Previously, on Smart Women Travelers, we discussed a fantastic hotel to stay at in the Montego Bay area. The Iberostar Grand Rose Hall provided a great all inclusive base for our Jamaican adventures. But if I’m on vacation, I’m not one to sit around the hotel all day long. There were many adventures to be had, and here is my rundown on a few attractions that made my Jamaican trip unforgettable.
My favorite adventure in Jamaica was the Hike and Bike tour at Braco Stables. Tucked away on an old Jamaican plantation, the property also offers horse rides and river rafting. From the moment we arrived, we were treated as old friends rather than just tourists.
The Hike and Bike tour begins with a leisurely 30-45 minute hike up in the hills. Our tour guide Jerry was knowledgeable about the history of the plantation as well as the local fauna. If you are feeling more adventurous (and in great shape), you are offered the option of biking up the mountain in lieu of hiking. Tour guides will still accompany you, but you’ll be more focused on gears and loose rocks than the history of the plantation. However you reach the peak, you take a break at a gazebo 300 feet up overlooking the coast. You’re greeted with some cold towels to freshen up while you enjoy the view.
After the trek back down the hill, those without bikes mount up and it’s off to the beach. The route is a straight shot out on mostly even ground, meaning you shouldn’t worry if it’s been a while before you’ve been on a bike. On the coast, fresh coconuts were served. Bring along your swimsuit if you want to take a dip in the Caribbean. The tour concluded with some lemonade poolside at the Great Home located on property. A very relaxing end to a fun adventure.
Island Routes Catamaran Tour
We boarded the Island Routes Catamaran Tour at the Sandals Resort in Negril, located about an hour’s drive west of Montego Bay. This tour involves lots of sun and swimming, so make sure to bring your swimsuit and waterproof sunblock!
Just off of the coast, snorkeling gear was handed out and we had 25 minutes to explore a coral reef. These little ecosystems teeming with life are one of my favorite features of our wonderful planet and I love being able to swim over them! You’ll see the coral featured in the above video. Back on deck, the open bar starts flowing and the activities are a bit more relaxed.
Cruising west along the coast, we also stopped and swam in to a cave that has a bar built in it, we took a moment to watch cliff divers at Rick’s, and had some time at Jimmy Buffett’s to get out and swim some more. In between stops, food and drinks were included (I became addicted to the tuna salad wraps!) and most of the passengers took the time to soak in some sun. The boat also had a DJ, and when you mix music and free drinks, the dancing was sure to follow. The 2+ hour cruise was a relaxing way to spend the morning.
Chukka Ocho Rios, Good Hope, and Sandy Bay
Chukka Caribbean Adventures has many properties all over the island. We visited three of them for three very different adventures.
Our first stop was at Chukka Cove in Ocho Rios to visit the Jamaican Dog Sled Team. Yes, you read that right. Jamaica has a dog sled team that has participated in famous dog sled races like the Iditarod. The program, with the help of co-founder Jimmy Buffett, rescues stray dogs from around the island and they are well taken care of. We got to meet and play with the dogs, see a brief video about the inception of the team, and got to experience some of the dog sled training with a practice run.
Over in Good Hope, Zip-lines dart through the rainforest. If you’re new to zip-lining, the crew is very safety conscious and will help you step by step to make sure you have fun during this thrilling experience. If you’re a zip-line veteran, Good Hope has some of the longest lines I’ve ever been on! There are seven zip-line stations that take you over a river, down the mountain side, and even right through a tree canopy!
An ATV adventure was on deck for Sandy Bay. The two hour tour takes you through a small village and up the rocky trails to the fields of an old plantation. The view from the top was beautiful, and although we got a bit dirty, the real fun was had on the ATVs.
The most hair-raising adventure in Jamaica had to be the Jamaican Bobsled Adventure on Mystic Mountain. You already know that Jamaica has its own take on the bobsled, and here you are able to experience it firsthand.
After taking a ski-lift up the top and passing through a museum about Jamaica’s sports accomplishments, you board the Jamaican bobsled in a recreation of an old railroad station. Once you’re off, you twist and turn through the rainforest at up to 40 mph. You have control over the brakes, but it’s more fun to just let go! After what seemed like an eternity (but probably more like two minutes), you slow down and are brought back up to the top of the mountain. Afterwards, there is a large water-slide in to an infinity pool to cool off and a restaurant for a bite to eat. This is a fun way to break up a business meeting and see what your colleagues are made of! The stories around the water cooler would be so entertaining!
Many thanks to the Jamaica Tourist Board for hosting an awesome trip! I can see why my friend Pam absolutely loves Jamaica and gets there with her husband every chance she gets. I’m ready to go back and am planning how some of these great activities could be team events at a corporate meeting. After all, why not combine a bit of fun team-building with a bit of business?
To receive a free copy of our ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel — Because Your Life Can Change in a Heartbeat, and for more travel savvy info to help you travel smarter, safer and with more enjoyment, visit SmartWomenTravelers.com and PearlsofTravelWisdom.com. Watch for my new book, Business Travel Success – How to Reduce Stress, Be More Productive and Travel with Confidence, being published by Morgan James in early 2012.