Jamaica in November: A Travel Guide
Hooray for sunshine! Yesterday and today the sun finally came out to play here in Atlanta. I welcomed the change in weather with much enthusiasm.
I like overcast skies [because I have a ridiculous obsession with clouds], especially every once in a while. But after about a week of rain and cooler temperature - all I could think about was escaping to a tropical island paradise.
SO I couldn't book a last minute trip "back a yahd" - back home. I didn't let that stop me from escaping to vibrant colors - the greenest greenery, white sand beaches, and various blue hued water. Jamaica, JAMAICA!
Last year this time Danny and I were still trying to establish and settle into our new norm back here in Atlanta. The weather was about the same. And we were having honeymoon withdrawal.
The day after our wedding we caught a flight to Jamaica for a week long honeymoon! We flew into Mo Bay, short for Montego Bay. Montego Bay Airport is where most tourists fly in.
Upon arriving at Riu Hotel Ocho Rios, and taking care of the administrative business of checking in, getting our room, etc. we were at once whisked away into a whirlwind of honeymoon bliss. Our feet never touched the ground!
We had a room that faced the ocean. We left the sliding door to the balcony open [although we kept the screen in place] every night. And every morning, without fail, we woke up at 6am to the soothing sound of waves crashing onto the shore and the warmth of the rising sun on our face. Perfect.
As if the breathtaking setting wasn't enough - we were at an all-inclusive resort. That's right food and drinks [yes, including adult beverages] were all included! My tummy was very very happy. So. much. food.
OH, you want a juicy steak? You got it boss.
Want to tickle your palate with the delights of traditional Jamaica fare? No problem mon!
Feeling fancy? "Weh yuh want sushi? It nuh come nuh fresha." Translation: What do you want, sushi? It doesn't come any fresher.
Jamaica - The People
In case you've missed my hints in this post and past references in others, Danny and I, we're Jamaican, lol.
Jamaicans, particularly those of us living outside the island, refer to JAMAICA as "yahd" (yard), "Jam Down," and "Jamrock." Yes, all three are references to Jamaica.
Here's what you need to know about Jamaicans:
Jamaicans are very proud.
We are proud of our heritage and small island and we are proud of its far reaching influence - from Bob Marley and Reggae to staple Jamaican dishes like Oxtail.
Jamaicans are very hospitable.
Living in the South I hear a lot of talk about Southern hospitality, but let me tell you, Southern Hospitality has NOTHING on Jamaican Hospitality. Jamaicans will wait on you hand and foot, taking care of you and ensuring you are okay. They will even give up their room or their child(ren)'s room(s) to ensure you have a place to stay.
Jamaicans are opinionated.
We are opinionated, sometimes to a fault. They don't do very well at keeping their opinions or observances to themselves. If you put on, or loss, weight since the last time they saw you, or you child is behaving badly, they will let you know without a second thought. It doesn't come from a malicious place and they don't mean to offend, you just need to have thick skin.
Jamaicans are intelligent.
We have book smarts and street smarts. Jamaica is beautiful but life in a developing country can be tough, so Jamaicans must have their wits about them at all times. As a tourist you must beware of those who may have ill intentions as there are those who will try to con tourists - whether it's with a dollar joint on the beach [you will be messed up for days] or offering an overpriced tour of the local area.
Jamaicans are stubborn.
When we make up our mind about something, there is very little that can be done to change it. We don't give up easily and we don't take "No" for an answer. A tourist may witness this first hand when entering a Jamaican market, the vendors, and beggars, can be extremely pushy.
Jamaica - Things To Do
Here are a few things you can and should do if you ever get a chance to visit Jamaica.
- Try Local Dishes. If you've never had Oxtail, or Jerk Chicken, and Rice & Peas. OR Escovitch Fish and Bammy or Festival. - This is the time and the place to try it and experience all the flavors that come with true authenticity.
- Try New and Fresh Fruit. Eat a Jamaican apple. Try Breadfruit. Jack fruit. Papaya. The list goes on.
- Try Local Snacks. Our favorites are pictured above. If you're Jamaican you know about "Wata Crackaz," - WATER CRACKERS [they are dry, dry crackers that taste great with butter or cheese, keep something to drink nearby]. BANANA CHIPS [St. Mary's is my fav - they are not sweet like some other brands]. SUPLIGEN, which is a shake that could replace a meal [Think Slim-Fast but better tasting, and not for weight loss - an all age version of Ensure, lol]. And CADBURY CHOCOLATE [Cadbury chocolate is actually made in Great Britain but Jamaicans love this creamy, rich cholocate. Fruit & Nut is my personal fav.]
- Horse Back Riding on the beach.
- Hiking. Have you ever hiked up a waterfall? If you're visiting Ocho Rios check out Dunn's River Falls.
- Water Activities. Go to the beach! Go Kayaking. Snorkeling. Wind Sailing. A lot of the all-inclusive resorts have these activities free of any additional charge.
These are only a few suggestions - there is so much to do! You may visit the hotel's Discotec or catch a show put on by the resort's entertainment staff.
Keep a camera handy so you can revisit the memories you make again and again.
We actually ended up checking out of our hotel early to visit our family in Linstead and the hills of Kingston. We had such a beautiful time.
As a Jamaican, no matter where you go, no matter what other citizenship you accept, no matter how long you have been away.... JAMAICA is always home.