Oh, Jamaica. How beautiful and wonderful you were! Regretfully, I left so much of you unexplored. I wasn’t ready, Jamaica. I wasn’t ready to reach deep into your landscape, food, and culture. Jamaica, I promise I will visit again. I promise I will look at you with eyes that see. I remember seeing the poverty as I rode by, in our air conditioned taxi. I remember seeing the opulence of brand new hotels, still under construction. Shows like Departures and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown weren’t on my radar yet (both have episodes on Netflix). My wanderlust was still under the surface, contained by the trappings of routines and expectations that working hard and being stressed all the time was what one did; that spending the money to travel was frivolous. I digress. This post is about my Jamaica experience.
Back in February, 2011, my husband and I were engaged and had not yet set a wedding date. He found an incredible deal on an April trip to Jamaica. We eloped on April Fool’s Day and left a week later for our honeymoon in Negril! It was my first experience at an all-inclusive resort and it was fabulous! I know some will say it isn’t real travel, though after the experience I completely understand the appeal of the all-inclusive resort.
We went to the Hotel Riu Palace Tropical Bay. It was beautiful. Our room was on the ground floor and perfect. We weren’t far from the beach and we spent the vast majority of our time there. We did try the pool and the swim up bar, because it was too inviting to not try it.
We were both working full time and stressed at our jobs. We were tired all week, so the only off resort thing we did was go to Rick’s Cafe. It has a Key West feel, with fabulous cliff divers to entertain the crowd. I was enthralled! These guys are fearless! A few tourists jumped from lower spots. The water was so blue and inviting. I wished I’d been wearing my swimsuit. We also stopped at a mall on the way; I bought Blue Mountain coffee as gifts for my coffee-loving family. I bought some for myself, too. It was delicious!
I’ve watched enough Anthony Bourdain to know that we didn’t really see the real Jamaica. There are several things I want to see now, after the fact, but we have such limited time at beaches so that’s where we stayed. However, I am the talkative sort. I had lovely interactions with the people working at the resort, especially the dining room. If my husband surprised me with another Jamaica vacation with kids, I’d be ready to go. In fact, I told him if we do go back to the same resort, please request the same room. I don’t beat around the bush with hints around here!
Have you visited Jamaica? What was your favorite part of your visit? Is Jamaica on your wish list?
Celiac concerns: We were a little concerned about what I would eat, but my husband had visited this resort chain before and had an idea of what would be available. Everything was labeled, for the most part. Each morning, a chef made omelets to order. At lunch, there were buffet options, as well as a shack on the beach selling jerk chicken. The sauces were all on the side, so it was safe for me!