Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why stay in Jamaica accommodation rentals

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, chances are you would be considering a hotel or motel as your choice for accommodation. However there is another option that you can consider and that is Jamaica accommodation rentals.

First what are Jamaica accommodation rentals and how can they make a difference to your trip? These rentals comprise Jamaica villas, cottages, condos, cabins and apartments that you can book for the duration of your stay. Combining the best of hotel and home facilities they provide all the privacy and space you need to explore the island at your own leisure and pace.

Jamaica accommodation rentals have a unique identity of their own. Each unit is different and something unique to offer. For example, Silver Sands villas provide guests with a free complementary drink when they reach their villa or cottage. The staff also organizes weekly entertainment/welcome party for the guests who get the opportunity to connect with other guests belonging to different cultures and different nationalities. Needless to say, this proves to be a highly educative experience. Hotels, on the other hand, are more or less the same in all countries across the world save for a few superficial differences.

Jamaica accommodation rentals also offer you more privacy and space. A vacation today is about spending quality time with your family and loved ones as also escaping and forgetting the pressures and demands of the daily life. If you want to get away from it all, the ideal option is to stay in your own private space and that is what an accommodation rental provides.

Jamaica accommodation rentals also provide more space where you can spend quality time together. In a hotel, it is highly unlikely you’ll find rooms next to each other. If you want, you can also invite friends to come and stay with you at no or minimal costs.

Now for the cost factor. These rentals also prove to be more affordable if you are travelling with family and friends. Instead of eating out all the times, you can prepare your own meals or have the cook come in to prepare them for you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fast facts about Jamaica

If you are travelling to Jamaica and this is your first trip, some knowledge about the country can make all the difference to your visit. Here are some points that you should know about Jamaica.

Driving rules: If you have a US driver license, it is valid up to 3 months per visit to Jamaica. On the other hand, a U.K. driver's license is valid up to 12 months per visit. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour in the urban areas while it is 80 kilometres on Jamaican highways unless otherwise mentioned. Jamaica follows a left side drive.

Clothing: Jamaica enjoys a tropical climate and so light cotton clothing is recommended through out the year. On the beaches, you can opt for shorts and swimwear. A light sweater is recommended for the evenings during the winter months.

Time: Time in Jamaica is Eastern Standard Time. The country does not observe daylight saving time.

Internet: You’ll find internet kiosks at shopping centers in Kingston and other resort towns. Otherwise if you are staying in Jamaica villas, cottages, apartments and holiday homes, they will include internet as part of the package.

Food: Jamaica is a potpourri of different cultures and ethnic groups and the combined influences of these groups reflect in the cuisine. In Jamaica, you’ll find almost everything you could ever wish for. The national dish is Ackee and salt fish. And while there you simply must try out the jerked meat dishes, jerked chicken and jerked pork. Another thing is that Jamaicans will curry almost everything from goat to fruit.

Currency: The currency is $JMD or the Jamaican Dollar. However, note that the US dollar is also commonly accepted.

Music: Popular Jamaican music, Reggae, a music form that emerged from traditional indigenous Jamaican music with African and Black American roots, needs no introduction. Many reggae artistes have won international fame for original compositions, recordings and performances most notable amongst them being the late Robert (Bob) Marley.

Weather: One of the greatest attractions of Jamaica is the weather itself. The country enjoys idyllic tropical maritime climate with near constant average coastal temperatures ranging between 26°C to 30°C through out the year. There is a fall in temperature with the rise in altitude with the average being 18°C in the Blue Mountains. The rainy season starts between May or June and extends through November or December. However rain falls for short periods (normally in the late afternoon), and it’s quite possible to enjoy sunshine for most of your visit during these months.

When to visit Jamaica: Jamaica is an year-round destination; however the high season is between mid-December to mid-April. If you are planning to stay in Jamaica villas, cottages or apartments, it is advisable to book in advance to get the best deals and to avoid disappointment. However if you are planning to visit during the low-season, which falls between mid-April to mid-December you can avail of special discounts on Jamaica accommodation rentals and in stores and markets.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Top attractions in Jamaica

Jamaica, as a holiday destination, promises fun and relaxation for the entire family. A stunning coastline, exotic beaches, majestic mountains, scintillating waterfalls, lush rainforests, and parks, Jamaica is truly a nature’s paradise. Added to this is the fact that you can indulge in plenty of outdoor activities from parasailing, snorkelling, river rafting to hiking up mountains and exploring reserves and sanctuaries. You can make your trip all the more memorable by staying in Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments that have been specifically designed and furnished to give you the best of space, privacy, comfort and services at the most reasonable rates. To get an idea of the type of services, rates and facilities on offer, you can check out the Silver Sands villas and understand why a stay in your own home away from home is a better option than staying amidst the crowds in hotels.

