I’ve been to a dozen countries in Europe, Americas amd Caribbean but I can definately say that JAMAICA is the by far the best!!! Most people who come to JAMAICA stay locked up in an “all-inclusive hotels” and I’ll tell you right now that if that’s your plan, then you’re better off turning the heat up in your house, blasting up some reggae and saving some cash on the airfare, cause the ONLY way to see the REAL JAMAICA is to get away from the tourists. I spent a week in March on the Island,along with my parents and a sister. We landed in MoBay, rented a car (if the moving object a Suzuki I think deserves to be called a car) and decided to by-pass MoBay and avoid your worst danger in JAM: hordes of tourists. We drove to Negril, and what a nice surprise: Ziggy was gonna have a concert the next night!!! So we spent a couple of days at the beach and then went to the concert. It was the best concert of my life. To see All the people sing along and truely have fun was amazing. (Concerts usually start at 7Jamaican Standatd Time, so it’s best to show up around 11)
The next morning we drove thru Savanna La Mar and down to Black River and the famous cracodiles (each having its own name, and I believe Charlie is the biggest one)
A short and scenic drive from town is Treasure Beach and Lover’s Leap – both a must see.
Continuing on A2 you come up to YS Falls. If waterfalls are your thing, forget Dunns River (a 1hour wait in line in your car is standard both when you come and leave) and come here where you can enjoy more beautiful waterfalls with just a few other people. Don’t be afraid to take a plunge from the Tarzan swing – the water is not as cold as it might seem. Going down the same road that passes Bamboo Ave. you will arrive in beautiful Mandeville. From there, in order to get to the North side of the island we drove through Spaldings and Browns Town. This is the REAL Jamaica. Not a single tourist and amazing scenery. I was disappointed in Ocho Rios or Ochi, they built an ugly highrise right on the beach and it fits to the area like a palm beach in New Jersey. And the whole area is too tourist oriented. But the ultimate place to go, a must see even if your on the Island for a day, is the
Firefly- Noel Cowards house on a mountain towering over Port Maria. Most of the few visitors to the site are Jamaican because it’s a little off the main road, but it’s definately worth the steep drive up. Friendly locals will tell you how to get there before you even ask and when you get to the top the house itself is nice but the view………………a thousand words can’t describe. On the way further East you pass Buff Bay where a police officer on the corner enjoys doing spot checks so if you picked up some ganja on the way I suggest you don’t have any in Buff Bay. Port Antonio is the most charming town in Jamaica. Its laid back atmosphere makes you wanna just stroll around town and chill out the whole day. We tried to stay away from large hotels but since we arrived in P.A. late at night and the only place with rooms was Dragon Bay, we stayed there. It was fun to drink a cocktail from the same bar as in the movie “Cocktail” and the rum cake at Blue Lagoon was delicious.
Everyone who comes to Jamaica feeds on jerk chicken but the ultimate jerk can only be found in Boston Bay. Mr. D will cook up for you a delicious dinner served on a sheet of paper with Red Stripe of course. The spice will seem hot at first but to this day I can’t imagine eating meat without it. (He will sell you some “packaged” in a recycled Pepsi bottle if you wanna take some home) Since we ran out of Jays, and had to pay with $50USD. After Mr. D. disappeared for ten minutes we had our doubts wheather we’ll get our change but most Islanders are very honest and we came back two more times. When we looked at the calendar and realised our flight out was the next day we started to panic and quickly rescheduled out reservations for the day after.
On the way back we stopped for a very pleasent late afternoon cruise on the Rio Grande. Lance our guide tought us all about the flora and I enjoyed being the captain of our raf on the way downstream. But the infamous day of the return flight finally came and when the captain said “temperature in New York right now 27F/-03C. I almost wanted to scream. But I said to my self that I will definately return many times, if not move to Jahmdom! Even though in theory we’ve seen the whole island, you need at least…say about 8 years to see everything. It’s probably the ONLY place on earth whose tourist slogan actually means something. Because you WILL “Come to Jamaica and Feel Alright!”
Jamaica is so unique that it’s addictive. Even after landing back at JFK, when I was asked if I have any ID, my response was “Yah Mon!”