A fun Jamaica Vacation Itinerary…C’mon home! (Re)Visit Jamaica.

So I read a comment on my Cousin’s wall on FaceBook. It was posted by a Jamaican woman now living in the USA, married to a foreigner and they have two young sons. She was waxing nostalgic for her homeland. She spoke of growing up in rural Jamaica and she expressed a desire for Jamaica of old and a desire to share her heritage with her sons. But she countered that desire with a very real fear of the Jamaica of now. She compared us to Syria in terms of violence (gasp!) and immediately I knew that I had to do this post. You see, as my cousin correctly stated, I live here and I make it my point of duty to enjoy my homeland as often as I can within the constraints of my budget. So this post is in essence, a travel guide, aimed at both the average Jamaican now living overseas, eager to recapture the innocence and joy of childhood in Jamaica, as well as the adventurous visitor to our island. My recommendations are based on my own experiences and are bound by my own very real constraints of budget, security consciousness, keeping kids interested and engaged and an aversion to garbage.

Being Safe in Jamaica

Do NOT advertise the fact that you live overseas. Here’s where a local guide really helps. I’ll be available in a few years time 🙂 Until then, all the best! Unfortunately, once you are perceived as a foreigner, prices triple and unscrupulous scammers will take advantage.

Don’t be naive. Would you as a tourist in California tour Compton after dark on your own? Right. Don’t be silly. Move as you would in any big city anywhere else in the word. We are the Caribbean. Not the Garden of Eden.

Around Jamaica on a Budget

My recommendations are geared towards middle-class people saving and investing for retirement and college funds for their kids. Enough said.

Jamaica’s Garbage Problem

This deserves its own heading. Jamaica has a garbage problem which intrudes noisily in the enjoyment of our island. I hate it. I wish it were otherwise. My recommendations are based on things that we’ve been able to enjoy in spite of the garbage.

So here we go.

Jamaica vacation itinerary: start in St. Elizabeth

This southern parish marries rural Jamaica of yore with a little beach. It’s not the white sand of the Bahamas or Negril, and it’s not land-locked Mandeville. AirBnB is your friend in terms of finding suitable accommodation. I recommend Jakes Hotel or any villa with seaside access between Treasure Beach and Black River. In checking out accommodation ensure that WiFi  is available. It’s not automatic in St. Elizabeth.

Rent a car and go to:

  • Little Ochi for great seafood on the fishing beach
  • Lover’s Leap for a bit of history and fantastic south coast views
  • Black River safari for a historic tour up the Black River and crocodile sightings all along the river’s course
  • YS Falls for beautiful gardens and waterfalls with zip lining.

Spend 2 days in St. Elizabeth.

Seafood spread at Little Ochi, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Enjoy Seafood at Little Ochi, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Incredible Food at Little Ochi

 

South St Elizabeth Coastal Scapes, Jamaica
South St Elizabeth Coastal Scapes, Jamaica
Vistas in South St. Elizabeth

 

 

Fishing Boats at the mouth of the Black River, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Fishing Boats at the mouth of the Black River, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica

Black River, Jamaica.
Black River, Jamaica. Photo credit: Rachael McIntosh
The Black River Safari

Jamaica Vacation Itinerary: next stop Kingston City

Liguanea Club is central and budget friendly. Right in the middle of the commercial district of New Kingston, you’ll be safe within the enclosures of this hotel. They have a pool and tennis and squash courts. You are within walking distance of good jerk spots (Sweetwood Jerk), a beautiful green space where you can jog or people watch while licking on an ice cream cone (Emancipation Park) and patty shops (Juicy Beef and Tastee). Can it be any better? No need to rent a car on this leg. You can take taxis to the local attractions: The Bob Marley Museum Tour, Devon House for great food and souvenirs and the Little Theater where you can be entertained when the sun sets by the local pantomime or National Dance Theater company depending on the time of year you visit. Spend 2 days in Kingston.

Jamaica Vacation Itinerary: catch your breath in beautiful Portland.

Heal your soul in the beautiful eastern parish of Portland. Winifred Beach is a must. It is one of the few remaining beautiful public beaches on the island. Food and drink are reasonably priced right on the beach and there is an incomparable vibe right here. Be sure to spend some time at Frenchman’s Cove beach where a white sand river snakes into the sea. This white sand resort beach will have you thinking that you’re in paradise. And you’d be right. I recommend the villas at Goblin Hill. You will be directed by villa staff to local service providers who can ferry you around in Portland if you didn’t drive yourself from Kingston to Portland. The Knutsford Express bus company can transport you safely in air conditioned comfort to Port Antonio safely from New Kingston. A taxi can take you onwards to your villa.

Frenchman's Cove Beach, Portland, Jamaica
Frenchman’s Cove Beach, Portland, Jamaica
Can you tell how happy I am at Frenchman’s Cove?

 

Children playing at Frenchman's Cove Beach, Portland, Jamaica
Perfect harmony at Frenchman’s Cove Beach, Portland, Jamaica
White Sand River at Frenchman’s Cove

 

Winifred Beach, Portland, Jamaica
Winifred Beach, Portland, Jamaica
Paradise is Winnifred’s Beach

Spend 2 days in Portland. While it is heaven for us earth-weary adults, it’s a  bit too slow for kids.

