Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours Ltd., 121 Main St., Ocho Rios (tel. 876/974-7075; www.bmtoursja.com) offers all-inclusive, all-day biking holidays in Jamaica's Blue Mountains, the Caribbean's highest mountain range. The highlight of the tour is the famous Downhill Bicycle Tour, with panoramic vistas in all directions. The tour features a Jamaican brunch and lunch at a local cafe. You're taken around by experienced guides and provided safety equipment as well. Time is allotted for a refreshing waterfall swim.
Note that bike repair shops are almost nonexistent. Take along a repair kit if you plan to do some solo cycling.
Countrystyle Community Tourism takes visitors away from the beaches and into the interior where they visit remote villages in the central and southern tier of the island. Tours often begin with a breakfast of ackee and saltfish and are followed by an insider's look at Rasta culture. Along the way you can sample local fare such as exotic fruits, pepper shrimp, or peanut soup.
A variety of packages is offered, including a choice of accommodations by the sea or in the mountains. Lodging is in private homes, small hotels, cottages, apartments, or even on a Jamaican farm. A 3-day all inclusive package begins at US$1,200 per couple, including airport transfers and other transportation.
For more information, contact Countrystyle Community Tourism Network in Mandeville (tel. 876/962-7758; www.countrystylecommunitytourism.com).
Jamaica has the best golf courses in the West Indies, with Montego Bay sporting the best championship links.
The Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course at Rose Hall Resort & Country Club (tel. 866/831-1313 or 876/953-2650; www.rosehallresort.com) is ranked among the top-five golf courses in the world by some; it's an unusual and challenging seaside and mountain course.
Golf at Half Moon (tel. 876/953-2211; www.halfmoongolf.com) at the Half Moon Resort features a championship course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. SuperClubs' Ironshore Golf & Country Club (tel. 876/953-2800) is another good course in Montego Bay.
On the North Shore are SuperClubs' Runaway Golf Club (tel. 876/973-7319; www.superclubs.com) at Runaway Bay and Sandals Golf & Country Club (tel. 876/975-0119; www.sandals.com) at Ocho Rios.
In Mandeville, the Manchester Country Club, Brumalia Road (tel. 876/962-2403), is Jamaica's oldest golf course, recently expanded from 9 to 18 holes. Beautiful vistas unfold 660m (2,200 ft.) above sea level.
Because of possible dangers involved, it's often best to go on an organized tour, the best of which are offered by Sun Venture Tours (tel. 876/960-6685; www.sunventuretours.com).
Besides the high Blue Mountains, where Sun Venture goes, another great place for hiking is from Port Antonio. You can hike various trails through the Rio Grande Valley; highlights include the 7-hour White River Falls jaunt along the banks of the White River and an easier walk to the Scatter Waterfalls, floating on a bamboo raft across the Rio Grande. The 11km (7-mile) Guava River Trail goes along the Guava River into the heart of the Blue Mountains.
The Maroon Country, near Montego Bay, is also a place of challenging hikes -- though it's best to hire a guide here.
The best riding is on the North Shore. Jamaica's most complete equestrian center is Chukka Caribbean Adventures (tel. 876/972-2506; www.chukkacaribbean.com), at Richmond Landovery, less than 6km (4 miles) east of Runaway Bay.
Another good program is offered at Rocky Point Riding Stables (tel. 876/953-2286), Half Moon Club, Rose Hall, Montego Bay, housed in the most beautiful barn and stables in Jamaica.
Diving is sometimes offered as part of all-inclusive packages by the island's major hotels. There are also well-maintained facilities independent of the hotels.
Near Montego Bay, Seaworld Resorts (tel. 876/953-2180; www.diveseaworld.com), at the Cariblue Hotel on Rose Hall Main Road, offers scuba-diving excursions to offshore coral reefs that are among the most spectacular in the Caribbean. There are also PADI-certified dive guides, one dive boat, and all necessary equipment for either inexperienced or certified divers.
Negril is a hotbed of diving. Negril Scuba Centre (tel. 800/818-2963 or 876/957-9641), in the Mariner's Negril Beach Club, Norman Manley Boulevard, is the area's most modern, best-equipped scuba facility.
Websites for Divers -- For useful information on scuba diving in the Caribbean, check out the website of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) at www.padi.com. This site provides descriptions of dive destinations throughout the Caribbean and a directory of PADI-certified dive operators. Scuba Diving Magazine also has a helpful website at www.scubadiving.com. Both sites list dive package specials and display gorgeous color photos of some of the most beautiful dive spots in the world.
The offshore reefs bordering the coast at Negril are excellent for snorkeling, many shallow enough to lure the beginner. The shoreline east of Ocho Rios to Galina Point is fringed by a coral reef of rainbow-hued marine life. Most resorts provide snorkeling equipment, but the activity isn't very well organized.
All-Jamaica Hardcourt Championships are played in August at the Manchester Country Club, Brumalia Road, P.O. Box 17, Mandeville (tel. 876/962-2403). The courts are open for general play during the rest of the year.
Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort, Main Street, Ocho Rios (tel. 876/974-5691; www.sandals.com), focuses more on tennis than does any other resort in the area. It offers three clay-surface and three hard-surface courts, all lit for nighttime play. Nonresidents must call and make advance arrangements with the manager.
In Montego Bay you'll find excellent tennis facilities at Rose Hall Resort & Country Club, at Rose Hall (tel. 876/953-2650; www.rosehallresort.com); at the Half Moon Resort (tel. 876/953-2211; www.halfmoon.com); and at Tryall Club Jamaica, St. James (tel. 800/238-5290 or 876/956-5660; www.tryallclub.com).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.