Havana, Cuba as a New Travel Destination

Havana, Cuba as a New Travel Destination

Last month, President Obama announced that America would be re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba – meaning change is sure to follow, so head to Cuba sooner rather than later to enjoy its unique old-school charms. With the government slowly allowing the development of non-state-owned tourism, there’s been a growth in private enterprise recently – particularly seen in Old Havana, a thriving cultural hub, with new bars like O’Reilly 304, and recently opened stylish B&B Casa Alta (£19-25 a night) adding to the buzz.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the founding of the southern city of Santiago de Cuba on 25 July, a week of partying and a carnival has been planned.

World Expeditions has a new 12-day cycling tour, exploring the country’s lesser-known spots, from £1,567pp. And Che Guevara’s son, Ernesto junior, has just launched six- and nine-day motorbike tours of the island – and leads some tours himself (from £1,999)

Havana, Cuba as a New Travel Destination

Where is the Havana, Cuba?

Havana (Spanish: La Habana) is the capital city, largest city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of 728.26 km2 (281.18 sq mi) – making it the largest city by area, the most populous city, and the third largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region.

The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.

The city of Havana was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the continent becoming a stopping point for the treasure-laden Spanish galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World. King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. The sinking of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana’s harbor in 1898 was the immediate cause of the Spanish–American War.

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts. The city is the center of the Cuban government, and home to various ministries, headquarters of businesses and over 90 diplomatic offices. The current mayor is Marta Hernández from the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). In 2009, the city/province had the 3rd highest income in the country.

The city attracts over a million tourists annually, the Official Census for Havana reports that in 2010 the city was visited by 1,176,627 international tourists, a 20.0% increase from 2005. The historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is also noted for its history, culture, architecture and monuments. As typical of Cuba, Havana also features a tropical climate.

In May 2015, Havana was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Durban, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur.

Feeling tropical in Costa Rica with beachs, adventure, hotels and food

Feeling tropical in Costa Rica with beachs, adventure, hotels and food

This small country is perhaps the best in Latin America for a tropical adventure, thanks to its misty jungles, incredible wildlife, active volcanoes and glorious deserted beaches.

The essential itinerary for Costa Rica was defined long ago: Manuel Antonio for the beach, Monteverde for cloud forest, Tortuguero for turtles, and Arenal volcano for outdoor adventure. Add in the area of sandy beachfront in Guanacaste that has also been set aside for large hotels and you have all the elements of most package tours to the country.

But the true beauty of Costa Rica lies in its smaller, emptier spaces. And though there is plenty of adventure on offer (when they say you can zipline from one end of the country to the other, they’re only half joking), it’s the V-formation of pelicans flying over your hammock, lightning over a silver sea, pink orchids against turquoise houses, a passing cowboy with silver stirrups, the white sand and deep blue sea that stay in the memory – along with the state of the roads.

Costa Rica has a mountainous spine, so crossing from Pacific to Caribbean coast takes forever. Resign yourself to loops in all directions out of the capital San José, which sits in the Central Valley, and remember that internal flights will save time and stress. What looks like a quick journey on a map will not be: the 65-mile drive from Arenal to Monteverde, say, can take six hours.

All prices are for the current high season (December-April) and include tax of 13%. In the low season, from May-November (less crowds, rainy mornings), there are substantial discounts if occupancy is low.

Feeling tropical in Costa Rica with beachs, adventure, hotels and food

San José, The Capital City

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the old capital has been left to rot while a replacement, made of condos and strip malls, is built around it. The gridlocked downtown blocks aren’t pretty, with their cracked pavements, stinking drains, seedy bars, pickpockets, rusting tin roofs and ocarina sellers. But old San José has its sights, from Museo de Jade (Plaza de la Democracía) and Museo del Oro (beneath Plaza de la Cultura), both with unrivalled but unsung pre-Colombian treasures, to the warren of the Mercado Central, and the pay-to-view grandeur of the Teatro Nacional.

Start at the city’s western edge with a visit to Museo de Arte Costarricense in the old air traffic control building of what used to be the airport, then head down Paseo Colon.

Where to stay

For San José’s airports and exits for Pacific highways, hotels in the western suburbs are best. For a quick stopover, white, clean, super-value Hotel Luisiana in Santa Ana (doubles from $62 room-only) is a good option, but for a treat try Xandari (doubles from $299), just 20 minutes from the international airport. This colourful gem, with thatched spa and pools in tranquil tropical gardens on the northern flanks of the Central Valley, offers spectacular views of the city. In San José itself, the boutique Hotel Grano de Oro (doubles from $186) is a luxurious, charming oasis filled with art and plants just off Paseo Colon.

