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“Ten Days Jamaica Birding Extravaganza”

Attractions Link Limited
Ranked #1 of 10 Tours in Port Antonio
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Owner description: Attractions Link Tourism Services is a Tourist Destination Management Company that has been the dream of Lorenzo Murdock and Janette Murdock. Lorenzo Murdock, also known as Wayne, a Cyclist, who has represented Jamaica at the 1984 Olympic Games in the Sport of Cycling. He has traveled extensively and thus had a vision of being able to provide high quality tourism services in the fields of bird watching, cycling, hiking, leisure and transportation for visitors to the most beautiful Island in the Caribbean, Jamaica.
Reviewed 18 June 2013

In addition to single-day trips, Attractions Link also offers extended tours, including five- to fourteen-day tours for birders. The “Ten Days Jamaica Birding Extravaganza” is billed as a (relatively) leisurely way to see all of Jamaica's 28 endemics – and lots of other Caribbean species. We took this tour in April, 2013 to do just that. We wanted a guided tour of Jamaica's birding hotspots, but on an extended basis to give more opportunities to try to ensure finding all of the endemics. This is not to say that the birding pace is that relaxed; it is a birding trip after all. Birding commenced around 0500h each day in order to reach prime birding habitat when the birds were most active. But, we were able to relax on many afternoons, and had the luxury of taking some time out on various days. For example, much of one day was spent on a bamboo raft on the Rio Grande River but, even here, although all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the scenery, we were treated to close-up views of herons, egrets and shorebirds along the the river's edge. Similarly, a visit to the beach at Frenchman's Cove on another day, had to include a walk around the gardens where Yellow-Crowned Night Herons were feeding at the edges of the ponds just metres from the paths. But, the stars of the show were surely the renowned birding spots such as Old Mine Trail, Hard-war Gap, and Ecclesdown Road. Having a local guide to such places is a huge benefit for non-residents. Not only do these individuals know how best to access the locations, they also know specific spots where target birds can be located. These include places where birds were seen on recent tours, or birds that have been observed by other local birders. Such knowledge is invaluable to visiting birders and is why we often use local bird guiding services. We were not disappointed in our tour of Jamaica. Wayne Murdoch, the owner of Attractions Link, was our guide for most of the tour. Wayne really knows his way around Jamaica - and how to avoid most of the potholes on the mountain roads! He also knows the best birding locations and has a wide network of contacts for birding information. At Forres Park in the Blue Mountains, our guide was Lyndon Johnson, a young birder with excellent skills for hearing and locating specific species. Between them, our two guides found all 28 endemic species for us. We had good views of many of these birds, even some of the more difficult targets. Who could forget driving around a bend on a forest road and Wayne stopping abruptly because a Crested Quail-Dove was stationary in the middle of the road?! Similarly, we vividly recall listening to the weird and wonderful burbling calls of a Jamaican Crow flying overhead, a bird that the Jamaicans very aptly call the Jabbering Crow. The only endemic we didn't actually see was the Jamaican Owl. We heard this bird calling early one morning but, even with a powerful flashlight, were unable to locate the bird. But, we trust our eyes to identify birds, and so have no reason not to similarly trust our ears – especially when we know that the bird is known to be present in the specific location. So, we count all 28 endemics as having been “identified” on our trip. Or, have we just left a little room to require a second visit to Jamaica? Time will tell...

Alan and Carol German
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

6  Thank OttawaBirder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"blue mountain coffee"
in 4 reviews
"coffee plantation"
in 4 reviews
"his knowledge"
in 4 reviews
"airport transfer"
in 3 reviews
"jamaican history"
in 3 reviews
"excellent birding"
in 2 reviews
"birdwatching tour"
in 2 reviews
"highly recommend this company"
in 2 reviews
"perfect guide"
in 2 reviews
"driver wayne"
in 2 reviews
"local attractions"
in 2 reviews
"a wonderful vacation"
in 2 reviews
"coffee tour"
in 2 reviews
"rio grande"
in 6 reviews
"long beach"
in 2 reviews
"reach falls"
in 4 reviews
"real jamaica"
in 2 reviews
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Reviewed 9 April 2013

Prior to arriving to Jamaica, I knew I wanted to make a trip up to the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately, all I could find was the bicycle tour (along with a whole bunch of other people) and an overnight sunrise hike (we only had a day).

