Month: November 2014

St. Martin is the Caribbean Paradise You’ve Overlooked

photo by CC user 27718315@N02 on Flickr

How much do you know about the island of St. Martin? Have you ever considered it as a luxury vacation destination? If you’re unfamiliar with the vacation opportunities in St. Martin, it’s might be because it’s one of those amazingly beautiful destination that, luckily for you, is flying a bit under the radar.

St. Martin is a tropical paradise that the whole family will enjoy. If your lucky enough not to be limited by significant budget constraints, you should check out the tons of private vacation villa rentals available in St. Martin.

When deciding to travel to the Caribbean paradise that is St. Martin, it will help if you’re slightly familiar with what you’ll find when you arrive. For those families interested in getting in the ocean, we’ve provided a few tips for snorkeling in St. Martin. In addition, we’ve also provided a few dining suggestions that everyone can take advantage of:

Snorkeling Guide

The Caribbean’s waters are home to a vast and diverse number of marine species. If you’ve never laid eyes upon the beauty of an active coral reef, St. Martin is the place to do so. For beginners with little or no snorkeling experience, you might think about signing up for one of the island’s many snorkeling excursions.

If you feel that you have enough experience to get by on your own, simply rent your own swim fins and mask and get on your way. Creole Rock is one of the spots you must visit. Located in the French Nature Reserve, Creole Rock is celebrated as one of the most diverse ecosystems around the island.

If you’re looking to see some of the island’s native turtle species, head over to Turtle Reef, aptly named for its’ active presence of both green turtles and hawksbill turtles. This is a perfect spot for snorkelers with less experience, as the deepest waters max out at a depth of just 25 feet, while the shallower sections offer amazing marine viewing in just six feet of water.

Dining Options

Food is important no matter where you decide to vacation. Fortunately, there is no shortage of delicious dining on St. Martin. With a unique heritage that is both Dutch and French, the people of St. Martin pair fresh fish from the sea with top-of-the-line French fare, creating cuisine fit for a foodie’s paradise.

If you’re in the mood for barbeque-style fare, be sure to check out Enoch’s Place in Marigot. Here you’ll be able to find Creole classics such as conch stew, cooked plantains, stewed chicken, and the best grilled garlic shrimp you’ve ever tasted!

If you’re cruising around the island and looking for a place to stop for lunch, don’t miss out on trying the fare at Tropicana, which is also located in Marigot. This restaurant specializes in island-style French cuisine. Salad lovers will be sure to discover a whole new appreciation for their salad with Tropicana’s tasty dressings, fresh produce, and unique combination of ingredients.

Check out the published article here:

Hike Jamaica’s Blue Mountains Because They’re Beautiful

photo by CC user bz3rk on Flickr

When you think of Jamaica, what comes to mind? What images do you associate with a visit to this lush tropical destination? Many people are limited to a view of Jamaica that only includes the pristine beaches and vibrant reggae culture.

You might not be aware that Jamaica also has many outstanding hiking opportunities. The island boasts picturesque mountain landscapes that are lush with nature and culture alike. Those that hike Jamaica’s Blue Mountains will get a true sense of the natural diversity that this Caribbean island has to offer, making it an activity that all active travelers should including  In order to have the freedom to explore all that Jamaica has to offer, you should consider staying in one of the many private Jamaica vacation villa rentalsavailable on the island!

Touring Jamaica’s Blue Mountains

If you’re interested in visiting the island of Jamaica, and you enjoy experiencing nature up close and personal, you should be sure to check out the Blue Mountains. This mountain range lies across the eastern portion of the island, stretching for a length of 28 miles, with an average width of 12 miles.

The Blue Mountains rise so steeply in such a relatively compact area that it is possible to drive from the island’s coastal plains up to an elevation of more than 7,000 feet, in just under an hour. The mountains got their name because, as they are Jamaica’s highest mountain range, they are perpetually shrouded in mist. This mist effect gives the mountains their bluish color.

When thinking about hiking in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, there are a few things you should consider. The roads that lead up to designated trailheads are narrow, winding, and unmarked. While they do present incredible views of the mountains in every direction, they can be difficult to navigate on your own.

For this reason, you might consider booking a tour of the Blue Mountains with an established company that can help you enjoy yourself, while not having to constantly be on the lookout regarding your safety and the safety of those around you. One tour company you should certainly consider is called Tourwise Jamaica.

Getting to the Trailhead

If you’re confident, adventurous, and experienced, you can organize an attempt of Blue Mountain Peak on your own, or with your family. There are two trailheads you can start from. One is on the south side of the island near Kingston, and the other is on the north side in Port Antonio. The southern trailhead is much more popular and it is recommended because it’s generally easier to find.

From Kingston, you’ll head north out of the city on Old Hope Road. The road turns to dirt after you make a right over the one-way bridge in the tiny foothills village of Gordon Town. From the bridge, it should take about 30 minutes to reach the town of Mavis Bank, which sits in the Yallahs River Valley.

From here, you’ll turn up the long, steep, winding road through the upper foothills to the trailhead at Penlyne Castle near Abbey Green Coffee Plantation, which sits at an elevation of 4500 feet. This is where you’ll begin! Best of luck hiking the Blue Mountains and be sure to enjoy your stay in beautiful Jamaica!

Check out the published piece here: