Category Archives: Regions in Jamaica

Information on the different regions in Jamaica and what there is to do whilst there.

Things to Do at Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach

Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa is a Caribbean boho-chic resort on Jamaica’s low key south coast. Despite it’s laid back appeal there is plenty to keep you occupied on the main Jakes property, all presented in Jakes signature style. Everything on site, from the pool, to the bar, to the spa has been designed in a non-intrusive, artsy cool way. If you are looking for an authentic place to stay in Jamaica, with first class dining and plenty of things to do Jakes may just have it all?

Continue reading Things to Do at Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach

Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa – The Rooms

It is easy see why people fall in love with Jakes Hotel, where the vibes are easy-going and there is a room to suit your every need. During our three night stay we fell for the charms of the ‘Caribbean Boho-Chic’ south coast resort and I would definitely go back given the chance.

Continue reading Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa – The Rooms

Jakes Hotel Review – Arrival and Coral Room

 

Jakes Hotel, Villas and Spa is probably the most talked about place to stay in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. The quintessential bohemian hang-out on the untouched south coast that has grown organically over the last two plus decades as an antithesis to the all-inclusive hotels huddled on the north coast. With a  three night mini break on the very near horizon I seized the opportunity to make a reservation at the hip Treasure Beach hotel to see what all the fuss was about and explore the area.

Continue reading Jakes Hotel Review – Arrival and Coral Room

Breakfast at Smurfs Café in Treasure Beach

If you are in the vicinity of Treasure Beach you need to find your way to Smurfs Café & Sports Bar. A Treasure Beach institution, this unassuming ‘Café’ has a roomy shaded seating area at the back and the host Miss Dawn serves the BEST BREAKFAST EVER!

Continue reading Breakfast at Smurfs Café in Treasure Beach

Welcome to Treasure Beach and the South Coast – Saint Elizabeth

Welcome to Treasure Beach – Saint Elizabeth

As a long time north coast dweller I have always wanted to visit the south coast of Jamaica, or more specifically the area around Treasure Beach and Black River. So I recently took the opportunity to drive down to the parish of St. Elizabeth, fondly known St. Bess, the ‘Bread Basket of Jamaica’,  to explore the area and celebrate a special occasion in the progress. Follow me on this adventure in the next few posts as we start to explore Saint Elizabeth!

Continue reading Welcome to Treasure Beach and the South Coast – Saint Elizabeth

Boardwalk Bistro at Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you are looking for a stylish beachfront eatery with a finger-licking menu and authentic Blue Mountain Coffee, I have found the spot in the coolest corner of Ochi!

If you live or work in the surrounds of Ochi, the Boardwalk Bistro is ideal for when you to get away from it all and avoid the crush of the town. Visitors to Ocho Rios and passengers from the nearby cruise ship pier, will love the warm Jamaican hospitality and beautiful settings without having to hike for hours to get there.

Boardwalk Bistro – Island Village, Ocho Rios

If you haven’t been to Island Village before you are in for a treat! The Boardwalk Bistro is set among the wooden buildings and lush surroundings that make up the beautiful settings of the Island Village complex.

There is a selection of stores, cafe’s, restaurants and entertainment facilities set around a boardwalk that incorporates picturesque natural spring lagoons (seek them out to see the fish), tropical flowers and fruiting trees.

If you look around you, will see that this complex is dreamy and creates the ambiance of an authentic Jamaican village, I love it!

Boardwalk Bistro
Boardwalk Bistro

The Boardwalk Bistro, Ocho Rios

The Boardwalk Bistro is nestled at the far end of the shops and a mere 10 steps away from the private sandy beach at Island Village, in Ocho Rios. You can relax and people watch in the shaded alfresco eating area directly on the boardwalk whilst enjoying your meal, or take in some intimate Jamaican ambience by sitting inside the Bistro.

The interior of the Boardwalk Bistro has a warm and inviting, carefully thought out decor. The main feature being a stunningly fluid Jamaican Guango wood counter that wraps around one wall.

The Bistro’s open kitchen is situated in full view of the dining area, so you can watch the chefs in action and take in the sights and smells of the cooking before you get to sample the food. The sea breeze along with the huge extractor and ceiling fans helps to keep this area cool.

Take a moment between mouthfuls of food to admire the sweeping Guango wood counter and the tables and chairs which are smooth and weighty and handcrafted from locally produced Guango and Cedar wood.

Then take in the masks and pictures adorning the walls depicting early Jamaican and African scenes, which are gently lit by the stained glass wall sconces in the evenings.

The beach front location is ideal if you want to leave your older children nearby on the beach, whilst you take in a Blue Mountain Coffee or a Jamaican Red Stripe Beer on the cool and shady boardwalk!

 

Inside the Boardwalk Bistro Island Village Ocho Rios

 

The Menu at the Boardwalk Bistro

The Bistro is a champion of getting the right mix of local and international foods on the menu. So whether you are in the mood for something new, or an old favourite, you are sure to find something to tempt you.

Although you can get plated foods, the Boardwalk Bistro is an advocate of eating with your fingers. They serve many of the foods in paper stuffed into decorative wire racks forming cones, with ramekins for dips on the side. Ideal for finger dipping!

Jamaican Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: Jamaican style, served with boiled yam, banana and dumpling
  • Jerk Chicken or Pork
  • Curried Mutton
  • Brown Stew Oxtail
  • Snapper (fish)
  • Coconut Curried Shrimp
  • Salt-Fish Balls
  • Soup
  • Rasta Pasta
  • Chefs Salad
  • Chicken Bites
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast
  • Bammy, Rice and Peas, Sweet Potato Fries, Plantain Chips, Johnny Cakes, Festival

 

International Flavours on the Menu

  • Breakfast: English, Continental, Eggs Your Way, Waffles
  • Cheese Burger
  • Cheese wonton
  • Pita Pizzas
  • Boardwalk Pitas (filled pita bread)
  • Wraps
  • White Rice, Potato Wedges

 

Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro
Soda Float Boardwalk Bistro

Drinks and Desserts

The Boardwalk Bistro serves a their own brand of  100% Blue Mountain Coffee, the much celebrated ‘Strawberry Hill’ coffee brand, alongside teas and iced coffees. Plus they have a range of smoothies, shakes, juices, soda floats, sodas and water.

If you want something alcoholic they have wine, beers, cocktails and many ways of serving the Jamaican staple Rum! If you have any room left, they also have a small selection of desserts on offer.

 

My Experience of Eating at the Boardwalk Bistro

I visited the Boardwalk Bistro for a lunch date with a friend and we took residence on one of the much coveted teak tables on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. We were served  in good time by a smiling waitress who handed us menus with botanical illustrations of Jamaican fruits and trees on the front, which I absolutely adore (I know I have weird Art crushes!).

We decided to go for finger foods to share, so we selected some Jamaican and International side order options from the menu.

We went for Salt-Fish Balls, Cheese Wontons, Bammy and some Plantain Chips.

As soon as I saw it on the menu I couldn’t resist ordering a Cream Soda Float, which reminded me of my Dad, who used to make them for us as children. It didn’t disappoint and the ice-cream was nice and creamy.

The food was served in paper covered baskets and wire racks, so we took a basket each and filled it with a few of the fried delights and started tasting! Overall the food was really good.

I especially loved the Salt-Fish Balls, which were a perfect mixture of juicy, salty, bouncy, frittery crispy deliciousness and the Plantain Chips, which tasted as though they had dropped straight off the tree to the chopping board. The Cheesy Wontons were suitably crispy and cheesy and gave a little international edge to the other Jamaican side orders.

Despite ordering fried foods which were presented in unforgiving paper packaging, I noted there was a distinct lack of oil on the paper. Which I always use as a good measure of whether the food will be overly greasy and dripping in fat. So full marks to the Chef for achieving the crunch without the grease!

If I had to find one little fault about the whole experience, it would unfortunately be the bammy. Which is one of my all time favourite Jamaican side orders. It was a bit tough, like it hadn’t quite been soaked long enough before it was fried. But non-withstanding we ate most of it anyway!

We were full after eating the food, so I slipped the paper out of the rack with the remaining Plantain Chips (too good to waste!) and took them with me to nibble on whilst wandering around the Island Village shops afterwards… Delicious!

Our meal including drinks, came in at around $1,800 (Jamaican), not including the tip we added. We thought the cost was very reasonable for the ambiance, service and what we ordered. Highly recommended!

 

NYAM Boardwalk Bistro
NYAM Boardwalk Bistro

 Want to Visit the Boardwalk Bistro?

The Boardwalk Bistro can be found in Island Village Plaza, at the far west end of Ocho Rios Town Centre.

There is ample Parking and clean Washrooms located in Island Village Plaza. The Car park, Washrooms and The Boardwalk Bistro are fully accessible by wheel chair users. 

If entering the plaza through the car park entrance, you will pass the washrooms (stop first if you want to refresh yourself before finding a table) as you walk through the archway. Immediately turn right and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

If you are coming from the Cruise Ship Pier, head straight down the street passing Oceans 11 and take the first right across a small bridge to the boardwalk, which leads to the sandy beach. The Boardwalk Bistro is the first shop you pass on the corner, conveniently located directly opposite the beach.

If you are coming through the main entrance, walk past the cinema and down the steps, continue past the water feature, lawn and washrooms and follow the boardwalk towards the sea. The Boardwalk Bistro is the last shop on the right-hand side.

Boardwalk Bistro Address

Shop 1/2 Island Village Plaza, Turtle Towers Road, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Phone

(876) 398-2582 / (876) 384-9578

 

Maybe I will see you there when I come back! 

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

FaceBook Page

Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

Instagram

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you ever visited the Boardwalk Bistro in Ocho Rios, Jamaica? Who did you go with and what did you eat?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Jamaican Reviews Head Over Here…

Visiting Ocho Rios and want to learn more about what is has to offer? Head over here…




Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica

The pull of a beautiful waterfall with crystal clear water cascading into the ocean is hard to resist. Little Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, Saint Ann, is a secret (not so secret among locals) alternative to the tourist masses descending on it’s more famous sister, Dunn’s River Falls. When I had a free afternoon after a few days of heavy driving recently, I jumped at the chance to experience Little Dunn’s River for myself. The descent to view the falls is an adventure in itself and if you love the simple things in life a visit to Little Dunn’s River will be sure to please you too.

