Travel To The Spirit Of Jamaica
Rastafarian culture, reggae music and turquoise blue waters sparkling in the middle of the Caribbean sea. This is Jamaica, mon - where you can do just about anything you please. It's the perfect destination to let go of all your cares and worries. The sun is shinin', the weather is sweet - make you want to move your dancin' feet. Bob Marley said it best, and you can do all this and more on the beautiful island of Jamaica.
Culturally and historically, Jamaica is different. It's African roots are strong and in fact, the Jamaican capital of Kingston was once the epicenter of a slave trade where African slaves were dropped off in exchange for rum and sugar. Today, the africans are drinking that rum and enjoying their laid back culture on an island of sand, sea and mountains. These mountains (the Blue mountains) produce world-class coffee and you'll want to sample a cup every morning as you watch the sun rise. That is, if you're up that early. Jamaica's nightlife is part if its draw and the music scene here is vibrant. In fact, Jamaica produces an insanely large amount of talented musicians so you'll want to take in a show or two during your visit.
The cuisine here also can't be beat. From casual to fine dining, here are a few restaurants voted by travelers as the best on the island. After you've swam with the dolphins in Ocho Rios or just relaxed yourself silly on the playful beach, dine on delicious Indian food at A Passage to India.
After a visit to the Bob Marley Museum (housed in his quirky old home in Kingston), have dinner at Norma's On the Terrace. (Norma is known as the Julia Child of the Caribbean.) Red Stripe beer with grilled snapper is a favorite combo.
In Negril, the 3 Dives jerk stand serves up grilled lobster and a signature jerk chicken. The scenery is stunning - limestone cliffs for diving - and that tropical blue sea makes for a memorable and casual meal in Negril. Stay at The Traveller's Beach Resort for an equally casual and pleasant time at a family-owned resort. At $60 a night, the place is a real bargain.
Port Antonio Jamaica
Port Antonio is one of Jamaica's truly off the beaten path kinda towns, where markets, Georgian architecture, warm locals, narrow backstreets, wandering goats and a lack of tourist haunts offer a quietly authentic Jamaican experience. Stay at the bargain-priced Hotel Tim Bamboo, where free WI-FI and continental breakfast go hand-in-hand. It's just a stone's throw away from the water, too. For honeymooners willing to splurge there's a luxurious eco-boutique hotel called Mockingbird Hill. The property has just ten rooms and the service is said to be clean and green. Renewable energy, bamboo furniture, meals created from locally-sourced food, and romantic petal turn down service make this a decadent but environmentally-conscious hotel experience.
No trip to Jamaica would be complete without a visit to Treasure Beach, a low-key beach town far from the chaos of Kingston, the crowds of Negril and the resorts of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Treasure beach is a quiet, rural fishing village and refers to four coves - Billy's Bay, Frenchman's Bay, Calabash Bay and Great Pedro Bay. The Calabash International Literary Festival takes place here and attracts poets, writers and artists from all over. The town's cultural and artistic scene make it a uniquely creative enclave in the middle of a tropical paradise.
Adventurers to Jamaica won't be bored. Canopy zip-line tours, hiking treks through the Blue Mountains, and all the typical water sports are up for grabs in Jamaica. While most people head to Hawaii for epic surf adventures, the Caribbean serves up a handful of waves begging to be reckoned with. Boston Bay, near Port Antonio is the most popular spot to hang loose. Negril is home to the most dive sites, while Montego Bay comes up second. No matter where you choose to strap on your dive tank, you're sure to witness a wide array of underwater treasures. If your sea legs aren't so strong, a biking adventure down the Blue Mountains will take you through jungles and across bumpy terrain. There's even a waterfall awaiting you at the bottom. Jamaica also conjures up images of wild and crazy rastafarians jumping off cliffs and falling fifty feet or more into the depths of the deep, blue sea. In Negril, you can join them. Rick's cafe is where most people go to take the jump. Afterwards, reward yourself with a rum punch and a round of applause.
A swim to the Pelican Bar, a little hut in the middle of the sea accessible only by boat, is one Jamaican experience not to be forgotten. They also serve up deliciously fried fish to accompany your tropical drinks. Snorkeling here is excellent too, and if you're lucky, you may even spot a pod of dolphins. Last but certainly not least, Dunn's River Falls is probably Jamaica's main attraction. The falls encompass 600 ft. of clean, mountain water which splashes its way down a procession of stone steps until it reaches the mellow Caribbean sea. This is a popular spot, so expect crowds.
The spiritual home of reggae-lovers and rastas the world over, Jamaica is an island like no other. A trip here can be as casual or as decadent as you wish. But, one theme will ring true throughout your visit to this mellow paradise - sun, sea and Irie.
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