'll feel right at home.
We saw birdlife galore (most often right outside our room), went for invigorating walks in the surrounding hills that were lush and in flower (and where the friendly residents of the village will point and often accompany you back on the right path should you get a tad disorientated).
Honestly, it was my third time to Jamaica and this was the best place i've been yet (including the beautiful beaches). Charlie or Leroy will take you on walks in the surrounding hills and mountains, or leave you to it, sort out day trips to the beach or to the botanic gardens and the whole family will just make you feel so relaxed you'll be sure to love it. And even the profits from the bar go to 2 local schools!
If you are looking for more from Jamaica than the usual all-inclusive, beach stuff and fancy relaxing among the hummingbirds with an occasional visit from Zulu (their huge but very friendly black dog) then make sure a stay at Lime Tree is included in your trip. Did I mention the view is to die for??? Oh, and the coffee, obviously!
Negril's famous seven mile beach stretches from the cliffs leading up to the famous Rick's cafe in the west to the private beaches of Hedonism on the east. And what a stretch of beach it is, perfectly sandy with plenty of bars and shops around combined with the chilled atmosphere of Jamaica.
Even though I went at a time where there weren't many people around it still had a great atmosphere and was unforgettable.
By day bathe yourself in the steady warm waters of the beautiful Caribbean ocean and dry out on the beach in a lounger with a nice rum cocktail. By night you can continue with the rum in one of the reggae nightspots (Alfred's, Bourbon Beach, Roots Bamboo) which has top Jamaican artists performing with live bands.
It's just such an easy place to get along with the only thing you can argue about is that it's not to be done on a small budget!
Forrespark Lodge is situated on a coffee plantation with wonderful valley and Blue Mountain views, perfect for sunrises and sunsets. Exotic flora and fauna are a delight and on an early morning bird watching walks you will spy many species.
Bring your own G&T for there is no bar, but the verandah is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail before dinner and observe the tiny Doctor Bird with its' long tail feathers, hover at the sugared water feeder. At dinner, which is al fresco, you may be joined by the large Jamaican Owl, who will sit on the tree branch above your table and hiss.
A short stroll along the road is the JABLUM coffee factory where local growers bring their beans for processing. The guided tour is casual but very interesting. Every bean is graded by hand! A calm and picturesque corner of the island well worth at least a two night stay.
A journey from Kingston to Forrespark Lodge in Mavis Bank cost about £80 in Feb 2006, and took 2 and a half hours to travel 60 miles, but worth it.
A mobile phone (adequately topped up if 'Pay as You Go') is a vital piece of kit for the independent traveller in Jamaica. Signals in even the remotest of places ease co-ordinating taxi journey plans.
JUTA Taxi's are quite safe and a very reliable mode of travelling, they might seem a bit on the expensive side and journeys on the poor road infrastructure are slow, but at least you are contributing directly to the local economy.
A mobile phone (adequately topped up if pay as you go) is a vital piece of kit for the independent traveller in Jamaica. Signals in even the remotest of places ease co-ordinating taxi journey plans. JUTA Taxis are a quite safe and very reliable mode of travelling, they might seem a bit on the expensive side and journeys on the poor road infrastructure are slow but at least you are contributing directly to the local economy. A journey from Kingston to Forrespark Lodge in Mavis Bank for instance cost about £80 in Feb 2006, and took 2 and a half hours to travel 60 miles, but worth it. Forrespark Lodge is situated on a coffee plantaion with wonderful valley and Blue Mountain views, perfect for sunrises and sunsets. Exotic flora and fauna are a delight and on an early morning bird watching walk you will espy many species. Bring your own G&T for there is no bar, but the verandah is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail before dinner and observe the tiny Doctor Bird with its' long tail feathers, hover at the sugared water feeder. At dinner, which is al fresco, you may be joined by the large Jamaican Owl, who will sit on the tree branch above your table and hiss. A short stroll along the road is the JABLUM coffee factory where local growers bring their beans for processing. The guided tour is casual but very interesting. Every bean is graded by hand! A calm and picturesque corner of the island well worthwhile at least a two-night stay.
Ocho Rios is a bit of a mixed bag. What spoils it somewhat are the hundreds of cruise ship tourists who flood into the resort on an almost daily basis. Whilst the residents of Ocho Rios naturally thrive from the custom that this brings to their shores, the smoke-belching cruise ships docked in the harbour do somewhat mar the view from what is otherwise a pleasant beach.
