Monday, January 24, 2011

No Problem, Mon: Jamaican Vacation

7-mile beach in Negril

For 10 days at over Christmas and New Year's, my family and I went to Jamaica!

My parents, brother and I flew into Montego Bay and had hired a driver to take us to Negril (~50 miles) over on the west coast of the island. We spent 4 days/5 nights at Country Country, which are beach cottages on the famous 7-mile beach of Negril. Our two cottages were a 30-second walk to the beach and I loved the laid-back feel of the place! Since there were only 24 cottages and not too many guests, we never had to fight for beach chairs or towels. We would have breakfast (included) at the beach bar every morning. My favorite was the banana pancakes with fresh fruit (papaya!) and pineapple juice. A lot of Jamaicans walked the beach selling their wares and we also bought fresh, warm, fluffy coconut bread from the bakery man on a daily basis. Yum! :) The rest of the day was spent wandering the beach, tanning/reading and water sports. That's my Mom and I parasailing in the picture below! Such an amazing 15-20 minutes with the most breathtaking views. It was expensive at $45/person (we negotiated) but my Dad treated us :) In the evenings, we would find restaurants out on the main road for dinner like jerk chicken shacks or (and this isn't a joke!) a place called "Perfect Restaurant" which actually WAS the best meal we had in Negril! (Oxtail with rice and "peas", which is rice and red beans.) Then we would play our favorite card game til 10 or 11pm, sleep until 10am and do it all over again.

I miss this!

Parasailing with Mom...amazing!

Country Country

After the glorious 5 days in Negril (with only 1 day of bad weather where we explored since there wasn't much sun and all the water sports were shut down for the day), we rented a car and drove down to Treasure Beach for the last 5 days. Luckily, my Dad is an amazing driver...because honestly, cars should not be rented in Jamaica! The potholes are EVERYWHERE and they are insane. We even encountered unpaved roads and had to get out and push the car at one point! But, nevertheless, it was fun and with the car we were able to do our own thing and take some neat day trips. We stayed at Jake's in Treasure Beach, which consists of a Mediterranean-style villas on some small cliffs. This was on the south coast and the weather was amazing the entire time! The food at the hotel wasn't the best (except for the Baked Oatmeal every morning!) so we ate at the adjacent restaurant, Jack Sprat's, a lot. We took day trips to Pelican Bar, Y.S. Falls and a small, not-overrun-by-tourists-town called Alligator Pond where we got interviewed live by a local radio station! More reading and more card games, plus making friends at the bar while drinking delicious passion fruit margaritas. New Year's Eve was spent at Jack Sprat's with a bonfire, fireworks, a few hundred tourists/locals and a stage complete with bands and DJs.

That's me reading! Our villa at Jake's.

Treasure Beach

Pelican Bar (ate freshly caught fish & played Dominoes with the owners!)

View from the villa.

This doesn't do the potholes justice, but you get the idea!

It was a phenomenal trip! Jamaica was more expensive than anticipated, mostly because tourism is by-and-far the largest industry for the majority of the country. Still, I definitely want to go back one day!
  • Take as many swimsuits as you own! I only took two and it definitely wasn't enough...even though I only own three. Good thing I had enough beach dresses!

  • Jerk chicken in Jamaica is actually doused with BBQ sauce. It's not the "spicy jerk" that you find in the States! We actually think that type of jerk chicken is found in Trinidad or some of the other Caribbean islands.

  • Jamaicans are incredibly friendly, but of course you only have to be careful that you aren't getting ripped off as a tourist. Even the little convenience stores away from the hotels weren't that cheap! And they really do say "No problem, mon!" all the type... but the whole Bob Marley thing is definitely a tourist attraction, as Jamaicans love their dance hall music.

  • I would stay at both of these places again! Country Country was small, laid-back and low-key while Jake's was more expensive but still IS Jamaica, after all! :)


LC January 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM  

Your trip sounds perfect! and I love that we both went parasailing on our trips! Everyone else I tell about that hasn't done it yet (even though they are all-inclusive junkies). The potholes on the other hand... gah, that would make a long trek even longer, eh?

It was great to read your review of the locals, and how they were friendly and kind. I've heard some awful things about other friends' trips to Jamaica, so your experience has changed my mind about going there one day.

Great pics, thanks for posting a review :)

curls-and-pearls January 24, 2011 at 11:41 AM  

Been looking forward to your review! Thanks so much - next time we may have to check out Negril instead of Ocho Rios. I've gone parasailing in Mexico - such a cool experience. glad you had a great and relaxing time!

krystalatwork January 24, 2011 at 1:11 PM  

Wow looks like you had an awesome time in Jamaica! I'm totally jealous... that's one place I really, really want to visit. I'll make sure to ask you a ton of questions once we start to plan our trip there! :)

Anonymous January 24, 2011 at 3:32 PM  

just wanted to le you know that actually authentic jamaican jerk chicken is a spice rub that is then placed on a babecue you must have got he tourist special

Frugalista January 24, 2011 at 4:14 PM  

Looks like a perfect way to spend the New Year! I took 3 suits on my last vacation!

stackingpennies January 26, 2011 at 10:32 AM  

Sounds like so much fun! Running out of bathing suits - what a great "problem" to have. :)

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