Last week, I visited the beautiful island of Jamaica with my husband. We were there for seven days and had the time of our lives! Jamaica is no strange island to me- I visited two times prior and always knew I’d return. This time I went with my husband and it was more fun than the first two times combined! In this post, I’ll endeavor to share all I experienced and give any tips for any who may also be interested in visiting Jamaica.
We visited the island for a total of seven days, touring a few cities throughout the week. We started off in the Barbican section of Kingston. I wouldn’t necessarily characterize this area as touristy, but it is filled with culture and in close proximity to a few of the locations we wanted to visit. We stayed in a Boutique Hotel called Chester Bed & Breakfast. It is a beautiful home located on Chester Avenue in Kingston 6. The owner is an art collector; upon deciding to use her home for Air BNB, she covered her home in all of the Jamaican art she has collected throughout the years. I wasn’t able to capture as many photos as I would have liked capture but I did get a few!
Our stay at Chester Bed & Breakfast was conveniently located by a few shopping plazas so we walked most times to get local food to eat. Our first day we dined at 22 Jerk which is a moderate to high priced local restaurant known for its Jerk chicken. The food was phenomenal and so were the vibes. It was also the only restaurant we went to in Kingston that had a nice waitress. Any of our other dining experiences in Kingston weren’t as friendly.
The following day we found ourselves aimlessly walking the community and ended up at the Bob Marley Museum. It wasn’t my first time at the museum- I visited 6 years prior while on a mission trip with my university. But this time around, I appreciated the experience more. As fans of Bob Marley’s music and especially his legacy, we were really inspired and blown away by everything we learned. The museum is currently priced at $25 per adult ticket, which in our opinion was a fair price. The tour lasts approximately 1.5- 2 hours and ends with a theater- like documentary experience.
On the last full day of our stay in Kingston, we traveled by charter to New Kingston. A charter is a taxi that transports only you and/or your company to your location of choice. If the taxi isn’t a charter, it will pick up other passengers along the route to your destination. In New Kingston, we visited Emancipation Park which is a historical public park that commemorates the end of slavery in Jamaica. There are so many beautiful sculptures of prominent Jamaican figures who played a role in the emancipation of Jamaica and its people. This was my second time visiting the park and I wanted my husband to see it as I knew it would resonate with him as Ghanaian and a member of the African diaspora. The park also includes many Adinkra symbols from Ghana so it was interesting to see it all.
Lastly, we went to Devon House for Jamaica’s famous ice cream. The ice cream is as good as it looks and moderately priced. Whatever you do only pay for one scoop! In Jamaica, one scoop of ice cream is equivalent to 3 scoops in America! So much goodness!! The crunchie munchie flavor was my favorite!
After three days, we took a local flight from Kingston to Montego Bay. Although we loved staying among locals in the fast paced Kingston environment, we also wanted to be around the beautiful beaches of MoBay. We stayed at Toby’s Resort located conveniently in walking distance to many tourist attractions. If I had to rate the resort, I’d give it 3/5 stars. We really got what we paid for in that the wifi in our room was almost non- existent. We would often have to stay outdoors on the resort to get work done on our phones or laptops. And sure, maybe you’re wondering what’s the point of wifi while on vacation. Well when you’re an entrepreneur and influencer with a 3 month old back home, you kind of sort of need it!
Montego Bay, affectionately known as MoBay, is filled with many all- inclusive resorts, so it most tourists don’t do a good job of exploring all the town has to offer. But you know The Kwartengs wandered a bit. We visited a local crafts shop and ate the cheapest and most delicious meal. We had fresh juice smoothies for dessert, and we found ourselves wandering aimlessly on Harbour Street- which is local busy market where you can buy anything from sugar cane to mattresses.
Most days in MoBay, we walked around and ate. We did visit the private beach, Doctor’s Cave Beach which is priced pretty reasonably at 750 Jamaican dollars or somewhere around $6 US dollars. However, upon entering the beach, you have to pay another fee for beach chairs and another fee for an umbrella.The total charges can potentially ring you up anywhere upwards of $25 US dollars but its the price you get for peace of mind and safety. There were public beaches in close proximate as you can imagine but we wouldn’t recommend you leaving your belongings unattended to go swim. The idea of a private beach is that you’re able to your belongings unattended as they are security guards situated throughout the beach.
On our last full day in Jamaica, we took a day trip to Negril with our friends who were also in Jamaica. We connected with a lovely driver named Devon who became our trusted friend. Devon drove us in the morning to a private part of 7- mile beach in Negril that cost $5 US dollars. On the beach, we para-sailed and rode horses which was such a phenomenal experience. Parasailing costs us $50 US dollars each, but don’t take that as the set price since it was the price I negotiated to from the original price of $65. When I para-sailed at the same beach in 2015, it cost me $40 so I’m not sure if the pricing was increased or if they just charge according to their mood for the day. In any event, whatever price you’re given, always try to negotiate until you can’t negotiate any further.
After para-sailing, Devon drove us to get food from a local shop called “Corner Shop.” The food was reasonably priced and really delicious.
After eating, we visited Rick’s Cafe which is a free outdoor cafe with a pool, bars, and cliff jumping. I was feeling really adventurous and jumped off a ledge (not the cliff lol) into the ocean. Of course I was surrounded by a team of on duty life guards and other life guards who we met at the Cafe! It was such a thrilling experience and I can’t wait to return!
On our last day at in Jamaica, we visited our friends at their Hotel, the Hyatt Zilara. The Hyatt Zilara is a five star all inclusive resort with everything you can possibly think of! The food was lovely, and so was the service- something we weren’t very used to in Jamaica.
Now having visited Jamaica three times, I can truly say that Jamaica is like my second home. I love everything about the island, from the food to the culture to the people. Most of the women working in restaurants were extremely unpleasant, just as I have experienced them to be in NYC, but there were a few outliers who did give us hope that not all Jamaican women are rude! Some of my closest friends are Jamaican so I know better than to characterize all to have character issues. But I will say that tourism can be greatly affected if Jamaicans don’t reprimand this behavior!
If you plan to visit Jamaica, make sure you withdraw money from local ATMs. Although most places will accept the US dollar, paying in US dollar will always cost you more. It’s quite hard to explain in writing so I refer you to this amazing Youtube video that helped us tremendously! If you have any other questions about visiting Jamaica, or would like the number to our amazing taxi driver, please don’t hestitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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