For my 29th birthday, my husband & I travelled to Jamaica. This was our second international trip together, and I was so excited. We had lots of excursions booked, in fact we had one per day, and couldn’t wait to get there!
We stayed in Ocho Rios which was about an hour drive from Montego Bay, which is where we flew into. We pre-purchased transportation to the resort via a bus. On the ride to the resort, I kept seeing an animal that I was slightly familiar with, but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I kept nudging my husband, asking him what was the animal on the side of the road I keep seeing. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about. I described the animal as looking like a dog with horns. When I showed him the next one that I saw. He was in disbelief.. he was like you mean the goat?! Oops. I felt so silly. LOL .. I hadn’t ever seen a goat in person, so I didn’t put it together.. And, to this day, he wont let me live it down. Sigh.
We made one stop on the way to the resort at the request of some of the passengers on the bus. It was to a restaurant called Scotchies. It was some of the best food I have ever had, and so incredibly cheap! We got a whole chicken, tons of sides, and drinks for $12. It is a must stop if you are in Jamaica.
We stayed at the Jamaica Grande, which is now know as Moon Palace Jamaica Grande. When we arrived at the resort, I asked for a room upgrade. I always do this. Hey, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. We had a regular room booked, and they upgraded us to a water front room. We could literally walk right out of our room onto the beach!
The first day we relaxed and enjoyed the amenities at the resort. It was an all-inclusive, which we always enjoy. They had a couple pools, a swim up bar, a club, and a several restaurants. Everything was really nice!
The first excursion we did was Dunns River Falls. This is a waterfall, that you climb from the BOTTOM up! I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The guides made it a lot of fun to climb, but it wasn’t easy. We bought the video to remember the adventure. I recommend anyone visiting Jamaica does it.
The next day we did an CHUKKA ATV tour that took us through the jungle, as well as the beaches of Jamaica. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, this is something my husband and I try to do in every country we visit. This was an experience I will never forget. The ride was very scenic and the guides were very informative. At one point they stopped at a cliff, and asked if anyone wanted to jump in. I am not that adventurous, and I cannot swim, so it was a firm NO from me. However, my husband did it, and loved it! It was very cool, and looked like a lot of fun.
After we rode on the beach, we headed into the jungle. After riding for a little while we stopped in the middle of a bunch of trees and bushes. The guide plucked a piece of grass off the ground, handed it to one of the people in our group, and told them to eat it. They stared at him strangely, then took a bite. It turned out to be lemongrass! The guide then plucked another leaf from another plant, and handed it to me to taste. It was a peppermint leaf! It was so cool to see how the various plants grew naturally in the wild. The guide said that they have all the herbs they need, and they grow naturally there. It was a really unique experience!
That night we had a nice dinner on the resort. Afterwards, we went to the little club they had on site. It wasn’t very lively, only a handful of people inside, and the music was just ok. It may have been because it was a weekday. That was the only time we visited the club.
The next day was so much fun! We did another CHUKKA tour called “Horseback Ride N Swim”. We rode horses through nature, and then through the ocean bareback. It was an exhilarating experience. I had no fear riding them the regular way, but when it came time to ride bare back in the water, I was VERY nervous. I had the guide tie stay close to me, just in case anything happened. I cannot swim, so I think this is where the anxiety came from. It was still such a blast, and they put my husband and I on horses that were actually mates, so they always stayed close to each other. It was really cute and an amazing experience!
That day was Cinco de Mayo, so that night we went out to Margaritaville to celebrate. It was SO MUCH FUN! It was indoor/outdoor, very spacious, and even had a water park. I could tell that it would be a lot of fun during the day also. It was PACKED inside. They had bar tenders walking around with bottles of alcohol that they would pour into the mouths of the patrons, and served margaritas of course. The music was great and overall was just a really great time! We went to the one in Montego Bay last year when we got married, and had a great time there also. Definitely a must go when in Jamaica, no matter what part you visit.
The next day we had a camel ride and tour of an old sugar cane factory. It was fun to ride the camels, and tour the old factory. Although they no longer harvest sugar, they still had a full garden where they harvest fruits, and coconut trees. It was here that I learned one pineapple plant takes a year to grow. It was unbelievable to me that it would take that long, and I wondered how many must be planted for the amount we consume here in the US. We got fresh coconut off a coconut tree, and drank the water directly from it. I was not a fan. They also gave us some of the “meat” of the coconut with a little pure cane sugar sprinkled on top. I found that to be delicious, even though I really do not like coconut.
The next day, we left the resort, and toured the city for the majority of the day. We went to the market, and bought fresh herbs to take back home. We also had some food at one of the local restaurants that was pretty good. It was a nice day.
That evening we had a sunset cruise scheduled. On the way back to our room to get ready for the cruise, we passed a table set up in the lobby of our hotel that advertised wedding packages. The packages were very inexpensive. We joked that we should just buy one of the packages and get married because we were having such a good time. (Little did we know 3 years later we would return to Jamaica & get married) I will detail that experience in another blog post! 🙂
We went over to Sandals resort for the sunset cruise. We thought our resort was nice, but that one was exceptional! Just the waiting area to get on the boat alone was amazing. We got on the boat, and the vibe was absolutely perfect! They had Bob Marley playing in the background, and had complimentary hors d ours, and plenty of rum punch flowing. I do not remember how many rum punches I had, but I was feeling GOOD! It was a gorgeous day, gorgeous views.. everything was perfect. I will never forget how it felt.
When we got back to our hotel room, I remember feeling so good, and dancing around the room to “could you be loved” by Bob Marley while my husband just laughed at me. It was complete bliss.
Our last day in Jamaica, we just hung out at the resort and took in our last moments. This is still one of our favorite trips. We truly enjoyed the people, the food, and the atmosphere. Everywhere we went the people were just so friendly, the kind of feeling that you never forget. It will always be a very special place for us, that I am sure we will visit over and over again.