The lovely Caribbean island of Jamaica is as safe as ever and opening its arms to visitors, despite recent reports of disturbances.
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Edmund Bartlett, has confirmed that Jamaica continues to be safe, secure and seamless in its delivery of the Jamaica tourism experience. All resorts, restaurants, and attractions have been receiving guests, and visitors and residents continue to enjoy their daily activities during the State of Public Emergency in St. James.
TripAdvisor ranked Jamaica #12 on the list of the world’s top destinations for 2017. Jamaica received a record-breaking year with over four million arrivals to the island in 2017. This included me, who visited the charming resort of Mangos in Trelawny, not far from Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, late last year. Not only did this prove a perfect escape from the British winter – temperatures were a lovely 26 degrees C in December – but it was a safe, relaxing and fascinating experience.
Mangos is an intimate all-inclusive resort, and quite unlike some of the huge sprawling complexes found in the region. With 92 rooms in traditional wooden buildings dotted around the property it has a rustic, comfortable charm. Perched right on the spotless sandy beach, there are lush tropical grounds and a lovely pool. This is an adults-only resort, meaning people can relax, swim and make the most of delicious cocktails and food in the four restaurants and bars. Formerly a nudist resort, Mangos is now an unpretentious, welcoming hotel in an ideal location. The vibe here is typically Jamaican – super friendly, warm and accommodating with great live music some nights and the opportunity to get out and explore this lovely part of the world. Go rafting down the Martha Brae River, take a horseback ride or catamaran cruise or hang out in groovy Ocho Rios.
I took a guide for the day and, eager to see the ‘real Jamaica’ asked him to take me on a tour away from the usual tourist spots and big resorts. We spent the day visiting local markets in Brown’s Town in the parish of St Ann, discovering small ‘away from it all’ beaches and taking a walk around Nine Mile, Bob Marley’s birthplace. Friendly Rastas waved and joked, but apart from the inevitable strains of reggae ,this is a peaceful and quiet spot. And as always in Jamaica, a rum punch on the sand at Mangos as the sun set was the perfect ending to the day
Fly to Montego Bay from London Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic.