When you think of Jamaica what is the first thing that comes to mind? Shottas or Bob Marley?Is it the beautiful resorts and white sand? I recently heard someone say, ” People Think That Jamaica is Beautiful But It Isn’t Some Real Bad Things Happen There.”
The truth is bad things happen in our own backyard often times on our doorstep. However that doesn’t stop us from going out every week. There are “bad” areas in every city; places you should not go if you don’t know anyone in that area. For that reason alone Jamaica was a wonderful way to break in my passport. Honestly, I was excited yet nervous about being in Jamaica because I went with zero expectations and reservations. I just knew I had a list of to do’s that needed to be checked off; everything else was a bonus. We stayed in a town named Negril, Jamaica that had so much to offer. Unlike Montego Bay things are a little cheaper and less touristy. Many people stay here to get away from the shenanigans of the city. Of course people still on their hustle but after a while you either ignore it, shake your head, or they leave you alone all together.
The 2 main things that I loved about Jamaica is the food and you get Alkaline everywhere. Because the island has many natural fresh water falls the alkaline water comes straight from the source to the people. Making the process more eco and people friendly. Each day we made it a point to try out local foods away from the resort and we were successful. The entire trip I was mindful about eating strictly sea food and ital dishes; which is not hard in Jamaica. Majority of the people are vegan which made it easy to find Ital food. Also everyone has access to different types of fish daily due to the fisherman on the island. Needless to say everything was fresh and everything we ate was made to order. A place by the name of Rasta Lemonade made a huge impression on us. The restaurant was right down the beach from us so we ate there a couple of times. Rasta Lemonade is a strictly Ital restaurant that makes your food to order; along side daily freshly made juice. The portions they give you for each platter is massive. The 2 days we ate there we were full for at least half of the day. However you can honestly find good food on accident anywhere that you go on the island. Also since everything is made fresh it is best to never be in a rush to get anywhere. On average the food can take anywhere between 5-20 minutes to make. But, you’re on vacation what’s the rush anyway RIGHT!?
While in Negril, Jamaica we blended in fairly well. It was clear we weren’t raised up on the island itself. However, many people assumed we were American Jamaican which made our stay a little less nerve wrecking. Meaning we weren’t a target for shenanigans most tourist find themselves in. Because of this we made friends with some of the locals. In Negril many people are on their hustle in a good way. Two of the people that we became acquainted with were our personal drivers. In Jamaica there are a lot of tour companies that own buses that strictly take a group of tourist around the country. This may sound cool until you look at the prices they are charging and how crowded the buses are. Also the tour bus is often in a rush to get you to all the places people want to see. So it’s not worth it. On the other hand locals in Negril made their own Uber or Lyft system. They wait for tourist to come out of the resort and ask if they need a taxi. Having a taxi is much like having a personal driver. The cost is cheaper because it is calculated by the distance of the drive. Also because they are using their personal cars to drive you around. The drivers willingly act as your tour guide and wait for you at each stop you make. Some may even enjoy the day with you if each part feels comfortable. Each day you are there you will most likely have the same driver. If the driver is not available they send someone else in their place for that day. The drivers we had while in Negril were Roger and Chris (yes we made it a point to know their names). They really made an impression on us because of how laid back, kindhearted and open they were. The entire time in Negril Roger was our main driver and we had the pleasure of meeting his father which was such a treat. We made it a point to genuinely ask questions about the history and culture of Jamaica; which they willingly answered. This made the trip an educational experience as well. While with Roger he went to every site with us and often times gave us a little tour of his own. He also didn’t mind having fun with us along the way; which made each of us comfortable . Chris was a little different; he was more of a talker than a hanging out type of guy. As he drove us around we made frequent historical stops; such as Columbus Landing. Turns out Columbus actually landed in Jamaica before redirecting himself to America. He also shared with us his experience growing up in the country side and how things have changed over the years. Each of the drivers really knew how to maneuver through the jungle and rain forest. Yes we went on some adventures willingly.
This may seem scary right? To just go an adventures with some men who claim they’re taxi drivers?!!
