Just the Facts
In the 1600s
British pirates roaming the Caribbean discovered an island tucked behind a barrier reef.
It is believed that they used the island as a safe haven to hide out and stash their loot.
They were also believed to be whalers and collected whale dung, called Ambergris, that
washed up on the beaches. The oil from ambergris was shipped to Europe where it was highly
valued for its use in making perfumes. They eventually left, but the name remained.
The island is 25 miles
long, flat, composed of coral sand and is protected on the east by a living reef that
extends 185 miles down the coast of Belize. It is a narrow island with a lagoon on the
west. San Pedro Town is the only town on the island.
Temperatures range from
75-90 degrees in the day and is cooled by the trade winds off the Caribbean Sea. The rainy
season is May to February, with most of that in the late afternoon and evening. The water
temperature is always around 82 degrees.
The currency exchange rate
is $1.00 US for $2.00 Belize. Prices are moderate.
Direct air connections to
Belize City are available from San Antonio and Austin, with a travel time of around 2 1/2
Since our last
newsletter, we also made a trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, where we stayed at the Sandals
all-inclusive resort. We normally dont stay at all-inclusive resorts since we like
to experience as many of the local restaurants as possible. But Jamaica is different from
most other Caribbean islands in that the best cuisine is usually served at the resorts.
Having spent a great deal of time all over Jamaica both on sailing trips from Grand Cayman
and business trips, I also know that its generally unpleasant for the adventurous.
There is a saying in the
Caribbean that the French are people you hate until you get to know them . Well the
Jamaicans are a lot like the French. One on one they are the nicest people in the
Caribbean but their reputation of a nation of higglers is deserved.
The ultimate absurdity about what Jamaica has become is that,
despite the impoverishment of its people, everything is expensive compared to any other
island destination, except for the Cayman Islands where the people are more pleasant, the
amenities are more luxurious, the diving is incomparable and the beaches and sea life are
far superior. The only thing better in Jamaica is the natural beauty of the island and the
food but that is changing and is not worth the trip. Get your Jerk at Jamin House Café.
|Higgling over price was once an
interesting part of the Jamaican experience. I have spent many hours in the smoke filled
huts on Negril Beach, the markets of Runaway Bay and Kingston, Mandeville and Boston
Beach, talking and bargaining with Jamaicans. But on our trip to Dunne River Falls, we
visited a market at the Falls and were accosted by higglers who now thrust goods into your
hand and demand that you buy what you have touched and call you a fool for thrusting it
back. As one who loves this country, I felt like screaming at these folks. Let It Be!. But
it is not their nature to do so. It will take all of us not returning to this beautiful
island for a while for "dem" to change.
With the opening of the new
Jamin Too!, we are able to accommodate private functions of up to 120 people. With seating
on the deck, we can accommodate up to 200 people. Smaller parties can reserve the bar area
which seats up to 90. Sit-down or buffet dining is available along with facilities for
speakers and musical performances. Please make reservations with Jane or
Damon at 693-3979.