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WINTER ESCAPES: How to have an eco-adventure in Jamaica

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Because having the holiday of a lifetime doesn’t have to cost the Earth…

Jamaica Travel

We know we always harp on at you about not getting on planes but we know sometimes you just need to get as far away from home as possible. If you are heading further afield and can’t turn the trip into a cool Traincation, just make sure you stay somewhere as awesome (and green) as Jamaica…

The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (BJCMNP), located on the east of Jamaica, is a brilliant feature of the island, offering exhilarating routes for trekking, as well as being a natural World Heritage Site rich with local culture. The Rio Grande Valley on the northern side of the BJCMNP is especially beautiful, offering eco-award winning valley hikes suitable for all levels of walkers.

Jamaica is sometimes known as the land of rivers and springs, with stunning natural wonders including Reach Falls near Port Antonio, Somerset Falls near Hope Bay and the most popular attraction, Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios. Offering spectacular views and a 600 metre waterfall, the national treasure of Dunn’s River Falls is renowned for its clear waters and unrivalled beauty.

There are many other cool activities to enjoy in and around Jamaica’s rivers, including the exciting chance to go bamboo rafting. Rio Grande, one of Jamaica’s largest rivers, is especially great for this, or if you’re looking for a little more adrenaline, head to the White River on the south coast for a thrilling river-tubing ride.

If you’re better on land than on water, cycling can be a great way to explore the island and keep the planet happy at the same time. There are cycling tours through the highlights of the area, including mountains, local plantations and small fishing villages. Cycling is also the best way to access busy places including the cliffs of Negril, saving you the trouble of queuing for parking, all while keeping you fit. Head to Presley’s Bar to rent a mountain bike and start exploring the surrounding areas of Negril.

The ultimate adventure park, Mystic Mountains, has a wide range of rides including waterslides, canopy zip lines, a sky explorer and the rainforest bobsled, as well as a delicious selection of restaurants overlooking the Ocho Rios Bay. The sky explorer lift is the perfect place to admire the 100 acres of undisturbed rainforest from highs of 700 ft, while the bobsled takes guests on a 40 mph ride amongst the trees and lush vegetation. The attraction park was carefully built with Mother Nature in mind, keeping the rainforest well preserved and reducing any negative impact on the environment. Impressively, the park is also powered by solar panels to decrease the need for electricity, even the toilets are eco-friendly with compost bathroom facilities.

There are several hotels across Jamaica that have earned the Travelife Sustainability Award. Both the Grand Pineapple Beach, Negril and the Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios have been presented with the highest honour of the Gold award, due to their exceptionally well-managed environmental impact. As well as hotels, some of the local restaurants serve sustainably sourced produce and seasonal ingredients inspired by the flavours of Jamaica so you can eat eco too.

Although the Caribbean island of Jamaica has a long flight time, planning your journey carefully can be the key to being more economical. Firstly, choose an airline with a lower number of first and business class seats as on average, the footprint of a first and business class seat passenger is over five times greater than that of an economy passenger! You might be travelling to the other side of the world, but with so many eco-friendly activities to be enjoyed, what are you waiting for?

frankensteinHere comes the science bit…

GC articles show you one of four ways (the one in bold) to live greener…

/ Be a winner (not a binner) /
/ Turn up the style (not the heat) /
/ Love the trend (not the spend) /
/ Do it in public (not the car/plane) /

Pic: rappensuncle (downloaded under a Creative Commons licence).

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