Mary, Esau, Mia, Laga, Hopi, Trevor, and Timings too ( the guard dog),
We had a fabulous time. Every ting was Irie Mon!
We witnessed some of the most amazing sunsets. We ate some really awesome food. Laga is an awesome cook. He made us curried lobster one night, conch a day later and a massive feast of lobster on our last night there. It was soo good. We also ate at Roberts and Dore’s many times (turkey neck is so good!). We are very glad we decided to try the real Jamaica experience instead of the concrete made for you resort. Being mere inches from the sea and hearing the constant sound of the gentle surf was soothing and relaxing. Kayaking out to the reef and snorkeling was …… IRIE!!! I have only seen that on TV until now.
Mary, Esau and Mia are wonderful hosts and made us feel welcome the minute we arrived. The cottage was exactly what we were expecting and was unbelievably perfect. Hopi, Laga and Trevor each touched our hearts in their own unique way and everyone made sure we had anything we needed. Being invited to jam and sing to some awesome Marley and Tosh tunes with Trevor and Laga on our last night there was the perfect and fitting end to an unforgettable vacation.
Wolde and Dion from RAJ Tours were also excellent. They both showed and taught us a lot about Jamaica and also safely traversed us across miles of hair raising roads that surely would have been the death of us all had I been driving (very narrow and the wrong side for us Canadians).
Tammie and I thank you all for a wonderful experience.
We can’t wait to come back! We WILL be back!
Jeff & Tammie
Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada
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This was our 4th trip to Jamaica but the first time we stayed here. Lets say that what you see is what you get. This was our first time going to JA and NOT staying at one of the resorts. We simply love the island: the vibe, the culture, the people, in fact, we were married here in 2010. We are a young, active, adventurous couple on a budget. This property intrigued us because it allowed us to rent our own cottage and the location looked wonderful. Belmont is in the country, off the beaten path. The cottages and owner's house (we met them while there) are right on the ocean. We rented the cottage that was closest to the water; both were so close to the ocean that either one is amazing. Ours seemed a bit more private though. The stars at night were enchanting as were the sunsets. Hummingbirds flocked to the bottlebrush bush right outside the bedroom window as well as the one that hangs over the outdoor shower which is right out of a dream. Pictures will not show you the awesomeness of this outdoor "spa" paradise which is inlaid with shells and shimmering sea glass throughout. It was one of my favorite features of the place. To be taking a hot shower outside and look up at the tropical flora and sunshine is incredible! As for the rest of the bathroom, it is basic, the plumbing isn't great but works and don't be surprised if you find a little gecko peeking out from one of the ceiling cracks at you. Remember that you are in a country cabin and this is all a part of that experience. The kitchen was rustic but had everything we needed to cook with, including spices & sauces. There is a larger kitchen and shared fridge in a building on the property for more room. Hopie, the housekeeper, brought us a new French press and stocked our fridge with freshly squeezed orange juice the second morning of our stay. Open yourself up to the peace and quiet. Meditate. Listen to your surroundings. You will hear roosters at sunrise, the lapping shore at your doorstep, the sounds of the Jamaica countryside and it's people going about their lives, a fisherman peacefully paddling by your cottage. Life is simpler here. If anything, your biggest challenge if you are like me (a recovering Type A perfectionist that needs to learn how to be a kid again) is to really chill out and take it s-l-o-w and savor the genuine Jamaican experience to be found here. From the patio in front of the cottage we watched trumpet fish, sting rays and crabs dart around the rocks on the water. We went swimming from the beach you can access from the property. Be careful for the grassy areas in the water as there are little jelly fish and they will sting! We used the kayaks and paddled out to the reef about a mile out; a trek but worth it. The snorkeling is good and we had the reef all to ourselves. We also kayaked along the shoreline to the left of the property. Brought our snorkel gear. Hubby went fishing with the Trevor & crew and caught a bonita, which we had for dinner. We walked to Peter Tosh's grave sight. We also took a nice walk across the road to the left, that goes up through farm land and the hills. There were donkeys, goats and chickens running around. Went all the way up the hill and got a nice view of the bay. Everyone was super friendly; we felt safe. If you are the type that needs to be constantly entertained like at a resort, this is not for you. You make your own experience here, you prepare your own food or find it locally. On arrival in Montego Bay, our driver took us to a grocery store to stock up for the week. Tried lots of local fruits like jazz apples, singa apples and naseberry, my new favorite. (You will receive a ton of information from Tiverton about everything and anything you wanted to know about the island so be sure to read all the attachments she emails before you go). We relaxed, read, napped in the hammock, had cocktail hour on our front porch, had a massage in our cottage by the gal recommended by the owners. Trevor serenaded us on the morning we left with his guitar, very sweet. Go with an open heart and mind and be ready experience all the magic that is waiting for you at this little rustic gem by the sea!