That said, Ocho Rios provides a great location for visiting some of the Island’s most impressive attractions, as well as some nice bars and restaurants. ‘Coconuts’ is a very pleasant restaurant just off of the beach front serving nice food and just about any drink you can imagine. Alternatively try ‘Trade Winds’ for some more authentic Jamaican fare and a great host – just don’t get him started on the subject of George Bush! ‘Mama Marley’s’ owned by the mother of the Island’s most famous former resident, is a bit of a tourist magnet (and not recommended if you’ve spent the afternoon swimming with the dolphins at Ochie’s ‘Dolphin Cove’, as dolphin steaks feature on the menu) but serves great jerk chicken. Dining is not cheap in Jamaica – so take some extra cash or be prepared to ‘go local’ and search out some of the delicious Jamaican patties from one of the bakeries in the resort.
Music is, and has always been, a powerful social tool for the people of Jamaica. For a glimpse into Jamaica’s potent musical past check out ‘Reggae Explosion’ - an interactive museum located in the Island Village shopping complex. The museum chronicles Reggae music’s evolution from mento, ska through to rocksteady, roots, dancehall and beyond - and includes a recreation of Lee Perry’s infamous Black Ark studio (which was allegedly burnt down by the musical maestro himself). Judging by the amount of times you are likely to hear Bob Marley’s music playing in the streets and bars during your stay in Jamaica, this is a refreshing introduction to the Island’s rich and socially significant musical history!
You can go rafting on the Black River which is the longest river in Jamaica where you can see Manatee and Crocodiles.
You can also visit the YS Falls and the very picturesque Holland Bamboo which is a cove of bamboos stretching for miles along the road.
The locals are very polite and friendly. All this is still some of the virgin attractions, this is the paradise for relaxation which will embalm your mind and captivate your spirit.
You cannot be in St Elizabeth and not visit the best local seafood restaurant Little Ochie in Alligator Pond where your choice of seafood is custom made. The views of Lovers Leap (Mountain Side) are breathtaking.
Alligator Pond, Manchester
Tel:876 965 4449
The Port of Call Hotel is situated by the sea front with a luxurious beach. They offer bed and breakfast service which is fairly reasonable.They also assist with transport if required.
Port of Call, Black River, St. Elizabeth
Tel: 876 965 2410
Drive just a few miles out of Kingston and you find yourself climbing into the beautiful Blue Mountains. Producer of some of the finest coffee in the world. Setting for spectacular mountain views. And, especially at the weekend, scene of countless dance parties. You can hear the music throbbing from miles away. You can smell the party atmosphere too when you get a bit closer.
Lots of people will tell you it’s too dangerous or difficult to drive around Jamaica, but take no notice. Watch out for the pot holes and goats, and keep one hand on the horn at all times, and you’ll be fine. Road signs are almost non-existent, but there’s always someone around who’ll point you the right way. Island Car Rentals are far and away the best company to deal with.
17 Antigua Avenue, Kingston
Tel: 876 929 5875
The best fish restaurant in the whole of Jamaica, although you might not guess to look at it. A rough and ready shack on the beach in a remote fishing village, it serves fish by the pound, in old wooden fishermen’s canoes propped on stilts on the sand. Get Blackie, the owner, to pick out your fish and cook it whichever way you like - but don’t miss the jerk conch or garlic shrimp.
It’s hard to get to by road, but if you catch a boat from Treasure Beach it’ll drop you on the beach at your table. Ask a tour guide called Ted to take you in his boat, the Evil Ting, if you fancy the maddest, loudest boat ride on the south coast.
Alligator Pond, Manchester
Tel: 876 965 4449
This hotel is too rarefied to really feel like Jamaica, but the view from its terrace out over Kingston is worth making a trip fior. The road can be pretty perilous, and often flooded, but it takes you into the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and lush tropical rainforest.
Either go at dusk, for a sunset cocktail, so you can see the lights of Kingston come out beneath you like upside down stars. Or go for Sunday brunch, and get a rare glimpse of the Kingston elite at play.
Irish Town, St Andrew, 876- 944-8400
About a 50 minute drive from Kingston.
A waterfall which you can swim in with rope swings to swing and jump off. It's great fun and the water is cool and so a lovely break from the heat.
I hired a scooter from Negril and went on my own. I had a small tourist map, it's easy to find as it's well signposted. Also the journey from Negril is great with a good opportunity to see towns and countryside away from the tourist areas. Leave jewellery at home and take just money for they day. Alternatively most hotels will do coach trips there.
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