Sounds dreamy doesn’t it? I had the pleasure of spending 5 incredible days visiting the Island with Jessica of HeyGorjess.com and her hilarious Aunt Emiko this week, and I am beyond excited to share some of the richness we uncovered and all of my favorite experiences.
Why did we choose Jamaica?
Jess and I met through our involvement as bloggers in the Natural Hair Community but instantly clicked with one another. I absolute love and adore her positive vibes and sassy, adventurous nature. We had talked about the idea of traveling somewhere together for a long while and when TheFlightDeal.com listed super cheap flights from NYC to Jamaica, we jumped at the opportunity! The flight deal posts daily updates on cheap and glitch airfares that allow you to save a TON on flights. I absolutely recommend signing up for their email alerts if you don’t already!
Now Jess has actually been to Jamaica several times before and raved all about it. Which is totally great for me because she really paved the way for an easy, stress free holiday with little research to do in preparation. With her and Emiko’s experience, we booked their usual airport transportation and hotel accommodations from their earlier Jamaica trips. Here are those details for your use on your future trip!
CELL- (876) 995-9410
For 1-4 people from Montego Bay to Negril, the cost is about $100 split among everyone. Kenny Tours has regular cars, SUV’s, and passenger vans so they can definitely accommodate larger groups but you would have to ask them for the rates. We rode with Kenny from the airport to the Hotel and with another driver from the hotel back to the airport. Both times the service was prompt, incredibly welcoming, and got us where we needed to be, safe and sound! I will most definitely be using Kenny Tours again on my next visit (already planning it!).
I fell in love with the staff at Idle Awhile almost immediately. They are so sweet and gave use the warmest welcome. The hotel suites come equipped with a refrigerator, stove top, toaster oven, and minimal cooking utensils. There is also a television, spacious bathroom, and beds so comfortable it’s almost hard to leave them in the morning! I really appreciate how secluded our room felt, tucked away down a green, palm leaf filled pathway. The restaurant and beach staff were very attentive and went out of their way to make sure your needs and wants were met. In addition to beach beds, Idle Awhile provides kayaks, paddle boards, snorkel gear, and a plethora of water floats for complimentary use. As a guest of Idle Awhile you also have unlimited access to a fitness facility located about a 15 minute walk away. It has tennis courts, a lap pool, gym, workout studio and a steam room and sauna. I used the facility twice for pilates, kick boxing, and the weight room! Come through absss! Just kidding, No abs here but I felt so good!
An important part of preparing for a trip with friends, family, or acquaintances is to identify what kind of vacation you are in the mood for. Are you looking for cultural excursions and museum visits? Are you looking to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of your daily work life? Do you want to party late into the night or catch up on some much-needed beauty sleep? Of course most often it will be a good mix of many of these things but having a clear idea of what your travel companions are looking for on a holiday is a must.
For Jess, Emiko, and I the goal was pretty much the same: Sleep, Eat, Tan, Repeat. We loved it. Snorkeling, morning fitness, and grooving to some local reggae was also on my list of must do’s so me and Jess had a few mini adventures of our own. Here are some of these things I recommend you do:
Take a free shuttle to “The Cliffs” one day and enjoy a curried lobster dinner with a beautiful view of the Jamaican sunset. I actually jumped off the little cliff from the second highest jumping point they had and it was so thrilling! I loved it. Don’t worry there were lifeguards on duty and plenty of other tourists cheering you on. Man up!
My favorite activity is snorkeling. Go out on a snorkeling boat with a little plastic bag of bread. Take it with you into the water and pull out little pieces of bread while you’re down there. Make sure your mask is secured so you can watch the entire cast of Finding Nemo swarm your hand for a nibble. Then try your luck at free activities like kayaking and paddle boarding to break up your day. The water will feel so good on your skin after basking in the sun all afternoon and who knows, you may find yourself a new hobby in the process! And trust me they are good workouts too.
If you like souvenirs don’t miss out on the wooden carved figures and bowls or the different textiles and jewelry stalls along the beach. Just make sure you haggle. You should never pay the first price as its usually not the one the merchant traditionally sells the product for to the locals. You want to pay local prices right! I usually take their first price and half it, and then go from there. Or I walk over with exactly the amount I want to pay in my hand and tell them I will buy it right then if they are willing to accept my offer. Sometimes it works haha, other times its a tough bargain but you will definitely find some gems.
We found live reggae nights and a couple of club party nights by asking the locals and listening out for the man who walks by with a megaphone shouting all the evenings hottest activities. You can’t miss him! I am a huge fan of the reggae artist Jah Cure so at the live music night we attended, I asked the singer to perform one of Jah Cures songs and he did! He absolutely MADE my night, best vibes.
Catch a sunset and a sunrise at least once. If the sky is clear, you are guaranteed an absolutely beautiful, undisturbed view of the Suns journey in the early morning or early evening and it will make you feel like life in that particular moment is absolutely perfect exactly. The way. It is. Find out which part of Jamaica you are in so you can see whether you’ll be watching the sunset or rise on your side of the island.
There is so much to say about food in Jamaica! I won’t dare try to cover it all. I am a pescetarian so these suggestions are limited to a pescetarian diet, meaning: Yes fish. Yes dairy. Yes grains. Yes vegetables. Yes fruits. Yes flavour. Yes happiness. Yes life. No meat- nope not even chicken, or chicken nuggets, or chicken wings, or chicken chickens… no meat of any kind 🙂 Try it some time! And don’t say you couldn’t do it. I periodically practice a vegan diet which means no meat, fish, or animal by products like milk, yogurt, eggs and honey. And I enjoy doing it! It’s a lovely way to refresh the palate and try some new foods.
So yes, back to food!
I had lots of fruit while I was in Jamaica. I absolutely loved the fresh, colorful, and sweet varieties to choose from. I also had lots of coconuts, both the water inside and the pulp. They were refreshing and made you feel like your life decisions were all right after all haha. Oh and let me tell you. The patty man who walks up and down the beach is LEGIT. I think he sold beef, shrimp, and veggie options. I had the veggie and the shrimp and they were SO BOMB! Like almost want to cry bomb. And they were $3 during the day and $1-$2 towards the evening when he was trying to sell out the last of it. Me and Jess decided he must make BANK! Because people were just flocking to him like he was giving away free hair products at a natural hair event (Oop coming with my lil Natural hair jokes :P).
Additionally the Escovisch fish is life giving. You’ve got to make sure you go to the right spot. I ate every delicious flake of that fish until it was just embarrassing. At breakfast get the sailfish and akee, johnny cakes (fried dumplings) and the greens. This little trio right here. YUM! So much flavor in ever single bite. I am inspire to learn to make it myself. If anyone is Jamaican or has a connect with an amazing recipe, please send it to me!! My email is Rene@OwnByFemme.com. I am not kidding! I am going to learn to make all three dishes.
I also recommend the curried langoustines or lobster and the curried shrimp! I had curried shrimp a couple of times and just ran out of meals to eat the langoustine. I will try it next time. And trust, there will most definitely be a next time. Who is down to go??
Thanks for reading through this post and let me know if you have any questions 🙂
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See you around the world!