The Caribbean flair with hot and sunny weather, tropical blue ocean,
palm trees, lush vegetation along with it's peace, silence and remoteness from
the world, is what we expected from Jamaica.
Beside this we got 50% rain, a decayed infrastructure,
tedious beggars and sellers, high prices and unsound nutrition which considerably
spoiled our stay.
Nintyfive procent of the tourist left out charter-jet from Europe at the stopover
in the Dominican Republic and just an hand full of tourist continued to
Jamaica. Jamaica is not the all inclusive mass tourism but more
suited for the individual traveler we thought.
When we enter the airport we feel immediately the relaxed Caribbean lifestyle.
Officers where smiling and singing while processing the formalities.
"How come?" does the driver ask when we could only present the transfer voucher
but just had the return
transfer voucher from the hotel we just got on the desk a minute before.
Hot water was missing in the hotel and we had to convince them that breakfast
is included also it was printed on the voucher. The relaxed life style also
includes the a lot inaccuracies. "No Problems" is one of the slogan of the island
with a population of 2'700'000 and is usually told by locals to make you accept
that something they did wrong.
Also the population is reported to have a average income of 80 to 200 USD
a month, you do not need much to live here. Is is, with 30° C, warm around the year
you have sun and always some rain and there grown lots of food here and one
is maximum 25 km away from the ocean for fishing.
A simple wooden house where many live seems all you need.
01-Feb-2006 Beaches of Montego Bay
Montego Bay is with 82'000 inhabitants the second biggest city located
in the north of Jamaica. The goods produced in the near by plantations where
shipped to Europe and the luxury goods the planters would not like to miss
arrived here. Today most business in Montego Bay is about tourism.
As a tourist you arrive always at the airport 7 km away and continue then to your
But Montego Bay does not live on these tourist. All the business is
generated around the tourists coming from the cruise ships which make
a stop over here day by day.
All prices are shown in Jamaica Dollars (JMD) except in tourist areas were sometimes
prices are shown in USD. Although almost everywhere you can pay with US-Dollars,
conversion is only done roughly (to your advantage or disadvantage).
Certainly outside tourist areas you are better of with Jamaica Dollars.
One US-Dollar (USD) is 61 Jamaica Dollar (JMD) at the present.
When I was ask to pay 325 JMD (=5.33 USD) five USD where OK (Yeah five USD are
325 JMD) and in The Burgerking they ask 5 USD for 285 JMD (4.67 US) (Oh you
have some coins give me 4 US then)
We stayed in the Wexford Hotel at the Hip Strip a strictly three star hotel
with nice newly renovated tile floors, friendly staff and good beds.
Our cheaper Hotel rooms where quietly located to the back where the rooms
with ocean view to the ocean point to the busy street passing in front of the hotel.
Having breakfirst on the balcony with sea view, but in front of the main road,
is not exactly like on the beach but we really enjoyed it. The only real criticism
is that all breakfirsts contain two eggs which not healthy alternative.
There is a small swimming pool at the hotel and three beaches. The public
beach is on the other side of the road a one min walk away. It is beautiful
and nice and free but you pay with having beggars from time to time. Next the
private Aquasol beach which includes fitness studio, theme park,
go carts and a restaurant restaurant.
and an entry of 5 USD. It is open from 9 am to 2 am.
As roaming is often not possible you can make international phone calls and have
Internet access at the Internet cafe on the "Doctors Cave Beach" territory as well
as in the near Internet cafe on the left. Rates are at the time 2 USD per 15 min
02-Feb-2006 Day of the Fruits
Food is really expensive on the island what you would not expect.
One of the treasures of the tropics, on the other hand, is the collection
of exotic and fresh fruits you can get right from the producer.
Also still expensive you have a variety of fruits you will never have at this quality
at home. Hence, fruit belongs here to our daily diet. There are Papayas, Pineapples
, Oranges, Mandarins, Bananas, Mangos, Jackfruit, Ackees, Watermelons.
You should not eat the cores of papaya but otherwise they are delicious.