If you are in the vicinity of Ocho Rios and want to experience a waterfall and beach setting, without all the hands tied together climbing en-mass part, check out Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios – Beach in Saint Ann, Jamaica. 

How to get to Little Dunn’s River

If you are driving from Ocho Rios, take the highway out-of-town towards Saint Ann’s Bay. As you leave the town you will drive past Reynolds Pier and the helicopter base on your right hand side, keep going. Look out for a lay by on the RIGHT hand side, where there is a couple of small single storey white buildings. Park on right hand side of the road ONLY, out of the soft shoulder and on the grass verge; do not park on the opposite side of the road in the soft shoulder.  If you get to Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge you have gone too far, so go ahead and carefully turn round! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

If you are driving from the direction of Saint Ann’s Bay and beyond, head along the highway towards Ocho Rios. Once you pass Dunn’s River  Falls on your right, Dolphin Cove on your left and Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica at Mystic Ridge on your right hand side… look out just around the next corner you will see the lay by. Park your vehicle! You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Entrance to Little Dunn's River
Entranceway in Layby

Entrance Fee and Access to Little Dunn’s River

Little Dunn’s River is accessed from one of two inconspicuous gateways off the pathway in the verge. The first of which has a double door gateway, the second further along the trail has a single gateway. You will normally see a couple of guys ‘manning’ the single gate and they will probably ask for a donation to keep the beach clean; use your discretion. However, Little Dunn’s River and the beach is officially free to enter and you do not have to pay for parking.

It is quite hard to traverse the descent to the falls and ultimately the beach. Therefore, I would not recommend Little Dunn’s River beach and falls for the infirm or unfit! Once you enter through either of the gateways you go down some concrete steps to a platform area. You can either go the right where is the beach area is hidden behind a tree bowing down into the ocean, or go the left where there is a stepped descent to another platform area where the falls are visible. Either way ends up taking you to the ocean. There are not really any falls to climb per se, but you can climb down a small area into the ocean and sit under one of the lesser waterfalls for an invigorating massage!

Steps leading to Little Dunn's River
Stairway to Beach

You have arrived at Little Dunn’s River.

Little Dunn’s River is open to the public and it’s a little more relaxed than some of the ‘paid for’ beach experiences. Many of the beaches in Jamaica have been bought by investors and commercialised so that there is no access to the public. This is a shame as everyone loves going to the beach and having a cooling and refreshing dip in the ocean and many of the locals are priced out in this way.

The actual ‘beach’ at Little Dunn’s River is very small , a sandy slither with a couple of bent over trees to sit on. Don’t bother coming with the whole beach caboodle as there won’t be room to spread out on the sand! There is a wide, shallow and clear area of water directly where the river (falls) enter the ocean which is nice for a dip for non-swimmers and the young. There is a couple of lines with floats directing swimmers away from the rocky areas under foot. If you want to swim and go deeper you can go beyond the bowed over tree to a warm and sandy area of the seabed…. Lovely!

Little Dunn’s River is a chilling spot to marvel at the beauty of nature, enjoy a dip in the ocean and to have an invigorating sit down under the waterfalls. The beach is really small, hence the low score, but the falls are beautiful. The ocean is shallow and calm and there is plenty of space to splash around and swim out. The facilities are limited and the washrooms are right at the very top (although I never checked they were open). There are a few vendors selling drinks and snacks, one of which was perched right on top of the falls! The whole area was very clean and I noticed the beach vendors regularly sweep off the debris on the sand. I arrived around 3.00pm and there were plenty of people around, after about an hour the crowds thinned and we could get a chance to go under the falls. I spent a few hours here to relax and unwind and really enjoyed myself.

Little Dunn's River Waterfall
Little Dunn’s River Waterfall

 

Crystal Clear Waterfalls
Crystal Clear Waterfalls

 

Little Dunn's River Ocho Rios
Little Dunn’s River Ocho Rios

 

Small Sandy Beach
Small Sandy Beach

 

The trail
The trail

 

Waterfall
Waterfall at Little Dunn’s River

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica

Join our Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Keep the Conversation Going…

Have you been to Little Dunn’s River? Where is your favourite beach in Jamaica? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…




Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor

Okay, so everyone has heard of the global travel review phenomenon TripAdvisor, right? Well the number one vacation review site has my attention for two reasons this month. Firstly, I have followed the ongoing Travellers’ Choice 2016 award winners with interest and secondly, I have some exciting news to share with all that I have kept quiet about for a while. I’m talking about my Jamaica Travel Guides and The Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor…

TripAdvisor Travel Guides

I am super excited to share this news with you all!  I was commissioned by TripAdvisor to produce a series of Travel Guides for Jamaica, and I am proud to tell you that two of them have been published and are available to view online NOW! My published Travel Guides give information for visitors to Jamaica who are looking to spend time in the beautiful and lively Parish of Saint James. Located on the north coast, towards the west of the island Montego Bay is a tourist haven, with bundles of things to do to wile away the hours. Check out my Travel Guides for Saint James, Jamaica on the TripAdvisor website and give it a ‘Thumbs Up!’ if you found it helpful.

Click the images to be redirected to my Travel Guides featured on TripAdvisor:

3 Days in Saint James Parish

3 Days in Saint James Parish

 

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Guide to Saint James Outdoors

Travelers’ Choice Awards

I am also excited to share this second piece of TripAdvisor news… ‘Jamaica has hit the top spots again at the Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016 on TripAdvisor’. The reviews have been tallied and the votes have been calculated. Yes, that’s right the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2016 Award winners have been announced! As usual my eyes are always peeled to see how Jamaica has fared in the awards and I am happy to see Jamaica has scooped a fair few so far. Every year TripAdvisor holds the Travelers’ Choice Awards to honour the most popular destinations around the world. These are some of Jamaica’s achievements this year:

Travellers' Choice Trip Advisor

Top 10 Islands in the Caribbean

  • 1st Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Islands in the World

  • 3rd Place – Jamaica

Top 10 Destination’s in the Caribbean

  • 3rd Place – Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • 4th Place – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean

  • 5th Place – The Rock House, Negril, Jamaica
  • 12th Place – Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • 16th Place – Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Images above of Hotel Winners in Jamaica, copyright TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the number one online destination for up to the minute travel advice from its online community of review giving travel fiends. If you are thinking of going ANYWHERE you must try TripAdvisor, as chances are someone has already reviewed where you are planning on going, including reviews from me – SweetJamaicaJules! There is plenty of advice and reviews on all the popular destinations, accommodations and places to visit prior to your visit to Jamaica. So check it out!

TripAdvisor Logo

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you checked out my Travel Guides, or visited any of the Travellers’ Choice Award Winners 2016? Share your experience? Where is your favourite destination in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

 




Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission ‘Sunchimes’

Whilst browsing online recently I came across an advertisement for an enterprise called ‘The Bus Stop Mission’, based in Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Intrigued by the accompanying images I clicked the link to see what it was all about. I was so inspired by what I was reading that I reached out to them to see how I could get involved and help spread the word. So here it is! I am really pleased to introduce them to you all and to tell the story of Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission ‘Sunchimes’.

What is The Bus Stop Mission all About?

The Bus Stop Mission is a charitable organisation that provides a time exchange service for Jamaicans who have no employment, and as an alternative to begging. They have a variety of tasks that can be carried out in exchange for vouchers,  which are redeemable in the discount shop, or which can be used for inclusion into the various programs that they run. Adults and children can earn food, clothing, toiletries and school supplies to fulfill an immediate need, by creating the most beautiful hand-made crafts from recycled materials. These hand-made creations are then offered to local gift shops for sale, so that the profits can be used to buy more craft materials and to (re)stock the Discount Shop. I really think this is such a wonderful idea, creating employment opportunities where there are none and using recycled materials is good for the environment too – double bubble!… and Totally Genius!

Mission Statement of ‘The Bus Stop Mission’

The Bus Stop Mission will provide training and opportunities for people to learn that they are greatly blessed and their time, talents, and resources are a blessing, which can benefit themselves and others.

Most people who don’t have food to eat or clothes to wear, do have time to share. The Bus Stop Mission offers an alternative to begging. We offer low-cost food, school supplies, necessities, and classes to help you stretch your dollar as far as it will go. Those who don’t have the money to afford what we offer can trade their time and/or talents for store and program vouchers.

Our classes and activities are offered to teach new skills and help each student recognize the value of their own time and talents.

We are located at the Stop Light/Bus Stop in Salem, Runaway Bay p.o. St. Ann, Jamaica

– Each Day is a Gift from God, how we use it should honor Him!
 
Bus Stop Mission Making Crafts
Bus Stop Mission Making Crafts

How Does The Time Exchange Program Work?

The best part is that everyone is welcome to come to the Mission to exchange their time for goods or educational courses. Adults are invited to stop by the Mission to work and be involved in learning a new skill in a social and happy environment where they can earn items they need from the Discount Shop. Mothers are welcome to bring their young children with them to the Mission and can work for diapers, baby clothes and food, while their children play in a fun and safe haven. School age children can turn up before or after school and on Saturdays, before joining the Saturday Camp activities after 11:00am, where they can work towards a voucher to be redeemed for items from the shop, or a weeks worth of school lunches.

What ‘Tasks’ can be Carried Out on the Time Exchange Program?

The main activity and the one I am most excited by is the making of beautiful and original ‘Sunchimes’. These glistening, twinkling beauties are crafted using recycled tumbled (sea) glass, craft wire and beads artfully strung from a piece of wood. They are designed to not only look beautiful but also to sound beautiful. As the breeze hits them they make the most soothing and mood enhancing sounds that add to the eye catching and decorative looks. The beauty is that everyone who makes these ‘Sunchimes’ is known as an ‘Artisan’ and deservedly so. They provide a creative outlet for the artisan making the Sunchime and they are welcomed to include their name and age (if they are under 18) on the tag, so that they can get recognition for their work.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from this scheme, just turn up at The Bus Stop Mission and join the Time Exchange Program to earn vouchers too! Please pass on this information to others if you feel they would benefit from the scheme too.

