Thursday, November 25, 2010

Golfing holidays in Jamaica

Jamaica is the most sought out destination in the Caribbean. Going by the figures of the Jamaica Tourist Board, the island attracts more than one million visitors annually who come here to bask in the sun, relax on its beaches, indulge in its attractions, explore its peaks and underwater and play in its golf courses.

Jamaica is usually seen as a romantic destination but contrary to its reputation, it is very much a family destination and there are a number of Jamaican rentals that cater exclusively to families. These rentals are stand alone units and some even provide childcare facilities and so if you are travelling with kids, you can leave them in good hands and go off to enjoy a pleasurable round of golf in one of the several championship golf courses.

Jamaica has more major championship courses to swing away on than in any other Caribbean destination. The courses not only provide a true test of the game, they are also very picturesque. These courses ring the island like a necklace. Balmy year round temperatures and well-designed layouts add up to a great experience.

Five top calibre courses in the Montego Bay are within easy distance of each other. The relatively new Ritz-Carlton’s White Witch course in the Rose Hall area has already been designated by Conde Nast Traveler the No 1 course of all the top 100 golf resorts in the world. This 18-hole course is built on 600 lush acres.

Nearby is the 6,757-yard Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course meander through lush mountains and out to the coast. The resort is laid out with the resort player in mind and offers an array of mountain, island and ocean views.

Then there is the SuperClub Golf and Country Club which has been referred to as the gem in the rough. Designed by Robert Moote, the par-72, 6570-yard course features interesting blind shots.

Top amateur golfers representing 10 regional teams gather in the Montego Bay area for the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in the Montego Bay area.

Jamaica is the perfect venue for playing at championship courses with undulating greens and well-trapped fairways. Balmy year-round temperature, scenic views, and interesting caddies add up to the great experience.

Water activity tours in Jamaica

Jamaica is a treasure trove for the people who are interested in water activities. There are various Jamaican rentals such as Silver Sands Villas in Jamaica that encompass their own stretch of pristine white sandy beach where the guests can swim and snorkel in privacy. Other than that there are many activities they can enjoy on the island.

There are many tour operators that offer guided tours and two very famous ones include:

Dolphins Cove: This is Jamaica’s premier water park where you can enjoy a host of activities including a swim with the dolphins. For this, the instructor would give you a brief orientation, after which you can go into the water and frolic and swim with the friendly mammals.

Guided tours are available for Dolphins Cove which include apart from swim with the dolphins exploring jungle trails in the rainforests. This activity allows you to watch up and close some exciting birds, tropical fish, and reptiles.

There is also a tour for swimming with trained nurse sharks. You’ll be accompanied by trained shark encounter specialists into the water where you can swim and feed the sharks. However, if this is a bit too adventurous for you, you can enjoy a shark show from land.

River tubing safari: Most of Jamaica’s rivers are navigable which means you can enjoy a number of activities including kayaking, tubing, white water rafting, canoeing and bamboo rafting to name a few. One tour in great demand is the river tubing adventure on the Great River. For this, the instructors will give you an orientation complete with safety tips after which you can enter the tube and float down the river. The guide will provide you an interesting and informative commentary along the way. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery as it unfolds and even glimpse the indigenous Jamaican animals on the banks of the river.

These tours give you an insight into the type of water activities you can enjoy on the island. Silver Sands villas in Jamaica books exciting tours with the Chukka Caribbean Adventures, an award-winning tour company that operates exciting tours both on land and water.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Adventure tours in Falmouth Jamaica

Falmouth, though not as well-known as Ocho Rios, Kingston, Port Antonio, or Montego Bay, has lots to offer the visitors. The development of a new pier which will begin functioning from January 2011, has brought Falmouth to the center-stage and locals are upbeat about the additional opportunities it will bring. Jamaican rentals such as Silver Sands Villas are also expecting a surge in bookings once the pier becomes operational.


Tour operators have also smelled opportunity and are investing heavily to take advantage of the huge tourism potential of the town that traces its origin to 1700s when it was a leading port town in the Caribbean. During the 1800s when sugar was the king, Falmouth emerged as one of the wealthiest towns in Jamaica and its importance is well reflected in the historic buildings and plantations.

