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Category Archives:Jamaica

5 Caribbean islands that will take your breath away

When searching for a slice of island life in which to spend a few days on vacation, by scrolling through the wonders of the Caribbean you would be hard pressed not to feel spoilt for choice. From relaxing on pristine beaches to hiking up rigorous mountains, there is sure to be something for everyone in this pocket of paradise.

When visiting the Caribbean, quite often it can be hard to go wrong, but when searching for deals, sometimes you just need a bit of a kick start. Here are just 5 islands to get your travel juices flowing.

Incredible sunsets are the highlight of Negril

Negril Jamaica

Negril is a paradise on the island of Jamaica with one beautiful white, 7 mile long beach dotted with resorts along its entirety. It is temperate year round and even through the afternoon tropical rain, which occurs daily around 2pm, it is still lovely weather for swimming.

The beautiful white sand runs seamlessly into the calm Caribbean waters, and being on the western side of the island makes it a perfect spot to watch the incredible sunset that lights up the sky every night. Negril is home to some of the best sunsets I’ve ever experienced so it is easy to see why many in the north visit here so frequently.

castaway cay bahamas

Castaway Cay, Bahamas

Beautiful crisp white sand and crystal clear azure water. All this with the added magic that Disney brings to every project they undertake. Welcome to Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay is Disney’s own private island and it can only be reached on one of Disney Cruise Line’s Caribbean cruises. The island is divided into two main sections: a large primary horseshoe beach complete with an over-water jungle gym, and an adults only beach over the back of the island, where the atmosphere is much quieter.

Although the island is incredibly beautiful, Disney, of course, bring their own charm to the island, with features named for popular Disney characters and places, as well as visits from characters throughout the day.

Planes flying over Maho Beach St Maarten

Sint Maarten/Saint Martin

Not many islands this small offer visitors the opportunity to visit two very distinct cultures on the one island. Settled by the Dutch and the French, each side is visibly different, highlighting the incredible beauty of the respective archictecture, cuisine, and way of life.

Maho Beach on the island’s southwest is also adjacent to the airport so beachgoers are treated to a real show as the low planes almost skim the beach on their way in and out. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Vintage car in Havan Cuba by Jan Arendtsz via Flickr CC


I have actually not been to Cuba, but it makes it into this article because it very high on of my list of places to visit soon. I tried to include it in my current USA/Caribbean trip but it was difficult to make it work how I wanted within the budget I could afford; flights are still quite expensive.

The reason I tried so hard to fit it in is because to me it comes across as a time capsule, a country frozen in time without access to much of the Americanism the rest of the world has been used to for the last 60 years.

The authentic culture is what attracts me most because of that restriction they’ve had from US exports. And now that the borders have just been opened up I expect the influence will begin to trickle through so time is of the essence.

The buildings and the cars are one thing, but once you get out of Havana, there is also many beautiful beaches to relax on with that perfect azure water flowing into that soft white sand. Varadero, Cayo Santa Maria and Playa los Flamencos are just some of the beaches you can explore, and are surrounded by resorts.

Sting Rays at Gibbs Cay, Grand Turk. Photo by visittci.com

Grand Turk

Grand Turk is a tiny island of only 18km squared. It is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands right near the edge of the Caribbean. Grand Turk hasn’t always been, but it is another big stop on the cruise circuit because it is geographically situated about half way between the eastern Caribbean Islands and Florida.

Apart from a convenience though it also boasts one of the best beaches in the world for snorkelling with sting rays. This is on Gibbs Beach, an even smaller island a short boat ride away from the main island.

The sting rays are friendly and as long as you follow the instructions from the tour operators and tread carefully you’ll be able to wade among the majestic creatures without incident. (I don’t believe you can visit easily without doing a tour).

I know there are many, many more breathtaking islands in the Caribbean, so which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

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Eating with the locals in Negril, Jamaica

I get the best enjoyment from a place when I can immerse myself in another culture. In Negril, this was very difficult, way more so than usual. In between the 7 miles of beach resorts and the obligatory 7 miles of locals flogging shit at bargain prices, beautiful as it was, it seemed impossible to see how the locals actually live without having a form of transport to take me outside of the resorts.

One day however, I stumbled across 2 gems in the space of an hour, all because I went looking.

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What currency should I get when visiting Jamaica?

What currency is best for Jamaica?

As I got off the plane in Montego Bay, Jamaica last year I was of mixed emotions: I was 3 parts filled with that joy you feel when you land in a new country and 1 part uneasy, as I was the proud owner of a grand total of zero of the “local currency”.

Against my better judgement I went to the window and said “$54,000 of your finest Jamaican dollars please”. To which the clerk replied “That’ll be US $600 please”. Having done my homework I already knew this was a poor conversion.

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The best and worst of visiting Negril, Jamaica

Jamaican Flag silhouette

Jamaica: dreadlocks, reggae, relaxed beaches, steeldrums, pirates, rum, and of course bobsledding.

These are the first 7 things that instantly come to mind when I think of Jamaica. Through pop culture, stereotypes or both, this pretty well sums up how the world views Jamaica from afar. But what is it actually like?

Is it the idyllic haven that we picture? Does it actually boast miles of uninterrupted sandy coastline to enjoy the sparkling waters? The answer is both yes and no. I have mixed feelings when I look back on my April trip to Jamaica and here’s why:

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