The creation of big tourist “ghettos” on Jamaica’s north coast has completely disrupted traditional lifestyles there and means that, often, the only contact overseas visitors have with Jamaicans is when they’re serving drinks or driving tour buses. In the face of its own gradually developing tourist scene, Jamaica’s south coast, where the absence of large-scale beach resorts offers visitors more of a feel of the “real” Jamaica, is keen to escape such insensitive development. Planners and hoteliers are showing increasing interest in the concept of “community tourism”, which aims to contain and control tourism by fostering closer connections between the tourist and the community. In Mandeville, Diana McIntyre-Pike of Countrystyle Community Tourism Network (t507 6326, waccesscommunitytourism.com) can put together tailor-made tours of the island with themes including “Taste, Nature and Roots” and “Marvellous Mandeville”. The cost is US$60 per person including lunch and a community/host guide but not transport. She can also arrange homestays (US$40–$60).

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Jamaica features

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