With white sand beaches, unlimited drinks and a comfy sun-bathing chair, you may find it difficult to leave your resort (assuming you’ve chosen one of the many beautiful all-inclusive resorts Jamaica has to offer).
If you’re like me, you want to do every activity every day and take-in the entire experience. For others, days of soaking up the sun may be all you are looking for (but I would still suggest making 5 visits to the island, and doing one of these activities on each visit).
5. Rick’s Cafe
World Famous Rick’s Cafe is located in Negril, and was made famous by challenging the traditional white sand beaches. Instead of featuring a toe-tickling water edge on a pristine beach, Rick’s took advantage of dark cliff’s hanging over deep water coves. Get here by taxi, or boat on one of the many tours offered to famous Rick’s Cafe. Here, you can enjoy a drink, live entertainment, and most impressive: Cliff Diving.
What to eat:
Whether you are feeling a bit peckish or starving from a long road to the cafe, Rick’s will have something to fill your stomach. If you are looking for something familiar, try the wings or shrimp.
For something new, Rick’s has unique Island Conch Fritters, exactly as it sounds, a fresh conch served with a Dijon mustard sauce. For something a bit more traditional to the Jamaican culture, I highly recommend the ‘Jamaican Cocktail Beef Patties’. When trying to describe what Jamaican Patties (also known simply as: patties) taste like to a lovely young couple we met from the U.S., the best I could come up with is “It’s like the original pizza pocket, but instead of pizza filling, it’s beef, and overall tastier”. We also really enjoyed ‘Chef Sheddy’s Shrimp’, but the portion in a bit smaller than the other appy’s we tried. Appetizer’s ranged from $10.00 – $12.00 (USD in 2017, prices may change).
The main entrees are a bit pricey, so we just enjoyed a couple of starters each and shared so we could try a bit more. If you’re hungrier than that, Rick’s has a range of meals including surf’n’turf, lobster, filet mignon, snapper, shrimp, jerk chicken, or a vegetarian medley. Entrees ranged from $18.00 – $30.00 (USD in 2017, prices may change).
What to drink:
We found the drinks also to be fairly expensive, but if you are looking to splurge a bit, Rick’s has a variety of creative cocktails to choose from, alongside Jamaican famous Red Stripe beer, Guinness, Heineken, or Corona. You can also opt for water, soft drinks, or bottle service. Drink prices ranged from $3.00 for non-alcoholic to $200.00 for premium bottle service. Most alcoholic beverages were $5.00 – $8.00 (USD in 2017, prices may change).
What to do:
Try diving into the salty water below from one of three cliff heights, or watch in awe as “Jamaican Spiderman” and other pro’s soar into the air off a tree at the highest cliff (as if the highest cliff isn’t tall enough). Enjoy your time eating and drinking at Rick’s, listening to live music offerings and eating some good food. Although you may find it busy, it is worth going before sunset and watching the bright colours sink into the edge of the ocean from the edge of Jamaica’s western coast.
4. Bob Marley Tour
You’re in Jamaica! How can you not visit the king of reggae? You’ll get to see and experience a part of Jamaican culture, hear a couple songs played in tribute, and pay respects to Bob Marley. As you climb Mount Zion, you will see the family grave-yard.
Don’t be surprised if you are asked to remove your shoes – embrace it, let your feet on the hot stone below ground you. Better yet – ask your tour guide why you are asked to remove your shoes, and what significance it has. You may find yourself feeling more spiritual by the end of it.
3. Swim with dolphins at Dolphins Cove
The title says it all. Choose from 1 of three options, either meet a dolphin and get a kiss (great for small children), swim with 1 dolphin, or swim with 2 dolphins. We swam with a dolphin named ‘Apollo’, and learned about ocean conservation and our dolphin from his trainer who guided us through the adventure.
Although i’m not a great swimmer (some might say that’s an understatement), the trainer took care to ensure everyone was comfortable, and even swam out with one girl to make sure she felt safe. In a group, you stand on a platform in a bay, open to the ocean. The dolphin trainer you are assigned to will instruct you on how to interact safely with your new dolphin friend, and you’ll get to swim into the bay to meet your dolphin for a kiss, a dance, and the most exciting part: an actual swim! Hold on to the dolphin’s fins and let him/her pull you through the salty ocean water!
At dolphin’s cove you not only got to swim with a dolphin, but included in your admission is a stingray bay where you can learn about and interact with sting rays, ostriches, and a camel you could ride! There is also a little cafe where you can get fresh coconut water and a variety of food if you get hungry on your adventure.
2. Dunn’s River Falls
Have you seen Cocktail with Tom Cruise? How about James Bond Dr. No with Sean Connery? One thing both have in common, is the beautiful Dunn’s River Falls.
With the help of a tour guide, you can see these falls as close as it gets – by climbing them. Cool, rushing, mountain water will put pressure on your feet and legs as you try to find your footing through the running river. At several levels you’ll also have the chance to stand under the waterfall, jump into pools of fresh spring water, and slide down slippery rock into pools formed between the rocks. This is an exciting, challenging, and refreshing experience and a ton of fun!
- At the end of the climb you can buy a DVD of you and your group climbing the waterfall, or a photo. If you want to save a few dollars but still want one of these keepsakes, buy the DVD and take snapshots on your computer to print, or bring a waterproof camera!
- Bring water shoes with good grip to climb the falls. If you don’t have any, you can buy them at the falls, but they are expensive.
- Leaving the park you will have to walk through a market – be prepared for lots of people to try selling you their goods. If you are not used to it, it can come across as a bit pushy or in-your-face, so just be prepared for it. Don’t be afraid to browse and buy a souvenir, but also don’t be afraid to politely say ‘No’ if you are not interested. – Don’t let this discourage you from going though! Climbing the falls is refreshing and invigorating, and so worth it!
1. Luminous Lagoon
Okay, so this might not be the most flattering photo, but I had to choose it. Why? Because you can clearly see. I am elated. Thrilled. Ecstatic. Words can not express.
The Luminous Lagoon, also called ‘Magical Waters’, ‘Glistening Waters’, or ‘Blue Lagoon’ is the most incredible natural phenomenon I have experienced so far.
What is it?
The Luminous Lagoon is a bay of water on the northern edge of Jamaica on the fringe of Falmouth, Jamaica. This water is special, mystical even, because if disturbed, the water glows a vibrant blue.
Why? Because it is home to millions of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, locally known as phosphorous. These phosphorous can only survive in very specific conditions where fresh water and ocean water meet. Although not the only place you can see it (there are 3 bays in Puerto Rico, and a harbor in Maine) , the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica is claimed to be the brightest occurrence of the natural phenomenon. You will find the mystical glow where the cold fresh water from the Martha Brae River flows into the warm ocean waters (by the way, this feels really weird when you’re swimming through it, because as you swim the water will vary in temperature, it will be warm, then cold, then warm at your feet and cold at your waist, and so on).
Although we had to wait until after dark, and were crammed onto a little boat to get out there, this was the most amazing 30-ish minutes of swimming I have ever done (helped by a flotation device). Feeling the temperature of the water, seeing the luminescent blue glow, and experiencing the excitement of creating the light under the water by kicking and splashing like a child is an experience I can not compare to any other. So eat an early dinner, put on your bathing suit, grab a towel, and go for a swim! Don’t forget to splash and kick and move, because the more you can disturb these micro-organisms, the brighter they will glow for you!
Now it’s back to you! Comment below to share your experience with these, or other experiences you’ve had! Ask any questions that have come to mind, or let me know what you think of my FIRST post! Thanks so much for reading, and I hope to hear from you!