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Rafting On A Couples Only Jamaica Vacation

May 18, 2008
It's easy to find an all inclusive vacation in Jamaica but the majority are for families. That's great for people with kids and fine for those who don't mind having kids around at their holiday resort. Many couples with grown up children, enjoy being freed from the demands of family vacations. The last thing these couples want is to have to spend their holiday with other people's children around them instead of their own.

There are however, several very good couples-only vacation resorts in Jamaica that can be booked on an all inclusive basis. Three are owned by the same company and are called "Couples". One is in Negril, one in Sans Souci and the other is in Ocho Rios. We enjoyed a glorious sixteen day holiday at Couples, Ocho Rios a few years ago. Being naturists, we were attracted to this hotel because it has a clothes-optional facility in the form of a tiny island, a hundred metres or so out from the hotel opposite the main beach. The island is served by a beautiful swim up bar and a boat to take you there and back at any time you want throughout the day. Most of the island is covered with decking on which sun loungers and hammocks are set out to furnish guests with comfortable seating. There is exactly the right amount of coconut palms to provide the sunbathers with a perfect combination of sun and shade at all times of the day. The island is an idyllic place to do nothing all holiday except sunbathe, swim and enjoy the drinks and snacks provided at the swim up bar. But even fanatical sun worshippers like ourselves will want to take some time out and see a bit of Jamaica during their stay.

Without any doubt, the most enjoyable excursion for us was a raft trip on the Rio Grande, Jamaica's longest river that runs from the Blue Mountains into the sea. Tours,organised by the hotel, start with a fascinating coach journey to Port Antonio, calling in at the famous Blue Lagoon along the way. This was the setting for the film Castaways and it is indeed the most beautiful and peaceful place you could ever wish to swim in. Don't expect a beach however. The Blue Lagoon hasn't got one and the film's beach scenes were shot elsewhere.

The starting point of the raft trip is at Berridale, six miles by road and nearly three hours by raft from the sea. The rafts are thirty two feet long and constructed from bamboo poles lashed together. The deck area has a seat for two passengers at the stern whilst a dreadlocked boatman, stands further forward and steers the raft with a long, bamboo pole.

You are taken at a leisurely pace for most of the way, occasionally picking up speed to cross stretches of the river that might be described as minor rapids. The boatman provides his own brand of constant entertainment, telling many far-fetched yarns about the rich and famous people he has transported in his raft or by singing some Bob Marley favourites to you.

The photo opportunities of the voyage are virtually incessant. As well as some beautiful scenery and wildlife in the form of vultures and other exotic birds, your navigator also creates many pictures worth snapping as he stylishly poles the raft, guiding it through its tricky course. There is always a colourful array of tropical plants to admire on the banks of the river and your guide is most eager to tell you their local names and provide interesting stories or folklore about their uses or associations.

Along the way, you will pass other rafts selling refreshments and the boatman will suggest that he stops for you to buy a can or two of Red Stripe lager or some trinket souvenirs. He is also likely to invite you to take a swim in a particularly inviting part of the river where it is perfectly safe to do so.

The big advantage of going on a trip organised by the hotel is that when you get to your destination at St Margarets Bay, your coach will be awaiting you. If you organised the trip yourself you would have to find some way of getting back to Berridale to pick your car up.

As well as rafting, there are many more wonderful places to visit and things to do in Jamaica but if you prefer not to go on excursions full of kids and want to enjoy your vacation as an exclusively couples only experience, my best travel tip is to book your vacation at one of the "Couples" all Inclusive Hotels. The best time to go is between December and April, when Jamaican weather is at its best and the waters of the Rio Grande are not too swollen or rapid.
About the Author
The author is a travel article writer and co-owner of the best-travel-tip website, which aims to provide travel tips and information about possible holiday vacation destinations worldwide
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