Jamaica hopes that new attractions enrich visitor experiences

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Jamaica's attractions play a key role in selling the destination, according to Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel Association.

As new attractions are added to the island's inventory of visitors' traditional options of sun, sand and sea, the vacation experience becomes more diverse and richer, Peterkin said.

"We want to spread the word that our new activities present a real Jamaican experience for our guests. These activities provide the interaction with Jamaicans that works so well for tourism," he said.

The following are Jamaica's newest attractions.

" The Walkerswood Jerk Country Tour highlights local entrepreneurship in the village of Walker's Wood, a 20-minute drive from Ocho Rios. Photo by Eleanor M. WilsonThe Walkers-wood company buys from area farmers, turning the village into a thriving community employing 150 locals.

The tour includes a history of the grounds, a demonstration of jerk seasoning from mix to taste, a walk through the spice gardens with Mother Thyme and a view inside the new bottling plant that turns out 22 products, including Las' Lick Jerk Sauce, sorrel chutney, orange marmalade and Escoveitch Pickle Sauce.

Cooking classes by appointment include recipes from two cookbooks written by Virginia Burke, a tour hostess. 

The site is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the walk-in admission price is $9, but most visitors arrive on a higher-priced tour, which often includes lunch. For details, call (876) 917-2318 or visit www.walkerswood.com.

"The Outameni Experience, which will open in July on a hillside in Trelawny, east of Montego Bay, takes visitors through Jamaica's cultural eras from the Taino Indians to the Rastafarians.

The interactive journey combines a mosaic of dance, culture, cuisine, art, film and reggae music on the garden grounds of the former Orange Grove Great House. The word Outameni is a play on the Jamaican motto, "Out of Many, One People."

Call (876) 954-4035 or visit www.outameni.com.

" Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios added a lighthouse waterslide, designed to replicate a traditional lighthouse. Beacons beckon the adventurous to climb to a 60-foot observation deck before plunging down two twisting, turning body slides around the lighthouse.

The open slide ends in one of the resort's pools; the enclosed slide empties into the sea.

"Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, also in Ocho Rios, will open its expanded Pirate's Island water park in July with six new kiddie rides, tube and body slides for teens and adults, a 30-foot rope bridge, a zero-entry pool and water cannons.

" Negril's new Kool Runnings Water Park features 10 water slides, some of which tower 40 feet high. River pools, a rock-climbing wall, a slingshot trampoline, Capt. Mikie's Coconut interactive kids' area and a bobsled ride offer a full day of activities.

The attraction is open daily except Mondays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. but is closed in September. Admission by age ranges from $14 to $28. Call (876) 957-5400 or visit www.koolrunnings.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].

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