Dunn’s River Falls: Another waterfall you would say. But this waterfall is different in that you can actually hike up to the top of the fall. The water cascading down from the height of 600 feet is simply beautiful but the fact that it tumbles down a series of protruding rocks have added to its charm. These rocks form a natural staircase leading up right to the top of the fall. You can join a human chain slipping and steadying all the way to the top. If you have a waterproof camera, you can click away all the action.

Dolphins Cove: Located near the Dunn’s River Falls, the marine park is perfect for a family outing. As is obvious from the name, the greatest attractions here are the friendly dolphins. Aside from the other water activities you can also swim with these dolphins.

Doctor's Cave Beach Club in Montego Bay: No trip to Jamaica can be complete without a visit to the beaches. One such beach is the Doctor’s Cave where you can indulge in various water activities and also savour the native cuisine from meat patties to goat curry to other native dishes.

Reggae Explosion, Island Village in Ocho Rios: Also located nearby is this interactive museum where you can learn about Bob Marley and his music. Besides you can also learn about Reggae's roots in mento, ska, and rock steady. You can plug in your headphones at various spots and hear songs by and interviews with the island's music greats of the past 50 years.

Seven Mile Beach in Negril: This is counted amongst the best beaches in the world. You can try your skills at the various water sports or simply laze away the hours watching the crowds.

Rafting the Martha Brae: Enjoy a rafting trip on the Martha Brae. The boatman will pole a 30-foot bamboo raft for three miles and take you past overhanging tree branches and wild banana plants, all the while recounting local tales.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Royal Palm Reserve in Jamaica

Jamaica is my favourite holiday destination and no matter how many times I go, I just cannot seem to get enough of it. There is always something new to explore, something new to see. This time when I went, I checked out the Royal Palm Reserve. I booked my accommodation in the community of Silver Sands villas. Just incase anyone is planning a trip to Jamaica and wants to check them out, you can go to their site I booked the Endless Summer villa and my stay couldn’t have got any better. The views of the Caribbean Sea from the balcony were magnificent and the dishes prepared by the chef were heavenly.

Jamaica offers many eco-attractions and one of the best amongst them is undoubtedly the Royal Palm Reserve. The huge reserve is spread across over 300 acres and the brochure informed that it is home to about 300 species of animals, reptiles, birds and butterflies and over 114 species of flowers. Its little wonder then it is so popular with the wildlife buffs.

The park boasts many beautiful nature trails all very quiet and peaceful. I tried this beautiful half mile walk leading to a 30 foot tower. From atop, you can enjoy the best views of Negril and needless to say they are simply spectacular.

The reserve is home to the endangered species the West Indian Whistling Ducks. You can see them floating around the stocked fish ponds. These birds are a bit scared of people so you really have to be quiet while observing them. Otherwise they will simply fly off. Fishing is allowed in the ponds during the peak season. Fishing equipment is available upon request but you should bring a loaf of bread for bait and to feed the Whistling Ducks with.

Then there is this alligator that lives within the confines of a caged pond. Either he is too shy or may be because of the hot sun, it is usually hiding in the swampy waters so you really have to wait patiently to catch a glimpse of him.

The reserve is a great place to picnic and there are many shady areas where you can enjoy your meals with your family or friends. Otherwise, if you inform the staff in advance they are well equipped to prepare a meal for large groups also.

The entry fee to the park is quite reasonable, $10 US per adult and $5 per child for a day long access. So you can spend the day watching the wildlife, discovering nature trails and of course catching fish in the stocked ponds. If you are travelling with kids, you can also take them to an interactive museum that offers great educational opportunity to learn about the rich biodiversity and the local flora and fauna.

Montego Bay Travel Guide

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica you must visit Montego Bay. It is the second largest city in Jamaica and it is also the hub of the tourist industry on the island. The city has much to offer to its visitors including shopping plazas, stunning beaches, fine dining, challenging golf courses and everything else you could ever want from a dream Caribbean vacation.

You can check out the Silver Sands villas, conveniently located on Jamaica's famous North Coast, about 30 miles from the airport, midway between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Set amidst spectacular surroundings, these vacation homes are designed and furnished to give you the best of luxury, comfort, and space. Giving you a glimpse of the best of Caribbean style and d├ęcor, they are perfect for spending quality time with the family or entertaining friends. Stay in Jamaica villas offering ultra luxurious facilities or choose a comfortable apartment that fits in with your budget. These vacation homes provide you the perfect opportunity to explore the island at your own leisure and pace.

