- October 13th 2011
I’m always fascinated by the view from a plane. These days, when I travel with my family I don’t get the window seat any more, and even when I travel alone, I often opt to take the slight leg room advantage afforded by an aisle seat. But it was a nice change to have a window view when flying through the Caribbean recently. I’d like to share these photos with you.
In the next photo, I love the way the clouds look above the island.
Next up, more cumulus clouds – the Caribbean is a great place to see them – and you can’t beat the view from the air!
Rainbows fascinate me – and it’s not often you get to see this much of one from this high up.
Finally, here’s a view of the Barbados coastline.
- October 12th 2011
The Caribbean is often a place of extremes and that was never more apparent to me than on my last trip to Jamaica. As we were driving out of Port Royal and heading for the hills, we passed through a bustling town with the usual Saturday morning market sounds and smells. It was busy and colorful – like what many tourists expect from a foreign market. At the same time, there were dozens of people dressed up to the nines as they went to church or did other business that called for a little more formality. Shops were crammed along the streets cheek by jowl, while vendors showed off their wares to every passer by. But once we’d left that area behind, the landscape changed.
The next part of our journey took us past one of the island’s top educational institutions on one side and Jamaica’s Beverly Hills on the other. Don’t scoff at the thought of Beverly Hills on a Caribbean island. These mountain top mansions were pretty impressive, sprawling over several acres, covering a few floors and looking as though they’d been recently painted. And let’s not forget the equally impressive satellite dishes to keep the occupants in touch with the world. I thought that they must have had a fabulous view of most of the island, though not all of it. Jamaica is so big that you can’t always see the sea, a rarity in the Caribbean.
In the Mountains
Climbing higher took us to the end of our journey and another quintessentially Jamaican experience. As we pulled into the John Crow Blue Mountains Holywell National Park, I felt a sense of coming home. I’ve always loved the mountains and now I was surrounded by them. Climbing more than 4,000 feet, the mountains are pretty impressive, and the park is a testament to how you can enjoy nature without defacing it. Wooden cottages and gazebos were set into different areas, accessible by short trails, so you could have privacy while enjoying nature. These were only partly accessible by car.
Once we reached our hut, I was able to sit on a mound and look out towards Kingston or back towards more mountains. it was a peaceful location, largely untroubled by the sound of transport, and with a refreshing breeze. The highlight for me was to be able to look across and see the clouds move past at eye level, seemingly close enough to touch. That’s something you just don’t see every day – and it’s why I’m sure I’ll be visiting Jamaica and the Blue Mountains again.
Flying to Jamaica? You can travel from JFK on United, JetBlue, American Airlines and others, including Air Jamaica. There are also direct flights from Miami and other US cities. Don’t forget you can park and fly with Park Ride Fly USA – check us out on Twitter and Facebook for coupons.
- September 19th 2011
I only thought about it recently but Jamaica seems to be a place that I visit once every 20 years. My first trip there was as a child, and I don’t remember that much about it. I next visited in the late 80s. I spent three weeks and had a pretty good time. The trip was notable for the acquisition of my first sunburn. I don’t burn easily but with cloudless skies and temperatures in the high 90s to 100s, it was no surprise.
A the end of this week, I’ll be going again for an extended weekend, staying in Port Royal, an old pirate haunt which these days is much more likely to be filled with tourists than buccaneers.
I don’t really know what to expect – 20 years is a long time, in which a place can change beyond recognition. One thing that will certainly be the same is the hospitality and welcome offered by the Jamaicans. That really struck me on my last trip and I’m sure it will again.
Jamaica is popular with US tourists. You can fly to Kingston or Montego Bay via a number of airlines and you don’t need a visa for stays of up to six months. (If you’re flying from JFK, a popular departure point, then check out our JFK airport parking opportunities.)
While I’m there, I expect to check out the beach, visit the mountains and, since you can’t go to Jamaica without sampling some Blue Mountain coffee, drink some great coffee. As the birthplace of Bob Marley, the soundtrack to the trip will almost certainly be reggae. Watch out for some trip reports next week.
Image: Christian y Sergio