Wealthy coffee barons built their homes in Barrio Amón, five blocks north of the Teatro Nacional. Hipster entrepreneurs have turned several of them into bars and restaurants. Try hole-in-the-wall Café Miel (Avenida 9, Calle 11 & 13) for great cake and coffee; atmospheric and arty Alma de Amón (Calle 5, Avenida 9 & 11) for cocktails, empanadas and ceviche; and coolly scruffy Stiefel Pub (near the INS building on Avenida 7) for lively crowds and craft beer. Near the top of Paseo Colon, stylish Aquí Es (Avenida 2 & Calle 38) has live jazz and big steaks.

Tiquicia (+506 2289 5839), above San Antonio de Escazú, offers city views and folk dancing. It’s cheesy and sentimental, but this is where Ticos go for a night of chicharrones (pork rinds), a casado of rice, steak and plantain, and loads of Nicaraguan Flor de Caña rum with Coke, limes and a bucket of ice.

Mexico: Bienvenido Sayulita – Welcome to Sayulita

Mexico: Bienvenido Sayulita - Welcome to Sayulita

If you have ever spent time in a small coastal surf town then you know just how relaxing and rewarding the experience can be. Some of my most fond travel memories come from finding unique hidden gems full of like minded individuals looking for zen. Sayulita in the state of Nayarit, Mexico struck a chord with me because of the relaxed vibe and the colourful little buildings serving up freshly made burritos and tacos accompanied by an ice cold Cerveza. Yes please!

Something else that is appealing about Sayulita is that it is not very hard to find but has managed to retain it’s authentic Mexican feel without becoming too touristy. It is hailed as an “off the beaten path” travel destination and is a mecca for surfers of all ages. I have spent a lot of time in Mexico in various areas but this particular town really stood out to me because of it’s proximity to a large tourist destination, Puerto Vallarta, and the fact that it still offers up a cultural experience.

Don’t get me wrong, there are no shortage of foreigners here looking for the same thing that you are but the general feel of the town and it’s visitors is one of detached relaxation. As I had mentioned getting there is fairly simple, you will need to fly into the Puerto Vallarta international airport which is about 25 miles North of Sayulita. Your best bet is to rent a car and drive down as then you will have access to a vehicle to further explore the surrounding areas. As I like to say, you never know what you can find until you start to look. There is also taxi service and a regular bus that runs from the Puerto Vallarta airport directly into the the town that costs approximately 25 pesos so if you are feeling reluctant to drive in a foreign country there are certainly other options.

Mexico: Bienvenido Sayulita - Welcome to Sayulita

One of the most popular options for accommodation in Sayulita is rental properties or condos. You can rent one bedroom right up to five or six bedroom properties directly from the owner by doing a little bit of online research prior to your trip. Most properties are beach front and also allow access to a private pool so you will have no shortage of options to cool down after spending the day enjoying the heat of Mexico.

Having a kitchen at your disposal will also permit you to take advantage of the small markets and vendors dotting the vibrant streets selling fresh local ingredients for you to sink your teeth into. Having an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, Sayulita also offers up a delectable feast for both your palate and for your inner party animal. If your preference is a full service hotel, where your most difficult decision is what to order from the room service menu then not to fear, this small coastal town has a bit of everything from budget accommodation to luxury beachfront cabanas.

Activities are plentiful in this area and aside from the obvious choice of trying your hand at surfing, you can also find world class diving, fishing and snorkeling. For the more active traveller there are numerous golf and tennis courses and breathtaking hiking trails that wind along the coastline giving you a birds eye view of the sparkling Pacific Ocean. When you are ready to unwind you can wander along the streets visiting the local shops and art galleries or make a reservation at one of the nearby spa facilities.

Mexico: Bienvenido Sayulita - Welcome to Sayulita

Mexico has long been one of my most favourite culinary destinations and Sayulita did not disappoint. The dining experiences and restaurants are almost limitless. If you count taco/tortilla stands and small “hole-in-the-wall” cafes, Sayulita offers over 100 locations to grab a bite to eat. Award-winning fine dining restaurants will tempt you with their lavish menus while taco stands will easily fill you up for only a few pesos.

