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ASK THE EXPERTS

NEED ADVICE FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP? ARE YOU AFTER RECOMMENDATIONS, TIPS AND GUIDANCE? THE TRAVEL GEEKS HAVE THE ANSWERS…

Q // I’m going to Jamaica and want to immerse myself in local culture. What do you recommend?

My advice is to steer clear of gated hotels and resorts. Exploring coastal idylls such as Ocho Rios or Negril — or heading inland to the stunning Blue Mountains or to authentic towns like Frankfield — and staying with locals is what travelling to Jamaica is all about.

Having said that, you do have to be on your guard because Jamaica does have a crime issue. However, the authorities have taken huge steps towards allaying people’s concerns and are nowadays strict when it comes to monitoring and grading accommodation.

A while back, the authorities recognised that chain hotels — which had a stranglehold on the island — were actually putting off visitors keen to experience the real culture of Jamaica. A conscious decision was made to encourage intimate hotels, privately owned guesthouses and B&Bs (including those on websites like airbnb.co.uk), eco-lodges and charming beach cottages. In fact, the Jamaican Tourist Board has wholeheartedly embraced these new accommodation options.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Walk this way: Lofty passes through volcanic lunar landscapes; ancient pilgrim pathways strewn with churches and ruins; sumptuous forested trails opening out onto vineyards. a rambler’s reward is culture, ambience and wild scenery on the walking routes through Italy, France and Spain