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Tina Jul 30th, 2002 07:07 AM

What's there to see in JAMAICA?
Planning a mini-vacation to the Ritz, Monetgo Bay in October. We would like to venture out of the hotel and see a little of Jamaica.<BR><BR>- What do you recommend seeing (day trip from Montego Bay)? Rent a car or take a planned tour?<BR><BR>-How is the shopping (where is the best)?<BR><BR>Let me know what you think!

irieman Jul 30th, 2002 07:26 AM

ONe thing I would NOT do is rent a car. Rentals are notorious in Jamaica for breaking down and are "targets" for accidents. Some unscrupulous drivers will intentionally get in an accident with a rental (they have diff. plates) because they know you will not be present to argue a claim and most simply pay up.<BR><BR>Day trips I would suggest include Dunn's River Falls, rafting on the Martha Brae, Appleton Rum Plantation and a helicopter flight over the island.<BR><BR>Shopping is right outside your hotel along with several straw markets and vendors. Mostly the same stuff so I wouldn't go to too many different palces. BARTER/BARGIN for everything!

tivertonhouse Jul 30th, 2002 08:27 AM

Recommend highly the services of Carolyn Barrett ([email protected]) for excursions that go beyond the obvious, customized to your interests, rather than a group tour. Car rental should be avoided unless you fancy left-hand road driving,traffic,oft crazed drivers and less than perfect roads.

Patty Jul 30th, 2002 10:18 AM

If you go with a tour, try to go with a more personalized excursion. We did this out of Ocho Rios several years ago (can't remember the name of the company now) but it was just the two of us plus a driver and a guide. They took us up into the Blue Mountains - very scenic, beautiful views. We stopped at a coffee plantation, Strawberry Hill for lunch, rum tasting and along the way we could stop wherever we wanted. Our guide also bought/picked different island fruit for us to try all day. It was a very full day (I think we returned to our hotel around 8:00pm) and the cost was reasonable considering it was just us.

bUdNiP Jul 30th, 2002 10:45 AM

Jerk Chicken from a barrel,local rum bar or beer joint,dominoes on a front porch,visit a school and maybe bring along some pencils and note pads for the children.If you hire a driver tell him you want to see the real Jamaica.If you really get to know the driver you may get invited to his/her house.If so suggest dinner,you buy the food and they prepare it.Also a trip to the fields is always fun.

Tina Jul 30th, 2002 11:33 AM

Thanks all for your suggestions. Looks like we should avoid renting a car.<BR><BR>If anyone has any other ideas please keep them cominig.<BR><BR>Any recommendations for tour/helicopter companies?<BR>How is the concierge assistance @ the Ritz?

karen Jul 31st, 2002 12:37 PM

Tina,<BR> I wholeheartedly agree with the last posts. Just returned from jamaica a few weeks ago. Dunns River is one kick of a climb--no cinch like I thought it would be. Definitely hire a driver and tell him to take you places you wouldn't normally know about. There is a restaurant in Ocho called The Ruins. Great place for lunch. The small deli attached next door is also great for a fast lunch (the veggie soup is fabulous, as is the jerk chicken). However, a trip from Montego Bay to Ocho will be LONG AND BUMPY. Take dramanine if you do this. <BR><BR>We preferred the straw markets to shop over the mall area ....although you have to be up for the harassing and bargaining. Didn't bother us but many don't care for it. Personal choice.<BR><BR>I agree with car rental -- don't do it!<BR><BR>Negril is MUCH closer to Montego Bay than Ocho. Haven't been there but heard the beaches are beautiful. We stayed in Runaway Bay, 20 mins outside ocho.<BR><BR>Be prepared for the extreme poverty of the island. Respect the Jamaican people, go with an open mind and you'll love it. Enjoy!

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