South/Central America and the Caribbean – European Travellers looking for something different are exploring these areas more and more




South/Central America and the

Caribbean are holiday destinations that more and more European travelers are choosing. Why? They are looking for something with a difference. Somewhere new to explore.

When I lived in Canada, my Mother invited me to join her and my youngest sister Laurie on a trip to Cancun, Mexico…

… my Sister, Karen was living in this area at the time.

I gladly accepted. This trip was taken in 1985, before Cancun was a highly developed holiday destination. There were not very many large luxury hotels in the area at that time …

… not more than 5, I would say.

It was lovely spending two weeks with my family in Mexico …

… the weather was beautiful, the turquoise sea was exceptionally warm and the scenery was lovely, especially the long stretch of beach where we explored some ruins..

When I walked onto the sand on the lovely beaches, I expected my feet to burn …

… but I was quite surprised to find that the sand was very cool.

I couldn't believe how friendly the people were. It was fun shopping in the Market in Cancun because every one expects you to barter for what you wish to purchase. In fact …

… you can get some really good bargains.

My sister lived in a typical Mexican village just outside of the Cancun holiday resort ,,,

,,, it took us ten minutes to reach Cancun via taxi.

Just about every second day, we would all walk to the food market in Karen’s village to buy fresh oranges, papayas, bananas and other fruit for our breakfast …

… we had freshly squeezed orange juice every morning.

We had to arrive early when the shop was about to open so that we had the best choice of fruit and vegetables.

One day, on the way to this shop, I saw some tiny children lined up all dressed in uniforms. They looked like little dolls. My sister explained that these small children were Mayan children on their way to school.

We spent most of our time on the beautiful beaches and on the night we would go shopping and sometimes eat dinner at my sister’s favourite restaurants, where we were always serenaded.

We had a great time together. Since then, Cancun has developed into a very hot holiday destination and now many Europeans choose Cancun for their holidays. I can’t say I blame them because …

… Cancun is a lovely place to visit.

Colin and I went to Jamaica on one of our holidays in 1989. We stayed at the Rose Hall Resort Hotel in Montego Bay, now called the Rose Hall Resort and Spa which is now the newest member of the Hilton Hotel chain.

This is a class hotel, with exceptional staff. Built on beautiful grounds. When we visited this hotel it had it’s own private beach, a restaurant and great food including themed buffets, a lovely swimming pool with a poolside bar, activities and entertainment and dining and dancing on the evening …

… plenty to satisfy you on your holidays in Jamaica.

We played golf most days on the hotel’s own Golf Course where …

… Johnny Cash’s holiday home was located.

Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall resort Cinnamon golf course, Marilyn playing out of a bunker Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort, 1989 view of Johnny Cash's summer home
Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall resort, Cinnamon golf course, Marilyn playing out of a sand bunker. Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort, 1989, Cinnamon golf course view of Johnny Cash's summer home.

This hotel is not far from the Rose Hall Sugar Plantation. The story about this Plantation talks about Annie, the White Witch of Rose Hall and how she became rich and how …

… she murdered each and every one of her husbands. We took the tour where we visited the mansion were Annie lived on this plantation.

Our hotel and some others in the area provided a shuttle service for those holidaymakers who wished to venture out on the evening to eat in the restaurants in the Montego Bay area. The bus would pick you up at a certain time and wait for you outside the restaurant whilst you dined. When you were finished, the bus would take you back to your hotel. We went to the Townhouse Restaurant where we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful meal.

Jamaica, Montego Bay, dining at the Town restaurant with Colin, Stuart and Debbie Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort, Marilyn  relaxing after a round of golf.
Jamaica, Montego Bay, dining at the Town restaurant with Colin, Stuart and Debbie. Jamaica, Montego Bay, Rose Hall Resort, Marilyn relaxing after a round of golf.

We took several Day Trips when we were in Jamaica, but there were two that impressed us the most was the trip to …

The Appleton Rum Distillery Estates.

I, for one, will never forget it. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and I would say it is a Day Trip, well worth the money you pay and a Day Trip ...

... definitely not to be missed.

I’ll tell you why. When you arrive you board the Appleton Estate Train. You have a continental breakfast.

Afterwards, whilst the train starts to move, you climb a gentle hill where the train stops to allow you to take pictures of the most amazing view of Montego Bay.

Jamaica, Montego Bay, view of the Bay from the Appleton Express Jamaica, Montego Bay, another view of the Bay from the Appleton Express.
Jamaica, Montego Bay, view of the Bay from the Appleton Express Jamaica, Montego Bay, another view of the Bay from the Appleton Express.

