You can almost feel the wealth in MANDEVILLE, Jamaica’s fifth-largest town. Founded in 1814, the big money started to arrive here in the 1950s as a result of a now-defunct but once highly profitable bauxite industry that grew up around the town. More recently, returning expatriate Jamaicans, attracted by the cooler climate (you’ll need a sweater in winter) and the relatively low crime rate, have begun to invest their accumulated savings in large homes and small businesses around town, and Mandeville has grown at an unprecedented rate. Tourism has dipped in the last few years, although from the early days of the Mandeville Hotel in the 1890s, the town was popular with British soldiers who came to escape the heat of the coastal areas and to recuperate from their fevers and diseases. To this day the town still retains something of its early colonial air – most noticeably at the very English Manchester Golf Club, just west of the town centre. For sightseeing, a car is definitely a major asset; although you can see everything in the town centre on foot, getting out to the old great house at Marshall’s Pen or visiting the local coffee factory will require your own wheels.

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