Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Jamaica Island History
3rd largest island in the Caribbean.
Kingston is the capital.
If you are not in the actual mountains, refer to higher plains as hills. Trust me, our driver corrected me with the quickness.
The population on the island is 92% black.
The first time I touched down in Jamaica was in 2018. My older sister loves Jamaica as a home away from home and comes to the island frequently, so myself and a few friends finally decided to join her.
The trip was in August, and I can remember vividly stepping outside of Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ) and immediately having a brand new experience with weather and humidity. It was hot on another level!! I mean soooo hot, I immediately began to strip any layer of clothing I could!
But by the time you sit at The Crazy Grouper (the bar to your immediate right upon exiting the airport) and have what is said to be the best Jamaican patties and a piña colada with a dark rum floater...babyyy...you adjust pretty quickly 😊.
Since it was my first trip, I made sure to check off some touristy items from my list such as jumping in a cave at Blue Hole Mineral Spring, partying and jumping the cliffs at Rick's Cafe, and taking a sunset booze cruise. With that said... a more seasoned traveler might balk at tourist attractions, but what I think is missed in this regard is that they’re popular for a reason.
PROS AND CONS OF TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
1. Provides local employment
2. Boosts economy
3. Promotes the best of what the country/city has to offer
1. Often over crowded
2. Can lead to unnecessary environmental damage
3. Can often be exploitative of native cultures
With that being said...It was a fantastic first trip. And now...we're back- WAH GWAAN JAMAICA!?!🙌 🌴🥥
**PRO TIP AND SIDEBAR ALERT**
((Pro Tip)) As tempting as it is, DO NOT exchange your money when you land at the airport! Wait until you get to your hotel or go directly to a bank, you’ll get a much better exchange rate.
((Sidebar))Updated entrance procedures through August 31, 2021 (may be subject to change for future dates).
- All travelers must go to www.visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization/ to complete a travel authorization form for entry into the country within 7 days of intended travel date. Approval only takes a few seconds once you've completed the form.
- Proof of a negative COVID test taken within 3 days of your intended travel date is required for all travelers12 and up (regardless of vaccination status).
- Check the website for your countries specific travel requirements, as travel to certain countries such as Argentina, Peru, etc.. within 14 days will not be approved for travel to Jamaica.
When it comes to vacation(s), you have to put energy into curtailing your experience to match what you're looking for. It's truly the best way to ensure you don't leave your destination feeling unfulfilled! Trust me... I did that when I went to Cartagena Columbia, and I regret it every day. More on that in another blog post...
-Travelers departing Jamaica and arriving in the US must show proof of a negative COVID test (or prior recovery) taken within 3 days of their arrival.
But Back To The Fun Stuff!
As it relates to Jamaica, if you want to party... go to Montego Bay. If you are looking for a more family friendly environment... Ocho Rios would be more your speed. If you want a good combination of relaxation with party options...Negril is the place for you.
This trip represents my first all inclusive experience in Jamaica. I was hesitant at first because the only people I've ever heard say they DIDN'T like Jamaica...stayed at all inclusive resorts (yikes)!
Insert Azul Beach Resort in Negril, featuring 285 suites, 7 pools, 9 restaurants and bars and 1 spa.
The resort was #gorgeous with very elegant spaces that made you feel relaxed. The staff was super kind and helpful with everything from room service to scheduling your COVID test for your return flight (if you live in the US like me).
There were daily activities for adults and children alike, and for those who require a little variety in their diet...the resort featured cuisines such as Thai, Jamaican, Italian, and American to name a few.
In short, Jamaica owes me nothing. In fact, my experience has only been that Jamaica goes out of it's way to deposit what I need in life to feel whole. As a frequent visitor, my sister always says things like "the island will provide" or the "ocean will provide". And I must say... I get it now.
There's always something new to discover here, and I can't wait for my return.
Have you guys visited? What were your favorite places or recommendations? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.