There are numerous things to see and do in and around Montego Bay, some of which are:

Doctor's Cave Beach: This is one of the most popular beaches in Jamaica and the fact that it is located right on the "Hip Strip", close to restaurants and night life has only added to its popularity.

Rosehall Great House: Jamaica boasts some great estates and one of them is the magnificent great house of the infamous Annie Palmer (The White Witch of Rosehall), who was known for her murderous ways to both husbands and slaves.

Greenwood Great House: If you are a literary buff, you can visit the former plantation home of the Barrett family. Elizabeth Barrett Browning spent time there during her childhood. The house still contains furnishings and personal items belonging to the family.

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary: This is undoubtedly a paradise for the bird lovers housing countless varieties of birds including the Streamertail Hummingbird, the National Bird of Jamaica.

Green Grotto Caves: Explore these historic caves with a crystal-clear lake at the bottom located between Discovery and Runaway Bays. The first Jamaicans, the Arawak Indians are believed to have found shelter here, a fact that is backed by the multiple fragments of pottery and adzes that have been unearthed from time to time.

Cinnamon Hill Golf Course: If your holiday is incomplete without a round of golf, you can enjoy a challenging round of golf or simply take in the spectacular views.

Half Moon Golf Club: This is another golf course that you can visit. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, this golf course has set the standards for other golf courses in Jamaica.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where to stay in Jamaica?

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, realize that where you stay can make all the difference to your trip. Basically, there are three options you can choose from and they are hotels, all-inclusive resorts and finally Jamaica accommodation rentals. Lets us consider them one by one.

Jamaica has a fair share of hotels ranging from the budget to the luxurious. However, keep in mind that hotels no matter how comfortable provide a formal and impersonal environment and so you can’t really relax in the exact sense of the word. Besides, you’ll always be surrounded by the crowds. Also keep in mind that even a budget hotel, your stay can turn out to be pretty expensive considering that you would have to eat out all the time for the length of your stay.

The second option is the all-inclusive resorts. An all-inclusive resort offers a package deal where in apart from your accommodation, various activities such as sightseeing, golfing, and tours are included. All-inclusive resorts save you the hassle of planning your own itinerary, making your own bookings and reservations etc. But what you gain in terms of comfort you lose in terms of the adventure and the thrill of exploring a new place at your own leisure and pace. Then again, a stay in an all-inclusive resort can be expensive and your choice of what to see and do will be limited to what is included in the package unless ofcourse you want to forego all these and venture out on your own. Needless to say this would add to your costs.

The third option is to stay in Jamaica accommodation rentals. These rentals comprise private cottages, villas, studios, condos and apartments, idyllically located in beautiful garden settings, overlooking the beach or close to the attractions. Ranging from one bedroom to several bedroom apartments and offering facilities from comfortable to the luxurious these rentals are part hotel and part home. They combine the privacy, space and comfort of a home with all the services that a hotel provides. Besides, you have the freedom to discover the island at your own leisure and pace. Added to this is the fact that they are more affordable than both hotels and all-inclusive resorts because they have their own kitchen/kitchenette where you can prepare your own food or have the chef come in to prepare the meals. Besides, you can eat what you like when you like, in your own dining room or on the terrace or balcony taking in the spectacular views.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A road trip through Jamaica

Jamaica boasts over 17000 kilometers of road linking all major towns and cities. Winding down mountains, zigzagging through woodlands, and circling the coastline, these colourful highways and byways are attractions in themselves. Indeed there is no better way to explore the island and explore its myriad faces and culture than by a road trip. And if you want to discover the island at your own pace and leisure, you can choose to stay in any of the numerous Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments that dot the island and provide you the ideal opportunity to gain an insight into the native way of life. Inform the staff of your vacation villa and they will happily arrange a vehicle with a licensed driver to take you around the island.

You can start your trip with a ride between Port Antonio and Ocho Rios. On the way, you can stop at Portland's Boston Jerk Centre or Buff Bay's Blueberry Hill Jerk Stop. The fumes of spicy jerk wafting from the roadside stands will tempt you to stop even if you are not hungry. First invented by Maroon soldiers in the 1600s, jerked meat is today a staple of the Jamaican diet. Seasoned with pimento, cinnamon, nutmeg and hot peppers, jerk chicken or pork is grilled to perfection over an aromatic fire of pimento wood.

