So it’s Friday afternoon and time we think for a little bit of daydreaming about far off countries where we have no worries or concerns, where the beers are cold and the sun is hot. Having been lucky enough to have just returned from a jaunt to Jamaica I wanted to share a bit of this magical island with all of you.
Jamaica has received some rather negative press lately. Certainly when I mentioned to people that I was going many followed up their initial positive and excited responses with warnings of supposed dangers and civil unrest. Now I would not want to comment on the situation as I feel I am not particularly well informed on the finer points, but I would just like to say that as a tourist I felt completely safe and welcome at all times. Sure, there are some areas of Kingston that it would be wise to avoid, but isn’t that the case in all major cities? I know there are areas of London that I would rather avoid!
We began our trip high in the Blue Mountains, famed for their coffee and banana plantations. Blue Mountain coffee is widely revered as the world’s best coffee, an ideal combination of altitude, volcanic soil and austere care produces beans that are slow to mature, but larger in size with a complex and sublime flavour. Now personally I am not a coffee aficionado, being more of a green tea/earl grey fan, but even I found myself ordering coffee every morning for breakfast. The lush, rolling hills and valleys of the Blue Mountains provided some of the most spectacular backdrops I have ever seen and it was truly a magical experience.
After some time in the mountains we ventured down to the coast, a relatively short journey as the crow flies, but due to the mountainous region and the poorly maintained roads it was a journey that took over three hours. When we arrived in the parish of Portland, with its capital town of Port Antonio, we were ready for a relaxing swim and a rum cocktail to revive us. The area is famed for its stunning beaches and the natural wonder of the Blue Lagoon. Local beach Frenchman’s Cove was voted one of Conde Nast's five most beautiful beaches, a secluded little cove with soft white sand and tropically blue waters. A freshwater river flows into the beach on one side providing a tranquil little lagoon for those not keen on flinging themselves into rolling waves.
Jamaica provided all I was hoping for from a tropical escape and more. I would not hesitate in recommending a visit. Be sure to drink the locally produced Red Stripe beer and eat some authentic jerk chicken, roadside shack cooking may throw up some health and safety worries, but sometimes you just need to throw caution to the winds and get away from it all...