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By gleebeck
Joined: May 10, 2007
Posts: 11

Posted on: November 05, 2008 at 1:09PM

Jamaica? Maybe, maybe not-I started going to Negril in the early '70's when your choice of accommodations were limited to Ms Gloria's A-frame at a couple of dollars a night. Oh, I continued visiting every year for about a decade until the "superclubs" became rampant and guests were reluctant to leave the grounds. Instead, I heartily recommend an island about an hour north of Jamaica. Now, with a likely change in policy toward visiting this island as a result of our election yesterday, you, too, will be able to visit the "forbidden" island just as millions of Canadians and Europeans have done for years. I got lucky a few years back and traveled as a journalist on assignment for a cigar magazine and can offer these tips and observations in advance of "legal" travel. First, ensconce yourself at the "Hotel Nacional." If you are lucky like me you will get an upgrade to the "Che Guerva Suite," overlooking the Malecon. This very historic property still retains the grandeur of the swinging 1950's when travel here from the 'States was commonplace. You might want to make tracks to "La Floridita" for a "Libre" and sit near(but not on)Hemmingway's stool roped off in the corner. Of course, like me, you will likely visit a cigar factory and Cohiba is my favorite. A tour of the "rolling rooms" is followed by a visit to the shop/cafe where you can enjoy a Cohiiba #2 enhanced by the seven year-old anejo Havana Club rum-delightful! Cuisine at your hotel will be more than adequete but try to get off the beaten track by visiting small cafes. By all means get there soon, before the "Disneyification" of the island once American Airlines, et.al. picks up the route. The patina of the peeling paint adds charm and will soon be gone once normal travel is resumed. And, if you can't wait, try one of the half-dozen flights out of Monterey, Mexico, as I did. Please, do not attempt Montreal or Toronto as, until the ban is lifted, arriving passengers are screened to determine of they are U.S. bound. Finally, U.S. passport holders will be able to delight in the Caribbean's most unique island! The wait has been long enough, no? report a problem

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