En route you’ll come across dutchie stalls housing local craftsmen selling handmade cast iron pots and pans. The dutchies are used to cook a variety of traditional Jamaican dishes.

If you love seafood, you can dine in one of the fishing villages between Negril to the south coast. And for a unique beachfront dining experience, you can check out Alligator Pond's Little Ochie, where you can enjoy your meals on a boat on stilts under a thatched roof overlooking the sea.

Travel through Jamaica and you will find most roadsides lined with farmers markets selling fresh produce and so you can stock up with exotic jackfruits, sour sops, and familiar mangos and coconuts. Also if you are hot and thirsty, you can try out ice-cold jelly made from coconut or root wine made from various indigenous herbs and roots boiled in molasses or honey.

Then you’ll come across many craft markets selling a wide range of authentic Jamaican art and craft including hand-painted woodcarvings, bamboo shakers, quirky t-shirts and live Dancehall compilation tapes.

So make your visit to Jamaica all the more special by experiencing the island’s unique flavours, discovering its rich cultural heritage, sampling the best of the cuisine and topping all this by staying in Jamaica villas and cottages to revel in the country’s famed hospitality.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jamaica facts and tips

Jamaica is the third-largest isle within the Caribbean located less than 500 km south west of the shoreline of Florida. Boasting rugged mountains, deep green jungles, crystal-clear shoreline caressed by the balmy breezes, reggae, luxurious dining and all-night partying, There are a number of things to see and do in Jamaica and if you are planning a vacation there you can plan your keep the following in mind to plan your itinerary.

Accommodation: You can stay in hotels, Jamaica accommodation rentals or all-inclusive resorts. Hotels will definitely provide you a comfortable stay but at the end of the day, hotels across the world offer the same sort of services so you won’t really be experiencing anything different. All-inclusive resorts, though expensive, save you the trouble of planning your own itinerary but will limit your choice of activity to what the resort in question has to offer. You can on the other hand, stay in Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments that combine the best of hotel comforts and services with the privacy and space that only a home can provide. Besides, you also have the opportunity to explore, experience and discover the island at your own pace and leisure.

Discover the culture: Jamaica gained its independence in 1962 after about three centuries of colonial rule. Today, 90% of the island’s population is black with a rich sprinkling of other ethnic groups comprising largely of Indians, Chinese, as well as Syrians all of whom have added colour to its rich cultural fabric.

Great outdoor activities: If you are in Jamaica, you have to experience the outdoors. The mountains, beaches, plains and plateau offer myriad of opportunities for activity including trekking, hiking, water hiking, and of course marine activities such as swimming, scuba diving, white water rafting, snorkelling, diving etc.

Sightseeing: Tourist activity in Jamaica is largely concentrated in and around Kingston, Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and the various beaches that dot the island. There is no dearth of Jamaica villas, apartments and cottages in these towns and no matter what your taste and budget, you’ll find an accommodation to suit your taste and pocket.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Things to do in Runaway Bay in Jamaica

Jamaica is a popular holiday destination that attracts the tourists from the world over. There is much to see and do and so to make the most of your stay on this breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean island, you can plan an itinerary and also stay in a place which provides you convenient access to the attractions. One such place is Runaway Bay, located in Jamaica famous north coast that offers the visitors numerous sightseeing and outdoor opportunities. If you decide to add Runaway Bay in your itinerary, you can choose to stay in Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments that are located within easy distance of these attractions. Indeed, these Jamaica villas are your home away from home and a stay in these accommodations will make your visit all the more memorable.

Once you are settled in, you can begin by exploring Runaway caves. This is an ideal place to start because you’ll be acquainted with the history of the area and will understand why it got this name. Runaway Bay was originally inhabited by Arawak Indians but it got its name Runaway Bay during the colonial era when numerous slaves started escaping to the sea from the local beaches.

Once you have settled in your Jamaica accommodation rentals, you can begin by hiking around the mysterious Runaway Caves. These caves served as hideouts for various people over the centuries first by the Arawak Indians, then by the pirates and smugglers and finally by slaves escaping from Jamaican plantations.

Next you can visit the Green Grotto caves that also served as popular hideouts. he green algae that cover its walls. History has it that the island’s first inhabitants, the Taino people, used the caves for shelter, a fact that gained credibility from the many artefacts that have been found at the site. Further, it is believed that the Spanish sought protection in the caves when they fought the British for control of the island in 1655. There is an underground lake, covered by a vaulted cave. The water here is partly tidal saltwater and part freshwater. You can go around the perimeter of the caves or enjoy a guided tour of the caves. They caves have also featured the James Bond thriller, Live and Let Die. During their long history, the caves have been known by many names including Runaway Caves, Dairy Caves, Rum Caves, Hopewell Caves, and Dry Harbor Caves.

