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.
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.’
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.
The small child in front of me fearlessly 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 I be lounging on a beach drinking rum cocktails?
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….
Cliff-diving at Rick’s Cafe
The clifftop Rick’s Cafe in Negril is a national landmark where hundreds of people congregate for the great view, bucket of beers, dancing – there’s usually a live band playing Bob Marley (who else?) – and a spot of cliff-diving. Yes, that’s right… Those who like a little risk with their drinking can chose to leap off a succession of jumping-off points (the highest is a vertigo-inducing 35 metres) or local kids will dive for you for a fee. The other side of the bar offers great views of the setting sun every night – it’s selfie heaven here – and the whole thing has a very apres-ski vibe. Arriving by boat isn’t a must but it certainly adds a certain class to proceedings.