Jamaica 2017: Co-authoring the next Rough Guide to Jamaica

If you follow my Facebook or Instagram pages, you already know that I’m co-authoring and updating the next edition of Rough Guide to Jamaica (Rough Guides UK, releasing in 2018). My portion of the book starts at Hanover parish and extends along the western and southern coasts onto Negril, Bluefields, Belmont, Whitehouse, Treasure Beach, Mandeville and all the way to Kingston.

Pelican Bar – © Lebawit Girma

My update trip to Jamaica this Fall led to inspiring new finds and experiences. It took me deeper into Jamaica, with more local experiences and stays. It’s my near 11th year since I’ve been exploring, writing about and photographing Jamaica, and it continues to surprise me.

There’s an encouraging growing stimulus and interest in community tours, more organic farm to table experiences including actual farm tours, as well as a growing number of AirBnB and villa options. Ganja was decriminalized in 2015 (up to two ounces on your person), and it’s amusing to see business signs on the beach and on the West End in Negril inviting tourists to “come and get baked!” Times sure have changed. Nearby, Little Bay and Bluefields are as wonderful an escape from the crowds as ever.

Little Bay – © Lebawit Girma

Treasure Beach was the most pleasant stay of all – the area is booming with a new wave of upscale villas, a combination or local and international restaurants, yet the same signature laid back and hassle-free vibe that makes this tourism area unique in Jamaica. I also experienced my first turtle nesting sighting ever in Billy’s Bay!

Kingston’s streets are ever choked with traffic – but the mountainous outskirts remain scenic, and the capital is as food-centric as I remember. The Kingston waterfront is also finally undergoing renovations – slowly but surely.

The second most memorable moment after the turtle-nesting experience in Treasure Beach, was driving through the deep rural and hilly parish of Manchester to learn how to make bammy – with Countrystyle Community Tours – and where nearby views of the Canoe Valley simply blew me away.

Canoe Valley, Manchester – with Countrystyle Community Tours, Jamaica.

There’s a whole lot more, and I have a ton of people to thank – but that will all be in the updated book, and in upcoming articles. You can view additional photographs from my recent trip on Instagram.

I have more wonderful work-related news to share – on the DR, and Belize  – stay tuned for an upcoming post.

Treasure Beach – © Lebawit Girma

In the meantime, I’ve put together a two-minute video with favorite moments from my recent trip to the beautiful land of wood and wata. Turn up the volume, sit back, and journey with me along Jamaica’s gorgeous southern half.

****UPDATE, November 2018:

The 2018 edition of Rough Guide to Jamaica is now available and in stock on Amazon.

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