Tag Archives: all-inclusive

River-rafting and zip-lining, boat trips and beach cocktails, my perfect Jamaica holiday

The child in front of me hurled himself off the tree-top platform high off the forest floor and sped through the air. I couldn’t back out now.  While zip-lining had long been on my wish-list, dreaming about it and actually standing on the edge of a sheer drop preparing to fling myself into thin air were two very different things. Besides, I was in Jamaica. Shouldn’t the perfect Jamaica holiday involve lounging on a beach drinking rum cocktails instead of dicing with death?

perfect Jamaica holiday
The pool at my hotel, Hotel RIU Palace Jamaica. This was what I’m imagined I’d be doing all week instead of….
perfect Jamaica holiday
…trying to put a brave face on the fact I was about to hurtle myself across the roof of a forest attached to a metal rope…

The shout came from across the tree-tops. It was my turn. I took a deep breath and ran, like a cartoon character, right off the edge. It was as terrifying and exhilarating as I’d hoped. Landing turned out to be even more scary than taking off. Where were the brakes? In my panicked attempt to stop, I flung out out a hand ahead of the fast-moving metal clip connecting me to the wire. By pure luck, my thick glove got shredded, rather than my hand. Now where was that drink?

It was my first time in Jamaica and the trip turned out to be more action-packed than I’d expected. While there were inviting picture-perfect golden sandy beaches, a sparkling blue ocean and towering palm trees – we had a schedule to stick to. So hold onto your cocktails – here’s what to do in Jamaica when you haven’t got a lot of time to to do it in….

Rafting down the Martha Brae River

perfect Jamaica holiday
Being punted down the Martha Brae river – a highlight of the trip

Being punted down the Martha Brae river was one of the highlights of an amazing trip. For about an hour there was nothing to do but relax and enjoy drifting along the calm sun-dappled waters. On the banks are the occasional stall selling anything from clothes and ornaments to towels and marijuana or you can just lie back and let your guide lead you downstream towards a cooling beer. This was a definite highlight of my visit. Continue reading River-rafting and zip-lining, boat trips and beach cocktails, my perfect Jamaica holiday

A Cape Verde holiday – winter sun on the island of Sal

Feeling my car’s clutch cable snap while driving to the airport was not the greatest of starts to our Cape Verde holiday, but after a several hours on the hard shoulder of the M1, a succession of train journeys and an impromptu overnight hotel stay, we were finally on our way – if from Bristol airport with Thomas Cook rather than Manchester airport with TUI as originally planned.

Cape Verde holiday Sal
Not the best ever start to a beach holiday…

Small wonder that when we finally arrived at our resort, 24 hours later than planned, we dumped our bags in our rooms and headed straight to the bar to throw ourselves around on the dance floor to the music. We were wearing jeans in 27-degree heat but hey, our holiday had finally started! It was only a minute or so later that we realised we were the only people dancing. The bar was packed with people wearing cool floaty dresses and drinking colourful cocktails but it seemed that dancing was just for us. Thankfully after a while some brave souls – all women – followed our example. ‘Thank goodness you’re here,’ one said to us. ‘This is the liveliest it’s been all week.’

Cape Verde holiday Sal
The Melia Llana resort on the island of Sal, Cape Verde

If you are looking for Ibiza-style parties and all-night danceathons then the hotels of Sal, Cape Verde are probably not what you’re looking for. However if you’re after a relaxing week by the pool, soaking up the rays and enjoying almost constant food and all-inclusive cocktails then this will suit you perfectly.  There are some interesting places to visit outside the resorts but as the island is just 20 miles from head to toe they can be seen in less than a day leaving you more time to just relax and indulge yourself.

cape verde holiday sal
The Melia Llana resort at night (hotel’s own pic)

I’d first heard about Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde, the archipelago of islands off the north-west coast of Africa, when I wrote a piece about how British holidaymakers were turning their backs on Turkey and Egypt in favour of Cape Verde, seeing it as safer spot for their summer holidays. Continue reading A Cape Verde holiday – winter sun on the island of Sal