Chukka Caribbean Adventure, which has won the Caribbean leading nature adventure excursion operator in 2010 for the fourth consecutive year, has invested more than US$2 million to broaden its adventure tours with an emphasis on the historical importance of Falmouth, and incorporating Good Hope Estate and Great House. It is now offering exciting tours that combine the old world charm of the place with exciting activities.

One such tour is the Chukka ZipLine Canopy & River Kayak Combo tour which takes you through a picturesque journey into the Good Hope plantation and then ends it with an exciting rubber tubing adventure on the Martha Brae River. This is an award-winning guided tour in which you are able to soar through the trees on horizontal traverses like a ‘Tarzan’ or ‘Jane’ and see the pristine waters of the Martha Brae River. The second part of the adventure is rubber tubing on the river that is named after a witch who is believed to have outsmarted the Spaniards when they ruled over the island.

This is just one of the several tours on offer. Then there are others such as the Chukka horse and buggy ride through historical Falmouth and the Falmouth historical highlights, beach break and lunch tour that provide a unique insight into the rich cultural heritage of the town. For the convenience of its guests, Silver Sands Villas also books tours with Chukka Adventures and provides transfers to Falmouth and other places of interest on the island.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Parks and reserves in Jamaica

Jamaica boasts a large number of parks, reserves and botanical gardens which are all well worth exploring. Most of the parks are located in or around the north coast and so if exploring the island’s natural treasure trove is high on your agenda, you can consider setting base in Jamaican rentals such as Silver Sands villas that can help you arrange your trip to these parks and reserves.

Start with the Swaby's Swamp Safari in Falmouth and you’ll be able to see a large number of ostriches in the Cashoo Ostrich Park which also doubles as a working farm. Apart from the ostriches, the other major attraction here are the crocodiles. There are guided tours on offer to take you through the beautiful hiking trails.

The most famous park on the island is the Blue Mountains and John Crow National Park spread across 20,000 acres. As is obvious from the name, the park encompasses two mountain ranges, the Blue Mountains and the John Crow National Park. It also houses the largest remaining rainforests in Jamaica. Camping and hiking are the two favorite activities here and there are a number of tour operators offering guided tours to hiking trails and to reach the highest peak at 7402 feet above sea level.

You can also check out the Montego Bay Marine Park, which attracts several species of stingrays, moray eels, and numerous other types of fish and sharks. Also worth checking out are the coral reef formations. The park also offers excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Then there is the Royal Palm reserve set in Great Morass swamplands across 7000 acres. The park supports diverse creatures such as crocodiles and a wide range of birds, including herons and egrets, living amongst the mangroves.

The parks and reserves reflect the rich bio-diversity of the nation and provide you the perfect opportunity to see the native flora and fauna at its most beautiful and its most undisturbed.

This is the time when most people plan their winter getaways and if rejuvenating amidst nature’s healing surroundings is something that you are looking forward to, there is no place like Jamaica to head to. Jamaica is an affordable destination and offers unique travel experiences even to the budget travelers. You can make the most of your visit and get the best returns for your money by staying in vacation rentals in Jamaica that combine the best of services of a hotel with the privacy, space and freedom that only a home can provide.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New pier in Falmouth to promote tourism in Jamaica

Come January and Falmouth will open its pier to the cruise ships that come calling to the island. The new pier is expected to give a huge boost to tourism activity on the island and more so to Falmouth and the surrounding areas. There are various Jamaican rentals like Silver Sands Villas in Jamaica that are looking forward to the expected surge in visitors.

Falmouth traces its roots to the 1700s when it was a major port town in the Caribbean. However, gradually Ocho Rios took over and became the cruise capital of Jamaica. However, the development of the new pier has thrown the spotlight once again on Falmouth and the town is basking in its new found glory.

Falmouth has much to offer its visitors and these are just some of the places that you can visit.

There are many historical buildings in Falmouth that are remnants of the colonial era. One such building is the old courthouse which was built in 1815. The church reflects a Georgian design complete with well proportioned vertical and horizontal grads crossing the building as also fanlights, shingled walls and jalousies. It was damaged by a fire in 1926 but was later rebuilt.

Stroll through the lively old town where you can appreciate the 18th century architecture. You can bask in the old-world charm and talk to the locals to gain an insight into its background and culture.