Jamaica Vacation Itinerary: Negril, Babee!!!

Allow a full day to enjoy the drive along the north coast highway all the way to the other end of the island and end up in Negril. You’ll drive past good old Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.  Don’t get me wrong…I can recommend places to stay and things to do in either place, but not this trip. I recommend staying at the small boutique hotel of Negril Tree House Resort. Ask  for the 1 bedroom suite right on the ocean front. You literally step right out of your room onto the 7 Mile white sand stretch of beach. This resort is not fancy but you’ll be comfortable. There’s Wifi and cable TV and a great Jamaican breakfast is included in the price of the room.

Kids will enjoy the pool and the shallow calm waters of Negril beach. You’ll feel as if you’re in the Bahamas but with the incomparable vibe of JamDown. Negril is not as quiet as Portland but not as touristy and kitschy as some parts of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Negril truly is the other side of Paradise. Cosmos, LTU Pub and Kenny Italian Cafe in Negril are great dining options.

Pro-Tip: A small igloo filled with ice and your own Appleton and Red Stripe purchases at a local supermarket will keep you happy without breaking the bank all day long on the Negril beach.
Spend 3 days in Negril.

7 Mile Beach Negril, Jamaica
7 Mile Beach Negril, Jamaica

 

Sunset in Negril, Jamaica
Sunset in Negril, Jamaica

Jamaica Vacation Itinerary: fly out of Montego Bay

In  few days, you’ve tasted just some of what Jamaica offers. We haven’t explored the hills above Kingston where hiking in 70 degree temperatures (cool by local standards) affords you the opportunity to photograph surprise waterfalls and unusual mountain flora. We’ve stayed far from convenient all-inclusives (great when you have small children, ho-hum when you’re after authentic Jamaica). I haven’t introduced you to the luxury that is a real north coast villa vacation. We haven’t visited historic Port Royal or experienced Pelican Bar, right in the middle of the sea, accessible only by boat. You haven’t been to a street dance or a ritzy night club. You can do all of that next visit 🙂

Want more itinerary ideas? Hit me up here! I’d be happy to help!

When you subscribe to my blog, you’ll get a free copy of 5 different Jamaica south coast road trip itinerary options! Sign up below:

(Re)Visit Jamaica: Sunset in Negril
(Re)Visit Jamaica: Sunset in Negril
(Re)Visit Jamaica: Boys at Frenchmans Cove & scene at Treasure Beach
(Re)Visit Jamaica: Boys at Frenchmans Cove & scene at Treasure Beach
Road Trips and Keto Jamaica Style
Road Trips and Keto Jamaica Style

…Working my core

…Working my Core
Well school’s out.  I live for times like these. Nope.  I’m no longer in school (well, sorta, does online study count J?) but I have 2 that still are.  When school in Jamaica is out, my normal 1 ½ hour commute becomes a 40 minute one.  Can I get an Amen? This allows me lie in bed a little later.  I normally rise at 4:30 to exercise.  This morning my alarm went off at 6:00.  I had put out my work out clothes from last night (cause you know that if I don’t do that, I have another excuse NOT to get up and work my butt) and I had already determined that I was gonna do the Pilates routine…such a great workout!  My core gets tested, my spine lengthens and I’m left feeling all supple and energised.  I really, really enjoy Pilates…once I get into it J. So anyways, the alarm went off.  I promptly turned on my lamp and reached for my kindle.  LOL!  So much for putting out the work out clothes from the night before.  I’m decisive, if nothing else.  And in a split second I deferred my work out from this morning to tomorrow morning. Not an ounce of guilt.  And I sank with pleasure back into my pillow, pulled the comforter higher (it’s deliciously chilly in my neck of the woods now) and proceeded to pick up where I had left off the night before.  I’m in the middle of “Love..From Both Sides” by Nick Spalding.  I’m starting to chuckle as I type.  Here’s one review from Amazon:
‘Absolutely hilarious. Seriously, I’d warn you not to read it in public as people will look at you strangely as you attempt to do that supressed belly laugh thing that makes you look demented. Anyone who’s ever had a cringeful date that’s ended in humiliation (that’s pretty much all of us, then!) will heart this.’ 


Listen to me…my core may not have been tested by Pilates, but five minutes in, my core was certainly contracted as I convulsed in laughter.  I struggled to maintain control in deference to my sleeping husband.  But the tears streamed, the core contracted and I had to rise quickly from the bed and head to the kitchen, where I grabbed on to the counter and had a good belly laugh!!! 
Breakfast completed, coffee had (sweetened with organic coconut sugar- delish! –that’s another blog post though) I retreated to complete my ablutions. I will spare you the gory details, but once again, my core contracted as I sat on the throne reading more of Mr. Spalding’s work, trying desperately to control my laughter since I was the only one in the house up at that hour.  It was an exercise in futility.  After a couple minutes of trying to stifle my laughter and control my core contractions, I gave up.  I put down the kindle and let it rip…the laughter that is.  I threw my head back and I roared.  I let the tears roll.  I snorted.  I screeched.  I moaned.  I roared some more.  The laughter throttled down.  I wiped my eyes and then it began all over again.  This went on for some time.  I was indeed working my core! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! 

Be warned: the book has in some “language” and “explicit scenes”.  If it were a movie, it would be rated A18
%d bloggers like this: