Jamaica: Yah Mon

August 24, 2019

It’s been my tradition for the past five years to take a trip between Christmas and New Years. It’s a time to recharge, reset, and refocus my energy. This year I went to Jamaica with my boyfriend and one of my best friends to ring in 2019 and and celebrate my 30th birthday.

My criteria for this trip was simple:

I wanted to be on a beach in warm weather in Dec/Jan
I didn’t want to be on a plane for more then 4 hours or feel jet lagged with a time difference
I wanted to go someplace I’ve never been before
With the help of my family friend and expert travel agent, she suggested Jamaica! The typical weather for Jamaica during December through January is 86 degrees and sunny, and it is a quick 3 hour 45 minute plane ride with no time difference. The checked all of my boxes and it was a done deal.

We decided to stay at an all inclusive hotel in Negril, on the famous 7 mile beach and “Bloody Bay”. The RIU was a good choice, and one of the biggest luxury hotels in the area. The crowd was filled with a lot of families and couples, and I have to say the staff and overall service was impeccable. My ONLY COMPLIANT- they need a hot tub in the resort! Overall, the rooms where clean, the beach was beautiful, and the crowd was very diversified. (lot’s of Europeans and Canadians)

The best part of our resort was a chef named “Jolly” stationed on the beach BBQ who would cook jerk chicken everyday for the guests at lunch time. This is probably the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had! Also our favorite pool bartender Andrew would sing with us for hours and tell us stories of his traditions and culture.

THE PEOPLE IN JAMAICA ARE AMAZING, FRIENDLY, AND EXTREMELY WARM. Yes, there is a tourist advisory warning to travel here, but I believe that there are always dangerous and safe parts in every destination no matter where you are. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t wander off alone at night, and just be kind. We ventured off out of the hotel- and I am so glad we did. You need to leave your resort to get a real taste of the culture and local flavor.

WHAT TO PACK:

Casual (I repeat CASUAL) clothing- I pretty much lived in bathing suits all week.
Bug wipes- this is necessary and you will use them everyday
YETTY or insulated cold cup to keep your drinks frozen (seriously though, this is key)
SUNSCREEN!! I winded up wearing 100 SPF everyday because the sun is so strong
Aloe Vera after sun lotion (trust me, you will thank me later)
I loved staying in Negril- but it was also quite a hike from the Montego Bay airport. MAKE SURE you give yourself enough time to get back to the airport on the last leg of your journey if you choose to stay on 7 mile beach. I also suggest FAST ACCESS passes at the airport you can purchase which help you fly through customs, and comes with a nice lounge.

WHAT TO DO:

Def go to Rick’s Cafe to watch the sunset and cliff jumpers
Water sports: paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing
Take a day trip on a catamaran or boat!
SNORKELING!! (beautiful snorkeling excursions in Negril)
Eat all the lobster and jerk chicken you can get your hands on
Drink Red Stripe beer and try a “dark and stormy” cocktail + rum punch at happy hour
Next time, I am not sure I would choose another all-inclusive hotel. If I did, then it would be SANDALS on Bloody Bay or COUPLES in Negril if it was a romantic getaway. This was such a carefree fun and relaxing trip. I am so grateful to have had the chance to visit this magical place.