You can also visit the Falmouth parish church which was built in 1795. The church is the oldest public building in the town. It was constructed in brick and stone and is a good illustration of vernacular architecture derived from classical forms. You can admire the four massive and monumental timber columns that support the roof. The monuments on the interior walls of the Church date from the early nineteenth century.

Jamaica is well known for its plantations and great estates one of which is the Good Hope Plantation spread across 2000 acres. This coconut and cattle plantation is best explored on horseback. The history of the plantation dates back to the 18th century. One of ht greatest attractions here is the 18th century Great House named Good Hope set against the dramatic blue–gray mountains. It is renowned for its exquisite gardens and country trails. The road up from Falmouth winds its way by 200–year–old stone fences past fields and orchards, cattle and horses, a living testimony to an era of grace and gentility.

You can also visit the Luminous Lagoon at Glistening Waters. The lagoon gets its name from the bio–luminescent micro–organisms that inhabit the waters and emit a phosphorescent light when the water is agitated. The best time to visit the lagoon is at dusk and enjoy a boat ride. If you take along a stick, you can disturb the waters and see the phenomenon. If you wish, you can also swim in the luminous waters.

Falmouth is located on the north coast of the island and at a convenient distance for day trips from Silver Sands in Jamaica.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family vacation tips for Jamaica

The island nation of Jamaica is dominated by sandy beaches, mountains, rainforests, caves and waterfalls. The country provides the ideal base for water activities such as
snorkelling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, river rafting and swimming. The land too promises its share of fun and so you can go horseback riding, hiking, caving and golfing. With so much to see and do, it is little wonder then Jamaica is a favourite destination for a family holiday. And catering to the requirements of families are a large number of rentals in Jamaica varying from private villas and cottages to apartments, studios and condos.

Sightseeing

The most sought out tourist attractions in Jamaica are located in Ocho Rios. It features the famous Dunn’s River Falls and the Dolphins cove. Then there are the Y.S. Falls in Negril where the water falls into seven pools in which you can swim, swing or take a tube ride. Negril is also famous for its sunsets and world famous beaches including the Seven Miles Beach. For the nature enthusiasts there is the Royal Palm Reserve spread across 300 acres and featuring the exotic flora and some rare birds of the island. The reserve is also home to some ponds, nature museum and also a restaurant and bar. Those interested in arts, can head to the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston. The gallery is home to numerous artifacts, paintings, sculptures, pottery and other pieces of artwork from different periods. You can also explore the Luminous Lagoon which is home to the rare microbes that glow with a greenish neon light when the water moves. The phenomenon is nothing less than ethereal and can be witnessed in four places in the world.

Accommodation in Jamaica

Although there are many all-inclusive resorts and hotels on the island, a better alternative can be to book your own private villa, cottage or apartment on the island. The reason is simple; why book a room when you can book a whole house for the same rate and get more value for your money. Jamaica villas and cottages are perfect for families and have amenities that cater to all age groups. As a case point, consider the Silver Sands villas, conveniently located in Jamaica’s north coast where most of the tourist towns including Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay and Port Antonio are located. These villas encompass their own private beach and have a separate play areas for kids. If you want to stay indoors, you can simply lounge away in the porch reading your favourite book or taking in the views of the Caribbean. The staff also arranges a weekly entertainment/welcome party where the guests get the opportunity to mingle with each other.

Transportation

Most international airlines go through the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay while there are others that go through the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. You can reach your destination in Jamaica by taxi or bus. Alternatively, if you are staying in a private accommodation, you can ask the staff of the villas to arrange for an airport pick up. Silver Sands villas in Jamaica arrange transfers from the airport.

Family vacation tips for Jamaica

The island nation of Jamaica is dominated by sandy beaches, mountains, rainforests, caves and waterfalls. The country provides the ideal base for water activities such as
snorkelling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, river rafting and swimming. The land too promises its share of fun and so you can go horseback riding, hiking, caving and golfing. With so much to see and do, it is little wonder then Jamaica is a favourite destination for a family holiday. And catering to the requirements of families are a large number of rentals in Jamaica varying from private villas and cottages to apartments, studios and condos.

