Welcome to the Turquoise Travel Diaries, a collection of interviews, stories and excerpts from our fabulous team, as they travel around the world. Here at Turquoise we pride ourselves on unrivalled knowledge of the destinations in which we specialise, so that we can provide honest, expert advice to all our guests and fellow travellers. This week, our interview is with Anna Shaw, one of our Caribbean Specialist who has returned from an in-house trip to Jamaica; the home of reggae and the Rastafari movement and the birthplace of Bob Marley, Jamaica is vibrant, colourful and infused with a rum-fuelled party spirit! Come with us to explore the wonderful country
- If you could describe the experience of Jamaica in three words what would they be? Happy, Surprising, Diverse
- Can you tell us about your first night in Jamaica at Strawberry Hill? What makes the location special and what did you think of your first taste of Jamaican food? The road up to Strawberry Hill is very windy and it takes over an hour to get to the hotel from the airport but it is well worth the effort of getting there. The views over Kingston and the Blue Mountains are beautiful, the staff at Strawberry Hill are so welcoming and the food served in the restaurant is out of this world. It was dark by the time we arrived and quite late so we only had a light dinner, but the ingredients were so fresh and tasty – a great plus after the long plane journey and car ride!
- What did you learn about Jamaican culture and hospitality during your stay? The people are incredibly friendly and have a great sense of humour, but sometimes can be quite reserved unless you make a chirpy comment which means they can then feel more comfortable making a joke!
- How long would you recommend spending in Jamaica to see the very best which the country has to offer? A minimum of 9 nights is probably a good idea to really see the best of the island. Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean so there are lots of interesting areas to see but bear in mind there can be some quite long drives to get between points.
- What was your favourite accommodation and why? It is a tough call between The Caves in Negril and Trident in Port Antonio. The Caves has an amazing location and fabulous sunset views. The staff are super friendly and the experience of snorkelling around the caves underneath the resort was amazing. Each room is unique and the style is very quirky. Trident on the other hand, is extremely modern and features beautiful spacious suites with lovely outside areas. The small private stretch of beach that Trident has is also an absolute gem- being in a cove the waters are nice and calm which is unusual for this stretch of the coastline.
- Although the Caribbean is famous for beautiful beaches, Jamaica seems to have lots more to offer – what was your favourite activity and if you were to go back, what else would you love to see? For this particular trip, my favourite activity was the snorkelling at The Caves. On a return visit, I would love to do a hike in the blue mountains and visit some of the waterfalls off the beaten track like the YS Falls in St Elizabeth.
- Montego Bay and Negril are both famous beach resort areas on the west coast of Jamaica, what makes them different from each other and which did you prefer? Negril has a bit more of a buzz and a party atmosphere, whereas the hotels that we feature at Montego Bay have quieter stretches of beach – great for switching off and reading a book.
- What do you think makes Jamaica stand out from its Caribbean sisters? Jamaica is much more mountainous than a lot of the Caribbean islands we feature and the hotels are hugely diverse. They are all so different that they don’t need to compete with one another. It is therefore really important to talk to us at Turquoise to ensure that you are staying at a hotel which best matches your needs.
If you have any further questions for Anna or would like to start planning your next Jamaican getaway, please get in touch and we’d be delighted to help!