While in Runaway Bay, you can also visit Jamaica’s most popular tourist attraction, the Dunns River Falls located in Ocho Rios. You can appreciated the water cascading down over 600 feet of rocks to the tropical beach below or jump right in and join a human chain that is hiking to the top of the falls, stopping in the shallow wading pools on the way up. Then there is also a magnificent marine park, Dolphins that promises great fun for the entire family. Aside from other activities, you can also swim with a family of Bottleneck dolphins.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Choosing a tour in Jamaica

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica you will be spoiled for choice as to what to see and do on this breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean island. And if you wish to make the trip a memory of a lifetime, you can choose to stay in Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments, instead of hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Hotels can be highly impersonal and all-inclusive resorts, expensive. Added to this is the fact that in all-inclusive resorts your choice of activity will be limited to what is included in the package. So if you want peace, privacy, space, comfort, and affordability you want, it is Jamaica villas you should choose as your accommodation option.

Once your travel arrangements have been made, you can examine the sightseeing and things to do opportunities in Jamaica. There are innumerable tours that you can take. To make your choice easier, we have listed here some of the activities you can do and sightseeing tours that you can enjoy.

History and culture: Jamaica boasts a rich and colourful history and culture and the best way to discover them is by taking guided tours of the numerous estate houses that dot the island. You can take a guided tour of Prospect Plantation that dates back to 1721 and is still in working condition. The plantation has attracted dignitaries from across the world who have planted saplings here. You can read commemorative plaques through out the area. If you are interested in Gothic horror and witch craft, you can check out the Great Rose Hall and for a glimpse of the Caribbean art, there is Harmony Hall that you can explore.

Sightseeing opportunities: You can enjoy a guided tour of artist Bob Marley’s home. You can also visit the Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica’s most popular attraction. You can wade right into the water and join a human chain working its way up the slippery stone stairs leading right to the top of the waterfall.

Family activities: If you are travelling with the kids, you can spend the day in the Dolphins cove where you can swim with the lovable mammals. Then there is the Kool Runnings Park, a marine park where there are slides for the adventurous and the staid.

Activities: While here, you can enjoy a guided trek up the misty Blue Mountains or enjoy a boat ride in the Luminous Lagoon. The lagoon is home to a rare phosphorescent microbe known as dinoflagellate. The movement of the water causes the microbes to move and glow with an ethereal neon-green colour, which in turn gives the lagoon its luminous effect. This phenomenon can be witnessed only in four places in the world and Jamaica is considered to be the best amongst them.

Water activities: No holiday in Jamaica can be complete without a visit to the numerous beaches and indulging in water activities. You can go for diving, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving.

So there is much that you can see and do in Jamaica. To make the best of your trip, remember to choose Jamaica villas that provide you convenient access to the attractions so that you don’t have to waste time in driving.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to rent Jamaica villas

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, you can stay in Jamaica villas for a more personalized and unique experience. These Jamaica villas are your home away from home and offer a more intimate experience than a hotel. Depending on your budget and whether you are travelling single, as a couple, with family or friends, you can find a villa, cottage, studio or apartment that is perfect for your needs. A little bit of thought in this direction will help you find the right villa at the right rate. So how to rent a Jamaica villa?

First, decide on when you are planning your vacation. The high-season in Jamaica is between mid-December to mid-April, which means that if you are planning your visit during this period, make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Also, you are more likely to get a better deal if you book well in time. During the off-season, you can avail of special discounts and packages. The added advantage is that there is less of a holiday crowd, which means you get to explore the beaches, outdoors, mountains and waterfalls in peace. If your dates are flexible, you are more likely to get a better deal.

Enter the term Jamaica villas in the search bar and you will be inundated with choices. As a rule, you must compare rates, that is nightly, weekly and extended stay rates. There are some Jamaica villas that have minimum number of nights stay as pre-condition. Also, if you are travelling with your family including kids and grandparents, ensure the Jamaica villas have facilities to keep them occupied and well taken care of. This means your rental should provide babysitting services etc so that you can venture out if you wish to.

Generate a list of questions you would ask the property manager, marketing agents or the owners themselves. For example, you can ask for more photos of the property in question and whether it provided access to tourist attractions, makes arrangements for tours and transfers etc. If you are planning to take your pet along, you must ensure that the vacation rental is pet-friendly. Feel comfortable with your choice before sending money. Ask whether you can pay by credit card so that if you experience any problems, you can dispute the charge. Avoid paying by cash because that can leave you more vulnerable.