Sightseeing

The most sought out tourist attractions in Jamaica are located in Ocho Rios. It features the famous Dunn’s River Falls and the Dolphins cove. Then there are the Y.S. Falls in Negril where the water falls into seven pools in which you can swim, swing or take a tube ride. Negril is also famous for its sunsets and world famous beaches including the Seven Miles Beach. For the nature enthusiasts there is the Royal Palm Reserve spread across 300 acres and featuring the exotic flora and some rare birds of the island. The reserve is also home to some ponds, nature museum and also a restaurant and bar. Those interested in arts, can head to the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston. The gallery is home to numerous artifacts, paintings, sculptures, pottery and other pieces of artwork from different periods. You can also explore the Luminous Lagoon which is home to the rare microbes that glow with a greenish neon light when the water moves. The phenomenon is nothing less than ethereal and can be witnessed in four places in the world.

Accommodation in Jamaica

Although there are many all-inclusive resorts and hotels on the island, a better alternative can be to book your own private villa, cottage or apartment on the island. The reason is simple; why book a room when you can book a whole house for the same rate and get more value for your money. Jamaica villas and cottages are perfect for families and have amenities that cater to all age groups. As a case point, consider the Silver Sands villas, conveniently located in Jamaica’s north coast where most of the tourist towns including Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay and Port Antonio are located. These villas encompass their own private beach and have a separate play areas for kids. If you want to stay indoors, you can simply lounge away in the porch reading your favourite book or taking in the views of the Caribbean. The staff also arranges a weekly entertainment/welcome party where the guests get the opportunity to mingle with each other.

Transportation

Most international airlines go through the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay while there are others that go through the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. You can reach your destination in Jamaica by taxi or bus. Alternatively, if you are staying in a private accommodation, you can ask the staff of the villas to arrange for an airport pick up. Silver Sands villas in Jamaica arrange transfers from the airport.

Jamaica – the leading winter getaway destination in the Caribbean

Jamaica has been voted as the leading destination in the Caribbean and this is just one of the awards that it added to its kitty during the World Travel Awards 2010 ceremony that was held in London on 7 November. The beautiful island nation was voted as the best beach destination in the Caribbean. It is little wonder then that it is a leading winter getaway for people across the globe specifically in the USA, Canada and UK.

To cater to the influx of visitors to the island, American Airlines has now added three weekly round-trip flights to the existing two. American Airlines is also offering service out of Phoenix for the first time, and British Airways is resuming flights to Montego Bay in October.

The warm, tropical weather is indeed a magnet. However, more important is that the destination is affordable and within the means of a budget traveler.

In fact visitors can look forward to a comfortable and personalized experience by staying in Jamaica rentals comprising private villas, cottages and apartments that provide all the services associated with a hotel complimented with privacy, space, freedom and informal surroundings that only a home can give.

As already stated above, Jamaica has been voted as the leading beach destination in the world. The distinction went to Montego Bay, the second largest town on the island. However, Jamaica boasts plenty of beautiful beaches, one of them being the Seven
Miles Beach in the laid back town of Negril and the Boston Beach in Port Antonio. Then there are guests of the Silver Sands Villas in Jamaica that say that the Silver Sands Beach is the best beach in Jamaica.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stay in a vacation rentals in Jamaica

Everyone loves a holiday and any excuse is good enough to take off for a vacation. Whether it is a short break or a long one, holidays are meant to rejuvenate the mind and soul. In this context, Jamaica enjoys the status of being a leading tourist destination due to its myriad natural wonders and cultural treasures. The attractions in Jamaica are best enjoyed by staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. So why vacation rentals? The vacation rentals in Jamaica combine all the luxuries of a hotel with the privacy and space that only a home can provide. Tastefully decorated and well furnished, these vacation rentals allow you to gain a first hand perspective of the local way of life. Besides, they prove to be a more cost-effective option especially if you are traveling in groups or are here for an extended stay. Jamaica has a fair share of vacation homes and if you are looking for value for money, comfort and privacy, you can check out the vacation homes and cottages in the Silver Sands resorts. Depending on your tastes and preferences, you can easily opt for a home where the d├ęcor matches with your expectations.

