Jamaica in January

Posted on March 11 2024

You know, snow + cold + my birthday = get out of dodge.

Chris has a big birthday this year too and I asked him where he wanted to go to celebrate. Without hesitation he said, "Jamaica". 

After a lot of research, we made a plan, first stop, Negril. We booked in at Sandy Haven Resort, a boutique hotel right in the middle of seven mile beach, what many consider the most beautiful beach in all of Jamaica. Once we were settled in, we walked the beach and found a gorgeous little restaurant for our first taste of authentic jerk chicken while we watched the sun set. We had reached paradise.

The second day in Negril, Chris and I went out for a beautiful dinner to celebrate my birthday. We first stopped at Rick's Cafe to watch people dive off the cliffs.

And then we had a wonderful meal overlooking the ocean at Ivan's Restaurant.

For the most part, while in Negril, we would swim in the ocean and then relax right outside of our room. It was my happy place ~ 

At night, we would walk down the beach to find some fresh fish, lobster or jerk chicken and listen to a band. 

 After 4 days of relaxing, we hired a driver and headed south to Treasure Beach, with stops along the way, including Peter Tosh' Mausoleum, YS Falls for a swim and a crocodile safari on the Black River through gorgeous mangroves.

We stayed at Jake's in Treasure Beach, a sprawling boutique hotel with Bohemian villas and quaint cottages.

There's not a lot to do in this part of Jamaica, it's more rustic than touristy, but we enjoyed the artsy vibe of Jake's and we hired a captain to take us Floyd's Pelican Bar, which is basically a pallet and driftwood shack in the middle of the ocean that serves Jamaican food and beer.

Floyd, the owner, posed with me for a photo. 😄

We hired a driver again for our last stop, Kingston. Along the way we stopped at Appleton Estate to experience the Rum Tour, which I highly recommend, it was both educational and entertaining.

In Kingston, Chris and I organized a day tour that centred around music. Chris had contacted a music producer who agreed to show us some recording studios. We stopped at Jimmy Cliff's studio and Bob Marley museum first ~

Then we did a tour at Tuff Gong Studio to learn how they produce records ~ 

Next stop, Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae.

It's also considered the "rougher" part of town. We felt safe, but there's a lot happening and a lot to look at!

We stopped in at Rocker's International record shop, a legendary historical reggae label and shop with piles and piles of records everywhere.

We ended the tour at Anchor Studio and watched while Peter Metro was recording his new album. That was a lot of fun!

Our final day in Kingston, Chris and I walked to the Peter Tosh museum, which was well curated and interesting.

Nearby is the Devon House Heritage Site. It was originally the home to Jamaica's first Black millionaire, George Stiebel. Today it's been converted into a beautiful park full of small restaurants and shops. They also offer guided tours of the mansion, which includes one free ice cream cone from their ice cream shop. It's considered the 4th best ice cream in the world!

Crazy thing happened while we were there. We bumped into this YouTuber - Jamaica with Irie. We had spent many hours watching her videos in preparation for our trip so it was lucky happenstance to see her in person!

Our last stop was one more record store so Chris could purchase some birthday records. The owner was welcoming and nice, in fact, everyone we met in Jamaica was friendly, funny and down to earth. Great people!

As we walked back to our hotel, I snapped this photo of a bougainvillea shrub, isn't it absolutely stunning!

We had a wonderful time and I would recommend Jamaica to anyone. The only drawback is that it's not as budget-friendly as some other tropical vacation destinations. The sticker price on most things surprised us and while getting around with a driver is very convenient, you pay a shocking price for that luxury. Other than that, we loved the food, the vibe, the music and the people and it's a stunning place. If we ever go back, we'll make sure to check out the north coast and the Blue Mountains.



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