As I has mentioned before, I have had the pleasure of spending a significant amount of time throughout Mexico and it always pains me when I hear people discredit the country due to news reports and misguided safety concerns. Recent news reports regarding violence in Mexican border towns should not confuse vacation-goers about the easy-going peaceful founding families of Sayulita and other rural areas. Mexico is a massive country and there are certainly some cities that are safer then others but at no point during any of my time spent there did I feel unsafe or threatened and contrary to popular belief, some of the friendliest people I have met during my journeys have been in this particular country.

Use common sense when travelling to any foreign country and ask the experts. If you have never travelled to Mexico but know someone who has, ask them for their thoughts and advice. Try and find someone who has spent some time outside of the resorts as sitting at the pool bar with boatloads of other tourists does not classify as an authentic Mexican experience. Like I said finding Sayulita is the easy part, wanting to leave is another story.

A Perfect Day in Roatán Island, Honduras

A Perfect Day in Roatán Island, Honduras

When you’re itching for the waves the only lotion is the ocean. Summer beacons for sandy white beaches and a warm sun. Arguably there are many famous beach destinations where one can work on their summer glow this season. As summer is closing to an end there is one top destination that you can’t let go out of reach just yet. Grab your carry on and enjoy a long weekend getaway on the beautiful island of Roatán, Honduras.

Roatán, is located between the islands of Útila and Guanaja, is the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands. Roatán is known worldwide as a top scuba diving and cruise ship destination. The reef surrounding the island attracts beautiful tropical fish and thousands of tourists each year. People here can enjoy Roatáns relaxed lifestyle, beautiful sea, mild climate, and friendly people.

Two of the more popular areas on the island of Roatán are West End and West Bay. West End caters to a younger crowd, with parties almost every night. Hostels and local eateries will be found here. West Bay is the ritzier area with all-inclusive resort and cruise ships that arrive to the island almost daily. West Bay is the location for snorkeling and scuba diving heaven.

If you have a few days to spend here there are many activities of things to do, see and eat. Here are a few recommendations you can do with 3 days on the island:

A Perfect Day in Roatán Island, Honduras

Eating

Breakfast: Cafe Escondido (West End)

Highly recommended: Tank Filler breakfast( eggs, bacon, toast, avocado, and juice/coffee). They also have some amazing smoothies (the Nutty Monkey & Chocolate banana milkshake) and cinnamon rolls. Most tourists will go there to eat every day as its prices are affordable and the food is really worth it.

You can get some tasty lunch after snorkeling, like black beans and maduro (plantains) for less than $6 USD.

Dinner: The Lighthouse & C-Level Pizza & Rotisserie Chicken (West End)

The Lighthouse is one of the more pricey restaurants on West End. Dishes range from $20-45 USD but it is by far one of the best restaurants on the island. Highly recommended is the Coconut Chicken or the Thai Seafood bowl.

Order a large 16 in. pizza at C-Level as you can easily share this with two people. Be weary of adding Jalapeños to your pizza, they are very spicy!

There is no real name for this Rotisserie Chicken stand other than, ‘the chicken place’. It’s the only Rotisserie Chicken food stand on the main road in West End. They have some amazing creole style chicken. The locals tend to order the ½ pound chicken alone with potatoes, black beans, and some fresh sweet bread.

Desert: Sweet Cakes Shop & Ice Cream at the Laundry Mat (West End)

Highly recommended: Tres Leches cake at the Sweet Cakes Shop ($4 USD).

Arguably one of the best ice creams you can have is at a laundry mat on the main road in West End. Hang out on their patio or their swings and hammocks overlooking the Caribbean while getting your laundry done.

Activities

Snorkeling at West Bay

On the main road in West End, walk to the Maritime conservatory and rent some snorkeling gear for $5 USD. Then take a water taxi in front of West End Divers to West Bay for about $3 USD. Walk to the coral wall in front of the Grand Roatán hotel. Absolutely the most beautiful and affordable day you can spend snorkeling here!

Swim Up Bar (West Bay)

In West Bay there is a swim-up bar in the middle of the ocean. Swim there and you get a free complimentary shot. Oh, and you have to jump off the 4-meter high deck.

Karaoke at Blue Marlin Restaurant (West End)

On Thurs., Karaoke at the Blue Marlin is the place to be! Sing and dance the night away here. It’s an open area, so you get the breeze from the sea to help with the hot humid island weather.

Jack’s Cigar & Bar Shop (West Bay)

If you want more of a slower night and want to beat the karaoke crowd, you can always head over to Jack’s. The bartender makes some pretty delicious daiquiris. They also have a TV where you can catch you favorite sport matches from back home.

Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Taking a trip to the Cuban capital? Discover the essential places to eat, drink and let your Latin spirit run wild.

Sexual, sensual and addictive, Havana seduces the visitor with her good looks, her steamy weather, chrome-festooned American cars, zesty cocktails, pretty buildings, heart-stopping Afro-Cuban beats and hip-swivelling, story-telling, garrulous locals. With her bedrock layered with Spanish empire treasure, slave-fuelled sugar wealth and a heavy top coating of communism, Havana is simply one of the world’s most exciting, confusing and compelling capitals.

As a global show-stopper, there are plenty of things to do in Havana, from taking in the highlights of the Spanish colonial old town, with its castles and museums – including challenging art and sculpture at the Museo de Bellas Artes – to the contemporary art, music and film scene at the new Fábrica de Arte Cubano and cruising the snaking, sea-sprayed Malecón ocean road in a gleaming classic American car.

Other Havana highlights include eating and drinking in the capital’s new wave of private restaurants and bars such as stylish Le Chansonnier and the alfresco patio bar of Espacios, followed by partying in dens of musical entertainment such as basement Teatro Bertolt Brecht and jazz bar La Zorra y el Cuervo or salsaing under the stars at 1830.

Things to do in Havana, Cuba

Havana Museums and Attractions

Havana is packed full of museums from the conventional to the quirky: the Museum of the Revolution, which showcases Fidel Castro’s rise from rebel commander to victor of his 1959 revolution; the opulent Napoleonic Museum, home to the largest collection of Napoleonic memorabilia outside Europe; Ernest Hemingway’s books, pet graves and hunting trophies at his home-turned-museum; the museum of classic cars; and the Casa de Africa, which reveals the history and religion of the West Africans brought to Cuba during the height of the slave trade.

But it’s the alternatives, both iconic and esoteric things to do in Havana, that will make your visit memorable. Swing by the lush art deco headquarters of the Bacardi rum empire, tour the illustrious marble tombs at the Christopher Columbus Cemetery, ride with the locals in an almendrón (classic car taxi), sneak a peak in the ladies’ cloakroom of the art deco Teatro América, sit, swoon and gossip with habaneros at dusk on the Malecón sea wall, dance salsa under the stars at 1830, catch a baseball game, or queue with the locals for ice cream at the space-age Coppelia.

At night, dine at one of the new pop-up restaurants in Old Havana – arty Vedado, or smart Miramar – then mingle with monied locals at the new-wave of industrial chic, boho and speakeasy-style bars.

Time your visit for Havana’s popular festivals: the October biennial ballet festival, the film festival and jazz festival, both staged in December, the cigar jamboree in February and the art bienal – held in 2015 from May 22 to June 22.

Barbados: Beach, Blue Sea and Sky

Barbados: Beach, Blue Sea and Sky

Barbados is the most easterly of the West Indian islands of the Caribbean, so that its eastward coasts meets the rolling breakers of the Atlantic and the island is cooled by refreshing breezes, while the western shores meet the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean. Overhead the sun shines and shines – a permanent invitation to relax and enjoy the beautiful silverly beaches.

Recommended Restaurants: Josef’s, St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church; The Round House Inn, Bathsheba, St Joseph; The Restaurant at Southsea, St Lawrence Gap, Christ Church; Waterfront Cafe, The Carenage, Bridgetown.

Hotels in Barbados

Golden Sands Hotel Christchurch, Maxwell
Silver Sands Resort Barbados
Time Out At The Gap Christ Church, City
Blue Orchids Beach Hotel Christchurch, Worthing Beach
Allamanda Beach Hotel Christchurch, City Centre / Hastings Plaza
Blue Horizon Hotel Barbados, Rockley Beach
Amaryllis Hotel Christchurch, Palm Beach
Coconut Court Hotel Christchurch, Hastings Beach
The Savannah Barbados, Rockley Beach
Pirates Inn Christchurch, City Centre
Coral Mist Hotel Christchurch, Worthing Beach
Divi Southwinds Beach Resort Christ Church, City

Mystic St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Mystic St. Vincent and the Grenadines

St Vincent and its constellation of green islets, known as the St Vincent Grenadines, constitute one of the healthiest and most relaxing tourist spots in the Caribbean. The people are friendly, the climate radiant, the scenery a delight. Originally claimed by the French, the islands were ceded to Britain in the 18th century. From St Vincent to Petit St Vincent at the far end of the archipelago the islands appear as a collage of emerald hills and glistening beaches. English spoken everywhere.

