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Jamaica Inn’s enduring charm

Baby turtles, a coral garden and fine-sand beach – Jamaica Inn in the Caribbean has it all, along with plenty of other delights to enjoy for foodies, spa enthusiasts and activity-loving clients alike

There’s a legendary repeat customer I kept hearing about at the Jamaica Inn. She’s much older than the average visitor, with a very tough exterior. She wasn’t there during my stay but instead, to my delight, I met 79 of her offspring.

 

This particular guest is a mother hawksbill turtle who, every year or so, pays a visit to the resort’s dreamy shores to lay her eggs. Luckily for me, they hatched in the week of my stay, with the staff overseeing the baby turtles’ safety and ensuring their monumental passage to the sea is a success. No wonder, as these creatures are critically endangered.

 

Conservation is a major focus for the resort and nowhere is it more obvious than with its tie-up with local organisation White River Fish Sanctuary through the Jamaica Inn Foundation.

 

Established in 2017 and also backed by the government, the sanctuary has created a 370-acre no-fishing zone off the Ocho Rios coastline to provide an antidote to the effects of overfishing and pollution.


Belinda Morrow – wife of Eric, who owns Jamaica Inn along with his brother, Peter – talked us through the organisation’s aims during a glass-bottom boat ride one morning.


“Our goal is to have 500% more fish in five years – in biomass size as well as quantity. And so far it’s working,” she said passionately.


Belinda, who is a full-time volunteer with the organisation, likened the regeneration project to gardening. “You have to make sure there are no snails or algae, or anything that could harm the coral.”


Indeed, over the course of an hour we explored the shallow waters of the coral garden and marvelled at the slow-blooming growth of staghorn and brain species that were previously dying out.

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