Last month I traveled to Spain and Italy visiting Barcelona, Venice and Rome and I showcased some of my favorite photos from my trip. Last Friday I made my way to sunny Jamaica for a 4 day mini getaway that was picturesque and relaxing. This wasn't my first time visiting Jamaica, in fact I have been there about 7 times and it remains one of my favorite Caribbean destinations due to the abundance of beautiful tourist sites, attractions, festivals, beaches, shopping and food. While some small islands lack enough activities and sites to keep you stimulated for more than a few days, you could spend weeks in Jamaica and not run out of things to see and do!
Emancipation Park-Kingston Jamaica
I began my journey in Kingston which is the capital and largest city in Jamaica.We rented a car to get around but be advised that driving on the island is not for the faint of heart. The pace is fast and people tend not to display much patience before cutting you off and weaving in front of you! Car rentals are a lot cheaper in town than at the airport and if you stick to the main roads and follow a navigation system it can be safer than public transportation. Shuttle services may also be available from your hotel.
We stayed close to Emancipation Park which is a charming spot to spend an afternoon in the warm Caribbean breeze. The average temperature last week in July was about 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit.
The hotel I stayed at in Kingston is called The Spanish Court and for $170 per night it offered a beautiful patio and pool, breakfast, posh modern decor, internet and a spa. Security is high and the service is great so I definitely recommend this hotel if you are staying in town.
The Spanish Court hotel patio
No visit to Kingston is complete without stopping at the famous Devon House, a mansion that was owned by Jamaica’s first millionaire. Devon house serves some of the best ice cream I've ever tasted, my favorite flavor being grape nut. Jamaica is also famous for their spicy jerk chicken, slow cooked over a bed of wood and covered with tin to seal in the flavor! If you are ever in Kingston I recommend stopping by Scotchies for some fall-off-the-bone, delicious chicken.
After a couple nights in Kingston we drove through the lush green mountains towards Ocho Rios before our final stop in Runaway Bay. The drive was gloriously scenic as our car circled up winding mountain roads with plunging views of the beaches below. The air was warm and clean, sparkling rivers cut through the trees and wild horses grazed the fields.
Along the way local merchants sell fragrant bags of fresh fruit by the road and because the exchange rate is about $1.00 Canadian to $100.00 Jamaican dollars you can purchase bags of mango, plums, banana, and pineapple for just one dollar! If you are in the mood for a spicy Jamaican patty my favorite is Tastees restaurant which can be found in almost any town.
roadside fruit stand
Driving through Fern Gully in Ocho Rios where the vegetation surrounds the road is like passing through a rich jungle teeming with the shrill sounds of wild birds and other unseen animals. Goats and wild dogs graze by the roadside and the thick treetops block out most of the sun. If you look at the photo below you can just make out the road winding its way through the foliage.
If you stop along the way you can find some hidden treasures like this little waterfall tucked away from view.
When we reached the resort I was relaxed and ready to enjoy the final days of my vacation. Although it was very warm the cool breeze blowing off the water and the shade of palm trees provided instant relief.
My husband and I stayed at the Royal Decameron All Inclusive Beach Club in Runaway Bay and the grounds were spectacular. Private bungalows, fruit trees and colorful flowers adorned the resort and each night offered great entertainment. The resort also offered two restaurants, a small buffet, night club, water sports and all the delicious cocktails you can drink! There is room for improvement however since the service was inconsistent and the check in process and room preparation took a long time.
Royal Decameron Beach Resort
We spent two days lounging on the beach enjoying the warm sun and cool salty breeze, swimming in the crystal water and gently swinging in a wicker hammock hanging from a ripe mango tree, it was the epitome of relaxation!
The dinning atmosphere was incredibly romantic; we ate our meals by candlelight on the beach, sitting under a canopy of stars and listening to the calming waves crash against the shore. We watched the sun set and took leisurely moonlit strolls along the beach while enjoying the cool sand and the soothing sounds of reggae music.
It was definitely a fantastic trip! If you haven’t experienced the wonders of Jamaica add it to your bucket list!