Book a rental only when you are sure it works for you in terms of location, price and rental terms so you have an enjoyable, stress-free vacation.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to find vacation rental accommodation in Jamaica

You can make your trip to Jamaica all the more special by staying in Jamaica rental accommodations instead of a hotel. True, you will not get the attention of poolside waiters but you’ll definitely get the opportunity to discover and experience the real Jamaica in privacy and in peace.

So how to find the ideal Jamaica accommodation rental? Browse the internet and you will find a plethora of listings of Jamaica villas, cottages and studios ranging from one bedroom to several bedrooms that are perfect for couples, families, and large groups. You will come across Jamaica accommodation rentals in all major resort towns such as Montego Bay Ocho Rios, Negril, and Discovery Bay. Then again, you can find Jamaica villas in less crowded areas, for example, between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios that let you be away from the crowds but near the attractions.

Browse through the listings of various Jamaica villas sites and compare rates and facilities offered. You can compare nightly and weekly rates in different areas. Besides, you must read client testimonials to see what the people are saying for the services and facilities offered by the villa in question.

There are a wide range of villas available in Jamaica ranging from the comfortable to the luxurious with own private pool etc. Depending on your budget and number of people travelling, you can choose between a wide range of Jamaica villas, cottages, studios and apartments. You may also want to factor in the plane fares and other expenses such as car hire, pet sitting, baby sitting charges etc.

Book directly from the owner of the property or the marketing agents representing it. Yu can also ask for more photos of the villa and whether you can speak with past customers. Ask questions such as whether you need a deposit, what amenities the house has and how you obtain the key.

As a safety measure, you must always book the vacation villa, cottage, studio or apartment with a credit card rather than with cash or check in case of any problems down the road. If you find the property was misrepresented, you can leave and dispute the charge.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Go off the beaten track in Jamaica

Jamaica is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from across the world all time of the year. However, if you want your visit to this beautiful island be truly special, you must go off the beaten track and discover the hidden gems that still retain their untamed charm.

As a first step, instead of staying in hotels and all-inclusive resorts, you can choose to stay in Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments that are well suited for all tastes and budgets. This is because hotels are very impersonal in that you will be surrounded by tourists all the time and all-inclusive resorts are expensive and they limit your choice of activity to what they have to offer. Jamaica villas, on the other hand, are your home away from home giving you all the privacy and space you need to connect with your loved ones, live the way you like and like locals amongst locals.

A stay in Jamaica villas means that you are pampered with the best of the services yet you retain your independence to explore the island at your own leisure and pace. If you are convinced but don’t know which one to choose, you can select from a wide collection of Silver Sands villas with their own stretch of private beach. These villas offer the best of services at the most affordable rates and most important they are within driving distance to one of Jamaica’s lesser known gems, the Two Hills Falls and Park located in South Trelawny. From Silver Sands villas, the place is just an hour’s drive away. Let the staff know and they will arrange a vehicle and an expert driver who would take you through a journey into the countryside till you reach your destination.

The drive starts on the North Coast highway but very soon winds its way into the hills and passing through sugar cane fields and picturesque towns. En route, you’ll pass places such as Queen of Spain Valley, Wakefield, and Dromilly. If you are interested in architecture, you will get plenty of opportunities to see beautiful old country houses from another century.

Finally, you’ll reach the edge of a dirt road with a hand-painted sign nailed to a utility pole reading Two Hills Falls and Park. Follow the road through banana and coconut trees to a rustic old bridge made from odd planks of wood and posts. From here, you would be able to hear the gurgling sound of the waterfalls. Cross the shaky bridge and you’ll come to a picnic area with rough benches and tables under tall fruit trees of starapple and jackfruit.

Unlike the Dunn’s River Falls that are a tourist hotbed, these falls attract very few visitors, given the fact that not too many know about them. The stunning Two Hills Falls and Park is one of Jamaica’s best kept secrets and is a must visit for those who to appreciate the beauty of nature in peace and quiet. There are areas for fires and camp-style cooking.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How to make the best of your visit to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica

While touring Jamaica, there is one attraction that you must visit and that is Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. If you are staying in a hotel or Jamaica villas, the staff would arrange the transport for you. Alternatively, you can arrange for one of the many tours that are available. The cost is pretty moderate, about $30 per person.

