Category Archives: Montego Bay, Saint James

All posts relating to Montego Bay, in the parish of Saint James.

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

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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….

 




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

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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

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Looking forward to hearing from you.

Bless up, Jules

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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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!

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

 

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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….

 

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