There is a variety of tasks you can perform if you don’t want to make the Sunchimes, which include:

  • Sweeping, raking or picking up trash
  • Working in the vegetable garden
  • Collecting and cracking almonds from trees on their property
  • Sorting, washing, mending, ironing or folding clothes for the Discount Shop
  • Collecting glass bottles that can be recycled and used for crafts
  • Assisting with the making of meals for our kids lunch program and our wobye meal program  wobye = work for the bread you eat
  • Mentoring or tutoring a child in the homework help program
  • Making crafts that will be sold in their shop or to craft vendors around the island
  • Teaching or assisting with a Saturday or evening class
  • Assisting with their Saturday youth program or movie night

Please Note: Each task will be assigned a voucher amount.  No cash is offered.  Voucher amounts for each task will be determined based on a reasonable time expectation for completion of that task.

Making Sunchimes at The Bus Stop Mission
Making Sunchimes at The Bus Stop Mission

The Bus Stop Missions’s Discount Shop

The discount shop provides low-cost necessities to the community, including food, clothing, toiletries, shoes, school supplies and basic work tools.  Used clothing and shoes will be the main items available in the Discount Shop. This shop is the primary income source to support all other aspects of the Bus Stop Mission.  The major operating expense is the cost of inventory and shipping for items sent from the United States, as well as the salary of their employees.  (100% of all money remaining after expenses are paid is used to support the other projects of the Mission).

Available Courses at The Bus Stop Mission

The Bus Stop Mission also offers a range of low-cost, fun, hands-on, night and weekend classes that can be exchanged for vouchers. The courses include:

  • Sellable crafts
  • Sewing
  • Child care
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Basic accounting and money management
  • Swimming lessons
  • Kayaking for beginners
  • Snorkeling for beginners
  • Basic reading
  • Basic maths
  • Cooking

Giving a Donation to The Bus Stop Mission

If you wish to make a donation to The Bus Stop Mission, they have this list of items that they would be happy to receive and that would assist in the daily running of the Mission. These items can be brought directly to The Bus Stop Mission, in Jamaica,  or sent to Mission Control at: 16795 State Route E, Rolla, MO  65401,USA; where it will be shipped to Jamaica in their next shipping container.

This list of needs has been copied directly from The Bus Stop Mission website:

“For The Bus Stop Mission to achieve its goals we ask, (we need) your prayers, your time, your talents and your unwanted or unneeded items.”

  • Glass Bottles – These will be used to make a variety of crafts.  Even broken glass of unusual color or pattern is welcome
  • Plastic shopping bags – We crochet these into mats
  • Newspapers – To cover our tables when making crafts
  • Outgrown or unwanted clothing – These will be sold in our discount shop.  (and yes we need belts, clean underwear, bras and socks)
  • Shoes – While school is free in Jamaica, every child is required to wear a school uniform including black or brown shoes (not tennis shoes) There are no cheap school shoes available in Jamaica and one pair can cost a weeks wages.
  • Books – We have the greatest need for children and teen reading books.  (It is hard to develop a love of reading if you don’t have a single book.)
  • Home & Kitchen necessities including sheets, blankets, pots, pans, utensils, etc.
  • Folding chairs
  • Beach towels
  • Masks, fins and snorkels
  • clothes washer
  • clothes drier
  • 2 burner gas stove
  • refrigerator
  • Solar panels
  • sewing machine

The Bus Stop Mission on the beach
The Bus Stop Mission on the beach

Volunteering with The Bus Stop Mission

If you would like to contribute some of your free time and skills to others, then why not think about volunteering? The Bus Stop Mission is seeking volunteers, and values the hands-on assistance.  Their mantra is that ‘ Your time is a blessing and we would be blessed to have your assistance in any of the following areas ‘:

  • Sort, wash, iron, or mend clothing
  • Help at out Saturday Kids Camp
  • Help keep the grounds clean
  • Help at our Movie Night
  • Assist a child with his/ her homework

Assist with or teach one of our classes.  Can you teach others to:

  • Sew
  • Crochet
  • Count money
  • Weave a basket
  • Make a craft
  • Be patient with children
  • Use a computer
  • Perform basic math
  • Recognise basic words

Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission Join Forces…

I am really pleased to announce that I am joining forces with The Bus Stop Mission through my sister company LonJam Trading. We wanted to get involved a help the Mission with their on-going fund raising and employment opportunity scheme by becoming a stockist of the ‘Sunchimes’ and the other craft items that they make. The sale of these items serves two important roles, firstly it enables the Mission to continue offering work opportunities to unemployed Jamaican’s and secondly the money raised through the sale of these items pumps back into the Mission to keep the Discount Shop stocked and to buy more craft materials…. And so the circle continues.

I would really appreciate if you could help me to support the Mission by browsing through the selection of the most beautiful and unusual ‘Sunchimes’  that I have on offer. These beauties are a real talking point and make an ideal decoration to hang where the breeze and  sun will catch them, as they sound as good as they look. They also look beautiful hanging on a wall, tree, outdoor garden structures, veranda’s, decking, ceilings and more. Why not get creative and share you pictures of places you have hung them in your home? These items come directly from the Jamaican artisan’s hands and each piece is individual and original, so no two pieces are the same. Act fast to get the piece that you love the best, as once it’s gone, it’s gone! You can help to raise funds for this amazing enterprise by getting in touch with me if you wish to buy one of the pieces I have on offer and by spreading the word to others who may be interested.

Thank you! Bless Up Yourself!

Sunchimes For Sale!

If you would like to help support The Bus Stop Mission you can buy a Sunchime from me! Click the link to my Facebook Page, or check out the next post, to view the images. The retail prices are:

  • 9 Strand Sunchimes –  Priced at:  JA$6,000 Or, £33.50 Or, US$50.00
  • 7 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at: JA$4,800 Or, £27.00 Or, US$40.00
  • 5 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$3,600 Or, £20.00 Or, US$30.00
  • 3 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$2,400 Or, £13.50 Or, US$20.00
  • 1 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$1,200 Or, £7.00 Or, US$10.00

Please Note: These prices are NOT including postage. Please send me an email with the #Number that you like and I will give you a price for postage and packaging to your worldwide address.

Beautiful Sunchimes
LonJam Trading Beautiful B.S.M. Sunchimes

 

Want more from Sweet Jamaica? Join Us!

Like our Sweet Jamaica FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers

Join our Sweet Jamaica Twitter feed for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica  @sweetjamaicajul

 

Keep the Conversation Going…

Send me your inquiries below, I look forward to hearing from you to support this worthy cause. Have you bought a ‘Sunchime’ and want to share a photograph of how you have displayed it? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…




Calabash Ital Rastarant – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If you want to try authentic Jamaican food with a twist, then you must try ‘Ital Food’. Nowadays following a ‘clean diet’ is all the rage, but Ital food has been following these principles since its inception. Tasty, healthy, Vegetarian and Vegan dishes are cooked with a flair that is innately Jamaican. Calabash Ital Rastarant is located in Ocho Rios town centre and offers a selection of dishes for breakfast, through lunch and to dinnertime and beyond.

Calabash Ital Rastarant

I am a Vegetarian, so it is a real treat to go to a restaurant where I can choose anything off the menu. Calabash Ital Rastarant is one of my favourite Vegetarian eating spots in Ocho Rios because of the sheer choice and my hardcore meat eating friends love it here too. They have a wide and varied menu with a lot of familiar Jamaican dishes cooked in a meat free format. Including, Vege Chunks, Tofu, Steamed Vegetables, Curried Chickpeas, Ackee, Porridge, Soups, Stews, Vege Burgers and more. If you can’t decide what to order ask for a mixed box, this is a selection of all the different foods cooked on the day served with rice and peas, or hard food (boiled provisions). The food is fresh and delicious and surprisingly affordable. The restaurant has a clean seating area inside and a few tables out on the balcony, alternatively you can buy take away food and they even do delivery in the Ocho Rios region. They have a selection of natural juices on offer too alongside coconut water and other beverages.

Calabash also sell natural products, supplements, t-shirts, incense, accessories, DVD’s, books, posters and beauty products to name a few of the items on offer.

 

Calabash Ital Rastarant Location and Opening Hours

Shop 8
7 James Avenue
Ocho Rios
Jamaica

Telephone Number: 876-570-5565

Calabash also offer a delivery service in the Ocho Rios region.

Opening Hours

Mondays to Thursday  7:00am- 10:30pm

Friday and Saturday  7:00am- 11:30pm

Sunday  9:00am- 9:00pm

 

Calabash Ital Rastarant
Calabash Ital Rastarant

Food Prices at Calabash Ital Rastarant

  • $380 small food
  • $450 medium food
  • $500 large food

What is ‘Ital Food’?

The word ‘Ital’ is derived from the word vital. As Rastafari believe that food and the health and well being of the consumer are all connected. It is part of the faith of the Rastafari in Jamaica and there are certain ‘rules’ of preparing, serving and cooking certain foods stuffs. ‘Ital Food’ is Vegetarian and Vegan based and is considered a ‘clean’ diet, as it contains no preservatives, colourings, flavourings, tinned foods and in many cases even salt is omitted. The food is delicious, fresh and full of nutrients to increase ‘Livity’, or our life energy.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited this Rastarant and want to share your experience? Where is your favourite dish at Calabash Ital Rastarant? Join the Comments Below….

 




JamDung Bar and Grill – Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

JamDung Bar and Grill – Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Runaway Bay in Jamaica is a one street town that takes in Salem and Priory when traversing between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Although the town is compact there is a smattering of food and drink outlets and establishments that are worth a mention and JamDung Bar and Grill is one of them.

Location of JamDung Bar and Grill

Okay, so the location isn’t exactly picturesque as it’s situated along the busy A1 Highway, Main Street, Salem. If you are driving it’s located on the OPPOSITE side of the road to the ocean. You can drive inside the JamDung Bar and Grill compound and enjoy yourself within eyesight of your vehicle. The main road is screened with tropical planting and once you sit down and take it the drinks, food, tunes and vibes you will forget the sound of the vehicular traffic trundling along. There are several resorts that are nearby including Jewel Hotel which is within an easy 10 minutes walk along a flat and straight road. Just keep your eyes on the road and look both ways twice, before stepping out into the road and crossing; be aware of motorbikes which may be in your blind spot.

