Monday, February 27, 2006

Jammin' away winter in Jamaica

This Caribbean island offers visitors a blend of the familiar and exotic
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/26/06
BY SUSAN REIGLER
GANNETT NEWS SERVICE


While it looks relatively small on a global map, the Caribbean is a richly diverse area, culturally and geographically.

From tiny islands to the coastal countries of Central America, escapes there can be urban or ecological.

If you must choose just one Caribbean destination for a quick winter getaway, the 4,400-square-mile island country of Jamaica could be just the place.

Thanks to such exports as jerk chicken, Blue Mountain coffee and reggae music, U.S. visitors will find a few familiar features in this otherwise exotic destination.

Because of Jamaica's history as a British colony (the Brits captured it from Spain in 1654 and were in charge until autonomy was granted in 1947), the official language of the country is English, peppered with patois catch phrases such as "No problem, mon."

But be prepared for the rough-and-tumble of the cities. Hustlers and drug dealers often approach tourists. Therefore, many first-time visitors opt for resort stays.

Kingston
Jamaica's capital is a city of about 700,000. It's a good base of operation if your stay is limited and you want to experience the country's history, cuisine and night life, with a sprinkling of beach activities.

Reggae fans should check out the Bob Marley Museum, situated in a red brick house that served as the Tuff Gong recording studio. It's Kingston's most visited tourist attraction.

Another popular attraction is Devon House, an 1881 mansion furnished with period antiques that provides a glimpse into the island's colonial history. Two of the city's better restaurants, the Grog Shoppe and Norma's on the Terrace, are inside a former carriage house and in the courtyard.

Venture across Kingston Harbor to Port Royal for a tour of a now-sleepy backwater that was once the pirate capital and later the center of British naval authority in the Caribbean.

Montego Bay

MoBay, as it's known locally, is Jamaica's second-largest city (population 120,000) and its resort capital. From budget-conscious tourist hotels to private, upscale resorts, there are accommodations for all size bank accounts.

Downtown has a collection of late-18th- and early 19th-century stone and timber buildings, with the cobblestone-paved Sam Sharpe Square as a focal point.

For recreation, there are several beaches, including Doctor's Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach. Both are home to food courts, cafes, changing areas and facilities for water sports. Reggae parties are regularly scheduled. Three championship golf courses — Half Moon Golf Club, SuperClubs Golf Club and Tryall Club — are just east of Montego Bay near Ironshore.

Guided tours of Montego Bay Marine Park, which stretches along the coast for almost six miles, include coral reefs and mangrove islands. Waterfowl residents include pelicans, egrets and herons, while the tea-colored water is home to barracuda and tarpon.

Restaurants tend to stay open into the wee hours, with music blaring and drinks flowing. The famous Pork Pit features open-air munching on jerk chicken and pork on picnic tables.

Negril
Negril, with a population of 4,000, is at the western tip of Jamaica. It has the reputation of being the most laid-back city on the island. There are nude beaches here. But in recent years, it also has developed a notable ecotourism industry.

This is due, in large part, to the Great Morass, a dense mangrove swamp that is a refuge for rare animals and plants including crocodiles.

Negril also is famous for its nightly reggae concerts. Big-name bands perform at MXIII and Roots Bamboo.

Get a Hit of PositiVibes at Reggae.com

3 comments:

Long Island Guide said...

Hi Ras John REGGAE.com,

I’m starting a free book of the month on various topics. No strings attached just go to my blog and download the file..

This month… Secrets of a Happy Marriage Revealed!

Here’s some of the topics…

Various tips and tricks to make your spouse happy.
Vital factors to a lasting marriage.
How to define yourself to your spouse more clearly.

Visit my blog http://www.longislandguide.com/blog to download you free book.

And for other information we have so many different topics including Long Island Cadillac at our site.

Always the best,
Lonny

Handbag Express said...

Hello, just browsing around and thought I would peek at your blog also thought it would be a great opportunity to highly recommend both of these sites with spectacular deals. Grand Openings at **www.handbagexpress.com** for the ultmate handbag selections, and don't miss out on **www.VegasTours.com**for Spectacular Grand Canyon Vacation Tours, you will agree the offers are Super incredible after visiting. Thanks and have a great day.

Bineet said...

India Golf is your complete guide to golf in India.

We have a complete list of Indian golf courses, articles on the best courses and profiles of India's top players.Golf holidays in Costa del SolFrom the Presidency Golf Club in Mumbai and the 130 year old Bangalore Golf Club in West India,to the Royal Calcutta Golf Club and Delhi Golf Club in the north, there's a place to play in every major Indian city.