Great Huts, Jamaica
Stumbling through the thick vegetation that hides Great Huts' scattered thatched cabins and treehouses - some built of bamboo, some of mud - you might imagine that this was Africa rather than Jamaica. And that's very much the idea. Owner Paul Rhodes call his unique accommodation "unvillas", to make the point that the Mediterranean townhouses found in many parts of Jamaica have little to do with its Afrocentric cultures. The huts are painted with African geometric designs and decorated with sculptures and paintings by local artists. The whole place is linked with its community, with twenty percent of all profits funding local projects such as supporting the homeless and elderly of nearby Port Antonio.
The family-friendly huts occupy an idyllic clifftop setting overlooking one of the Jamaica's most unspoilt shores, Boston Beach. A favourite with locals, it's also the birthplace of jerk chicken, which sizzles enticingly on the grill at several stalls at the beach's edge. If you've had one drumstick too many, there's plenty of ways to work it off such as surfing and scuba diving, or you can horse-ride or hike to nearby waterfalls int he surrounding hills. Or, if you're really full, let a local guide paddle you slowly on a bamboo raft down the Rio Grande River.
Need to know: Volunteers get to stay for just US$10 a night. For more on acommodation, activities, prices and reservations see www.greathuts.com or call +1 876 353 3388.