JamDung Bar and Grill
JamDung Bar and Grill

What’s Happening at JamDung Bar and Grill

All the staff at JamDung Bar and Grill are super friendly and the other patrons make visitors feel welcome. They are open in the daytime and is it a much more sedate affair with a few locals hanging out and taking in lunch or a cool drink. The evenings are when things get hyped up and busier. Monday is Karaoke Night and Friday is Old School and Retro Music Night both of which are popular, as they are fun and entertaining nights which draw in a lively crowd.

The kitchen is nearly always open and you have to try the Roast Yam, a speciality of the venue. I also recommend the Fried Breadfruit, which is an absolute favourite of mine (check out my Breadfruit recipes here!). They also have a selection of barbecue and cooked meats and fish, if you are lucky and the fish hasn’t sold out. There is seating both under cover around the bar area and out in the open where parasol’s keep the sun off the tables and chairs.

JamDung Bar and Grill - Roast Breadfruit
JamDung Bar and Grill – Roast Breadfruit

 

________________________________________________________________________________

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited JamDung Bar and Grill and want to share your experience? Where is your favourite bar and grill in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

 




Road Running Races in Jamaica 2016

Running Events Ltd – Rule. The. Road.

Road Race Running in Jamaica is fun, lively, safe and enjoyable way to take in the sights and help charities in Jamaica. The events are well organised and warmly received by the participants walking and running around the routes. For the 2016 road race calendar Running Events Ltd is staging a total of 18 road races throughout the year (and growing), with the road races supporting various charities. Running Events Ltd isn’t only for fun and exercise. The company reported that it raised over J$100,000,000 (one hundred, million Jamaican dollars) throughout its 2015 road racing calendar for education, healthcare, special needs, youth development and help for the homeless. If you are looking for a way to keep fit, make new friends and do good for charity then check out the race calendar below for Road Race events across Jamaica in 2016.

Running Events Calendar 2016
Running Events Calendar 2016

Sagicor SIGMA Corporate Run

The first road race being held in the Jamaican calendar is the Sigma City Run 2016, being held on the 21st February 2016. If you would like to register to take part go to the Running Events Jamaica website, registration closes on 5th February 2016. The beneficiaries chosen this year are: Children with Cancer, Jamaica Cancer Society Mammography Unit and Black River Hospital pediatric Unit

Sigma City Run 2016
Sigma City Run 2016

Kingston City Run

The second road race in the 2016 Running Events Ltd calendar is the Kingston City Run being held over three days, from 11th to 13th March 2016. Promising to have a carnival atmosphere from the Friday night welcome party, with Bacchanal Jamaica on board providing the pulsating rhythms and vibes for the night. The second day has a more sedate Lifestyle Expo and Pre Race Party being held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Race day is held on the 13th March and incorporates a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon road race around the streets of (New) Kingston. The whole weekend can be enjoyed inclusive of registration price for those entering the race. For more details check out the Kingston City Run website.

Kingston City Run
Kingston City Run

Contact Details for Running Events Limited

Mailing Address:
Running Events Limited
87-89 Tower Street
Kingston, Jamaica

Phone: (876) 967-4903
Fax: (876) 922-0155

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you taken in any road race events in Jamaica and want to share your experience? Which is your favourite road race in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

The National Gallery of Jamaica

National Art Gallery of Jamaica

The National Gallery of Jamaica is located on the Waterfront in Downtown Kingston and is well worth a visit. The entrance is found on Orange Street, where a large statue sits outside the entrance. Internally the layout of the Gallery is light and airy with an open plan area downstairs with double height ceiling which is utilised for exhibitions. There is an unusual double staircase leading up to the second floor which due to the double height ceiling, forms a mezzanine floor, come wrap around balcony effect, enabling you to look down to the open plan floor below. This would give a great birds eye view of the proceedings when an exhibition is being held. The mezzanine floor has artworks along all the walls, with several rooms extending from it that house the permanent collections. The National Gallery houses different genres of art to appeal to all ages and tastes, from Taino artworks and artifacts, to work from Edna Manley and the great Mallica ‘Kapo’ Reynolds, to modern and contemporary artworks.

The permanent Galleries include:

Art in Jamaica, c1000 – c1900.
Jamaican Art – The Twentieth Century.
The Edna Manley Gallery.
The ‘Kapo’ Gallery.
The AD Scott Collection.

 

Where to get the National Gallery of Jamaica Latest Updates

There is also a regular exhibition programme, which is advertised on the National Gallery of Jamaica Blog which compliments the Permanent Galleries and takes over the main space in the gallery. You can also check out the newly refurbished National Gallery of Jamaica Website which gives more information about the galleries and the artists. Although the National Gallery is not vast in size, the overall quality of the content of the Gallery more than makes up for it, and the visit can easily be tacked onto a day of sight seeing in Kingston. Depending on how much of an art aficionado you are you could view the Gallery in a couple of hours, non-withstanding visits to the Coffee Shop, come Gift Shop, which you pass through on the way out. I love this Gallery and cannot wait to visit again.

 

Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica
Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica

 

General Information about the National Gallery of Jamaica

Opening hours:

Tuesdays to Thursdays: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Fridays: 10 am to 4 pm
Saturdays: 10 am to 3 pm
Last Sundays: the NGJ is open every last Sunday of the month, 11 am to 4 pm

Admission:

Adults: JA$400
Senior Citizens and Teachers accompanying student groups: JA$200
Children and Students with ID: free
Guided tours: JA$3,000 (general); JA$2,000 (schools) – by appointment only

 

Contact Numbers:

1.876.922-1561/3 (Lime fixed line);

1.876.618-0654/5 (Digicel fixed line)

Location of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA

12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston (entrance on Orange Street). On the waterfront in Kingston, look out for the large Digicel building which is located nearby.

Food and Drinks:

As a general rule, food and drinks are not allowed in the galleries and refreshments can be bought and consumed in our coffee shop. During receptions and other functions, food and drinks may be allowed in certain designated areas.

Bags:

Large bags and backpacks are not allowed inside the NGJ and must be left with the security desk. Our Security Staff is authorised to search handbags, parcels or other items being taken into or out of the NGJ and we ask for your kind co-operation when a search is requested.

Parking:

Parking is usually available on the adjoining UDC parking lot. An hourly rate applies on weekdays – free on Saturdays. Entrance to the parking lot is on Orange street, first entrance on the left after passing the NGJ building.

Curbside parking is not permitted in most of the areas around the NGJ.

Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica
Copyright National Gallery of Jamaica

 

Disclaimer:

ALL IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA AND HAVE BEEN REPRODUCED ON THIS WEBSITE FOR PURPOSES OF ILLUSTRATION ONLY. WE TAKE NO CREDIT FOR THESE IMAGES.

2 Bedroom Detached Property in Rose Hall, Montego Bay for Short Term Rental

Sea Views at Rose Hall

If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, then this 2 bedroom detached property maybe ideal for you.

This tastefully decorated detached property boasts sea views and modern, comfortable furniture for your entertainment and relaxation during your stay. Located in a picturesque area just outside of Montego Bay, known as Rose Hall, it is a pleasant 20 minute drive from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The property is situated in a large and safe housing scheme that is quiet and secluded and gives you a home away from home feel, as you are integrated into a community setting. It is ideal for a family, or two couples who want to experience Jamaica from the comfort and privacy of their own setting away from the crowds in a hotel.

The property is fully tiled and grilled and has a small grilled veranda to the front where you can sit and chill out and catch a cool breeze! There is a gate and driveway at the front of the property and there is a lawn that wraps around all sides of the house to chill out in and play games; please note the fence at the sides of the property is made of wire and posts and may not be suitable for under 5 year olds, without supervision.

There is a large master bedroom with a King-size Bed, ample storage space and a ceiling fan. The second bedroom is also a good size and has a double bed and a single bed, storage closet and a ceiling fan. The large open living area runs the length of the house and has front and back doors and a ceiling fan to keep you cool and breezy. The Sitting Area includes a large L shaped sofa that is ideal for spreading out and relaxing on, whilst watching the wide-screen TV and Cable, or whilst surfing the Wireless Internet. There is a modern glass dining table and six chairs to enjoy home cooked meals with family and friends, ideally located next to the open plan Kitchen. The fully fitted kitchen includes an electric oven, microwave, toaster, kettle and fridge / freezer, alongside all the essentials for creating and consuming self-catering meals. The bathroom has a bath with shower attachment, with the convenience of a water pump and hot water; there is a solar-powered water heater on the roof and a back-up water tank on the premises.

Local Amenities

There is a small local shop located less than 5 minute’s walk away from the property, where you can buy all your kitchen basics and a cool beer, or a drink of Jamaican Rum! There is also a business area located a 5 minute drive away in the scheme, that has a medical centre, a couple of Jamaican Cook Shops (Take Away), a small shop, hairdresser and so on.  If you drive out of the scheme in a westerly direction, towards Montego Bay you will find The Half Moon Golf Club and Shopping Centre located 3 minutes’ drive away from the house, along with a Gas Station (Petrol Station). Less than one minute further you will find the famous Scotchies Restaurant, a Police Station and numerous beach bars. The crossroads at Ironshore is 4 minutes’ drive away and has Burger King and an ATM Machine on one corner, a Gas Station on another, the Blue Diamond Shopping Centre on another, and finally the large and modern Whitter Village Shopping Centre, where you will find many stores and a Dentist. Continue a further 12 minutes’ drive and you will reach the airport. The Hip Strip in the town, which includes Aqua Sol (water and amusement park), Doctor’s Cave Beach, Margaritaville, and many other restaurants, shops and bars is less than a 5 minute drive from the Airport.