The train then rolls on through the lush forest and you are invited into the bar cabin of the train to party, drink rum and to listen or dance to Jamaican Reggae music. I love to dance, so I was really enjoying myself. We were having so much fun drinking all types of cocktails made with rum and dancing with the barmen. Let me tell you …

… these barmen knew how to make a Pina Colada.

Whilst we were enjoying ourselves in the bar, the train stopped at a small Jamaican village …

… about half way through the trip.

The village people are either seamstresses or artisans (carvers of wood). Here, if you wish …

… you can venture out to visit the people in the village. The whole village was full of colourful cotton cloth …

… draped from clothes lines.

You can choose the cloth you prefer and the pattern of the garment(s) you wish to have made …

… the patterns were skirts, shirts, trousers, or shorts.

Colin chose a shirt and I chose a top with matching shorts. We were told that these garments would be finished by the time we returned from our trip to the distillery.

We boarded the train again and returned to the bar, where we joined our new friends, the barmen.

The train then rolled on towards the distillery. When we arrived at the distillery …

Jamaica, Montego Bay, Colin boarding the Appleton Express Jamaica, Montego Bay, on-board the Appleton Express, dancing to Reggae music with the DJ Jamaica, Montego Bay, Appleton Distillery watching how sugar was extracted from the cane.
Jamaica, Montego Bay, Colin boarding the Appleton Express for a trip to their distillery. Jamaica, Montego Bay, on-board the Appleton Express, dancing to Reggae music with the DJ. Jamaica, Montego Bay, Appleton Distillery watching how sugar was extracted from the cane.

… we were offered a traditional Jamaican meal and a taste of the different types of rum available. Then we went on a tour of the whole distillery, where we were shown how rum and molasses were made.

After purchasing some rum in the Appleton Distillery Shop, we once again boarded the train. On the way back, we joined our new barmen friends in the bar again and partied all the way back.

We picked up our garments at the small village and bought a few beautiful wooden carvings …

… these were beautiful hand carved walking sticks shaped like snakes. We still have most of our wooden carvings that we purchased in Jamaica in our house. The train makes another stop where you can visit a cave, but …

… we were having so much fun with our new friends, we decided to stay in the bar.

We had so much fun on this trip that when our friends joined us in the second week of our holidays, we took this trip again and guess what …

… our friendly barmen were there and gave us two bottles of Rum, just for being such good company the week before.

The second was a day trip we took on-board the Calico sail ship with captain and his crew. We spent all day on this lovely sail boat that took us out into the Montego Bay. One of the crew dived off the boat and caught a Conch and when he returned with it, we were all offered a taste of it, along with of course …

… a little bit of Rum.

I would say it taste quite like squid. The captain stopped off at his house where we all enjoyed a lovely typical Jamaican Meal.

We dropped anchor in certain areas to allow you to go snorkeling.

The captain took pictures of all of us stretched out on the mast.

Jamaica, Montego Bay, snorkeling from The Calico sailing ship Jamaica, Montego Bay, the captain relaxing on-board his sailing ship The Calico Jamaica, Montego Bay, Marilyn relaxing on-board the Calico sailing ship.
Jamaica, Montego Bay, snorkeling from The Calico sailing ship Jamaica, Montego Bay, the captain relaxing on-board his sailing ship The Calico. Jamaica, Montego Bay, Marilyn relaxing on-board the Calico sailing ship

This is a great day trip out and all of got very tanned and ...

I might say a little tipsy.

Jamaica is one holiday Colin and I will never forget because Jamaica is a place ...

... to have fun on your holiday.

There are other regions in Jamaica you can visit. There is an area called Ocho Rios where, if you are brave ...

... you can climb the Ocho Rios Falls.

There is also a restaurant in Jamaica where you can dive off the cliffs.

There are so many beautiful areas in the Caribbean to visit. My mother absolutely loved Barbados and the Dominican Republic when she took her holidays on Cruise Ships. Belize is a great area to visit if you love to explore the ocean skin diving amongst the coral reefs.


I have added some useful links below that could help you decide on that dream holiday location



Welcome to the Dominican Republic, the #1 tourist destination in the Caribbean.
The Dominican Republic climate is as near perfect as you can find. Come visit our 5 star hotels, dance at one of our many resorts or just unwind under the palm trees. Republica Dominicana.

Your Costa Rica Vacations Online Guide
A site that provides information about Costa Rica vacations, retirement, house rentals, resorts, real estate and ecological tours.


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This work by Colin & Marilyn Maddison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.



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