Pineapples are one of our favorites among bananas.
Breadfruit was new to us and we still wonder about the origin of the name.
You can eat the yellow core inside of the Jackfruit.
We never tasted the Ackee fruit but we where told the you cut them
remove the three poison cores and cook the rest.
Common prices of fruits and food including 16.5% tax:
Bananas, ripe in supermarket
104 / kg
1.72 / kg
Bananas, ripe in market
10-16 / piece
0.16 / piece
Pineapple on foot market
150 / kg
2.46 / kg
Red Stripe Beer 61JDM 0.341 l
61/ 0.341 l
2.96 / l
, famous for its long beaches, palm trees and blue sea. This is how you image the
Caribbean. Today it is all hotel resorts and cafes. Entrance and chairs are free
They make money on consumptions and thus you are not allowed to consume brought food.
With limited roaming possibilities you may want to try a public phones instead.
Although you will find a lot of demolished public phones they are just a
reminder to the past. The public telephone system has been discontinued
since everyone has a cellular phone nowadays.
05-Feb-2006 Dunn River Water falls
The last thing I would thought of to take to Jamaica was an umbrella.
But this was the second day of clouds and rain in a row from 6 out of 14 days.
Of course this is not a desert and without rain the vegetation would not be
what it is. But after we started things went worse. Heavy
rain flooded the decayed streets. We had to wade many times and we wondered
what we will do in Dunn's River Falls
. Luckily the weather changed short before
the falls and we had three wonderful hours enjoying the Caribbean vegetation and
the waterfall. Most people rent climbing shoes and climb up the waterfalls,
given that you did not forget your swimming suit.
You will find some train stations but trains have been put out of order 20
years ago. There is a intercity but network which goes from the central
bus station in Montego Bay .
On the way back the weather turned out to be fine again. We visited the Columbus
Park near Discovery Bay. At display are items used by the Columbus when he arrived in
on 4 May 1494. There are a lime stone water cooler ... . It was build by the
neighboring Kaiser Bauxite company in 1968 and is now decayed and most of it
has fallen apart, burned or rotten away. Sugar was introduced to Jamaica on
Columbous second trip in 1493.
Further west we are on the footsteps of James Bond. In Falmouth
scenes of movie "Live and let die" were made.
The crocodile farm were closed at 17:00 h but we had a peek over the fence
and saw some crocodiles.
07-Feb-2006 Appleton Estate Rum Factory and Black River Tour
This morning it was rather cold with little rain. We started driving south trough
the hills which elevated up to 1500 m near Kingston,
passing Orange and Papaya fields. People
live in simple wooden houses. Behind then hills we reach the south.
The weather was sunny and warm. On the road side there are lots of women selling
prepared fish and scrimps, fish, bead and fruits.
Aside the main roads streets get rough.
Appleton Estate Rum Factory
After a 2 hour drive we reached the Appleton Estate Rum Factory
in the Nassau Valley .
We pay 14 USD per person entry fee for the guided tour. The factory was founded in
18xx and at the time the sugar cane was extracted by a donkey driven
mill. The efficency was 70%. Todays process extracts 90% of the juice. Then the juice
is fermented in a 30 hours process. Then there are three tier distillers
which turn the rum into 60%, 75% and 90% alcohol in 8 hours. The rum is then stored for
at least three years and up to 30 years in barrels in the aging warehouses.
The rum evaporates with the time which as side effect cools the warehouse.
After 30 years only 30% of the rum is left.
The wooden barrels they get from Jack Daniels the guide explains.
The ware house is one of fourteen on Jamaica .
The Rum is classified after its age. (reserve,)
There are lots of other drinks made of rum. Beside the pure rum
the is a Banana Cream, chocolate Cream, ....
Tours are from Monday to Saturday for individuals or groups.
14 USD per person entry fee.
Black River Tour
We continued to the Black River
, Jamaica's longest river. You find a mixture of
salt and fresh water fish also it is a fresh water river . The boat tour is
20 USD per person. The guide shoes us a lot of crocodiles. Each has its
territory. They guides give them names. They can get up to 5 meters here.