Be ready to leave your Jamaica accommodation rentals by 8:00 a.m. and you will be able to return around 1:00 p.m. However, you can stay on and explore some other attractions such as the Dolphins cove that is located nearby. But back to the Dunn’s River Falls.

Remember to wear a swim suit because the best part of the trip is that you can jump into the water and climb up the stone stairs leading up to the top of the waterfall. Also wear canvas shoes and ofcourse, sunscreen. Life jackets are provided at the base of the falls wading pool. You will be assigned a group and along with the other members, you will then begin the trek up through the water falls.

You can pause at intervals as you climb up the natural stair case as the water from the falls flows over you and cascades toward the sea to take pictures and admire the spectacular surrounding views.

There are escape routes are available all along the climb and so if you feel really tired and wish to opt out of the climb, there are exit personnel on plateaus to help you leave toward the terrace or decks.

You can enjoy the view of the water cascading over you by sitting on the ledge and admiring the tropical foliage, bamboos, lilies, crotons, and wild orchids.

Once you reach the top of the falls, you can take in the views, click photographs and purchase souvenirs. If the climb has left you hungry, you can also enjoy a light lunch and soft drinks before heading back to your Jamaica villas. You can also purchase the pictures that are being taken by the staff at the end of your trek up the Dunns River Falls.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jamaica villas travel guide: Attractions in Jamaica

Jamaica has lots to offer the tourists and no matter what your expectation from the trip, it will not disappoint. From natural attractions, to beaches, to land and water activities to heritage sites, Jamaica has its all. So to make the best of your trip, you can plan in advance where to stay, what to see and what to do.

Jamaica is known for its heritage estates that reflect its rich colourful history. Some of these heritage estates have been converted into vacation homes where the visitors can stay and experience first hand the culture and the local way of life. Indeed the concept of vacation homes became so popular on the island that there are numerous Jamaica villas and cottages catering to the need of families, couples, singles and friends who are looking for services, hospitality, comfort, privacy and space.

One of the most well-known heritage estate is the 1000-acre Prospect Plantation which was once a sugar estate. The plantation dates back to 1721 and is in working condition even today and can be explored both on foot and horseback. It is deeply entrenched into the history of the island and has been visited by various dignitaries from across the world, a fact that is obvious from the large number of commemorative plaques that dot the plantation. For those interested in Gothic horror and witch craft, there is the Great Rose Hall and for those who want a glimpse of the Caribbean art, there is Harmony Hall waiting to be explored.

No mention of Jamaica can be complete without a mention of its beaches and topping the list is the Seven Miles Beach in Negril that has been voted one of the best beaches of the world time and again. Aside from the beaches, there are other natural attractions such as the Dunn’s River Falls, where water falls from a height of 600 feet. You can jump right into the water and be a part of the human chain that is making its way up the slippery stone steps, laughing and falling to reach the top. For water activities there is the nearby Turtles Beach and the Dolphins cove, an amusement park where apart from other activities, you can also swim with the dolphins.

If you want to stay near all the action, you can stay in Silver Sands villas that provide easy access to the attractions and the best of services and comforts at the most affordable rates.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamaica villas guide: Green Grotto Caves

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, there is lots you can see and do. For starters, you can make your trip really special by staying in Jamaica villas. If it is indulgence, relaxation and rejuvenation that you want, choose Jamaica villas as your accommodation option. These villas are your home away from home and combine the best of services and hospitality with all the privacy and space that only a home can provide.

Jamaica is home to some great natural wonders and Green Grotto Caves is undoubtedly one of them. Besides, these caves are well entrenched in the history of the island. Read to find out why.

Located on Jamaica’s north coast between two towns of Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay, the Green Grotto caves are named for the green algae that cover its walls. History has it that the island’s first inhabitants, the Taino people, used the caves for shelter, a fact that is substantiated by the many artefacts that have been found at the site. Further, it is believed that the Spanish sought protection in the caves when they fought the British for control of the island in 1655.

The caves also provided a perfect hideaway for runaway slaves and smugglers who ran arms to Cuba. More recently, the caves were utilized as a place to store rum. They have also been used as the backdrop for the submarine scene in the James Bond thriller, Live and Let Die. During their long history, the caves have been known by many names including Runaway Caves, Dairy Caves, Rum Caves, Hopewell Caves, and Dry Harbor Caves.

You can take a guided tour and learn about their history, geology, and plant and animal life. Jamaica is home to 21 species of bats, nine of which live in the Green Grotto Caves. The descent down 60 steps, some 37 meters, into the innermost cavern, where visitors will see a crystal-clear underground lake is the highlight of the trip.

