My trip to Jamaica happened accidentally, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. I had no idea that my husband and I would have enjoyed our time there so much. This unassuming little island had a culture as rich as the many succulent dishes we were served and tons of interesting attractions. Best of all, the prices were quite reasonable so we did not feel guilty when we returned home. Without any further ado, let’s get into the details of my trip.
Jamaicans are the most animated people you will ever meet. They laugh heartily, look you straight in the eyes, and always tell you exactly what is on their minds. Best of all, Jamaicans are always in the mood to have a good time and are open to including visitors in the fun. It is common to see children playing football in empty fields and adults playing a rowdy game of dominoes on the sidewalks. These free-spirited people are also very polite so be sure to say a greeting when you pass them by.
Although English is the national language, the local creole, known as patois, is spoken very widely. I am embarrassed to say that there are times when I struggled to understand what was being said but I was determined to get the authentic Jamaican experience. I often begged the locals to teach me a bit of the Creole and they were all too excited to teach me their ways. Soon, we mastered the colloquial greeting “wah gwaan” and began expressing our appreciation to vendors with the word “bless!” My husband and I giggled like naughty children when the vendors would stare at us in astonishment as we made our attempts at their patois and soon, they too would join in the laughter.
You should be able to tell by now that I am a foodie at heart! Having traveled as extensively as I have, believe me when I say that I am thoroughly convinced Jamaica has the best cuisine in the world. I gained a couple pounds in my quest to try just about every Jamaican dish I could get my hands on. I am also embarrassed to say that I probably ate my weight in Jerked Pork, Curried Chicken, Fried Plantains, Roasted Breadfruit and Ackee with Saltfish. We both have to put in a little extra work at the gym but we have no regrets.
Don’t be alarmed if you’re watching your figure or have special dietary requirements. Jamaicans do not cook a lot of processed foods and prefer farm to table meals. In fact, a lot of the authentic Jamaican dishes we saw are naturally gluten-free. Jamaicans also love fresh fruits and vegetables. It is not uncommon to see groups of people chatting merrily under fruits trees while they eat their fill of its produce. This beautiful island is also home to a number of indigenous superfoods like soursop and moringa!
While it was easy to find tasty meals being served on the street by colorful vendors, we also took some time to enjoy a number of the fine dining restaurants. Jamaican cuisine is influenced by a melting pot of cultures, so it was quite easy to find a location that catered to just about any palette. This might sound strange, but believe me when I say that I was thoroughly impressed when we visited an authentic Japanese restaurant in Jamaica.
I was pleasantly surprised that there was just too much to do on this little island. We wore ourselves out trying to see everything in one trip. We dared to venture beyond the white sand beaches and we loved every minute of it. We went on tours of sugar cane estates and rum factories, hiked to hidden waterfalls nestled in lush green forests and even visited a number of historical sites. How could we pass up the opportunity to visit the home of the great Bob Marley?
If you would prefer to spend your vacation lounging on a beach, Jamaica is not short on very scenic options. We were able to visit Frenchman’s Cove, Dunn’s River Falls and James Bond Beach. Each was uniquely beautiful and we enjoyed visiting them all. I was also keen on visiting the many beaches that were frequented by the locals. This was another decision that I did not regret. If you intend to follow in our footsteps, I would advise you to first check if there is a lifeguard on duty before taking a dip. It is better to be safe than sorry.
I am also a huge nature buff so I was right at home as we toured various bird sanctuaries and hiked through forests. There is no better way to describe Jamaica than as an ecological paradise. I saw hundreds of species of exotic birds and many rare varieties of flowers. I was devastated that I could not take them home.
We will never forget our trip to the beautiful island of Jamaica. We have a heart full of wacky stories to tell our children and our children’s children! We have been to other Caribbean islands but we’ve never had these thrilling experiences anywhere else. Now, as we shovel snow from our driveway to get to work each day, we smile as we imagine ourselves back on the sweet, sweet island of Jamaica.