Unlike there counterparts in Australia and Africa these are not aggressive.
Hour guide demonstrated it by jumping into the river for a swim.
The only way they get aggressive he explained is when they smell blood,
feeding their cubs or fell threaded. Then they really switch 180° degrees
can jump up to half there length and nothing stops them from attacking what
Temperature, Sunshine and Rain in Montego Bay Jamaica
10-Feb-2006 The James Bond Day
In 1942 commander Ian Fleming went with Ivar Bryce to an Anglo-American
Navel conference in Jamaica. Although he spend only three days on the island he said
"when the war is over I never will spend a winter in England".
In 1945 the war ended and he was offered a job at Kemsley Newspapers.
He set up the Kemsley foreign service.
Ian received a good salary but, more important, had written into his contract
that he would have three month holiday every year.
And he wanted to spend this three month in Jamaica.
1946 Ian Fleming returned and purchased 15 aces of land that had been a
donkey race course. It is located on the north cost near the banana port
of Oracabessa .
Ian called the house after a military operation he masterminded, a
Navel intelligence operation called Goldeneye.
There was no glass in the windows.
The first person Ian Fleming rented Goldeneye to was Noël Coward.
"I had a wonderful time but the rent was extremely high" Noël said.
He soon build its own villa Firefly 10 km further on the top of the hills near the
port town St Maria.
Ian Fleming spend his days snorkeling and swimming.
Finding the James Bond beach and Golden Eye villa
If you come from Oracabessa you can follow the signs to the James Bond Beach.
It is on the left side. The place has been shut down although it states at the
fence that there is a 5 USD entrance fee. If you continue toward St. Maria
the next villa on the left is the Golden Eye . It just says "private property" and there are guards. Without reservation you will have a hard time to get in.
If you see the sign Golden Blue villa you went to far as this is the next villa.
He started writing the James Bond spy stories.
Ian said "I wanted to find a name that would not have and romantic overtones, like Peregrine Carruthers or how ever it might be. I wanted I really flat quit name." .
He continued "And one of my Bibles out here is James Bond's Birds of the West Indies".
"I thought James Bond that is a pretty quiet name, so I simply stole and used it." he
Ian came every year three month to Jamaica write a Bond book and returned to England.
The first James Bond book, Casino Royal, was written at Golden Eye in
1952 and established a pattern for the next 12 years.
All 13 James Bond books were written at Golden Eye although only three
had scenes in Jamaica :
Production of "Dr. No (1962)" began on January 16
1962 at the Palisados Airport in Kingston and it was shoot mostly in Jamaica.
Other locations include Dunn's River Falls, the White River and Reynolds Bauxite Pier.
"Live and Let Die (1973) " had scenes on the James Bond Beach
located in Oracabessa, St. Mary about twenty minutes from Ocho Rios, as well a in
Falmouth. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) finally had a scene on Jamaica.
Finding the Firefly villa
If you come from St. Maria you turn left shortly after the Oxford gas depot,
follow the steep and badly maintained road up to the end.
Tour cost 10 USD per person.
Finding the James Bond set if "Live and Let Die"
If you drive the old country road from Montego Bay east you will see a big
board to your right
"Charles Swaby's swamp safari, Falmouth, James Bond was here in ..."
The page is provided 'as is' , without warranty of any kind, express or
implied, including but not limited to the warranties of merchantability, fit-
ness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. In no event shall
Andreas Haack be liable for any claim, damages or other liability.
Any links on this page are not under my control and I take no responsebility for the contents of these pages
This page is copyrighted property of Andreas Haack.
Copyright by Andreas Haack (c) 2006 .
No part of this page may be published without written permission for Andreas Haack.
A hyper-link may created to this page but NOT to the embedded elements of this page.
It may be freely downloaded for private purpose only as long as it is unaltered and contains this copyright message and my e_m_a_i_l url.