It is very rare that someone will guess my ethnicity correctly, but if you are new here, my mom is Jamaican and my dad is Canadian. Jamaica has been the location of many family vacations and even though my mom would rather go anywhere else, my dad manages to convince her to go back every four to five years.
When people ask me about Jamaica, I am very transparent with them. Jamaica is beautiful, the food is amazing and the people are very friendly, however from the Westcoast the flight is pretty long and for a beach vacation there are places that are way easier to get to.
- Jamaica is very dangerous
- Jamaica is fairly expensive
- Jamaicans speak English/Slang…just with a very thick accent
- The resort food tries to cater to western tastebuds
- Jamaica is hard to get around, it is not like Mexico where you can easily take the bus
This trip we went to Port Antonio, which is the setting for the most recent James Bond movie. Port Antonio is beautiful and secluded, the water is so clear you can see to the bottom and it is quite a bit safer and quieter than Kingston or Montego Bay. The only downfall, it is a pain to get there. There are no major airports nearby, so you need to fly into Kingston or Montego Bay and then rent a car and drive. The roads are…not maintained well or lit, so the trip is easier in the daylight. Just something to keep in mind.
What to Eat
I thought I would mention what to eat, because I have multiple people tell me that they hated the food in Jamaica and more often than not, they only had the resort food. The best food in Jamaica can be found by the side of the road.
My all-time favourite, fried bread pieces, usually served with fried fish or jerk chicken.
There is fried fish at most of the beaches, I usually gravitate towards snapper.
The lobsters in Jamaica don’t have claws but they are still super delicious.
An obvious one, but thought I would mention it. You can also get jerk pork, but chicken is my personal favourite.
A callalou (similar to spinach) based soup with dumplings in it. My grandmother always said that if you have soup on a hot day, it will cool you off cause it raises your body temperature…could be true…
Tastee or Juici patties are the way to go, all the other ones are inferior. Patties are Jamaica’s version of fast food. Random fact, there is no McDonalds in Jamaica.
KFC Fried Chicken
This is a weird one, but Jamaica has their own KFC recipe and it is amazing. I never have KFC in Canada but in Jamaica I crave it. I like the extra spicy one and the BBQ style one.
Deep-fried goodness and available at most beaches! Sometimes you can also get conk soup, but it is on the spicy side.
What to See and Do
Port Antonio is not known for its nightlife. It is a pretty sleepy. I recommend it if you are hoping for a beach vacation where you can relax and recharge. I liked this trip because there isn’t an overwhelming amount of stuff to do, so that makes it easy to unwind. You can see most of the sites close-by within a few days.
Boston Jerk Centre
Jerk Chicken was born at the Boston Jerk Centre, a twenty minute drive outside of Port Antonio. The best vendor is the one on the left at the entrance if you are facing into the building from the street. Taste tests are available, so you can shop around before you purchase. Be sure to get a side of rice and peas or festival and an ice cold Red Stripe.
Finding a beautiful beach to lay at is not difficult in Jamaica, but for some reason, Boston Beach kept calling us back. We headed here a few times over the course of our vacation. The beach is very clean and its right next to the Boston Jerk Centre if you want to make a day of it and eat lunch there.
We stayed right across from Monkey Island, so we were able to escape the expensive boat trip and kayak over. I am not sure what the appeal is, but it is something to do. The tide gets low, so the water is shallow enough to lay in and tan. We filled our kayaks with Red Stripes and spent our afternoons there.
Jamaica is known for Dunns River Falls which is quite spectacular but it is further away than Reach Falls. We made the mistake of going to the Falls on a Tuesday and it was closed. The locals were very persuasive in offered a private tour, but for piece of mind just don’t go on a Monday or Tuesday. The guides that the falls provide are great and they will take you on a tour for $10 USD. It is worth it to do the tour and go down the rabbit hole.
The Blue Lagoon
We stayed very close to the Blue Lagoon, so we were able to escape the tourist trap is the Blue Lagoon rafting tour. We kayaked over, played on the rope swing, took a dip in the fountain of youth and popped into the beach bar.
Frenchman’s Cove is iconic, because it has been the setting for quite a few movies. There is an option to stay at the hotel onsite, or you can just pay a fee and hang out at the beach for the day.