Thursday, November 27, 2014

Do You Like James Bond?

I've spent a lot of my time in life with James Bond.  I've read all the books by Ian Fleming, I've watched all the movies, I've remained a fan of all the actors that have played James Bond, I've got the companion books and so forth, and I've been to James Bond World on top of the Schilthorn Mountain in the Alps.  But, as always in life, I continue to learn more about the things I love, and one of those things is James Bond.  So, if you've covered all the Bond stuff that I have, what's the next stop on that crazy tour?  Jamaica man.

There's a lot of things that most people don't know about Jamaica, and the little village of Orcabessa Bay that is home to all things Bond is just one of them.  Most of us would either take a cruise that stops in Jamaica at Montego Bay, or stay at one of the Sandals Resorts or something which are also close to Montego Bay.  What most people don't know is that Jamaica is not so slowly turning into one big resort, and that most of the public beaches are going away and becoming part of private resorts and personal homes.  It is possible that in the near future Jamaicans won't be able to go to the beach.  That's nuts.  Fortunately on the north side of the island nation, there are more laid back  spots and public beaches to use.  Also on that north side are some really interesting places to see and things to do.  Isn't that always the way?  You get out of the main tourist junk, and you get to see something really great.

Let's talk about the obvious first.  Goldeneye.  It's a James Bond 007 movie.  What you may not have known is that it is the name of the rental and beach villas for sale property in Orcabessa Bay, Jamaica.  Why on Earth would it be here?  Well, as luck would have it, Ian Fleming was in Jamaica when he was a British Spy, before the novels and the movies.  The mission that he was there for turned out to be a bust, but he fell in love with Jamaica.  Years later he returned and lived in Orcabessa Bay on this property.  As James Bond became larger than life, Orcabessa became more and more centered on James Bond.  You'll find beaches referring to Bond, streets, restaurants and everything else imaginable.  The whole area is Bond centered.  It's a must visit for us Bond junkies.

I must mention one thing, however.  Goldeneye is expensive.  It is one of the resorts that is taking over the country.  James Bond beach, however, is one of the remaining public beaches.

There are tons of things to do in the area besides sit on a beach though.  Ocho Rios isn't far from Orcabessa and they are well known for some things like Dunn's Falls and the bamboo raft rides on the river.  These are a must do and must see in Jamaica.  They are both relaxing and beautiful.  Watch out particularly at Dunn's Falls.  It is one of the most popular day trips going and it's normally pretty crowded.

Now, let's talk about the really fun stuff.  We'll start with horseback riding on the beach.  This is one of those things that we all say we should try someday.  Well, that day should be while you're in Jamaica.  There are a few companies that will take you on an amazing ride while in Ocho Rios.

Dolphin Cove is another great stop.  There are several places throughout the Caribbean where you can swim with Dolphins, but this is the one in Ocho Rios.  While you're there is shouldn't be missed.
Dolphin Cove is also associated with Prospect Plantation, who has great adventure tours all over the island.

Prospect Plantation and Prospect Tours will take you out to do some amazing things that you never really thought about doing in Jamaica.  First off would be the camel rides.  I'm not joking.  Instead of trail riding on a horse, you'll be on a camel.  This is something that normally is done in desert regions of Africa, so it stands out in an island nation like Jamaica.

And here's one of my favorites.  Mystic Mountain is Jamaica's first mountain theme park.  Here you can get your game on with a Jamaican bobsled.  That's right, just like the Olympic team that has made it's members so famous.  Do you really get to try it the way that the Olympians trained?  No, it's a mountain coaster and it's fabulous.  There are also many other mountain park activities at Mystic Mountain, like great water slides, scenic ski lifts, and zip lines.  It's a lot of fun and a great way to spend the day.  The scenery is amazing as well, and the butterflies are gorgeous and plentiful in the gardens.

So, whether you come for the thrills of Mystic Mountain, the uniqueness of camel rides, to see the view from Noel Coward's estate, or to just enjoy the turtles and beaches; come visit the north side of Jamaica, and see what it's like without being all about the resorts.  This is changing.  The resorts are coming in with Goldeneye leading the way, so see it now before it becomes just another land of foreign tourists like the Sandals Resorts area on the other side.


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