Whether you’re looking to tee off on world-class golf courses or hike the cool forested peaks in search of exotic bird species, Jamaica’s diversity and plethora of attractions make it the ultimate destination for travelers seeking more than a sun, sand, and sea getaway. The island’s finest hotels, resorts and tour companies have created exciting packages ranging from culinary escapes to golf getaways and bird watching retreats.
“Jamaica’s blend of natural attractions, land and water sports, history, music, sports and cuisine create the perfect atmosphere for even the most discerning traveler,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Travelers yearning for a deeper cultural experience that transcend the crystalline waters and white-sand beaches can seek solace in Jamaica. Whether interacting with locals on nature tours or participating in culinary classes with local chefs, visitors will have a first-hand experience of the island’s unique culture.”
Marblue Villa, Suites & Restaurant in Treasure Beach is planning a minimum two-night all-inclusive Gourmet Weekend package. Upon arrival, guests meet the restaurant’s chef to discuss custom-made gourmet dinner and lunch options, then attend a welcome reception where Ruinart champagne, Norwegian smoked salmon and Jamaican smoked marlin canapés are served. The next morning, a romantic in-room breakfast is served, followed by a “rustic lunch” of Jamaican specialties prepared by the restaurant’s chef on an outdoor wood fire with optional guest participation. The second night’s champagne reception precedes a six-course gourmet dinner and a healthy and hearty breakfast the next morning. Book now for travel starting October 1, 2010. Package pricing starts at US$399 per person staying in a villa suite.
Villas by Linda Smith offers a week-long Culinary Course in a collection of over 80 staffed luxury villas located along Jamaica’s beautiful North Coast. The course also includes instruction on how to blend spices, cook on a pimento-fired grill, create a unique Jamaican jerk sauce and learn why Jamaica is known for the world’s best homemade soups. Rates are based on villa selection and duration of classes. Guests will also accompany the chef to the local market to select fresh organic fruits and vegetables for dinner that night. The package is available for travel at anytime.
The all-inclusive Sunset at the Palms in Negril has put together a three-night/four-day package called Eating Your Way to Wellness – A Live Food Experience, enabling guests to explore their minds, bodies and spirits, while gaining a better understanding of how daily food choices impact their health. The package includes accommodations, daily seminars with health and wellness experts, daily yoga lessons and 30 percent discounts on massage and reflexology spa treatments. Nightly all-inclusive rates start at US$356 per room based on double occupancy and US$210 per room for single occupancy. A one-day pass with access to seminars costs US$150 per person. Package available for travel August 27-30, 2010.
Girls’ Golf Getaway
Ladies looking to improve their game can tee off with Breezes Runaway Bay Resort & Golf Club’s Girls’ Golf Getaway. The package includes a five-night stay; a one-hour private lesson at the resort’s 18-hole, PGA-quality golf course; a one-hour Native’s Touch massage featuring tropical ingredients to boost the immune system; a manicure and pedicure at the full-service à la carte Blue Mahoe Spa; plus a night-pass to the neighboring Hedonism III resort, including round-trip transfers. The package is available for US$1,065 for double occupancy accommodations and is valid for travel through October 31, 2010. Those seeking a longer retreat can combine the Girls’ Golf Getaway with the Every Fifth Night Free promotion. Guests traveling before August 21, 2010 and staying nine nights will receive the 10th night free, an extra savings of up to US$350 per room.
Bird Watching Adventures, Retreats
Forres Park Resort & Spa is offering a minimum four-night Birding Adventure & Nature Retreat, featuring a bird-watching tour guide and daily accommodations inclusive of meals. The package can be booked for travel at anytime; however, the resort recommends October through March as these are the best months for bird watching, especially to see migrants. Endemic birds can be observed year-round. Room rates start at US$145 based on double occupancy. Additional costs include a US$120 daily tour guide fee and a transportation fee of US$130 for up to four people.
Bird tour specialists Reliable Adventures Jamaica is customizing one- to eight-day bird watching tours that typically include an airport meet-and-greet, plus meals and accommodations as indicated. Some tours are arranged at Bluefields, one of Jamaica’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) located on the island’s scenic Southwestern coast, stretching from the mountains to the sea. Observed birds include Jamaican Todys, Olive-throated Parakeets, Jamaican Woodpeckers and Mango Hummingbirds, to name a few. Other tours explore birds that reside or collect in other mountainous regions, as well as in forests, rivers, wetlands and coastal habitats. Travel distances are no more than one and a half driving hours from one’s hotel to maximize bird watching time. Packages can be booked for travel year-round. From May through August, some 75 bird species are expected to be seen, while more than 100 species can be observed when the winter migrants are at their peak. Package pricing dependent on tour and hotel choice.
Hotel Mockingbird Hill has created a Photography Holiday package where visitors can engage in a one-week travel photography course in Port Antonio capturing the island’s picturesque landscapes and exotic flora and fauna. The course is led by award-winning travel photographer Jon Whittle. Book until October 31, 2010 for travel November 26 – December 3, 2010 and December 3 – 10, 2010. New dates will be set for 2011. The hotel is also offering the 10-Day Birding Celebration and the Birding 28 Endemics packages for bird watchers. Travel dates are booked on request and almost all tours are tailored individually. The 10-Day Birding Celebration package ranges in price from US$2,932 to US$2,692 per person in a Garden View Room inclusive of local taxes. The Birding 28 Endemics package ranges in price from US$2,135 to US$2,045 per person in a Garden View Room plus a US$6.00 energy tax per night.