As already stated, these vacation homes prove to be more cost-effective especially if you are traveling in groups or with your family. For example a group of six would ideally need to book three rooms in a hotel which would definitely be costly. At this rate, if not less, you could book your own cottage and villa and in the bargain also get the privacy and space you need to connect and spend quality time with your family.

Most vacation rentals in Jamaica are conveniently located near the beaches and this means you can literally wake up to the sounds of the waves and end your day with a pleasant stroll on the sands.

Then there is the privacy and space, something that only a home can offer. You don’t need to bump into complete strangers all the time or have your meals in the impersonal environs of a restaurant. You have the freedom to eat what you like, when you like, cook your own meals or have the cook do it for you.

What’s more, you can stay for as long as you want and explore the various natural bounties of Jamaica. You can spend your days diving under sea to discover a fascinating marine world or enjoy a hike on the majestic Blue Mountains. At the end of the day, return to your own Jamaican rentals and be pampered by the housekeeping staff.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The three best beaches in Jamaica

The recently concluded World Travel Awards held in London on 7 November saw Jamaica walk away with several prestigious awards including the best beach destination in the world.

The beaches in Jamaica need no introduction. Every year the island welcomes more than one million visitors to its shores who come here to soak up the Caribbean sun on its beaches and enjoy every possible type of water sports.

Beaches in Jamaica are as beautiful as they are plentiful. Added to this is the fact that there are some rentals in Jamaica that encompass their own stretch of private beach where you can laze away the hours, swim, snorkel, enjoy a family picnic, make sand castles and in the evening enjoy beautiful walks under the starlit sky.

Outside the Jamaica rentals here are three beaches that are worth a visit.

Seven Miles Beach

Located in the laidback town of Negril, this pristine white sandy beach has consistently been voted as amongst the best in the world. The waters here are so calm on most days that you can actually wade in for half a mile. Whether you want a quiet corner or indulge in some people watching, you’ll find a stretch that is perfect for you. You’ll also find some clothing optional stretches also,

Doctor’s Cove Beach

Located in Montego Bay, this is considered to be one of the finest beaches in Jamaica. The beach is so named because it was founded by a group of doctors who came swimming here in 1906. Mineral springs feed the waters which are also well known for their healing powers.

Boston Beach

The beach is found just outside the natural paradise that is Port Antonio. It is here that jerked meat (jerked pork and jerked chicken) acquired its world famous reputation. The small but beautiful beach is a favourite with both the locals and the visitors.

However, if you want a beach right at your doorstep, you can consider staying in Silver Sands villas in Jamaica that encompass their own stretch of beach. In fact ask most satisfied guests and they will say that the Silver Sands beach can give a stiff competition to the beaches in Montego Bay.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jamaica shines in World Travel Awards 2010

The quality travel products offered by Jamaica won great accolades during the recently concluded World Travel Awards. The World Travel Market was held in London between 7 to 10 December and the awards were part of the events.

Jamaica was recognized as the leading travel destination in seven world categories including World's Leading Beach Destination - Montego Bay, World's Leading Cruise Destination, Worlds Leading Villas, World's Leading Family All Inclusives and World's Leading Caribbean Attractions Company.

Usain Bolt, the fastest sprinter in the world, also walked away with the coveted Face of Travel Award for being part of Jamaica’s ad campaign ‘Once You Go You Know.’

Jamaica welcomes more than one million visitors to its shores every year. Tourism is one of the leading industries on the island and the government has been aggressively promoting its travel products through out the world using innovative means and technology. The latest feather in its cap was a 3D marketing film which was showcased during the event. By this, Jamaica became the first country to ever showcase itself as a destination using the 3D technology.

The events, film and other promotional activities have ensured great curiosity and interest in Jamaica as a country and the locals are optimistic that the interest will translate into higher booking for their tours and accommodation.

In fact, the island prides itself in providing unique travel experiences to its visitors and in a step in the direction provides a complete spectrum of rentals in Jamaica comprising private villas in Jamaica, cottages and apartments perfect for all tastes, budgets and group sizes.