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Once we’d decided to see Jamaica, despite all our friends’ well-intended warnings against going “because it’s too dangerous” (they’ve never been), we did our research here on TripAdvisor and found Horizon. We are very experienced independent travelers, have been all over the world, and have found TripAdvisor to be a great source of information. We read all the reviews carefully, reading between the lines if possible to see what WASN’T said about a place, as much as what was said. So the amazing reviews for Horizon piqued our curiosity. We really wanted peace and quiet for a few days, a chance to see the “real Jamaica”, and to not have to put up with drunken noisy Yahoos at all-inclusive resorts. We had some concerns about visiting in “Hurricane Season” (mid August) but the weather was beautiful – and they’ve not had a hurricane in 3 years apparently.
Shirley met us at the airport, and we loved her immediately. She’s organized, efficient, thoughtful and funny. We hit it off immediately. She took us to a nearby supermarket to load up on supplies, suggesting things we might need during our stay. On the spectacular drive over the mountains she pointed out all kinds of things to us, stopping a couple of times for some AMAZING jerk chicken, and to pick up some fresh fruit from roadside vendors.
The property is exactly as you see in the photos on TripAdvisor. It’s a smallish walled and gated property, just at the Southern end of the small village of Belmont. The view out over the sea is unspoiled, and there’s nothing else in sight and you can feel like you’re the only people for miles around. The sunsets are spectacular. The sea is warm and clean, and although there’s a reef some distance out, we never got it together to visit it (but I hear it’s nice). If you do venture outside the gates, there’s really not much nearby – a small local bar/café, a shack where Gerald the Rastaman carves some very nice wooden stuff for sale, and an open-air beach café a hundred yards to the North with amazing and affordable food. The Peter Tosh memorial is maybe another 50 yards further on – all very walkable. Road traffic is light, but there’s no sidewalks and it’s very poorly lit after dark, so take a flashlight. At no time did we ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable (if that’s a concern for you). Everyone knows you’re the guests of the owners, who have lived there a long time and are very well respected. So nobody in the surrounding community’s going to let anything happen to you. There are two watchdogs who will befriend you immediately, sweet and gentle despite their appearance, who want nothing more than to be petted and scratched, go swimming with you, and show up magically at your kitchen door the moment you start cooking bacon (don’t feed them though). We’re “dog people” so having these two around was especially nice.
You’ll meet three additional people during your stay, Hopie the “maid” who is cheerful and discreet – she’ll tidy up your cabin and keep the kitchen and bathroom clean - as well as Trevor and Lagga, friendly and personable local guys who will take you on boat rides, run errands for you, cook EXCEPTIONAL meals if you wish, and hang out and play guitar and sing with you in the evening under the stars, if you want a really memorable experience.
The two cabins are airy, comfortable and well furnished. VERY comfortable beds. And even though it was 90 degrees and humid every day, the overhead fan did a fine job of keeping the place cool at night, even under the mosquito netting. It never felt hot stuffy or uncomfortable.
To summarize, we had a truly relaxing and memorable stay. The place is a hidden gem, one of the nicest properties and “guest house” experiences we’ve had anywhere in the world. If/when Jamaica is in our travel plans again, we’ll be back!
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