Climate is sunny and warm, with an average temperature of 78 F. and rainy spells in the summer and fall. Though the dry or showerless period runs from December – April, St Vincent’s sun knows no seasons making the island a year round resort. Arnos Vale Airport is 1.5 miles from the city. Duty-free shop and Tourist Information counter.

Outside the winter season (during May – November period) rates can be lower by one-half or two-thirds, especially in the out-of-town hotels. The Kingstown Tourist Board can arrange accommodations at its two bureaux – one at the airport and the other in town. There are also branches on the islands; Bequia Union.

If the stay does not exceed six months, US, Canadian and British citizens need only proof of identity and return ticket to their respective countries (or, in the case of British citizens, to the country from which they came). Other nationals require passport, in some cases visa, and a smallpox vaccination certificate. Duty-free allowance is 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 0.5 lb tobacco; 1 quart of wine or spirits.

Welcome to Puerto Rico Beaches


Welcome to Puerto Rico Beaches

Puerto Rico lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. Ciudad Trujillo is about 45 miles to the west, and st. Thomas, Virgin Islands, is 75 miles to the east of San Juan.

You really are ‘at home abroad’ in Puerto Rico, for its part of the United States, yet truly foreign in atmosphere. It has been called the most European of the Caribbean countries and with justice. The beaches are wonderful, the hotels among the most luxurious, the food familiar or exotic depending on your taste. Yet you have a wonderful feeling of being at home in Puerto Rico despite the fact that chaperones are still the fashion and that coffee and banana trees flourish before your eyes. Fishermen will be particularly happy there. The sun shines year round.

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama (Spanish: República de Panamá), is a country in Central America situated between North and South America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country’s 3.9 million people.

Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia.

With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 2000.

Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama’s GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. Panama has the second largest economy in Central America and is also the fastest growing economy and largest per capita consumer in Central America. In 2013, Panama ranked 5th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index, and 59th in the world.

Since 2010, Panama remains the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama’s jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them to be found nowhere else on the planet.

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Panama Canal

The Panamá Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a man-made 48-mile (77 km) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level. The current locks are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016, and is due to open in June 2016.

France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904, and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan.

Colombia, France, and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. After a period of joint American–Panamanian control, in 1999 the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government, and is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.

Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in 1914, when the canal opened, to 14,702 vessels in 2008, for a total of 333.7 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. By 2012, more than 815,000 vessels had passed through the canal; the largest ships that can transit the canal today are called Panamax.[1] It takes six to eight hours to pass through the Panama Canal. The American Society of Civil Engineers has called the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Why and when to travel to Jamaica

Why and when to travel to Jamaica

An insider’s guide to Jamaica, featuring the island’s best hotels, restaurants, bars, attractions and things to do, including how to travel there and around. By James Henderson, Telegraph Travel’s Jamaica expert. Click on the tabs below for the best beaches, including the top spots to stay stay, eat and drink.

Why go?

Jamaica is the liveliest, most captivating and most compelling island in the English-speaking Caribbean – and among the most beautiful too. It has the beaches and the hotels, but Jamaica also has more depth, with culture in its history, art and of course its music. The Caribbean experience is stronger here – Jamaica takes familiar strains from around the Caribbean and amplifies them.

When to go

The best time to visit is when the weather is at its worst and coldest in the UK, between mid-December and mid-April (the official winter season). In Jamaica this is also the driest part of the year. However, prices are at their highest then, so you may want to consider the shoulder season, up until July, when hotel prices reduce by as much as a third and the weather is not that different. The summer months are hot and sometimes muggy. You may want to avoid September and October because of the risk of hurricanes and November because it is the rainy season.

Why and when to travel to Jamaica

Know before you go

Flight time

London to Jamaica takes between nine and 10 hours.

Currency

The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar, or ‘J’, which floats on the international exchange (currently £1 = J$175 approx). However, many people use the US dollar (hotel bills are quoted in this currency). You should check the rate and make the calculations to see what exchange rate you are being offered.

Local laws and etiquette

Personal safety is an issue in several islands around the Caribbean. Do not leave valuables unattended on the beach nor in a car. Do not walk in remote areas in the main towns nor on remote beaches, certainly not at night. If in doubt ask your hotel reception what they do. Largely speaking the Jamaicans are charming and if you stop to ask them advice or directions they are delighted to help. Be careful when you are approached, however – consider what you would do at home if approached by someone you didn’t know – and act in a similar manner.