If you drive out of the scheme the other way, in an Easterly direction towards Falmouth and Ocho Rios, you will reach the nearest beach ‘Chill Out Beach Hut’, a beach bar and grill. There are other beach bars along this strip, some not as fancy as others. The nearest Gas Station (petrol station) in this direction is 8 minutes’ drive away, you will need to pull off the highway on the left hand side of the road, where you see the sign for ‘Chill Out Beach Hut’ and drive down the slip road until you reach it. The attractions of Ocho Rios are about 2 hours’ drive away, if you are cruising and taking in the scenery.

The Fine Print!

Please note: As the hot water is solar heated it is in limited supply and can be less in times of cloudy weather. On occasions there is water and electricity outages in Jamaica. The property has a water tank that supplies water to the house in times of water outages, which uses a pump to supply the kitchen and bathroom. We have some emergency lighting in the house in case of power outages. Please help us be more sustainable by turning off the ceiling fans when not in use or when leaving the property.

 

Montego Bay

Montego Bay in Jamaica is one of the top resort destination towns in the Caribbean. The modern and airy International Airport is located just 20 minutes drive away from the property, creating easy links to travellers from all over the world. Montego Bay has a thriving hip-strip where you can enjoy dining, shopping, drinking and other amusements and of course the beach. There is also downtown Montego Bay with its bustling shops, banks, craft and food markets and other amenities. Rose Hall is a picturesque area just outside of Montego Bay which boasts several Golf courses, horse riding and further shopping malls and amenities with easy driving distance. There are the historic sites of  Rose Hall Great House and the top 5 Trip Advisor rated things to do in Rose hall are, Cinnamon Hill Golf Course, Half Moon Beach, Tennis and Golf Club, Half Moon Tennis Club and Half Moon, Rose Hall Spa.

 

 

If you are interested in booking this modern, spacious detached house in Montego Bay get in touch below!

Ocho Rios Bay Beach

The main beach in Ocho Rios, situated on Jamaica’s north coast, is the wide white sand arch of Ocho Rios Bay Beach; which is also known as ‘Turtle Beach’. As many of the hotels along Main Street back onto the sand, it is a heavily used tourist beach and it’s popular with locals too. When the cruise ships are in town the beach also fills up with the passengers that flock to shore from the towering cruise ships that dock on the far side of the beach.

Cruise Ship Pier
Cruise Ship Pier

Directions to Ocho Rios Bay Beach and Entrance Fees

When driving down Main Street you will see Sandcastles Hotel on your left-hand side and then a couple of shopping plazas. Drive past and turn into the first car park on your LEFT, which has a barrier and a guard. The entrance to the beach is via the back of the car park through another gate. There is a fee for parking in the car park.

If you do not have a wrist band from your hotel there is a charge to enter the Ocho Rios Bay Beach (see below for full details of entrance fees). On paying the entrance fee the guard will stamp your wrist which allows you to leave and re-enter the beach later in the day if you choose the take a break and want to wander around the town. If the stamp is rubbing off ask them to re-stamp it before you leave the beach if you intend to return, as suntan lotion and sweaty skin will make it rub off quickly.

Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Ocho Rios Bay Beach Facilities

There are toilets and changing rooms, plus a restaurant and bar serving the beach goers. There are also seats and deck chairs available, where you can lounge or picnic in the shade of an Almond Tree. You will also see vendors plying their trade along the sand, which is convenient if you don’t want to leave your things to walk to the bar or craft market. If you don’t want anything a smile and a polite ‘I’m not shopping today’ or ‘I’m good thanks’, will see them walking on to the next punter.

The sand is regularly raked and is a pristine white colour. The sea has designated swimming areas and is shallow enough near the shoreline for children to play.  If you are into water-sports you will be spoilt for choice and jet ski’s are popular and readily available for rental.

There are two craft markets nearby to the Ocho Rios Bay Beach which can be found if walking along main street. Plus there is the sprawling Island Village complex, which has a huge choice of shops, supermarkets, banks, doctors, dentists, opticians, a post office and so on. Across the street there is also Burger King and KFC if you are wanting a break from Jamaican food.

Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Hotels on Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Ocho Rios Bay Beach Entrance Fees and Opening Hours

Opening Hours:

Daily: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Entry Fee:
Residents

Adult J$200
Child (2-11 years old) J$100

Non-residents

Adult US$3 (or equivalent)
Child (2-11 years old) US$1

Contact Details:
Phone

(876) 656-8031 Telefax: (876) 974-2731

Email

cjackson@udcja.com

Contact Details:
Phone

(876) 656-8031 Telefax: (876) 974-2731

Email

cjackson@udcja.com

[divider_1px_dashed]

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

[divider_1px_dashed]

 

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited this beach, share your experience? Where is your favourite beach in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

 

Post Updated: January 2016

Dover Raceway St. Ann Jamaica

If you are looking for a day out then why not give Dover Raceway located near to Browns Town, St. Ann, Jamaica a try? Offering  enthralling first class entertainment watching Motorbike, Motor Car Racing and Kart Racing. They have major Meets taking place monthly between April and November, which generally take place to celebrate the Jamaican Public Holidays throughout the year. Dover Raceway makes a change from the usual attractions on offer in Jamaica and appeals to the whole family as there are lots of things going on to keep all ages occupied.

With lively and knowledgeable comperes and a DJ playing the latest tunes between races, Dover Raceway is a fun day out and a must see in Jamaica. We have witnessed aerial shows with remote-controlled helicopters, dance competitions for the youngsters and celebratory antics on the track with the cars doing donuts and wheel spins! The whole of Dover Raceway is well thought out, clean and welcoming with great amenities on site, such as toilets, hot food vendors, bars and drink sellers and well as stands and promotional items to wander among. It is said that Dover Raceway is the most challenging in all the Caribbean and with twists and turns and two long runs to pick up speed you will be flag waving and cheering with the warm and receptive crowds that flock to watch these thrilling and exciting events.

Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway
Pedestrian Entrance Dover Raceway

History of Dover Raceway, Jamaica

When I started researching about the founder of Dover Raceway, Mr Alfred Chen, I found very little information online about him. He was of Chinese decent and is credited as people person who worked tirelessly in philanthropic and political roles right up to his untimely death. Mr Chen sadly passed away at the age of just 49 in a self piloted helicopter crash in Trelawny, Jamaica on 11th October 2000 when he crashed into hills shortly after taking off. He was greatly mourned, but his legacy lives on as Dover Raceway continues to draw in the crowds and introduce world-class racing drivers to the world at large.

The following information has been taken from other websites, with the original source mentioned:

About Alfred Chen

To fulfil his desire to race, Alfred Chen built a race track in his backyard. It became known as Dover Raceway later. Other race fans were invited to join him to race and before long, it became very popular. It is now the circuit racing track in Jamaica. It is also named the most challenging and most difficult in the Caribbean. Bike races are also held at this location. I have no knowledge of car drivers dying from accidents on this track, but at least 1 bike rider have died on this course. The raceway is 1.4 miles long with a front stretch of about 0.25 miles and a back stretch of 0.24miles. The track record is held by David Summerbell in a time of about 1 min 20 sec followed by Doug ‘Hollywood’ Gore.

Find the Source Here at Google Forums, written by: G. Lawrence

About Dover Raceway

The track is a road course which has 12 curves and a straightaway that allows top speeds of over 100 mph. There is one hairpin, 180 degree turn at turn number 5 that is always a fan favourite during tight races. There are many viewpoints from which to see the races including the main gallery where you can see the 2nd half of the straightaway where the cars are at full speed and turns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This vantage point offers the widest view of the track with the most turns.

On the opposite side of the track, you can see turns 9, 10, 11 & 12 where they will accelerate up a steep hill onto the straightaway. Another popular spot is the VIP Race Tower. If you have the right wristbands, you can climb the 3 story tower for a 360 degree view of the race track. It is also quite a bit cooler up there because of the shade and you will get a nice breeze on most days at the higher elevation.

Find the Source here at wikimapia

Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway
Compere and DJ Stand Dover Raceway

How to find Dover Raceway, Jamaica

You can find Dover Raceway just north of Browns Town, St. Ann. If you are driving from the north coast, turn off the North Coast Highway at either Runaway or Discovery Bay and head inland towards Browns Town. There is a large sign letting you know where to turn off the main road heading into Browns Town, but we warned it is a long way to walk up a steep, winding and sometimes pot-holed road before you reach the raceway. If you reach into Browns Town itself you have come too far, turn back! If you are coming from the other direction, head out of Browns Town towards Runaway Bay / Discovery Bay about 5 minutes down the road you will see the sign post for Dover Raceway.

What is on offer at Dover Raceway, Jamaica?

But when you do reach the top it is a sight to see! There is ample parking on a grassy area, with security guards and Police Officers in attendance they ensure the safety of patrons and their vehicles. Once you head towards the ticket booth you will be given the option of a standard entry fee, or a VIP entry fee and children under 12 come in free, which is great if you have a family. They do offer pre-sold tickets at various outlets across Jamaica, which are listed further down the article. Cross over the pedestrian bridge and your nose will direct you towards mouth-watering delicious food, drink (alcohol is on sale) vendors, and some stands profiling related products, such as the sponsor of the event and engine oil and so on.

There are some seating stands which are open to the general public and others that need VIP passes to gain entry, but they fill up early and don’t give you much elbow room. However, I feel the most fun can be had by staking a plot on the grassy area right at the front. You will need to get here early to get a good spot and I would recommend wearing a hat at the very least as the sun can be scorching.

At lot of people bring tents (portable gazebos), umbrellas, seats and an igloo (cool box) filled with ice and drinks and plenty of food. Ideal foods to bring would be Jamaican Escovitch Fried Fish, Saltfish Fritters (Stamp and Go),  Fried or Jerk Chicken, Hard Dough Bread or Fried Dumplings, if you really want to get a plateful you could bring some Jamaican Rice and Peas, Jamaican Coleslaw or Jamaican Potato Salad too!

If you forget anything, don’t worry there are plenty of walking vendors selling sun hats, fedora’s, umbrella’s, as well as the obligatory cold drinks, nuts and snacks.

