Men have lusted after Jamaica for more than five centuries. Christopher Columbus called it “the fairest isle that eyes have beheld.” The Spanish liked the island so much, in fact, that they decided to move right in, disregarding the native population. The British were the next to covet this piece of paradise. When they discovered the island’s potential for the spice trade in the 1650s, they happily relieved the Spaniards of their ownership.
By the 1850s, the island was a British crown jewel, producing much of the queen’s sugar. But it was success that came by the hand of African slaves who had been brought in to work the fields. Over the years, these nationalities began to mix, producing a culture unlike any other. “Out of many, one nation” is the Jamaican motto, and it’s this rich heritage that has given the island her colorful, free-loving spirit.
In 1962, Jamaica finally gained her independence … yet some things never change. People still long to walk the shores of Jamaica — only this time, the newcomers aren’t would-be conquerors, but tourists. Guests are drawn by the island’s sun-kissed beaches, tropical climate and the welcoming people of Jamaica.
Yet like every nation, Jamaica has had its difficulties. This country of 2.6 million is a developing land, and its rise from poverty has been a struggle. It’s not uncommon to see million-dollar mansions next to tiny concrete lean-tos.
There are certain regions in Jamaica that visitors should avoid, such as some inner-city neighborhoods of Kingston. And though the use and sale of drugs is illegal in Jamaica, it’s often a common occurrence.
Thankfully, such problems are avoided with a little common sense. Most Jamaican resorts are far from the hubbub of city life, stretched out along remote, quiet beaches, where the only worry is which drink to choose while you soak up the sun.
Actually, my only worry is whether my banana daiquiri will stay cold while I take a quick dip in the ocean with my friends at the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa.
This AAA four-diamond destination in Trelawny, just an hour from the Montego Bay airport, on the island’s northern coast, has pampered me so much that I’m beginning to feel like royalty. We’ve dined like kings, slept by the pool and discussed life from our beachside chairs. With such a daily routine, it’s easy to feel entitled.
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