Some rentals like the Silver Sands in Jamaica encompass their own stretch of pristine white sandy beach and are perfect for those who come to the island for a beach holiday. In fact going by the reviews of some satisfied guests at Silver Sands, the beach here can give a stiff competition to the beaches in Montego Bay. This is a great compliment when you consider that Montego Bay has been voted as the best beach destination in the world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jamaica wins leading destination in Caribbean award

Jamaica gained the unique distinction of winning the leading destination in the Caribbean award in the recently concluded World Travel Market held in London between 7 to 10 November. And this was just one of the seven awards that it one, the others including leading beach destination and leading cruise destination in the Caribbean.

So how has Jamaica managed to capture the attention of the world? For one, it has Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, as its brand ambassador. In fact, Bolt also won the coveted ‘Face of Travel Award’ for his involvement in the country’s 'Once You Go You Know' ad campaign.

More important, Jamaica has been able to live up to the hype it has created for its travel industry. In fact, the beaches, the spectacular coastline, navigable rivers, majestic mountains, rainforests, parks, reserves and lagoons are well complimented by the warm hospitality of the people and the steps that the island has taken to ensure the visitors a memorable stay. The island offers a wide range of Jamaica rentals comprising private Jamaica villas and cottages at affordable costs where the guests can experience the best of hospitality, services and comfort so that they are able to explore the island at their own leisure and pace. In a step further, some rentals also book tours and arrange for transfers so that the visitors don’t have to worry about anything.

John Lynch, director of tourism sums this up by saying "Being voted the Caribbean's leading destination is a major endorsement for Jamaica but to be voted as a world leader in these categories, speaks volumes for the quality of the product and service we offer."

Credit also has to be given to the tourism ministry who have used innovation and technology to promote the island as a destination across the globe. In fact, during the World Travel Market, Jamaica became the first country to showcase itself as a destination through the use of 3D technology. The 3D film captured the imagination of the people

Celebrating Jamaica's success, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said, "I am a proud man, for Jamaica has not only captured the imagination of the world as a premier destination, but the world has seen that our performance merits its reward. These seven awards that have been attained by the destination and stakeholders will inspire us to offer even greater services to our clients."

Jamaica has also been voted as the best beach destination in the Caribbean. However, guests at Silver Sands Jamaica are of the opinion that the Silver Sands beach is even better than the beaches in Montego Bay.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jamaica wins leading cruise destination award

Jamaica walked away with the leading cruise destination in the Caribbean award in the World Travel Market event held in London between 7 to 10 November. This was just one of the many awards that it won. These awards are considered to be the Oscars of the travel industry and winning them gives a huge boost to the tourism sector of the countries that receives them.

Ocho Rios is considered to be the cruise capital of Jamaica and it is this place that ensured Jamaica’s win in this category. If you wish to visit Ocho Rios, you can stay in any of the Jamaica rentals located on the scenic north coast. Some rentals like Silver Sands Jamaica also arrange for tours and transfers to Ocho Rios and other places of interest.

Situated in the heart of Jamaica and characterized by gushing waterfalls and fern-clad cliffs, Ocho Rios was once described the explorer as ‘the fairest island ever eyes beheld.’ Today it is known as one of the hottest spots in Jamaica and offers a combination of tranquil beauty and stunning attractions.

There are many interesting attractions that will keep you occupied all day long, however, if you were to start at one place, the ideal spot would be Dunn’s River Falls. It is a magnificent series of falls that cascade from a height of 600feet and trickle down slippery steps to finally join the vast expanse of the blue sea. You can even climb up the steps and reach the top of the waterfalls, and then from there, proceed to the vibrant and a colorful local market.

If you are traveling with your kids, you must take them to Dolphin’s Cove. Here your kids and you can enjoy watching the adorable antics of the dolphins and even swim with them.

However, this is just the beginning of your exciting adventure in Ocho Rios since there is much more that this beautiful paradise offers. A visit to the Coyaba River Garden and Museum will give you the opportunity to enjoy a colorful display of a species of different flowers and plants. Among the many beautiful varieties, one, which is worth marveling at, is the multi-colored New Guinea impatiens, also known as Busy Lizzie.

Ocho Rios is also famed worldwide because it is known to be the home of the legendary writer Ian Fleming, who made this place his base for penning down the famous James Bond novels. You can visit his hilltop home Goldeneye and also enjoy live music performances in the evening at the popular James Bond Beach.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dining in Jamaica

Jamaica is well known for its beaches and great outdoors. However, not many people realize that the food here can tempt the best of palates. There is no place like your own Jamaica villas and cottages to sample the best of the Jamaican cuisine prepared exclusively to your taste by the chef. Outside the Jamaica rentals, you’ll come across a wide array of restaurants and eateries serving up local delights.