Motor Bike Dover Raceway
Motor Bike Dover Raceway

Dover ‘Independence of Speed’

My first taste of Jamaican motor racing came at the Independence Day celebrations with the track meet being held on 4th August 2013. It was very hot and sunny and as we had never been before we wasn’t sure what you were allowed to bring inside the enclosure we didn’t come with much. However, after about 1/2 hour in the scorching sun we had to buy and umbrella to shade us as we didn’t want to sit in the stands. There were plenty of vendors walking past so just as you felt thirsty or peckish there was a cold drink or bag of freshly roasted peanuts on offer. After a few hours we were hungry and ambled over the food court and got some tasty fried fish and chicken with rice and peas.

Independence of Speed 2013
Independence of Speed 2013

Dover ‘Heroes of Speed’

The second exciting driving meet that I attended at Dover was on October 21st 2013 and was titled ‘Dover Heroes of Speed’ to commemorate Heroes Day In Jamaica.  It was the last Meet on the 2013 season, so we were filled with anticipation for the days events. We came more prepared this time and brought back the umbrella we had bought the first time we came. We also brought a big bottle of frozen water, some good old Jamaican Wray and Nephew White Rum, a couple of icy cold sodas and some fish and crackers and other snacks!
This information was taken from The Jamaica Race Drivers Club Facebook page:
Dover Heroes of Speed Back on track! The deciding race meet for the Jamaica Race Drivers Club 2013 circuit racing championship See the return of Doug Gore’s Petcom Audi TT, David Summerbell’s Total Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Peter Rae’s Shell Mazda RX7, Natasha Chang’s Texaco Honda Civic. Witness the daring bikers Andre Norman, Adrian Blake, Stefan Chin and Robert McDonald Monday, October 21 starting at 10am Dover Raceway, St Ann Bring the entire family. Presold tickets available @ • Petcom Dunrobin • Petcom Ocho Rios • Tile City Kingston • Performance Centre Mobay • Campbell’s Wholesale Mandeville • Williams Auto Parts May Pen & Old Harbour.

Top Tips for Dover Raceway, Jamaica

  1. You can bring food, drink (including alcohol) so come armed and ready!
  2. Bring an umbrella, hat or portable gazebos and / or  sunscreen as it gets scorching hot watching the races in the midday and afternoon Jamaican sun.
  3. Many people bring seats, cushions or anything else they can find to sit on and make the viewing more comfortable.
  4. Get there early, there are qualifying races happening and the covered seating stands and good spots on the open grassy areas fill up quickly.
  5. Bring your own igloo (cool box) and fill it with ice and drinks, don’t forget some water and food to keep you going if you are drinking alcohol in the sun. If you don’t have an igloo, try freezing a bottle of water and / or a couple of sodas and bring them with you. As they melt out in the sun you will be provided with cool drinks all day, and if you have food it will help keep it cool until you are ready to eat it.
  6. If you don’t want to bring anything with you there are promotional stands, walking vendors selling hats, umbrellas, nuts, drinks, name it! Plus there is a good choice of food and drink stands to keep you watered and fed.
  7. Look out for the Jamaican favourite driver Natasha Chang, she is a bullish driver and is sure to always get the crowds on their feet with her exploits on the track!

 

Spectator Stands Dover Raceway
Spectator Stands Dover Raceway

 

About the Jamaican Racing Drivers Club – JRDC

The following information about the JRDC has been copied from the official JRDC website which can be found here.

The Jamaica Race Drivers Club was revived in 2003 to organize and promote motor racing, primarily at the Dover Raceway located just north of Brown’s Town, St. Ann. The Club has an active membership of approximately 80 competitors, led by an executive body comprised of 9 members. Events are held primarily on holiday weekends: Easter Monday; Labour Day; Independence Day and Heroes Day. The Dover events are usually two day events with qualifying on the first day followed by a full calendar of races in a variety of classes, including a special street car class, motorcycles and full fledged race cars, and attract crowds of between 4,000 to 14,000 spectators.

The Club improved the physical infrastructure at the track, including but not limited to:

  • The erection of a new pedestrian bridge at the spectator entrance.
  • The renovation of the current pedestrian bridge on the front straight.
  • The improvement of the track access road.
  • The expansion of the parking area.
  • The erection of vendor facilities
  • The provision of covered spectator stands.
  • The increase in the numbers of Bays
  • The provision of Media monitors (tele communications)
  • Live Broadcast Streaming.
  • The provision of wireless routing for the internet savy
  • The creation of a new access road
  • The increase of vending stalls
  • The increase of exhibit booths

The prize monies paid to winners in our events has also been raised and has increased the quality and quantity of the competitor entries. The JRDC plans to continue the innovations debuted in 2006 with respect to Race Driving schools held at the Track to encourage and develop nascent competitors in a safe and organized manner.

The JRDC would also like to increase our partnerships with corporate Jamaica, as we see many mutually beneficial linkages which exploit the rapidly growing subculture of automobile racing, both locally and internationally.

Contact: Jamaica Race Driver’s Club, 54 Molynes Rd Kingston 10 Ph. 758-JRDC (5732).

Office is in the Deluxe Medical Centre complex beside YP Seaton.

Find the JRDC website here:  http://www.jrdc.org/

[divider_1px]

Motor Cars Dover Raceway
Motor Cars Dover Raceway

Jamaican Motorsports

http://jamaicamotorsports.com/

Dover Raceway (t): 975-2127

Prospect Plantation – Jamaica

 

[text_justify]Prospect Plantation is picturesque and full of Jamaican flora, facts and history. There are a few surprises too, it’s not all about sedate jitney rides through the grounds….[text_justify]

 

Things to Do in Jamaica

[text_justify] This well thought out offering from Dolphin Cove Ltd gives you a glimpse into agricultural life in Jamaica and can be found on the A3 between Reggae Beach and White River, St. Mary. If you are coming from the direction of Ocho Rios it is about ½ mile from White River, there is a sign and you have to pull off of the main road to the right hand side and approach the Plantation’s Driveway. Once the guard lifts the barrier, follow the driveway until you reach the car park and ‘reception’ area. There is a clean  bar area, restrooms and a gift shop and you can pay for your excursions here. I would recommend telephoning in advance to let them know you are coming and perhaps book the tour you would like.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]When I visited in the week, it was deserted apart from our party of three people, but they still welcomed us and gave us a sugary cane juice drink when we arrived. We were offered a jitney ride around the plantation, which is basically a tractor pulling an open sided truck with long bench seating onboard. When we embarked on the tour, we also had a guide and a security guard onboard and the three of them made a jovial group stopping and pointing out different crops and points of interest along the route and generally keeping us amused, entertained and informed.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Coconut Climber
Prospect Plantation – Coconut Climber

 

[text_justify]The jitney made several stops throughout the plantation and we were shown various crops and a grove where various dignitaries and celebrities have planted different tropical fruit trees over the years. We were also able to get off the jitney on a few occasions, first by the Ostriches which you can feed if you wish. Here we also watched Farmer Joe climb a 30ft Coconut tree and we were introduced to tropical fruits and invited to eat some coconut. We were told that Farmer Joe ate the Ostrich eggs, which might explain how he managed to climb the tree with such speed and ease! An Ostrich egg is also presented to you to stand on and take a picture, which unbelievably does not break. If you choose you can take some small notes as a tip was expected.[/text_justify]

History of Jamaica

[text_justify]We next made a stop by the Great House where you are free to walk around the lower floor of the property laid out in the original style. We were also able to walk through the beautiful and extensive gardens. There are bubbling water features and many unusual plant specimens and it is tranquil and fragrant with panoramic views to the ocean. The great Mahogany Tree which was planted by Sir Winston Churchill in 1953, takes centre stage in the front garden.[/text_justify]

 

[text_justify]Back in the jitney we ambled along until we came to a clearing where they had camels with their proud and able trainers. There was a cute and noisy young Camel in the paddock, who got most of the attention. If you choose you can take pictures with the camels and for an additional charge you are also able to ride them. Off again we made our way, slowing down by a Church in the grounds, before finishing the tour back were we started. The tour guide invited us to give him a tip too when we neared the reception area.[/text_justify]

 

Prospect Plantation - Jamaican Fruits
Prospect Plantation – Jamaican Fruits

 

[text_justify] Prospect Plantation is beautiful and worth a visit if you are in the area. Although it isn’t as fast paced as some of the other attractions in Jamaica, it feels more authentic and doesn’t feel like it has been overly ‘plasticised’ like some of the other tourist traps. If you have thrill seekers in the group, telephone in advance and book a camel, horse, Segway or you can bike and hike around the plantation, which might just get the teenagers involved! There is also a ‘Flavours of Jamaica’ cooking course if you want to try your hand at making some traditional Jamaican cuisine, which you get to eat afterwards… Yum![/text_justify]

 

[divider_1px]

 

[text_justify]Prospect Plantation

 

Prospect Plantation Address and Contact Details:

Address: Prospect, St. Mary, Jamaica

Telephone: (876) 994 1058

Or check out their website here: http://www.prospectoutbackadventures.com/ [/text_justify]

 

James Bond Beach – Jamaica

If you are looking for a laid back attraction in Jamaica, or simply want to relax at an exclusive beach, then James Bond Beach in St Mary could well fit the bill…

Visiting James Bond Beach

James Bond Beach sounds suitably glamorous for an initial dip in the ocean and it provided us with an opportunity to get a drive out of Ochi, St. Ann and eastwards towards Oracabessa, St. Mary. The drive is a pleasant one along the highway which takes in ocean views along some parts of the road, whilst the farming enterprises of coconut and banana walks (plantations) that stretch as far as the eye can see make up the majority of the scenery on the journey. There are two gas stations along the highway near to Ochi, the first of which is a large PetCom gas (petrol) station just past Irie FM (on the by-pass in Ochi), that has a Pharmacy, supermarket, ATM and W.C.’s attached to it, the second one is a Texaco and is near to White River, just before the turn off for Exchange and has which has lesser facilities.

How to get to James Bond Beach – Oracabessa…

Driving along the highway leaving Ochi (Ocho Rios) the road is straight with no turn offs and it takes about 25 – 30 minutes to reach the beach, driving at the legal speed of course. There is a  large and hopeful road sign on the highway that depicts that James Bond Beach is 1km away, which is a vast underestimation as it was more like 5km when we checked it on the second visit.

