The 3 day trip to Jamaica... YA MON!
After such a crazy adventure in Haiti all I could think of was having some peace and quiet time. My next destination was Jamaica, and it was much needed. I arrived to Miami from Santo Domingo just in time to run and catch my next flight to Kingston.
Once in Kingston, I took a day to see the city because I was already there; however, I recommend that unless you are going there to visit friends/family or you are a Bob Marley fan, do not spend to much time in this city. Although it does have several points of interest, it is currently not very safe, especially for a solo traveler. I will say that I did enjoy the The Bob Marley Museum very much. The entrance ticket cost about $25USD per person and you can only visit with a private guided tour group. The tour takes roughly about 1.5 hours and personally, I thought it was worth the price. The museum was really Bob Marley's house at one point, with all original house items and memorabilia within. I learned to appreciate him even more after learning about his life, his beliefs, and his contributions to Jamaica and to the world as a social activist. He is truly an inspiration. Read more about his life here: Bob Marley Official Site — Life & Legacy — History.
After spending the night in Kingston I took a direct bus to Negril, a city on the west coast of the island that is known for it's beaches and most importantly for it's cliffs. I took the Knutsford Express Home | Knutsford Express - City2City in comfort & style and the bus ride was about 5 hours with one 30 minute break in between. It was quite comfortable and affordable ($16 US on e way). Please note that you should make an online reservation ahead of time for this bus rather than buying them at the ticket counter. Depending on the season you are traveling, buses can be completely booked.
Where to stay? There are several hotels and resorts all across Negril, I personally recommend staying near the cliffs because even if you are not an adventurer and you don't dare jumping off a 30 foot cliff, you will still enjoy the beautiful views, especially at sunset. I opted to stay at Xtabi Resort Negril Jamaica Xtabi Resort Negril, Jamaica. It was affordable and had a very nice restaurant and bar. I took advantage of their cliffs and jumped off quite a few times from them. It was much more private than Rick's cafe (a restaurant/bar where you can jump off the cliffs for a fee and is about 1km south) and best part... it was free (included as a hotel amenity). It was such an adrenaline rush! I recommend staying at this hotel if you are looking for comfort but also affordability. Their restaurant is simply amazing and you must try their fresh lobster. I made friends with one of the guys that was weighing the lobsters and then he hooked me up by saving me one for dinner. If you budget allows, I recommend checking out Rockhouse Hotel. It is located only meters from Xtabi, has beautiful views, and it is a more upscale. Their oceanfront cabanas are perfect for honeymooners.
After a great day of cliff diving, relaxing on the beach, and a delicious dinner, I headed out to Montego Bay on day 3. I took an early morning bus from the Negril Knutsford Express bus station. It was a 90 minute ride. I decided to visit the city, the markets, have a delicious Jamaican breakfast, and relax at the beach for the final hours before my evening flight back to Miami. Two of the most affordable airlines flying into Jamaica are Spirit Airlines and JetBlue so if you are looking to save some money these are both good choices.
My honest opinion about Montego Bay... it's very nice but if I was given the option of Negril or MB I would definitely pick Negril every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It is not your regular Caribbean beach city, it is much more private and has a special charm that you will only understand once you're there.
I would recommend Negril as a top destination when visiting Jamaica. I really enjoyed this city and also my stay at Xtabi. Although I didn't get to visit it, I have heard great things about Ocho Rios as well. Next time I visit Jamaica I will definitely make a stop there. Overall, my visit to Jamaica was a very pleasant one. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the atmosphere and the lifestyle of the locals. It is a very laid back and relaxed environment. It was exactly what I needed after such a long trip and stressful prior days.
The trip was coming to an end as I left Jamaica. This was one of the best trips of my life thus far. It was almost six weeks full of adventure, laughs, and lots of relaxing days. It was just what I needed after several stressful months. After Jamaica, I took my flight back to Miami to later catch my flight to LA. The trip was coming to an end... well... so I thought. Find out what crazy adventure I took instead on the next blog post. For now... think of your next getaway... think Jamaica... YA MON!