Moon Handbooks give you the tools to make your own choices, with suggestions on how to plan a trip that’s perfect for you, including: The Best of Jamaica, Local Spas and Hot Springs, Roots and Culture, The Adrenaline Junkie’s Fix, Vital Vittles: Jamaica’s Best Food, Hidden Beaches and Hillside Hikes.
Additionally, Moon Jamaica provides 25 detailed and easy-to-use maps, plus the firsthand experience and unique perspective of author Oliver Hill.
The travelogue is a time-tested means of giving prospective visitors a viable snapshot of destinations in general – and therein lies the problem.
Jamaica is about as far from “destination in general” as Kingston is from Kathmandu. Options for dining, recreation and tours are manifold, widespread and run the gamut from the “hole-in-the-wall” and seaside hut type of road stop to hotel-based palaces and upscale resorts.
It’s the kind of challenge that might humble many a travel writer (and indeed, many have tried, with varied results). It takes cash, connections, curiosity, and no small amount of luck to do us justice without falling victim to cliché or imbalanced reporting.
Oliver Hill, who previously compiled Jamaica’s delights and challenges (bad roads, idiosyncratic people) for the MOON series, has now done it once again. In this latest version of the MOON Handbook, recently launched, he has balanced the street knowledge of Jamaica with the off-the-beaten-track, wonderful hidden gems, presenting us with the adequately concise travel guide book.
What helps the MOON guide to stand out is Hill’s cheeky but savvy observations on the nuances of Jamaican society that eludes many outsiders. Take this choice example: “Jamaicans who walk around Kingston, generally don’t do so by choice, day or night, and are ridiculed as “walk-foots” by their fellow citizens. It’s mostly due to the prestige of driving.” A truer summary of the Jamaican (read “Kingston”) class divide has never been offered.
Some slights are annoying to say the least. While speaking of his experience at Deli Works (in Sovereign Centre) he refers to “an adjoining cafe” that serves coffee, pastries and offers free Wi-Fi. Come on, now: if you can make out Deli Works, surely you can make out Cafe Blue if it’s right beside it.
That said, MOON handbook Jamaica, loaded with maps, special box sections and Hill’s own photographs, this is a travel guide that both visitors and locals can carry without embarrassment.
Reviewed by – Therese Morris,Founder & Owner of Flavour du Jour
About the Author:
A dedicated reggae fan from a young age, Oliver began his lasting with Jamaica like many Americans – through the island’s music. Friendships with fellow students of Jamaican heritage in high school ultimately led Oliver to visit the island, where he established a recording studio in a Kingston suburb in partnership with a local artist. Frequent trips to Spain and other destinations throughout his youth gave Oliver a global perspective on life and an unquenchable thirst for experiencing new places and cultures.
Later a master’s program in journalism at Columbia University took Oliver back to Jamaica with a film crew to shoot Coping with Babylon, a chronicle of contemporary Rastafarian philosophy that has appeared in the international film festivals around the world and as part of an exhibition at Smithsonian titled “Discovering Rastafari.”
Oliver has worked as a music video editor, ornithologist, and financial writer, and currently works as a correspondent for mergermarket, a Financial Times Group publication, in Latin America.
For more information on Oliver’s film production company, check out www.sonerito.com. Visit his website, www.moonjamaica.com for links to recommended lodging and services and up-to-date events coverage of Jamaica.