This new form of touring in Jamaica certainly gets the thumbs up from me because it really encourages people to get out of the hotels and a bit more under the skin of the destination. Albeit that you are driving in a convoy and with a guide, nevertheless you are not staring out at the locals and the scenery through the tinted windows of a big bus, but rather integrating into the daily hustle and bustle of Jamaica’s roads and its people which, I can promise you, is a lot of fun and much more rewarding.
Years ago, when I was a Caribbean hotel contractor, I used to do all my own driving – from Ocho Rios to Negril – and frequently stopped to get a drink and have a chat with the locals. On a few occasions I was offered something a bit more on the ‘fun’ side, and caused a lot of laughter when I told them I’d never even smoked a normal cigarette before – but no one pushed me beyond that – just treated me with warmth and kindness.
I’m hoping that we’ll see more of this kind of tour appearing in Jamaica and other destinations where the all-inclusive hotel concept has really established itself. It seems to me that, by looking after the tourists so well, ensuring their safety and offering them everything they could ever dream of inside the hotels, we have actually created an environment of fear and suspicion and now the tourists won’t venture out at all.
Here’s hoping that more excursions like this one start to appear to push down those barriers and get the tourists out into the heart of destinations. See the more about this tour on Caribjournal.com