Thursday, April 1, 2010

Authentic Caribbean Delights of Jamaica

Luxury hotel accommodations, lovely boutique inns and sprawling resort complexes all provide a wonderful, relaxing experience for the holidaymaker, but if you truly want to make the most of your stay on the island, you'll find these tips to be useful as you explore the various hotspots.

Seek Out Caribbean Cuisine
They say that food is one of the best ways to experience a local culture, so why would you miss out on the Spanish, British, Indian and African melting pot of Jamaica? Luxury hotel restaurants offer quite a selection of famous local dishes, from callaloo to the infamous jerk chicken - so don't be afraid to experiment!

Brush Up on Tipping Etiquette
A general rule of thumb is if there is no service charge, tip the waiters about 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of your meal. If a service charge is stated on the bill, leave an additional 3 to 5 percent for good service. Being generous with the tips is not only courteous here but also ensures that you'll get good service the next time you come back!

Spend a Little for Private Beaches

The local beaches can be a pretty jam-packed experience in Jamaica! Luxury hotel accommodations typically have access to their own private beaches, so that's not a problem if you are staying in such a place. If not, though, then you may want to part with a little money to get away from the teeming masses of bodies on public beaches and enjoy a little more privacy and comfort. 

Be Less Reserved
If you want to breathe in the culture of the island you'll need to get out and mingle with the locals. When doing so, you may want to drop your usual reserve and be a bit friendlier than you are used to. Jamaicans are more willing to reciprocate when you open up with a casual, laid back and approach.

Dress for Dinner
Be less reserved, yes, but don't be the obvious tourist by donning sandals and swimming trunks wherever you go. This is especially true in most pubs, clubs and restaurants where dress codes are observed. If you are not sure how to dress, then go semi-casual in Jamaica. Luxury hotel staff can also provide some useful information on what to wear for a particular venue. 

Spend Time Exploring the Countryside

The island's urban centres can be a bit hectic at times, especially when you encounter the many peddlers trying to sell you everything from tiny trinkets to carwash services. Hiring a guide to accompany you around the countryside, however, is the perfect way to relax and get away from it all. Rolling hills, fresh breezes, lazy rivers, majestic waterfalls, random goats running around - this is definitely one of the best ways to experience the island.

Avoid 'Smokes'
Ignore what you may have heard about how drugs are widely accepted here. Smoking illicit substances is illegal and will get you in serious trouble if you are tempted. Remember to avoid any offers for a smoke as well - a metaphor for drugs - as tourists are an attractive target for setups.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Places to Enjoy Your Trip When Visiting Birmingham

Today, it has emerged as a great shopping and popular tourist destination. Here's a list of attractions that will make your stay in this British city the best vacation ever. Take a look and make your reservations in time.

1. The National Sea Life Centre - For Lovers of Nature

The National Sea Life Centre at Brindleyplace promises a glorious undersea voyage. The one-million liter ocean tank with a transparent tunnel accommodates a multitude of aquatic animals such as giant green sea turtles, sea horses, piranhas, black tip reef sharks, sea horses, tropical reef fish, rays and many others.

2. Cadbury World - For Chocoholics

Cadbury World reminds you of Willy Wonka. It is located in the village of Bournville. While it is structured like a museum explaining the history and stages of making chocolate, the place will make all chocoholics drool with delight. There are displays of chocolate-making machines, chocolate themed-rides and a few free bars to take home.

3. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery - For Connoisseurs of Art

There are numerous arts galleries and museums in Birmingham however; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery stands out in the crowd. It is known for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings. It also has a fine collection of metalwork, jewellery, ceramics, ethnography and archaeology, local and industrial history.

4. The Custard Factory - For Shopaholics And Night Owls

Located on Gibbs Street, the colorful Custard Factory catches the eye immediately. The building was constructed by custard mogul Sir Alfred Bird. Custard factory houses restaurants and independent shops run by locals. Here you can shop for clothes, baubles, shoes, leather items and a lot more. The Vintage flea market organized on Saturday attracts large crowds.
Birmingham nightlife offers endless entertainment options. You can get a taste at Custard factory itself. It organizes club nights on weekends and selected weekdays. Other places that promise you a good time to party animals include Broad Street, the Mail Box, the Arcadian and the Star City.

5. Grand Prix Karting - For Adrenaline Junkies
Lovers of sport and action should make a trip to Grand Prix Karting motor sport center. It is only a mile from Birmingham City Centre. The necessary equipment is provided to you.
Although our list seems to be complete, offering something for every type of tourist, it is in reality incomplete. The city of Birmingham has so much to offer its locals and tourists that it is difficult to put it down in the article restricted by words. A few more suggestions we could not include in the list above but believe deserve a place in your itinerary are the Warwick Castle, Back to Back Housing, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum, Museum of Jewellery Quarter, Pen Room Museum, Winterbourne House and Garden, Stoneleigh Abbey, Twycross Zoo, Solihull and St. Paul's Gallery.

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