If you are planning to visit the Green Grotto caves, you can stay in Silver Sands villas, conveniently located on Jamaica's famous North Coast, about 30 miles from the airport, midway between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. These villas also provide convenient access to some of Jamaica’s other well-known attractions such as Dunn’s River Falls, and the Dolphin’s Cove etc.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jamaica villas guide to Prospect Plantation

There is more to Jamaica than its beaches dotting the Caribbean Sea. The breathtakingly beautiful country is full of surprises and has an attraction suitable for all ages and all tastes, and if you are planning a family trip to the island, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for activities and sight sighting together. As a first consideration, you can stay in Jamaica villas instead of a hotel. Its not just the novelty factor, but all in all, these rentals are more affordable, more personal, more accommodating and more suitable for reconnecting and spending quality time with the family. If this sounds convincing, you can check out the Silver Sands villas, ideal for families and known for their quality services and affordable rates. These villas provide convenient access to one of Jamaica’s most well-known tourist destination and that is Prospect Plantation. In fact, you can inform the staff of the Silver Sands villas and they will arrange transport for you.

The plantation is perfect for a family outing. Whether you are interested in history, adventure, beautiful views, wildlife, you’ll find it all in Prospect Plantation.

The 1000-acre plantation dates from 1721. Here, you can make friends with the birds or learn more about its history. Indeed it has an interesting past; people from all walks of life have planted trees here including former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and Sir Winston Churchill, who planted a mahogany tree in front of the Great House. Indeed, you will find commemorative plaques documenting planting information on trees all over the property. Formerly a sugar estate grows, Prospect Plantation grows bananas, cassava, coffee, allspice, coconut and many other crops, but not for the commercial market.

You can tour on foot or go on horseback. There is a 17th-century cane mill which you can see. You must stop at the White River Gorge from where the views of St. Ann and St. Mary parishes are simply magnificent. Here you can also see Jamaica’s first hydroelectric power plant.

You can also enjoy a demonstration of coconut-tree climbing and after the lesson, enjoy a piece of coconut topped with brown sugar. Then there is the nearby ostrich farm which you can visit. Just be careful if you are eating something for the giant birds will greedily snatch the snack right out of your hand.

Also visit the Great House built in the early 1800s. It boasts many antiques, paintings, and artefacts from days gone by.

Tucked away in the woods is another surprise awaiting you- camels! The animals were used to work Jamaica’s sugar cane plantations during the 1800s. There are a number of guided tours that you can take including the Complete Plantation Tour by Open-Air Jitney, Camel Safari and PlantationTour, Plantation Tour on Horseback, Horseback River Ride plus Picnic Lunch, or Camel Safari, Hike and Cycle.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jamaica vacation information

Visitors to Jamaica who want to gain a first hand perspective of the place can be among the residents and enjoy the taste and feel of a true Jamaican lifestyle by staying in a ‘home’ instead of a hotel. The ‘homes’ refer to Jamaica villas, cottages, condos or apartments that you can rent for the duration of your stay. Known by various names such as Jamaica accommodation rentals or Jamaica villas, these homes are clean, well staffed and located in garden settings with beautiful views of the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Service of these Jamaica villas is excellent and the price quite reasonable. Here you can be a part of the local community and contribute to community.

Places of interest
Offering miles of beaches along the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica is a perfect holiday destination for singles, honeymooners and families. Some of the most popular areas for vacationers include Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Then there are other areas of cultural interest such as Port Antonio, the South Coast and Kingston.

The main language of communication is English, though natives combine it with African dialects and the result is a unique language and words that are truly Jamaican.

Getting There
Jamaica is served by two major airports, Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Most airlines around the world fly into one or both of these airports.

Accommodation options
There are numerous hotels, vacation homes, villas, cottages and all-inclusive resorts catering to all tastes and budgets. By far, the most popular option is Jamaica villas that provide the best of services and hospitality at the most affordable rates.

There is no death of attractions in Jamaica. You can visit, amongst others, Dunn's River Falls and the Green Grotto Caves in Ocho Rios. Then you can go trekking up the majestic Blue Mountains. Besides, there are historic plantations, museums, and parks you can explore and cultural events that you can enjoy.

Most activities in Jamaica center around water including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing and boating. From the famous Blue Lagoon to Seven Mile Beach in Negril to the Luminous Lagoon, you will be spoilt for choice.

Jamaica enjoys a tropical climate with temperature ranging from 66 to 99 degrees F. The rainy seasons are from May to June and again from November to December.