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No-frills Jamaica

Week of October 29 — November 4, 1998
Adventuring outskirts of Puerto Vallarta
No-frills Jamaica
Mountain biking around Taos

No-frills Jamaica

By Amy Marr

Question: Our family — two adults and three teenagers — are looking for reasonable, not overly luxurious accommodations in Jamaica. Although the all-inclusive hotels are too high-priced, the lure of a resort-type area with water amenities is attractive. What do you recommend?

Sue Anderson
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Adventure Adviser: For coastal digs, try Morgan’s Harbor Hotel (where a double runs $116; 809-924-8464), on Jamaica’s south side near Kingston Harbor. Here, amongst the cays and reefs of Port Royal, you’ll find some of the island’s best diving and snorkeling, and the hotel can arrange all water excursions for you. You can find better beaches for sunning and swimming a bit further north, near Port Antonio, where the breezy inlet of Frenchman’s Cove is an ideal spot for frolicking in the sea. Hovering above the beach is the laid-back Hotel Mocking Bird Hill (about $120 for a double, 809-993-3370). While neither of these hotels are full-fledged resorts, both offer plenty of activities and will better meet your budget requirements.

If I were you, I’d spend half my time on the shore then head inland to the lush Blue Mountains. Nestled in the foothills just outside of Kingston is the Maya Lodge (809-927-2097). Ideal for families, this rustic hostelry has cabins, dorm rooms and campsites, and a double costs a mere $30 per night. Hotel owner Peter Bentley doubles as an adventure guide and runs overnight hiking trips into the mountains and canoe trips along the Black River.

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