Directions

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • After passing the PetCom gas (petrol) station in Ocho Rios, drive along the highway and about 15km you will pass Ian Fleming Airport.  It was previously known as Boscobel Aerodrome and had a somewhat controversial name change after the renovations that saw it re-open in January 2011; however the new name further sets the scene as we search for the elusive James Bond Beach…
  • Keep driving along the same highway towards Oracabessa and you will eventually come to a deep corner about 1.5km past the aerodrome, where you will cross a bridge, continue forward. The beach is hard to find as the sign that lets you know where to turn off of the highway has blown down
  • Look out for a Shell Gas Station on the right hand side of the road and shortly after the road will bend and you will see a marl (white gravel) side road on the LEFT HAND SIDE, with a large sign for James Bond Beach and a wooden shop (where a Rasta sells fruits on the corner) TURN HERE; if you come to Oracabessa Crossroads you have come too far
  • Once you find the side road you have to travel about another 1 – 1.5KM to reach the entrance to the beach, so be warned if you are walking! Travel up to the end of the side road until you pass Jah Willy’s and you will be forced to turn right passing the unassuming fisherman’s Beach which is much more low-key and has a little shop serving beach goers
  • At the end of the road you will see the entrance which has ‘James Bond Beach’ written across the top of the gates, you found it!

[/list]

What is James Bond Beach All About?

James Bond Beach has an interesting story to tell… Owned by non other than Chris Blackwell, of Island Records and Island Outpost fame, who not only had a successful music and movie company, but who also has several high-end and exclusive resorts under his mantle such as:

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • GoldenEye; Ian Flemings former home
  • Jake’s; Treasure Beach
  • The Caves; Negril
  • Strawberry Hill; Blue Mountains

[/list])

Chris Blackwell’s mother Blanche was born into a powerful family that made their money and livelihood in sugar and rum in Jamaica in the 20th Century. Blanche owned several thousand acres of land near Oracabessa and later sold some of it to both Ian Fleming and Noel Coward, who made homes there. She was considered to be the love of Ian Flemings later life and who he refered to as his Jamaican wife and muse, and who was said to be the inspiration for the James Bond character ‘Pussy Galore’. James Bond Beach also has the claim to fame of being the beach in which a young Ursula Andrews cavorted in the James Bond movie ‘Dr. No’.

Wash Rooms James Bond Beach
Wash Rooms James Bond Beach

What Is Offered at James Bond Beach?

You can drive your vehicle inside the complex and find somewhere to park; if there isn’t an attendant at the gate to take your entrance fee they will shortly appear before you can get out of the vehicle to take the money from you; we paid about $400 per person. James Bond Beach has a nice set up with a small but clean and sandy beach which boasts crystal clear waters, and has a few complimentary wooden loungers and a couple of picnic tables scattered about. As the sandy beach area is small the seating goes quickly and you may want to bring a beach mat or extra towel to lie or sit down on if it is busy.

If the beach isn’t your thing, or it is too busy for you, there is also a winding terrace that has been constructed over the rocks surrounding the beach and which offers up a larger area in which to sun yourself; although it could do with some repairs in places, as the sea seems to want to reclaim it. On both occasions we came there were only a few other groups present, which made it feel more secluded and quiet for a beach in Jamaica.

There is no gift shop or vendors on the beach, so once you pay for your entrance fee you will be limited to splashing the cash in the bar and restaurant…

Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach
Sunset Swimming James Bond Beach

Moonraker Bar and Restaurant

The large Moonraker Bar is prettily made from wood, is open on all sides and boasts a fabulous upstairs seating area that has scenic views across the ocean and the grassy area. The bar is well stocked and they had plenty of ice; a flask of Wray & Nephew costs about $700. There is also a restaurant with lots of fish (and chicken) dishes on offer, which cost around $1,000 – $2,000 per main dish dependant on what you ordered; but we didn’t eat there on either occasion we visited. A point to note is that the restaurant doesn’t look as though it opens when there a little or few people around.  A large grassy area that is surrounded by the clear blue sea on three sides affords you a change from the beach area and a stroll to look at the boats. The lawn and bar are packed full of people and really come alive and into their own when the venue plays home to the large stage shows and events that are held periodically.

The other amenities include large separate male and female changing facilities, offering a shower, communal changing areas with benches, wash basins and toilets; on both occasions we found them to be clean and with soap and tissues available. The beach normally closes at sundown, and I’m told it is busier at weekends when more of the locals and even Chris Blackwell and friends sometimes frequent it.

On the whole I would recommend James Bond Beach and feel it was worth the drive as it was clean, secluded, friendly, peaceful and with good vibes and amenities. The entry price wasn’t too expensive either and was indicative on what was on offer there. All round it was a nice experience…. I will definitely come again and will have to try the food next time though!

Jamaica 'One Love' James Bond Beach
Jamaica ‘One Love’ James Bond Beach

 

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join our FaceBook Page and Twitter Feed so you don’t miss out!

Like our FaceBook Page to get the latest news, photo’s, music, events, competitions and offers from Sweet Jamaica https://www.facebook.com/sweetjamaica.co.uk

Join our twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul for up to date happenings, information and fun from Sweet Jamaica https://twitter.com/sweetjamaicajul

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

Have you visited this beach, share your experience? Where is your favourite beach in Jamaica? Join the Comments Below….

 

Post Updated January 2016

Turtle River Park – Ocho Rios

Turtle River Park is worth a visit if you are in Ocho Rios, the beautiful landscaped park right in the middle of the town centre covers 3 hectares of land and offers a few surprises for visitors young and old.

Giving Jamaican’s and visitors a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the town and sit and relax in peaceful tranquility, the park is free to members of the public and open every day of the week. The park was opened on 18 June 2004 by  Prime Minister P J Patterson (PM of the time) after the (UDC) Urban Development Corporation decided the old bus park was ideal for redevelopment.

 

Turtle River Park Facilities

[list style=”1″ underline=”1″]

  • Free Entrance to members of the public
  • Open all week
  • Clean Toilets
  • Snack Outlet
  • Childrens Swing Area
  • Seating areas / Picnic Tables
  • Landscaped Gardens
  • Ponds and water features
  • Parking – fee payable; free parking spots are available down the end of the road past the main entrance on Milford Road (do NOT park where you see yellow lines or  parking restrictions!)
  • Security – Wardens patrol park ensuring park rules are upheld

[/list]

Are There Any Turtles? 

Due to the name of the park I was intrigued to find out if there were turtles lurking anywhere, so I made two visits to look for them as it was too dark to fully investigate the park the first evening. I did notice on the first visit that there was a  barrier set across a bridge which gave access to a central island, which contained a smaller pond in the centre… I would have to investigate further in the daylight to find out why the barrier was there and if there were turtles here somewhere.

The second time I walked through the park I made sure it was daylight hours so that I could get some pictures and investigate the ponds when it would be easier to spot turtles if there were any to be found.

 

Palm Lined Walkway

After walking in the large main entrance on Milford Road, there is a long walkway which gives a glimpse of the ponds at the end.

The walkway is lined with palm trees and small hedges to either side, halfway down the walkway a central water feature starts to bubble and flow down towards the ponds.

Manicured lawns to either side of the walkway carry numerous ‘keep off the grass’ signs, which  I can only assume to keep the lawns in their magnificent state of lushness!

 

What is available at the Park?

There are gazebos scattered around the park, where groups of people sit quietly or talk, sing and recite from the bible, lovers young and old share a tender word and touch and everyday people just sit and chill out. Palm trees, bushes and planting leads you along pathways cut through the beautiful lawns to other areas of the park.

There is a children’s play area which has a couple of playhouses on stilts and some swings, although when I visited only a few of the swings had seats, but the children there enjoyed themselves none the less.

The turtle theme carries on through the park and I saw these cute little turtles sitting in a row across the lawn, maybe to create a division from the children’s area behind it. I noticed a trampoline with an enclosure, but  couldn’t see anyone attending to it and I assumed it wasn’t free to use.

Along some of the pathways there is a turtle emblem stamped into the concrete to break up the blandness and continue with the turtle theme.

Scenic Ponds and Waterways

 The park boasts a large man-made pond which is beautifully designed and has large specimens of what look like coy carp fish swimming in the  shallows.  Large trees, palms, clipped bushes, flowers and rockstone are tastefully scattered around to create a natural looking atmospheric area, which doesn’t look overdone.

A small bridge carries you over the larger pond that creates a moat effect, as there is an island in the centre which also has a pond with smaller fish swimming amongst the lily pads. A pathway leads you around the pond to an even smaller pond that had a fence around it….. Mmmmm what was in there?

 

At Last I found the Turtles!

There is a small waterfall that cascaded into the last pond and a small grassed area with rocks near to the water’s edge for the turtles to sun themselves on, or have a break from the water. A second waterfall left the pond and flowed down into the central pond, although a grill across the waterfall prevented the turtles from escaping any further into the other ponds.

A tree at the back of the enclosure provided partial shade to the pond giving the turtles some respite from the scorching Jamaican sunshine.

There were at least 10 turtles in the pond and one in particular took an interest and came out of the pond to walk over to the fence to see what was going on. The others looked on in mild interest and scattered if they felt frightened when you moved too quickly. The shells of the turtles were covered with a green algae but it didn’t seem to bother them as they looked happy and healthy swimming or lolling about in their watery enclosure.

As the fish in the ponds looked like fresh water fish I can only assume these specimens must be a form of fresh water turtle. There were small fish bundled up on the bottom of the pond, but it didn’t seem to be the turtle food? I did wonder what they fed them on though as there was no sign of food anywhere.

I spent a while with the turtles but as the night came down the park wardens came over and put the barrier back over the small bridge and ushered people back over into the main areas of the park before it closed shortly afterwards. I was happy that I found the turtles and that the park’s namesakes really did reside in the park’s ‘river’.

On leaving the park we walked through the entrance on Main Street which has the wardens hut and public restrooms, which I found to be clean and tidy, but lacking tissue, soap and hand towels!

