Jamaica: Between Regal Architecture and Wild Nightlife

Jamaica, Jamaica! I recently went on vacation to relax, regroup and de-stress from all of the ‘recession-this, election- that’ talk and I can honestly tell you that it was a trip to heaven. For all of you dream masters out there, let’s see if I can coax you into turning that travel dream into a reality.

Best known for its musical sounds of reggae, long-haired Rastafarians (see world-renowned singer and myth Bob Marley) and newlyweds, Jamaica is covered in pearly white sandy beaches and annual sunshine. Not to mention that the mountainous landscape, abundant rainforest and delicious coffee are all definitely worth writing home about. Regal architecture is major in Montego Bay, as is the extravagant nightlife. I had an amazing Pina Colada drink here made from a coconut grove in the calming city of Negril. Jamaica’s busy capital, Kingston, always provides something new to see or do.

Activities

Discover the ocean blue with a dive in the north or take up a new snorkeling class on the west coast to admire Jamaica’s many reefs, drop-offs and garden grottoes. Experience plantation living firsthand at the hilltop Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay. Lounge on the deck of a Cruise ship as you soak up the rays of sunshine around Ocho Rios. Ocho Rios also has quite a few golf courses and a fun water park for the family.

Cash in on a Keepsake

Wake up to a steaming cup of Blue Mountain joe or end the night with a glass of Jamaican rum. The Contemporary Art Centre in Kingston is a great place to pick up an eye-catching art piece or buy that beaded necklace and straw hat at the Craft Market in Negril. There’s a neat little store called Things Jamaican, which sells a series of arts and crafts from woodcarvings to weavings. You can find it in Montego Bay or Harmony Hall on the North Coast.

A Night Out on the Town

Speaking of all things crafty, there is a famous beach bar known as Time ‘n’ Place over in Falmouth that is built of driftwood. Major fashion magazines, like Vogue have used it for photo shoots. If you like more of an island feel then kick off your shoes and join a sandy festivity in Montego Bay’s Hip Strip, to melodic sounds of soca, calypso, and reggae. Kingston’s sound system discos provide reggae for true music lovers.

An Isle of Dining

Zesty, unanticipated and enlivening flavors await the tongue here in Jamaica. The jerk chicken and the chowder w/crabmeat are two of my favorites. A few of the island preferences are Ackee and salt fish and escoveitch (pickled fish fried with peppers and onions). Pair one of these specialties with a chilled Red Stripe beer or rum punch to set both your mind and stomach at ease. By now, I know that you are reveling in the many possibilities of vacationing in Jamaica. So what are you waiting for? See what life is truly about today!

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