WE WENT TO JAMAICA FOR A “TOTAL RELAXATION, FORGET ABOUT ANY RESPONSIBILITIES” TRIP. AND IT WAS JUST THAT. FILLED WITH BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL BEACHES, RASTAFARIANS, REGGAE MUSIC, AND “YA MON”S, IT IS TRULY A HAPPY COUNTRY.
USUALLY ON TRIPS I LIKE TO DRIVE AROUND, EXPLORE MULTIPLE CITIES, AND SEE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.. BUT IN JAMAICA WE ONLY STAYED IN ONE CITY, MONTEGO BAY (NORTHWEST COAST). WE STAYED AT AN ALL-INCLUSIVE HOTEL, AND ONLY LEFT IT TWICE. BUT IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO JUST GET AWAY FOR A FEW DAYS AND UNWIND ON THE BEACH, THIS TRIP IS FOR YOU!
BOOKING IT: We used cheapcaribbean.com to book our trip. You can’t beat their prices. It included flights, airport transfers, and a few nights in an all-inclusive hotel (so all meals and drinks at the hotel as well). If you notice, most of my posts are for budget-friendly traveling, this one included. If you are planning a trip anywhere in the Caribbean, I recommend checking out CheapCaribbean’s website (click link above).
GETTING THERE: We flew into the Sangster (Montego Bay) airport with no issues. It was relatively small, which helped get in and out quickly. There are also airports in Kingston & Ocho Rios if you’re looking to stay in those cities as well. Our transfer to our hotel was booked in advance so they were waiting for us (next to all the other travel companies). But if you don’t book in advance, do not worry because there are plenty of cab drivers available to give you a ride.
HOTELS:Most hotels in this area happen to be all-inclusive and typically that’s for good reason (so you never have to leave!) When we walked outside of our hotel’s gates to go to a store or shop, we were bombarded with locals trying to sell us marijuana, various drugs, and/or practically dragging us into their souvenir stores to buy something. I understand this is how they make a living, but the safety of being inside the all-inclusive was nice, so keep that in mind while choosing a hotel.
If you do choose all inclusive, it will include 3 meals in a large “buffett” style restaurant, as well as a restaurant or 2 that’s always open throughout the day. The food in the restaurant wasn’t anything special, but there was a wide variety of options to choose from, and was included, so it worked. Our beach front hotel had multiple pools, a full service spa, an outdoor stage for entertainment shows each night (loved them!), water activities, and at least 5 bars (oh and a fully stocked mini fridge free in each hotel room, what?!). There are a bunch of all-inclusive’s around town, and you can choose which one based on your budget. The more expensive ones may be a bit cleaner/more “luxurious”, but otherwise they serve the same purpose.
EXTRA EXPENSES WE CHOSE TO DO/RECOMMEND:
*DUNN’S RIVER FALLS*
The only tour we did, but very worth it. It was about an hour outside of Montego Bay. Our hotel hooked us up with a tour that included a ride & short hike IN THE WATER up the falls. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m a sucker for nature so it was nice to get out into the woods. It was one of my favorite parts of our trip and I highly recommend going. You will need to bring water shoes and I recommend a water proof camera! If you go with a tour guide on the falls, they will also video your hike which is available for purchase when you’re done. I didn’t mind the hour+ drive because it allowed me to see local towns in the country. (What typical local housing, restaurants, and businesses look like). The tour guide on the bus pointed out points of interest and various pieces of history. She was engaging and informative and made the ride over worth it. The country is considered “developing”, but if you’re like me and you like to see local culture, you won’t mind the drive at all!
After the walk up the falls, again be prepared to be bombarded with locals trying to sell you souvenirs. If you love to buy souvenirs then you will love it. Just know ahead of time that they are nice people but also super pushy because they all sell the same things as the person next to them. I had to learn to politely keep saying no thank you because there was sooo many. However, I loved a few of the Rastafarian’s (who were super chill and very nice) handmade crafts and items. (Picture below).
*A LOCAL RESTAURANT (AT LEAST ONCE)*
We stopped at “Jerk Centre”. Although it didn’t look like much, the food was amazing. We opted for the typical jerk chicken and it was delicious and filled with Jamaican spices and flavor! You can see a menu of other options in the picture above on the left. It was so much better than most hotel food. Get out and try something local. You won’t be disappointed.
*MASSAGES ON THE BEACH*
This trip WAS intended for relaxation, so we opted for massages on the beach! Our hotel had a shady tiki hut in a quiet spot away from all the pools and noise and it was just perfect. If your hotel has one, splurge and pamper yourself. It wasn’t the most budget friendly choice, but you can’t beat the atmosphere. You’ll feel rejuvenated and like a whole new you!
If you want to spend less time on the beach, and more time exploring, there are many other tours you can do. Although we did not go to them so I cannot recommend one specifically, you can visit websites like jamaicatoursltd.com to explore your options. There are plantations to visit, boats to ride, Bob Marley’s town to see, lagoons, and much much more! Check them out based on your interests.
FOOD: They are most known for their jerk chicken with rice and you won’t be disappointed if you eat that! That was the tastiest meal we ate at the hotel, but also what we ate when we ventured to a local restaurant. (see picture above for a typical menu, eat somewhere local!). But they also have jerk flavored everything else (Sausage, goat, pork, fish, etc.). Eat what they’re known for because its filled with spices and flavor!
WEATHER: Your typical tropical weather. Hot & Sunny. We went in the fall so it wasn’t quite as hot. January-April typically has less rain, but also not as warm. If you go in the summer expect heat and regular rain storms. But all in all, there’s not a “bad” time of year there. It’s always warm enough to lay on the beach. Hence why it’s a great destination to travel to.
Conclusion: Jamaica is a beautiful coastal country perfect for getting away to relax and unwind on the beach for a few days. The employees working with you are the happiest and most grateful people in the world. Local food is better than hotel food, but keep in mind Jamaica is a “developing” country so you must be open minded if you venture around locally. If you’re in need of a little R&R, this country is for you! YA MON, ONE LOVE 🙂