The Jamaican Adventure Island
By Kevin Smith
The word Jamaica carries a deliciously soothing influence on the frazzled minds of stressed out city folk. It instantly evokes scenes of tropical tranquillity, bronzed holiday makers lounging on sugary sands or mellow locals jamming; in open air bars to the lulling rhythm of reggae and crisp clink of sweating bottles of red stripe. Given Jamaica's famously laid back charm, it is fitting that even the country's Olympic sprint king Usain Bolt broke the world record with his shoelace undone.
The relaxed vibe of Jamaica, which is located 90 miles south of Cuba, is famous, though the island now offers some stereotype busting adventure activities who promise to sprinkle a little bit of Jamaican jerk spice over your holiday.
The energetic north cost resort of Montego Bay is an ideal base from which to explore Jamaica's stunning coastland. Petrol heads can strap themselves into an 800c dune buggy and roar through the historic sugar cane country across the old Blue Hole cane estate, eating up dirt tracks and exploding through rivers in a cloud of angry, hissing steam. For a more natural approach, take a horse back ride, which concludes with a bracing dip (along with your horse) in the Caribbean Sea.
Further east in Ocho Rios, in the lush garden parish of Saint Ann, soak up spectacular coastal views by taking the Sky Explorer chairlift high above the rainforest canopy to the 700ft peak of Mystic Mountain. Up here it is possible to tackle the zip line tour, with a dizzying 170m traverse and one surprise vertical drop. In honour of the Jamaican bobsled team made famous by the 1993 move Cool Runnings, you may also make the eyeball popping journey down a 1000m bobsled track in the middle of the rainforest.
As the nearby Dolphin Cove, let your missus frolic with dolphins while you face the shark programme, which helps you to snorkel with, feed and hold a shark. After signing an application acknowledging that 'I accept sharks are dangerous'. By the time fish blood is poured into a pool stalked by menacing shadows (their largest shark being the 8ft Diablo) and the Jaws theme tune stabs out over the tannoy, you may wish you'd stuck with the dolphins.
Needless to say, simply because you prefer adventure, you don't want to sleep in a tent. So set up base camp at the luxury resort of Half Moon in Montego Bay, having its colonial whitewashed cottages, par 72 golf course, 51 pools and exquisite restaurants, the traditional ackee and salt fish is a must try, or the delectably dozy Jamaica inn near Ocho Rios, whose private beach, secluded suites and total absence of TVs will ensure a really peaceful stay.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.