If you asked me to describe Jamaica in one word, I don’t think I could. Rich culture, the bluest sandy beaches and tantalising delicacies are only some of the highlights.
We stayed in Discovery Bay on the North coast, located in between Montego bay and Ochos Rios. Our family hosted us whilst we were there, and in hindsight, it saved us a lot of money and gave us the best and most authentic Jamaican experience.
Tourists who stay at hotels are often discouraged to leave the vicinity without a guide due to safety reasons. Personally, the only threat we met was the annoying mosquitoes. We had a car and were able to drive ourselves around. It was easy to get around as the main highway is a straight road all the way past Monetgo bay to Ochi onto Kingston.
A lot of my time was spent on the veranda, with my nose buried in a book, enjoying the sunshine on my skin. But when I wasn’t doing this, I was exploring the Island. There is a lot to do in Jamaica, and I don’t think one trip was enough.
My biggest tip for people who would like to visit the island is – don’t be afraid to explore. The beaches, the historic attractions, the local food joints – just enjoy it! And before travelling, I definitely recommend finding out exactly where your accommodation is, and write up a list of nearby things you want to visit, see or do. This helps you stay organised and helps you plan your expenditure and day to day activities better. Also, you don’t need to go with a tour guide to many of the attractions like Dunn’s River Falls and Green Grotto Caves. It’s a lot cheaper if you go yourself. Finally, don’t feel pressured to buy souvenirs from the locals – it’s okay to say no.
Many of my favourite moments I only captured with memories. And even though no picture can quite perfectly capture the peace, happiness and content that Jamaica gave me, I still wanted to share with you a glimpse of my trip.
[A Vlog of my trip can be found here ]
Most of my time was spent here.
If you don’t stay in a hotel, there are lots of free beaches you can visit. My favourites are Puerto Seco in Discovery Bay, and Runaway Beach in Runaway Bay (North Coast).
We walked a lot on our holiday. Every morning.
After Snorkelling, Dunn’s River Falls was my favourite experience in Jamaica. With 20USD entry, you were able to climb the falls all the way from the sea bed, right to the top. And guess what, we did it without a guide or water shoes! this meant we could go as fast or slow as we wanted, and as many times to. The water is crystal clear and you can chill in the pools for a little rest before continuing. The earlier you go in the day the nicer it is! It can get packed with truckloads of tourists pretty quick.
As a vegetarian, I was pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful veggie options we had. Luvinya 876 Ital Cafe was was our favourite vegan joint on the north coast. Serving Ital Rastafari food, it was amazing value for money. And the guys serving were so friendly and accommodating.
This was the best snorkelling experience I’ve had. I 100% recommend Kelly’s Water Sports in Montego Bay. They staff are so friendly, affordable compared to the competitors and they gave us such an amazing experience. A 10 minute boat ride boat takes you to the coral reef, after which you get in the water and the tour guide takes you into the water for around an hour. If you can’t swim to good there’s life jackets!
Rose Hall is a historic plantation turned museum. It’s notorious for being ‘haunted’ by the ‘White Witch’ – the deceased owner known for practising witch craft. Even though I don’t believe it, the inside of Rose Hall is beautiful. The only thing is that the tour felt a little rushed. A tour guide shows you around the castle and hardly waits for you to take pictures before moving into the next room. It’s also annoying that If you want a picture in front of the house, you have to pay for it. Finally, most of the furniture is replicas. Personally, I could have done without seeing this.
A book is a must for me when I travel. It is the perfect companion.