Welcome to Jamaica, mon
(Do I even have a right to say that? Someone correct me if i’m wrong.)
This was unlike any vacation I’ve been on in awhile. I wanted a getaway offering serenity and a week away from people. Wait, this is the type of vacation I’m always gearing towards.
My goal was achieved when I arrived at my Airbnb atop the hills of Montego Bay. But, you had to go navigate on a difficult road with winding streets and sunken potholes. Lambs grazed the pathways and stray dogs played in the streets as if there was not a worry in the world.
The view was incredible. The wind was strong enough to get an island breeze from being at high elevation; And the sounds of birds chirping every morning made for a peaceful stay. The place I stayed had other guests as well, but we rarely ever acquainted each other. The villa was big enough to host large groups, and for solo travelers looking for a getaway. If you are going to stay here, then you will need a car. Taxis can add up and you are nowhere near a beach.
Back to the serenity,
My friend Stephanee suggested I visit Martha Brae River. You can float along a bamboo raft on the river listening to the water rush against the raft and trees humming in the wind. It was truly the most serene tourist activity I have ever done. I highly recommend doing this activity. Admission is $60 with the addition of a juice. You can even walk through a herb garden with labels about healing powers of the body. I suggest bringing a nice tip beside some of the rafting captains only get MAYBE one group a day.
Before I left for Jamaica, I had no idea the length and mileage of Jamaica. You will need to rent a car to navigate around. They also drive on the left side and rental cars seemed to all be Asian. My friend rented a car for about $50 a day. The island has other beautiful islands reachable by car, but they are hours or so away. Kingston is about 3.5 hours from Montego, and Negril is about an hour and a half away. Next time I would love to visit other parts of Jamaica.
Note : People in Montego Bay drive like a bat out of hell for no reason. They insanely drive on winding roads with no fear. If I were you, I would hire a driver or tour group to show you around.
I found it so unexpected that the beaches offered very little space between sand and ocean. The ocean is actually touching the shore, unless you pay to spend the day at a hotels private beach. Montego Bay had few free public beaches. Hard Rock Cafe has a free public beach, but it is suggested you purchase a drink. Umbrellas and chairs can be purchased as well.
My favorite place to get bronzed was Doctors Cave Beach Club. You pay a $6 admission fee and can purchase a chair, umbrella, etc at additional cost. The white sand and super turquoise blue ocean made my eyeballs cry it was so beautiful. Okay, I’m not that dramatic, but the view was unreal. They have beach side service offering Americanized/Caribbean food as well. Try the fruit punch (without syrup) for an ultimate refreshment.
Having never tried Jamaican food, my belly instantly growled for more every time I tried something new. The Jamaican cuisine is saltfish with ackee. I was a bad tourist and did not get a chance to try it because my cook down the street from my place kept slacking on me. Next time, next time.
I kept on eating the beef patties like I was not eating carbs or anything. The patties are similar to empanadas and are made with veggies, beef, chicken, ackee, or cheese! Try Juici’s Patti’s for patties and coconut bread!
Some other food options to try if you want the Jamaican experience are jerk chicken, jerk pork, lamb curry, yams (different than the ones in the USA), festival (similar to a donut) breadfruit, guinep (fruit), and peanut porridge. I would go back JUST for these foods.
Speaking of food, let me cut straight to the gawking men. They stare at you like you’re a apple and they want to eat you. I found it rather annoying how straight forward and bold the men were. Maybe I am just not used to this forwardness in any other country I have visited. I never felt unsafe, but just be aware if you got two legs, arms, and a head, they’re going to try to holler at you.
Jamaica, an island of beautiful beaches and welcoming people made for a relaxing and peaceful stay. I did not really do too much besides lay at the pool, go to the beach, and visit a river with floating bamboo rafts. This trip was all about relaxation and isolation. What do you really have to worry about when you are on island time and views so lush you never want to leave? Visit Montego Bay, Jamaica for your next vacation with ever-blue ocean views.