The national dish of Jamaica is salt fish (dried cod) and ackee (the cooked fruit of the ackee tree). Another popular dish is rice and peas served with white rice. However, realize that peas actually refer to kidney beans. Coconut is liberally used in preparation and so are scallions (spring onions). You can also check out ‘Rundown’ a delicious reduced creamy coconut milk stew with chicken, meat, fish or vegetables and also Pepperpot soup, which contains chunks of salt pork and salt beef with okra and Indian kale (known as callaloo).

Even with drinks, Jamaica won’t disappoint. The island is synonymous with rum and you will find several varieties with the most popular being Appleton at 40%. The island is also famous for its Blue Mountains coffee, which is amongst the finest on the planet. No description of Jamaican food can be complete without mentioning jerked food, comprising jerked chicken and jerked pork. The specialty is easily available and you’ll find a number of vendors selling it along beaches.

The best place to savour the local delights is in your own ‘home away from home’ or Jamaica rentals comprising private villas, cottages and apartments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Exploring the Caves in Jamaica

Jamaica offers some great outdoor activities, one of which is exploring the caves on the island. Once you have settled in your Jamaica accommodation, you can plan your cave exploration adventure. To make it easier for you we have listed below some caves which you could visit.

Caves of Nonesuch: Located outside Port Antonio, these caves are spread across 180 acres and date back to more than 1.5 million years. They contain some really interesting fossils, the most important being the fossilized marine life that supports the theory that land itself was formed underground and then pushed to the surface by underwater volcanic activity. This multi-chambered site comprises walkways, stairs and railings.

Green Grotto Caves: Found between Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay, these caves are also deeply connected to the history of the island. Over a period of time they sheltered the original inhabitants of the island, then the runaway slaves, and finally the pirates. Nothing of the colourful history remains. However, you can see the beautiful geological formations.

Cockpit Country Caves: These are more for the experienced cavers. There are more than 70 caves and of particular interest are the Windsor Caves, home to a wide variety of wildlife. You can also explore the Peace Caves so named after the annual ritual held in the memory of the brave Maroon People. Maroons were the fierce freedom fighters who gained special concessions from the British.

If you are travelling with kids, you can stay in family friendly Jamaica rentals like Silver Sands Jamaica that offers childcare facilities. You can then go out to spend some time on your own safe in the knowledge your kids are being taken care of.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jamaica on horseback

Jamaica boasts some great outdoors that remain untouched from development. The wild, rugged terrain is best explored on horseback where you can take your time, slow down and stop where ever a place captures your fancy. These horseback tours are available both for the novice and the experienced and are accompanied by guides who not only take care of your safety but also provide you valuable information, stories and insights into the places.

Once you have settled in your Jamaica accommodation, you can plan your great outdoor adventure. There are several companies that offer horse back tours in Jamaica including the well-known Chukka Adventures, Hooves, Rocky Point and Braco Stables.

The horseback tours take you both on land and water. Try out the horseback tour offered by the Chukka Adventures that takes you through beautiful scenic trails, cliffs, on the beach and ends finally with the horse entering into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean for the ultimate thrilling and refreshing experience.

Then there is the Bush Doctors tour offered by Hooves. The bush doctors treated the enslaved people during the slavery period. They were well-versed with the medicinal properties of the plants and herbs that grew on the terrain. Even now the bush doctors treat people in the rural areas. The tour takes you through the beautiful terrain and explores the places in which the plants important for health and healing are found.

Negril, known for its laidback ambience and beautiful beaches is also best explored on horseback. You can enjoy also a tour offered by the Rhodes Hall Plantation. The tour guides will provide you interesting information and stories related to the places and things of interest.

In Ocho Rios, you can opt for a horseback tour offered by the Chukka Cove Equestrian Centre. The three hour long riding tour includes riding the beach and also lessons in polo.