All together the park is a nice attraction and looks as though it is manicured on a daily basis, as it is so beautifully kept. I would recommend a visit to the park especially if you want some peace and quiet, or if you have young children who would enjoy the turtles and play area provided.

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Entry:     
Free

Parking Rates: J$50 per hour and J$150 daily

Contact Information:     
Turtle River Park
Main Street
Ocho Rios, St. Ann
(876) 795 0078, 974 5015, 974 2612
Telefax (876) 974 2731

What you should know before you go…. Airports

(Please Note: This post has been revised and updated in February 2017)

 

What you should know before you go…. Airports

If you are travelling to Jamaica you will probably be arriving by air on a charter, or long haul flight. Jamaica has two International Airports, Norman Manley Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The majority of holiday makers will arrive at Montego Bay airport, whilst Kingston airport is more popular for business travellers. This post will give you the lowdown on travelling to Jamaica and will guide you as to what you should know before you go! 

 

Choice of Airline flying to Jamaica from the UK

Long gone are the days when you had a choice of long haul airlines to choose from and were allowed 2 bags in the hold, as was standard when travelling from London to Jamaica. Nowadays Virgin Atlantic is the ONLY provider operating the route to Montego Bay Airport (as of summer 2012) from the UK, with a one bag policy.

British Airways on the other-hand now presently ONLY fly into Kingston. The wonderful airline Air Jamaica unfortunately gave up the route from the UK to Jamaica, in 2007; but I managed to enjoy one round trip with them!

Charter Flights are offered by a few operators such as First Choice and Thomson’s, but I have always flown direct and long haul for a few reasons…. The luggage allowance on a charter flight is generally around 20 kg, which means 15 kg in the hold and 5 kg hand luggage, this is not enough for me. They tend to only fly in the high season and in school holidays, which does not suit my needs. I find that the price is in the same region as long-haul flights, but with none of the perks….

If you plan to travel to Jamaica as often as I do, it is a good idea to join a frequent fliers club as you will be giving the same airline a lot of custom unless they change their tactics again!

 

Virgin Atlantic Luggage Allowance

The current luggage allowance for Virgin Atlantic Economy to Jamaica is one bag weighing up to 23 kg (50 lbs) in the hold, plus on-board you can carry one piece of hand luggage (must fit in size guide rack at airport), or a Laptop Bag, plus a reasonably sized handbag. Premium Economy two bags, Upper Class three bags (I wish!), both are plus the on-board allowance mentioned.

Checking in a Wedding Dress on a Flight

If you have a wedding dress, smile sweetly and ask politely at the check-in dress if you can carry it on-board, rather than it going in the hold. I have heard of some women recommending looking for hostesses with engagement or wedding rings on as they may be more sympathetic to your dilemma!  Either way it will depend on the room in the lockers made available on-board for the coats of the crew and premium seat holders.  You have more chance of getting the wedding dress into a locker in the summer months, as naturally fewer people wear bulky coats on the flight to Jamaica.

 

When looking for your flight, check the price with the airline (website) but DO NOT automatically book your flight, as there are deals elsewhere for little hassle. Once I have found the ‘base’ price from the airline, I telephone up to four local agents and compare the prices before choosing the best deal. Make sure you tell the agent your preference for Montego Bay or Kingston, as it is easy to book the wrong airport. Living in South London I generally call: Sackville Travel, Norwood Travel, Newmont Travel and Southall Travel for good flight only deals.

 

 

Before you land – Immigration Cards

Immigration Cards

Non-residents will be handed an Immigration Card on the flight, which needs to be completely filled in and kept with your passport, ready to be handed to Immigration before landing. Make sure you fill in both ‘halves’ of the form, which includes the return / leaving part as you will asked to step aside and fill it in before they let you join the line for Passport Control. The boxes on the form and very small so do not forget your reading glasses!

TOP TIP! Bring a Black or Blue Ballpoint Pen (biro type)

 

Once you have landed

Sangster International Airport – Montego Bay

On leaving the flight you will have to walk a considerable way through the air-conditioned airport with your hand luggage and duty-free before you reach immigration and the baggage collection area. To keep you occupied and to enlighten you on the long journey, there are various works of art giving an insight into the history and culture of the country, featuring some outstanding work from Jamaican school children.

If your hand luggage bag is heavy you may something with wheels is easier to manage after a long flight. I whole heartedly recommend wearing flat comfortable shoes…. I can tell you from experience – DO NOT use this as a time to break in and show off new shoes as it is a very long walk and blisters are not a good look on the first day of your trip! Parents may find that ‘trunkie’ type wheeled hand luggage is useful as the children can ‘scoot’ themselves along keeping them occupied and out of your tired arms.

At the end of the long walk from the plane you will turn right and walk down a ramp where immigration officers will visually check that your Immigration Card is fully filled in. As mentioned before, they will ask you to step aside and fill it in before they allow you to join the Passport Control queue, so say yourself some time and do it on the flight. I have never had to wait longer than 30 minutes – 1 hour, to get through Passport Control as there are usually a high number of Officers checking your documents.

 

Visitors to Jamaica are required to present the following documents to the Immigration Officers:

  • Immigration Form
  • Customs Declaration Form
  • Valid Passport
  • Return Tickets (non-residents only).

 

Hand Luggage Recommendation

After many journeys and a multitude of different hand-luggage bags, I have gone full circle and reinvested in a wheeled cabin-sized suitcase. I tried a few different soft bags as they are lighter and generally give you a larger interior compartment to stow away things. But, I have found a massive bruise formed on my hip and shoulder each time I travelled with a soft bag.

I have to say my new wheelie case is a revelation, I could literally weep with joy when I use it. It is light and reasonably roomy and so easy to traverse through the airport with it. Plus I found a way of putting my handbag on top and using the longer shoulder strap to keep it steady, so I don’t have to carry that either! Genius.

 

Baggage Collection

Once you leave Immigration you will come through to the Baggage Collection Area, where you will find trolleys and the usual conveyor belt system. If you do not see your luggage, check the far end of the room before panicking as the Baggage Handlers usually take the cases off of the conveyor belt as they go round and stack them up. This is helpful in some ways, but you may find that if your case is at the back it is time-consuming when trying to retrieve it. If you use a smile and are polite you can persuade the handlers to get it for you!
 

Last Check (before you can leave the airport)….

 

Customs Checkpoint

Now this is the worst part of the journey for me. Wondering if I can successfully wheel my trolley through the last check point, without being called over to one side for the dreaded bag search. This is NOT because I am carrying anything illegal or immoral, but because it is a pain after a long journey to see your belongings pulled out when they have been packed so neatly and potentially having to pay tax on items you have already paid for.

I have found that I am more likely to get pulled to one side as I am travelling alone and I give a residential address as my ‘place of residence’ in Jamaica, plus I  generally have two bags, plus hand luggage.  Therefore, the customs staff (correctly) assume I will be carrying gifts or items for other people.

The Customs Declaration Form is easy to fill in and they will check what you claim to have in your luggage, before opening your bag and looking through it. The search usually only consists of a quick ‘dig and lift’ of the contents to see if you are stashing things you shouldn’t or have things that you haven’t mentioned on the form.

 

Bringing Gifts into Jamaica

If you bring gifts for relatives and friends, or carry large amounts of the same types of items customs may decide to charge you TAX on the items you are bringing into Jamaica.

This also applies if they feel you are over your allowance, and / or, are carrying items which you are intending to sell, or have items that are of any value; such as name brand clothing and shoes, electrical items and so on.

If you obviously try to mis-quote or lie about the amount, value or type of goods on your Customs Declaration Form customs may decide to charge you TAX on the items you are bringing into Jamaica.

Please Note: If you do not accept the tax payable, you will be expected to leave your goods at the airport where they may be destroyed. Alternatively if they are of value, you can arrange for them to kept by customs and you can collect them on your way home (by arrangement ONLY) to avoid paying the tax on them.

 

More Information: Thinking of Shipping Belongings to Jamaica – Check out our Guides to Shipping to Jamaica

 

Jamaican Baggage Handlers

You cannot take the trolleys outside of the airport doors at Montego Bay Airport. Once you go through the last Passport Control and through the doors you will be asked to leave the trolley in the lobby area and will have to carry your own cases the last few feet outside to your transport, or have some change ready to tip a Baggage Handler who will carry them for you.

They will expect a tip of about $400 (Jamaican currency) despite the short journey to the parking lot and (hopefully) your smiling friends and loved ones will be there to greet you on time!

 

Some of the Airlines and Destinations with Direct Flights to Montego Bay

Air Canada

  • Montreal
  • Toronto
  • Winnipeg

Air Transat

  • Montreal
  • Toronto

American Airlines

  • Los Angeles
  • Charlotte
  • Miami
  • Philadelphia
  • Chicago
  • Boston
  • Dallas

Caribbean Airlines

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Kingston

Condor

  • Frankfurt

Copa Airlines

  • Panama City

Delta

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Minneapolis

DK

  • Stockholm

DY

  • Milwaukee

Inter Caribbean

  • Kingston

Jet Air Fly

  • Brussels

Jet Blue

  • New York
  • Orlando
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Boston

Neos

  • Milan
  • La Romana

Southwest Airlines

  • Baltimore
  • Orlando
  • Houston

Spirit

  • Fort Lauderdale

Sunwing

  • Montreal
  • Saulte Ste Marie
  • Toronto

Sun Country Airlines

  • Minneapolis

Thomson

  • Manchester

United

  • Houston
  • Newark
  • Washington

Virgin Atlantic

  • London Gatwick

West Jet

  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Winnipeg
  • Toronto

XP

  • St. Louis

 

Thinking of moving to Jamaica

 

Get More From Sweet Jamaica – Join Us Here…

Want to get updates on the move then join us…

FaceBook Page

Twitter feed @sweetjamaicajul 

Instagram

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

Keep the Conversation Going….

What is your experience of travelling to Jamaica? How did you find the airport?

Share your experience and join the Comments Below….

 

Want to Read more Exploring JamaicaHead Over Here…

Want to learn more about my Support Jamaica Buy Jamaican! Campaign? Head over here…