4 of Jamaica’s most beautiful best-kept secrets

Source: Unsplash | Sébastien Jermer

Jamaica’s sublime sun, sea and sand pigeonhole it as a typical tropical tourist getaway.

But add wild waterfalls, majestic mountains, rebellious history, reggae culture and feisty locals into the mix, and you might begin to understand why the land of wood and water is truly unique.

Take a package tour to Jamaica where you seldom venture far from the high walls of your compound resort and the closest you’ll get to experiencing The Rock in true living colour is returning home with a tan and a few tacky tourist trinkets.

However, provided you plan ahead, there are plenty of ways to experience this idyllic and inspirational island nation in a much more immersive and enriching manner.

So without further ado, here are four of Jamaica’s most beautiful best-kept secrets.

1. Reach Falls

Fancy splashing around in the same sumptuous waterfall where Tom Cruise and Elizabeth Shue filmed 80s classic Cocktail?

Then take a few minutes to watch this Knotty Maria Reach Falls video and you’ll understand why a trip to these romantic waterfalls in the John Crow Mountains is a must-do.

Clamber up the natural stone staircase to the main falls, slide into the rabbit hole at the top of the porous bread loaf rock and then chill out in the pool below – brilliant!

2. Trident Port Antonio

When he first sailed into Port Antonio, the late lothario Errol Flynn declared that it was more beautiful than any woman he had ever seen.

And perhaps the best way to relax in rarified luxury near the capital of Jamaica’s stunning Portland parish is by booking into Trident Port Antonio – an elegant white castle complex that perches on a promontory overlooking the cool Caribbean sea. Reserve your exclusive villa at thetridenthotel.com.

3. Firefly

After enjoying huge success on stage and screen, English polymath Sir Noel Coward liked nothing better than entertaining Hollywood Royalty at his house at Blue Harbour in St Mary parish.

However, check out this film of his second home at Firefly and you’ll understand why he kept this nearby private pad spot largely to himself.

Gaze out across islets in the the Spanish Main from the hillside spot where Sir Noel took his postprandial stroll and it’s obvious why this is one of Jamaica’s most desirable wedding locations.

 

4. Accompong

In the 18th Century, a group of rebel runaway slaves called the Maroons fought a series of (largely successful) guerilla wars against the British Empire, with the results that some of their descendants still live in autonomous communities deep in Jamaica’s interior.

One such settlement is Accompong in Cockpit Country and it’s well worth a visit if you want to learn about the proud traditions of a great underdog people who took on an empire and, thanks to guts, guile and guerilla tactics, won against overwhelming odds. Find a tour at undiscovered-destinations.com.

Getting there

Find direct flights to Jamaica from main London airports at kayak.com and if you’re getting there in your own vehicle, book airport parking at Looking4.com for Heathrow, Gatwick and elsewhere.

That’s our list! Share your own Jamaican travel tips in the comments section.

Choose Summer to Visit the Bahamas

A lot of people only consider a Bahamas yacht charter in the winter and spring months. The reason for this is the dreaded hurricane season. While it is certainly true that the chance of a hurricane is higher during the summer months, the reality is also that it is actually the perfect time to go there.

In July and August, you can expect the temperatures to be quite mild, in the low 80s. Further, there are clam waters and there is a constant, lovely breeze. Not just that, however, but yachting itself can be much better as well. Because it isn’t so muggy, and because of the constant presence of the breeze, it is far more comfortable to use the yacht, whether you’re sunbathing or fishing. Plus, you can jump from your yacht straight into the water.

The Bahamas is a center of water activities, but there is plenty to do on land as well. Make sure that you do take the time out to see some of the natural and manmade beauty of the Bahamas. Not to be missed are the blue holes and vertical caves. Dean’s Blue Hole, for instance, quite close to Long Island, is the world’s deepest blue hole, reaching 663 feet in depth. A trip to the Fountain of Youth should also be on the calendar – who wants to get old, after all? And there are fantastic wildlife preserves to visit, as well as a lighthouse. Best of all, summertime is not the main tourism season, which means it isn’t as crowded there either.

Although many yachts travel to the Mediterranean during hurricane season, many do remain and can be chartered at any time during the year. There are small family boats, like a crewed catamaran charter or a private motor yacht, but also luxury mega yachts that you could charter with a larger group of people.

Yacht charters are perfect for many different reasons, from corporate affairs to honeymoons. When you charter one, you will be able to access the fantastic knowledge of the crew, including where to fish or where the best private beaches are, where to eat at night or where to snorkel. Do make sure you also enjoy the cuisine of the Bahamas, as well as some of the tropical drinks. Really, the only issue on your mind should be whether your tan is even!

When you charter a yacht, the service you receive will be fully personalized and customized. You cannot compare it to a cruise journey to the Bahamas, for instance. There is simply no way for you to find a private dining spot or unique experience when thousands of people are surrounding you at all times.

When you opt for a charter, by contrast, you can really get to know the archipelago at your own leisure and pace. The crystal blue waters will be yours for the taking, the corals and sea life will be yours to sea, and the white sandy beaches will be yours to enjoy.