Enjoy yoga, local food and natural wonders in Jamaica

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Forget rum and jerk chicken (ok not completely), Jamaica is all about natural wonders and healthy activities.

blue lagoon - jamaica review - travel bag - handbag

© The Travel Library/REX

Thinking of treating yourself to a Caribbean holiday to recharge your battery but not sure which tropical island to pick?

Whether it's the bustling city of Kingston, the cool Blue Mountains or Ocho Rios' scenic beaches, there's a little something for everyone in Jamaica.

Where to stay

To really get a feel of how diverse Jamaica can be, you need to tour the Island. First up, the bustling city of Kingston.

Located in the heart of New Kingston, Courtleigh Hotel & Suites (from $259 a night) offers top-notch facilities, which were quite frankly a godsend after an 10 hour flight. Think huge rainfall shower and even bigger bed with linen so soft we could cry. In the morning, you can enjoy a continental breakfast by the pool, and more importantly a strong cup of Blue Mountain coffee.

couples sans souci - jamaica review - travel bag - handbag

© Couples Sans Souci

Ocean view room, Couples Sans Souci

Where Kingston is busy and full of life, Ocho Rios, just a couple hours away, is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. You'll be hard-pressed to find more beautiful beaches. We stayed at Couples Sans Souci (from $185 a night), an adults only all-inclusive resort. Forget all preconceptions you have of all-inclusive hotels, cheesy it is not. We very much enjoyed the private beach, spa facilities (a massage by the sea is a must), and abundance of fresh juice and cocktails.

Once you're ready to tear yourself away from Ocho Rios, head straight to Goblin Hill Villas (from $150 a night) in Port Antonio, another picturesque part of the island where nature takes over, with the jungle dropping straight into the sea. The villas have a 50s charm to them and are perfect if you're looking for a little more freedom than a hotel. You can cater for yourself (or get a cook to come in) and enjoy a chilled glass of rum punch overlooking the sea.

Eat and drink?

eits acfe - jamaica review - travel bag - handbag

© Eits Cafe

Eits Cafe

Going to Jamaica without sampling the national dish of jerk chicken would frankly be a crime. Scotchie's in Kingston does one of the best on the island in the traditional-style, on open-air barbecues over pimento wood. Yum.

If however you're looking for a healthy option, then Jamaica's food scene is bursting with vegan restaurants. We tried Kushite's Vegetable Cuisine in Kingston, with an eclectic menu that offers anything from vegan sushi rolls to Ackee stuffed bell peppers and veggie pita burger.

If you're hiking in the Blue Mountains, then lunch at Eits Cafe is a must. It's an adorably quirky restaurant split over a few levels, with a staggering view of the mountain (if you siffer from vertigo, beware). The pea and mint soup (not the M&S kind) is absolutely delicious.

For the foodies, a visit to Prospect Plantation in Ocho Rios is just the ticket. You get to cook your own meal of jerk chicken, coconut prawns, rice and festival bread, a kind of savoury dougnut. Nothing beats eating your food overlooking the sea and the plantation's amazing gardens.

Things to do

blue mountains bicycle tour - jamaica review - travel bag - handbag

© Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours

Obviously, it would be rude not to soak up the sun on the beach. But it also would be a shame to miss out on discovering Jamaica's natural wonders.

In particular, the island's many waterfalls. You can hike up the most famous one, Dunn's River Falls, which although very touristy, is one of the best things you'll ever do. You can hunt down smaller waterfalls and take in the local fauna and flora Holywell Recreational Park. And dip in the iconic crystal blue waters of the Blue Lagoon is the perfect way to end your trip.

For the more active of you, there's a plethora of activities you can do on the island. We had one of the best yoga sessions of our life at afya yoga, where you practice yoga poses overlooking a peaceful garden. Biking down the Blue Mountains as part of the Blue Mountains Bicycle Tours is also a must, if only for the dip in a secluded waterfall to reward your efforts at the end.

The best time to go

dunns river falls - jamaica review - travel bag - handbag

© Frank Fell/The Travel Library/REX

It's best to go to Jamaica between December and May, as it's hurricane and rain season there from June to November. We recommend a Christmas in the tropics. Oh, and the average temperature all year round is just under 30 degrees. Bliss.

The lowdown

British Airways fly to Kingston, Jamaica, up to 4 times per week, offering three classes of travel, including Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller. Flight only prices start from £595 per person, inclusive of taxes, fees and charges.

For more information about Jamaica, go to visitjamaica.com.

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