Then I found Attractions Link. Although their tour did not specifically run out of Kingston, I emailed and Janette planned an itinerary for my husband and I. It was perfect!

Wayne picked us up from our hotel in Kingston and we headed up the Blue Mountains through Papine. We stopped at Holywell and took a short walk into the park and saw awesome views of Kingston (and beyond). It was breathtaking. Our next stop was Old Tavern, a coffee plantation that has been around since the 60s. Wayne introduced us to Dorothy-the co founder who invited us into her home and has us taste her different beans. She then asked our favorite and made us a delicious cup each. We sat in her living room, with the view of the blue mountains ahead of us, drinking coffee and eating pastries. From Old Tavern, Wayne lead us into a 5 mile hike into the wilderness. We saw the most beautiful birds and plants along the way as well as meeting many locals who live in the mountains. After the hike, we ate our lunch (Wayne brought this for us-Janette had previously asked for our prefereces). Then, we continued on to another coffee plantation, this time an all organic and natural Rastafarian farm called James Dennis. It was interesting to see the differences in the two plantations. Again, we got to try their delicious coffee and watch the process of roasting the beans.

We then headed towards a waterfall. The falls were beautiful. My only gripe, and this is no fault of Wayne, is that there are these jumpers who climb up the falls and ask for money quite aggressively for you to watch their performance. Even if you didn't care to watch (we didn't) we felt quite uncomfortable. The falls, nonetheless, were gorgeous.

We then headed down towards Buff Bay and stopped for a while at a botanical gardens. Wayne then took us back to our hotel.

Wayne is simply awesome. Along the way, he gave us tons of information about Jamaica...history, plant/bird facts, foods to try, etc. We had such a great time and I would recommend Attractions Link to anyone without any hesitation. It was the best way, in my opinion, to experience the Blue Mountains.

4  Thank sassibassi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

My experience with Attractions Link was all you could ask for! Prior to our trip, Janette responded to all of my emails promptly, professionally, and was very informative and accommodating (dietary needs, travel preferences, etc.). She made the booking process very pleasant and efficient! I had emailed a few travel companies and Attractions Link was by far the best at responding. And, as important, they were priced much better than other companies I spoke to (but from what I could tell, equal if not better quality!)

We did 2 tours with Attractions Link. First, we did the Blue Mountain Hiking and Coffee Estate Tour. It was amazing! Our driver Wayne picked us up at our guesthouse, right on time, in a clean, comfortable, air conditioned car. We took a beautiful 1.5 hour drive from Port Antonio along the coast, then by the river in Buff Bay, up into the mountains. He was a great driver - we felt safe at all times - and is very experienced and knowledgeable about the area and Jamaica and its history. The hike was gorgeous through the lush, green, misty Blue Mountains. The hike was not too difficult, but just enough that you felt like you were getting in a workout! The first coffee estate was very quaint - we went right into the owner's home, where she lets you taste all the types of beans, then serves you whichever batch you'd like, along with delicious fresh pastries, as you sit in her living room overlooking the mountains. Amazing! We then continued on our hike to a Rastafraian all-Organic coffee farm which was unique (and super tasty coffee!). Tour ende with a swim in a nearby waterfall! Definitely a great trip and a nice break from the beaches and heat!

Our second trip was our journey from Port Antonio to Montego Bay (where we were flying out the next day). Our driver again was Wayne who, again, was excellent! Along the way we stopped at Sommerset Falls. It is a bit crowded there (it was also a national holiday the day we went) but we still had a great time! The falls were awesome and we enjoyed meeting people there. We then stopped at Noel Coward's Firefly which is absolutely beautiful! As usual, he got us to our destination safely and comfortably and taught us a lot about Jamaica along the way.

All in all, I would 100% recommend Attractions Link while in Jamaica. They offer several other tours, which we unfortunately did not get to do because we ran out of time, but will certainly be using them on our next visit!

3  Thank dnl21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2016
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 November 2015 via mobile
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