Jamaica- 9 days with kids - late March

Old Feb 19th, 2024, 11:24 AM
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Jamaica- 9 days with kids - late March

Hello travelled experts: I'm looking for any advice. We are a family of four (two kids 11 and 14) going to Jamaica with friends for 9 days. Our long-time friends have Jamaican aunts and uncles, almost all of whom have left Jamaica but still have a house in Kingston. We are going as a kind of celebration of our closeness as families raising kids, but also with some time apart. We are in Montego Bay for two days, Port Antonio for two days, Kingston (at relatives house) for two days, and then Negril for 1-3 days (not yet confirmed more than one night). I'm aware of the State Dept. advisory. My spouse and I have travelled in some tough places, and we are wise to staying out of trouble, but it is different with kids. I'm apprehensive, but I think with local contacts we can do this safely. We aren't going to be out late, at bars, etc.

We don't drink and though we love to snorkel and swim, we aren't lay-on-the-beach people, nor are we AI people.

I've read more Jamaican fiction (Marlon James, Kei Miller), memoir and poetry (Sinclair), history (The Dead Yard, other stuff), and cookbooks in prep for this than any other trip I've done (I always intend to, but this time I did!!). We are considering: daytime visit to Rose Hall, smallest tour possible to Luminous Lagoon, bamboo raft on the Rio Grande, Boston Bay Jerk Centre, try to hike in the Blue Mountains on transit day b/t PA and Kingston, visit music industry sights in Kingston, visit Cockpit Country/ maroon town Accompong/ rainforest from Negril.

Questions:
1) Anyone have current info, recommendations, or stay-away advice on anything in the list above?
2) Planning to hire drivers associated with lodging or recommended by family friends, but has anyone rented a car? I'm wary to park a car, even at a private house, in Kingston or drive PA to Kingston.
3) Any snorkel recommendations? Boat trip based snorkeling?
4) Anyone visited Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency tours lately? Anyone know specific locals to employ as guides?
5) We have a 10 y/o turning 11 while there, any suggestions for making it fun (right now Rio Grande bamboo rafting is the plan). They lament that their birthday always falls on spring break and they never have day-of party with friends. We will be in Port Antonio. Compared to a bowling alley or laser tag it seems great, but who am I to judge...
6) I guess the biggest challenge has been that we are most interested in history, rainforest, mountains, food, and culture, but compared to all inclusives, rum punch, and the beach, those things are a lot more difficult to plan for and a lot less clear in terms of safety. Ok maybe the rum punch isn't always safe...

Be well and thanks for any advice, JM
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