Some of the island’s most scenic places are to be found in the north coast of the island. In fact most tourists prefer to set base here and to cater to their demands the island offers a host of Jamaica rentals comprising private villas, cottages and apartments which visitors can choose according to their tastes and budgets.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jamaica villas versus all-inclusive resorts

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, then know that where you stay can make all the difference to not only your experience but also to the pocket. You can choose to stay in all-inclusive resorts or Jamaica rentals.

Jamaica has pioneered the concept of all-inclusive resorts. What this means is that you get to stay in a resort with other people who have also booked it. Food, transport, drinks and entertainment is included in the package. All-inclusive resorts can be a good option for singles or couples but not for families or a large group of friends travelling together.
First, the cost is very high. Second, all-inclusive resorts don’t make much sense for families because they don’t offer activities to cater to all age groups. Most importantly, part of the fun of the holiday is the challenge of discovering a place on your own and this is what you will definitely miss out because everything is planned for you. So opt for an all-inclusive resort only if you can afford the costs and wish to follow a chartered course.

Jamaica accommodation rentals comprise private villas, cottages, apartments, studios and condos that you can book for the duration of your stay. These are all private homes, mostly second homes owned by people living across the globe. The owners may stay on the island for some time and then rent it out to vacationers when they are empty. This is a win-win situation for both as the owners get to make some extra money and the vacationers can get to stay in their ‘home away from home’ on the island.

So what are the points that go in favour of accommodation rentals? First, these homes range from one bedroom to several and with amenities ranging from the comfortable to the ultra-luxurious complete with private pool, Jacuzzi to name just two, which means you can book one depending on the number of people in the group and your budget. Second, the rentals are easy on the pocket than hotels and all-inclusives in that they have their own well equipped kitchens and often a BBQ, which means you save money by eating in.

Next is privacy and space. In a time challenged world, professional commitments can take their toll on personal relationships and so today vacations are more about getting away from it all and spending quality time together with family and friends in a new place and in a new surrounding. To strengthen the bonds, you definitely would want to be away from the crowds in your own space and this is what these rentals provide. Apart from the kitchen and bedrooms, these homes also have living areas, gardens, terraces and verandas where you can laze away the hours, enjoy the beautiful surroundings, play indoor games in the late evenings or enjoy a picnic on the private stretch of a beach. Besides, there may be times when you wish to go out with your partner or spouse. The staff of the villas will arrange for childcare facilities so you can go and enjoy yourself safe in the knowledge that the kids are being well taken care off. In fact there are rentals like the Silver Sands Jamaica, with their own stretch of private beach, that also have special play areas for children.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Jamaica villas for a perfect vacation

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 any of the Jamaica rentals 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.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to book your Jamaica villas and cottages

If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, you can consider staying in Jamaica rentals comprising private Jamaica villas, cottages and apartments as a better alternative to a stay in a hotel or all-inclusive resort.

There are many factors that go in favour of these Jamaica rentals. For one, these are individual units more like your home away from home so they are perfect for those looking for a more personalized experience. However, since these units are rented out, they provide all the professional services you would associate with a hotel including concierge, housekeeping, reception etc. In fact, you can choose to stay in self-catering Jamaica apartments or Jamaica villas and cottages that come with housekeeping staff and chef.

In fact all these rentals have their own kitchen/kitchenettes where you can prepare your own meals or have the chef prepare them for you and eat what you like when you like, in your dining room or in the balcony or terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Eating in saves you a substantial amount of money which you would otherwise have to spend in restaurants. If you are here for an extended stay, this will prove to be an all the more comfortable arrangement not only on your pockets but also on your stomach. Also, some Jamaica rentals like Silver Sands Jamaica are located in beautiful garden settings so you can also have BBQ and entertain your family and friends.

Enter the term Jamaica villas or Jamaica rentals in the search engine and you will come across several websites offering these rentals. Browse through the top ranking sites and study the images, prices, services provided, location etc and do a comparative study. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the property owner or the marketing agencies of the Jamaica accommodation. A genuine company will not hesitate in answering your queries. There are some rentals like Silver Sands Jamaica that are extremely family-friendly and also provide child care facilities, have separate play area for kids and also arrange for car seats free of cost in vehicles.

The high season in Jamaica is approaching and if you are interested in staying in Jamaica rentals, make sure to book your accommodation in advance.