Well we also made friends with the security at the resort as well as some of the staff women. Because of this we knew where to go and who to talk to while in Negril by our second night their. So each day and night people did look out for not only us but other tourist as well. What really made the trip magical is that everyone we encountered we made a connection with. We bridged a gap that some people are too afraid to do or so self righteous. We did witness times where people were very rude to the those who are simply doing their job. It is something special when you see someones face light up because you actually came back to speak with them or to even buy something that they may have. Often times to get something free or a little extra just because of that simple moment of kindness.
Now I am not going to lie by the 6th day I was tired and ready to go back home. Only because each day we got into something. We would wake up and hit the beach running. if we weren’t on the beach all day we were in the hills going on adventures. I will say that it would be awesome to spend a week in Negril or Jamaica period then got to another island for another week. We did meet a family who spent 3 weeks in Negril. I was amazed because in a week and a half you can pretty much see the whole island if you moved around like we did. We purposely left some things untouched to have a reason to go back. However, we did everything we set out to do and a little more. Of course we had our iffy and scary moments while there. But it only lasted a few minutes because we realized we were okay. Luckily we ran across some genuine people; yet at the same time we didn’t linger long enough to get taken advantage of as well. We developed a fine line between being nice and being gullible because at the end of the day it is am island that has been raped and taken advantage for so long. Because of this everyone is trying to make it the best they know how.
Tips for Jamaica:
- Convert some of your currency and spend before reverting back to your cash.
- Bring a small bottle of mosquito spray. Try to find a natural brand because the smell is string.
- Do not stay on the resorts the whole time. The resort is not Jamaica; there is so much the island has to offer. It helps you throw away the stereotypes.
- It is okay to say NO!!
- Do not fall for the tricks. Sometimes people will try to talk you into buying them food or drinks.
- Let nothing ruin your trip.
Places To Visit:
- Ricks Cafe: The world famous Ricks Cafe is known for their cliff divers. The cafe opens around 1pm and closes around 8pm or 9pm. There is a live DJ who is really good who is accompanied by dancers who convince tourist to dance and have a good time. The drinks are really good and very strong. The food isn’t the best on the island however it is good. There is a live bad that places everyday at 7:00 but they aren’t a good act. All in all Ricks Cafe is a great places to relax and enjoy the end of your day.
- Pelicans Bar: If you are up for an adventure and a good time Pelican Bar is right up your alley. Pelicans Bar is a bar that sits in the middle of the ocean right off of the Black River. You have to take a boat to get there which isn’t a problem because there are many boats that go back and forth to the bar. At Pelicans Bar they serve food and drinks all day. The food is freshly caught around the hour to serve the guest. And there is great music to set the mood. Sounds crazy?! Not at all. The Bar is completely solid made of bamboo and real solid wood. It offers seating inside as well as outside. If you pay close enough attention you may even be able to met the amazingly talented Rasta who built the bar himself not once but twice. As a really bad hurricane did come a few years back. Definitely a place I will always return to.
- Mayfield Falls: The beautiful Mayfield Falls is a place like no other. You have to go a little ways up the forest to get there however it is worth it. The Mayfield Falls is a tour through the falls and the rain forest. You are accompanied by a tour guide who is well experienced through the rivers and water falls. The tour guide is hands on and helps you along the path and takes pictures for you. When in the falls you are free to swim and sit in the water falls. After taking the tour you are welcome to order from their kitchen and have a bite to eat. The food at Mayfield is amazing and they give you really big portions.
- Bob Marley Mausoleum: If you are a Bob Marley fan the museum doesn’t do his justice. The Bob Marley Mausoleum resides in Nine Mile where he was raised and grew up. The Mausoleum is on the land where his family lived. There lays the tombs of his Mother, Brother, and Bob Marley himself. When you arrive you are appointed a tour guide. While on the tour you sea the home if his grandmother as well as his mother. There are areas where you are not allowed to take pictures. When walking through the mausoleums you are directed to take you shows and to not take pictures. Bob Marleys mother made her own jerk and dipping sauces while living. They are only sold at the mausoleum;during the tour you are given time to rest and listen to music while taking her sauces. There are gift shops and a restaurant where you are able to eat,drink, and indulge.
See pictures of more adventures below