Jamaica family vacation
I spent 10 days exploring the beautiful island of Jamaica with my dad, his fiance and her two daughters. They are Jamaican natives so we got a truly authentic experience. Our time was split between Kingston and Runaway Bay. Here's the rundown.
June 17 - 27.
Day 1 - Arrived in Kingston at Norman Manley Airport. Rental van at the airport. Driving on the left hand side of the road. Checked into our airbnb. Driving all over Kingston. Eventually went to dinner in Hellshire at Aunt Merl's Fish Place.
Day 2 - I realized I wouldn't be sleeping in much on this vacation. We woke up at 7am, for a trip to the country-side. Before heading out to rural Portmore, we had breakfast in Kingston at Hot Pot. I opted for a traditional Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish. After our treacherous 2-hour drive to Portmore we went Rafting on Rio Grande in a bamboo raft. It was absolutely gorgeous, but also a bit scary because I wasn't wearing a life jacket, no one was. The waters were calm and relaxing. We even made a pit stop to take a dip in the water and to drink water and rum punch. After our 2 hour rafting journey we made our way to Frenchman's Cove in Port Antonio - a resort and beach. Two hours out of Kingston. Drive thru the country-side rugged roads. Beautiful lush views and green all over. The types of tropical house plants that we struggle to keep alive grow naturally all over Jamaica. Not to mention so many mango trees. I picked mangoes with a long stick. I guess this is a rite of passage.
Day 3 - first day I was able to sleep in. Our air bnb had a pool so I spent the majority of the day at the pool. Then in the evening we ate dinner at Port Royal. More fish and rum. When you ask for rum at this restaurant they give you a pint of over proof Wray and Nephews Rum 63%. Yes, more than enough to share.
Day 4 - We left Kingston to go to our resort. Before leaving we re-fueled at Island Grill. It is a fast food restaurant with healthy options. I had the fish sandwich with sweet plantain and jerk sauce. I washed down my sandwich with a beet juice cocktail. It was incredible! During this trip I found it hard to eat vegetarian food (not that there aren't vegetarian restaurants in JA, just that I was the only vegetarian in our group) so I decided I'd be pescatarian for the duration of the trip, so I wouldn't starve.
That afternoon we arrived at our resort - Jewel Runaway Bay Resort. I was so excited to just relax, drink and eat worry free. The food at the resort's buffet was less than savory and gave me a stomach ache. The food items in the salad bar were not properly refrigerated. Warm cheese? Never a good thing.
For the most part everyone on the resort was kind and friendly.
Another early start to the day. Me and the girls went snorkeling in the morning. I saw schools of fish. Beautiful aquatic plants and a reef. It was absolutely stunning. Until I saw what I thought was a jelly fish. Fortunately I didn't get stung.
Later that night we went to Margaritaville. For $35 dollars we had open bar. A bit pricy in my opinion. Lots of Appleton and Wray & Nephew. There was a large pool and the DJ was great. He didn't let a song play for too long before transitioning to the next. That's a quality I really appreciate in a DJ. My friends back home asked me if the club was like a dancehall video -- NO. Most people were drinking and people watching just like in America.
Swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove. I never thought I'd get so close to a dolphin, but it was a great experience. While it was fun to ride on a dolphin, I did worry about our dolphin, Zeus. He seemed a bit tired half way through our show. At dolphin cove we also went snorkeling (this time with sting rays) kayaking and speed boating.
Day 7 -8
Chilling and enjoying the resort life. Pina coladas and photo walks around the property. I even participated in a morning yoga class. The yoga class prepared me for the treacherous journey up Dunn's River Falls. It was absolutely beautiful. The hike up the fall was a steady incline but there were lots of small pools of water to relax in on the way up. I do recommend being physically fit before trying to climb the falls. I knew this vacation was going to be active so I spent a few weeks training, and by training I mean light weight lifting and running a few miles a week.
Last day at the resort, but one of the most fun. We went to Chukka and rode ATV's and horses. Riding the ATV was one of my favorite parts of this vacation. There's something about the speed, the mud, the engine --it's exhilarating and I wish that I had one. We rode through an old plantation and oceanside. Horseback riding was also fun, but much more relaxing. My horse, Chochi, was majestic, steady and smart.
That night we had dinner at the resort's buffet where there was a live performance by a steel band. They were lit! It made our last night memorable.
Travelled to Kingston for our flight the next day. I allowed myself to rest on this day. My vacation was fun but I didn't exactly sleep a lot. I woke up early every morning. The time in Jamaica is also one hour behind EST. At we went to Devon House I had a giant serving of cookies and cream ice cream. It was creamy and delicious and I wish I would have more shipped to me.
I had the best vacation ever and I'm sad that it has ended. I will be publishing another post full of travel tips. Traveling can be fun but also a bit stressful --I'd like to share what I've learned over the years. Stay tuned.