Jamaica is a very poor country and the recession has hit them even harder than the USA. When we went 2years ago the currency exchange was $1 US = $37.50 Jamaican, now it is $1 US = $88.00 Jamaican. Tourism is their #1 money making industry followed by the exportation of their Blue Mountain coffee.

Check out the price for gasoline and this is per liter not gallon.

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Unfortunately for Jamaicans, most of the plantations have shut down, the bauxite mine is closed and a lot of the smaller resort hotels have shut down as well. This leaves over 1/3 of the adult population out of work.

Despite this situation, the Jamaican people are warm, friendly and very glad to see tourists. Between the great weather and wonderful beaches, where else would you want to vacation?

The ocean is so clear and there are practically no waves since the corral reefs break the waves prior to them hitting the beach. Swimming is great because the water is somewhat warm and very relaxing.

I love the swim area at Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios because it has a pier surrounding it which is built on cement blocks which creates a “mini reef” effect. In less than 7 ft. of ocean you can see the fish, coral, sea urchins and even an octopus if you are lucky like I was. This makes snorkeling in this area a whole lot of fun and extremely easy to do. We went snorkeling farther out in the ocean and all I could see was the reef since it was deeper water and I’m fairly blind without my glasses and can’t dive at all. Surface snorkeling was way more fun when you can see the fish.

Lots of homes in Jamaica look like they are abandoned but they aren’t. Jamaicans mostly can’t afford to have construction companies work on their homes so they work on them a little bit at a time which makes for interesting neighborhoods. There will be fancy homes next to ones that look like they are falling apart or derelict.

Neighborhood in Jamaica

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Home of “voodoo” practitioners and you have to cross a thin walkway bridge after paying the entry fee to see the voodoo priest. Not set up for tourists this is the real local voodoo den.

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The views of the ocean and the rest of the island are really pretty.

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This was our room for the 10 days. Backside/poolside of the villa, we are the one with the towel on the railing. We had a big bedroom, medium sized living area, bathroom and small kitchen which is the window on the left.

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The pool was for the four villas only and we usually had it to ourselves which was great.

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We had a few visitors that kept us from missing our pets

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The pool at the Manor house which was the main hotel portion of the resort and where the main desk, tour desk, restaurants and spa are.

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And food? OMG! Such great choices! The actual Jamaican jerk chicken and pork is terrific but they have that for lunches and pull out the stops for dinners. Here is some pictures of a buffet they had set up on the evening I got injured. Hubby went and took pictures and brought me back some goodies.

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I recommend Jamaica as a place to visit on vacation even if you don’t  stay at Sandals but I highly recommend them as a resort of choice. There are six Sandals resorts in Jamaica to choose from and they are really super!

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