Jamaica

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM JAMAICA?

Jamaica is a Caribbean nation famous for Bob Marley, reggae music and warm tropical weather that
makes it a popular tourist destination.

We have been to Jamaica 3 times!!! We stayed in Ocho Rio for our first visit and Negril for our 2 nd and 3 rd
visit. For these trips we went without kids and in all occasions felt welcome, comfortable and happy; on
our first 2 trips, we booked accommodation via an all-inclusive resort (we met a local at the beach who
later became our best friend), for our 3 rd visit, we rented an Airbnb and worked with our best friend who
owns a car for transport and consultation needs and we had an incredible time exploring Jamaica.
CAUTION! Don’t just put yourself out there and Don’t lock yourself in a shell because of fear; there are
places in Jamaica where it is unwise to venture into, and you can miss out on a lot by sticking to the
resorts, so find your balance and don’t let fear steer you away from an incredible experience.

As part of our Journey, we have a goal to bring all our 3 children to Jamaica soon.

Visiting Jamaica takes some preparation and planning so here are things to add on your checklist as you
prepare and plan.

Checklist

1
Get a passport, and if you have a passport, then ensure it is valid for at least a year.
2
Book the flight and accommodation. Given the pandemic situation-call in advance to determine any COVID restrictions that you should be aware of
3
Ensure you have time off planned-whether its away from work, school, volunteer activity
4
Identify a close relative or friend that you will share your travel plans with
5
Consider downloading mobile apps that will help you during international travel e.g WhatsApp- allows for sms and calls via internet, sendwave/cashapp-allows for transmitting money internationally.
6
Consider your commute time to and from the airport. We flew into Montego Bay from Minneapolis and this trip was about 4hrs 30min. Since the flight is international, advance arrival at the airport is suggested so we got to the airport 2hrs prior to our flight. Pack light (if you can get away with just a carry on luggage-even better)

Highlights

We enjoyed the culture, people, the natural rainforest and oh the sunshine..
In Ocho Rio, we visited the majestic Dunn’s River Falls where we trekked to the top of the 600ft waterfall
where we enjoyed the surrounding views of the tropical landscape. We rode horses from land into the
warmth of the Caribbean Sea and rode the sky lift to enjoy the view of Jamaica from above. We ate a lot
of Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Our 1 st resort had a 24hr service so yes we would go down to the jerk bar at
11pm at night and order chicken, so cool!!! During our stay at the 2 nd resort, we worked with a local tour guide and toured the ocean on a glass bottom boat.

The resort also hosted free events throughout the day and into the evening for example yoga at the
beach, beach volleyball, concerts and art performances. Very great venues for you to get out and
interact with fellow tourists and the locals

In the Negril mountains, Caleb (husband) jumped off the cliff into the cool deep blue waters and we
both watched a breathtaking sunset during our trip at Ricks’s café Negril. During our 3 rd visit, we
shopped at the local market, supermarket, cooked our own food and worked with our best friend to
ensure our transport needs were met. We also enjoyed freshly made sea food (lobster caught in the
Ocean and cooked within minutes) right at the beach.

TO MAXIMISE ON YOUR FUN

1
Check out the open excursions, tours, and activities that are open and available in the area. Most resorts partner with excursion event coordinators to offer a tour for the resort guests (at extra cost). You can also rent your own taxi and have the taxi driver take you where you would like (you can get authorized taxi drivers through the resort)
2
Take a day trip to Negril or Montego Bay for shopping, support the local entrepreneurs.
3
Visit Rick’s Cafe and Margaritaville-enjoy a freshly made beverage or take a dive in the Ocean.
4
If you are looking for a fantastic cultural experience, visit the late Bob Marley’s residence or attend a Reggae festival where you can learn more about the reggae culture, why they chose to live the life they are living and believe in the things they have faith in.
5
Enjoy the quite waters while bamboo rafting, consider the local services offered e.g limestone massage. Ride bikes on the mountains, go bob-sledding or ride an (All-Terrain Vehicle) ATV for a different experience.
6
Engage with the locals and learn more about their culture, food etc, the media does not portray a good amount of this and your experience will inform you so. Once you arrive in Jamaica, you are going to need transport to your place of stay-most taxi drivers are well knowledgeable and you can learn a lot about Jamaica from them. Local food stands that are strategically located on the roads are also great avenues to learn. The beach is also a good place to interact with the locals. Jamaicans are extremely friendly, few who are entrepreneurs may be persistent when trying to sell you something, if you are not interested in buying, just say no thank you and keep moving.
7
Be aware of local currencies used in Jamaica and the exchange rate. Cash is king for the most part, there are few places where you can use a card e.g supermarket or local store front.
8
Practice your negotiation and engagement skills, it comes in handy when buying something; Some items may be priced high due to the audience buying (tourist), You can get a great deal if you talk to them nicely.
9
Protect your valuables. Things like passports, cellphones, cash/credit cards etc should not be left lying around. Most rooms come with a safe that you can used to store valuable items.
10
Consider why you went there. Enjoy your time, relax and have fun. Don’t stress. Jamaica is a no problem man land.
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