Jamaica Me Crazy.
Jamaica has a very special place in my heart so it only makes sense to make my first post about my most recent trip there. I’ve been to Jamaica twice now, and it gets better and better each time. The people are incredibly friendly and their positive outlook on life radiates through them. The first time I visited Jamaica was in 2010 and I had just graduated high school. My brother took me as a graduation present and it was one of the greatest presents I’ve ever received, as it was what sparked my inner travel bug!
My first trip to Jamaica was in typical tourist fashion. We stayed in Montego Bay at an all-inclusive resort and only ventured out to visit Rick’s Cafe. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this but from our interactions with the locals, I knew there was so much more to see and do in Jamaica. Fast forward to Labor Day weekend of 2017 and I found myself packing for a 5 day trip to Jamaica with two of my best friends from college. This time, however, I would be staying in Negril and not in an all-inclusive hotel. Below is a summary of all our activities, night outs and dinners, & a review of our hotel with links to all!
Day 1: We landed in Montego Bay around 11am and met our driver outside the Arrivals area. I had booked our private round trip car service with Antonio Airport Transfers & Tours, who were amazing! After loading our luggage into our van, we started our vacation off right with homemade rum punch and Red Stripes while we got to know our driver and learned about the area as we headed towards our hotel in Negril. We stayed at Samsara Cliff Resort which offers an all-inclusive package but we did not partake because we would spend most of our time outside of the hotel. Samsara was affordable and great! Their rooms could use some updates but the friendliness of the staff and owners definitely made up for it. This hotel is very unique in that instead of being located on a beach, it’s located right on the ocean and has these amazing cliffs that you can jump off of and into the water. It was the most thrilling thing I’ve done in a very long time and felt so natural! We spent most of our first day lying in the sun and jumping off cliffs… always with rum punch by our side of course!
Day 2: Probably my most favorite day of the trip! Around 11am, the same car service picked us up and drove us to Floyd’s Pelican Bar. The great thing about Antonio’s car service is that they not only to airport transfers, but they offer private car service tours for other places you’d like to visit as well. If you don’t know what Floyd’s Pelican Bar is, I highly suggest you do some more research on it and add it to your list for when you visit Jamaica. The Pelican Bar is a bar built by hand about a mile or so out into the ocean and only accessible by boat. It’s built in a shallow part of the ocean and after you’ve ordered your drink, you can climb down into the water and enjoy the sun or you can even order fresh caught lobster for a delicious light lunch! Keep in mind that the bar only accepts cash and is a little off the beaten path but it’s definitely worth the trip. There are boats that take you to and from the bar and leave about every 30 minutes depending on how crowded it is. Right before we boarded the boat to go back to land, a huge thunderstorm came over us and we were stranded there for 15 minutes until it past. It was pretty scary but it made for a great story and another great memory to have with your best friends! That night we went to Pushcart down the street for dinner which I also highly recommend. If you’ve heard of Miss Lilly’s in NYC, then Pushcart in Negril should also be on your radar as they are owned by the same family.
Day 3: Jamaica has plenty of waterfalls and since we were staying in Negril, we decided to visit Mayfield Falls. We booked this through Chukka (linked above). The excursion provided transportation, entrance fees, and lunch (jerk chicken!) The falls were beautiful and it was so cool to walk through the water, climb over rocks, and even jump off of a few into deep waterholes. There’s also a waterfall that you can climb behind and sit while you watch the rushing water pour right in front of your face! The guides were really great and kept everyone entertained and made sure everyone was safe the entire time. I even dropped my GoPro at one of the waterfalls and thought it was a goner but one of our guides knew the waters so well that he dove down and found it! Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to eat and clean up before heading right back out for our night excursion of the Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth near Montego Bay. The Luminous Lagoon is a body of water where a particular, very rare microscopic organisms that light up when the water is disruptive. It was a very surreal moment and is perfect for people of all ages as long as they can swim.
Day 4: Our last day and by far, my least favorite for many reasons. We had booked a day tour of Portland which included visiting a couple of beaches and river rafting but it was cancelled so instead we booked another excursion with Chukka last minute. We booked the Best of the West tour which included zip lining, tubing, & horseback riding. The zip-lining was fun and I had done it before on other vacations but one line had me petrified… there was a vertical zip line! I had never seen such a thing and I personally hate the feeling of free falling and when I saw this, I was ready to call it quits. Obviously, I survived haha. The next activity was much more my speed. Tubing through a jungle and taking in the sights and waterfalls. Next, we were on to horseback riding which started on land and ended in the ocean. It was a great day overall. We ended the night by celebrating our last day at The Jungle nightclub near our hotel. There was a small group from our hotel already going so we tagged along and had such a fun time!
I’ve heard from so many people that you should never leave the resort in Jamaica and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though the resorts in Jamaica are lovely, I’m a firm believer in experiencing the country as it was intended and there is so much to see and do in Jamaica! The locals couldn’t be kinder and it’s one of the places that I’ve actually felt the most safe. I cannot wait to get back there again!