Jamaica has surely left an impression on many of its visitors. Here is an honest account, served with the good and the bad.
Re-blogged from The Fair Prima Donna
In February 2010 I went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica with my younger brother and parents. It was a much needed break from University, and the vitamin D did me well. I loved the beautiful clear water, the blue sky, and smoldering heat.
First I will say; my time in the all inclusive resort was great (Except the elevator failing for about 15 minutes which led to my taking the stairs the rest of the trip). The entertainment, food, drinks, and beaches were wonderful- however, I learned that tips do no go to resort employees. In order to tip, I had to discretely fold money into the palm of my hand and shake hands, slipping the money to the resort employees. (This was a trick that a shuttle driver explained to us.)
On my first day of trying to get a tan, I fell asleep on the beach and got a disastrous burn. This was my fault for not wearing an sport sunscreen, I simply sweated my sunscreen off. I had heard about blistering, but it was my first time that had happened to me. I was horrified at the blisters on my chest, but had learned a seriously needed lesson.
The resort was fun, the people were great. There was always something to do, and unique activities (such as goat races).
Outside of the resort did not feel as comfortable, even in the tourist friendly areas. My mom and I walked through the markets and would be followed by men asking to take us for lunch and trying to get us into their vehicles. Now, these could have been genuinely friendly men, but the situation still felt unsafe for two women. Outside of the tourist friendly zones is a completely different view, there were certainly areas where we did not feel welcome. In such areas, we remained respectful and left.
It is important to remember that pretty much every country is safe in certain areas, and that crime can happen anywhere. (Yes, this includes the States and Canada…) It is also important to remember that Jamaica was colonized by the British until the mid 20th century- thus, if tourists aren’t exceptionally liked by locals there is fair reason for that.
There were some wonderfully fun tours offered in Ocho Rios. My favorite was the Dunns River Falls– with this tour, we took a boat to the falls. On the way to the falls there was snorkeling along the reef. My mom and I opted to stay aboard the boat, as I had a bad experience with fire coral in Cuba (giving me a tendency to avoid snorkeling). As we watched my brother and dad snorkel a woman pointed out a fin swimming back and forth on the other side of the reef. All of the snorkelers made it back, and no one saw the owner of the fin. Once we got to the Dunns River Falls we all joined hands to climb up. It was absolutely beautiful, and a fun experience. On the cruise home we were served drinks, and to keep the passengers from getting too tipsy we were taught an epic dance routine. Even with the dance routine I managed to slur my thanks and hug the entire boat crew.
We also went zip lining, which was pretty amazing. I am terrified of heights, and the guides couldn’t help but tease me every time I had to jump. They truly made the experience one that I will never forget. The Jamaican Bobsled ride is also insanely fun, as you get to use a lever to control the speed of your bobsled through the jungle.
I really enjoyed the trip with my family, I always have an adventure with them.
I don’t know if I would go back to Jamaica. If I found an affordable trip, I might just try it again. I have friends and family that have also been do Ocho Rios, we all had different experiences.