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Solo trip to Jamaica

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Jul 10th, 2010, 03:15 PM
  #1
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Solo trip to Jamaica

I just got in last night from my 4 nights and 5 days in Jamaica and fell in love! I arrived on Monday morning at 8:30 expecting to have to stow my luggage and use the facilities but was in for two nice surpises. First I was upgraded from Beach to Suites. Second, they had a room ready and waiting. The greeting by the staff was very warm and everyone went out of their way to make me feel welcome and let me know that they were there for anything needed. I found that no matter where I went in Jamaica. The hotel was gorgeous. From the beautiful lobby with an amazing double staircase going down to the exit for the pool and beach, to just the amazing views sitting in the lobby or on the lobby balconies I was in love as soon as I walked inside.
My room was a large room with a king size bed. There was a separate step down area that had a couch and a desk which led out to the balcony that while it wasn't an ocean view room, had a view. Whether during the day or night, the view was amazing and I never tired of going out to look out. The bathroom was huge. The tub was separate from the stand up shower which was nice because I took a nice luxurious bath every day.
The down side was the food. It was just ok. I'm not a big foodie on vacations unless its a place known for its restaurants but still felt that the restaurants could have had more of a Jamaican flair. Overall, there was always something to eat that was tasty, but nothing really thrilling. Admittedly I didn't bother with the specialty restaurants as I did not want to be on any sort of tiime schedule. I did order room service a few nights and the fish delivered was very good.
My outing in Montego Bay was to the Hip Strip. I wasn't very impressed. The craft marked felt like I was getting mugged and I was very uncomfortable with how aggressive the women there were. They did take no for an answer but it was very difficult and there was always another one waiting. They grabbed me and pulled me into their rooms filled with crafts while blocking my exit in hopes I'd buy something. I tried to get out as quickly as possible. I wasn't worried about safety but was uncomfortable with being groped and passed from person to person. The two things I did buy were honestly because the person wouldn't let go of my hand and I wanted to leave. I was annoyed with the tour operator for not warning about this because she laughed when I got back on the bus and asked jokingly how much they got me to buy. We also went down to where Margeritaville was for more shopping. I did want to try Margeruites but it wasn't going to be open untl later on. I don't mean to disparage the Jamaican people because they were all very warm. I just wasn't prepared for the aggressiveness of the craft market.
I also took a day trip to Negril. First was a few hours on 7 mile beach. Admittedly I was sorry that I stayed in Montego Bay and not Negril once I saw the beach. The beach at my hotel was beautiful but 7 mile beach was amazing!! Again, getting to the water was a little difficult with all of the vendors. Still they took no for an answer and walked on. In the water however, one wouldn't leave me alone and I finally had to tell him to go away. I didn't want to be rude but he wasn't taking no for an answer and kept grabbing me. The others I laughed about. I was offered a "smoke," "my first Jamaican man," and just about everything else that could be sold. It would have been funny if I didn't feel bad for them because they truly do make their living this way and I knew that they were offering their services for money so I did end up giving a few tips to them. My only disappointment was that the chicken patty guy came by on his bike but he was out of chicken patties! And I'm not kidding, I was really looking forward to trying one.
After the beach we went shopping which again seemed to be more of the same stuff. I picked up a few t-shirts, a pair of sunglasses, and some crafty stuff. Next was Rick's Cafe. It lived up to its reputation. It had beautiful views. It had rained that day and was cloudy so the sunset was not as spectacular as usual which was hard to believe because what I saw was still sensational. If that was the sunset on a bad day I couldn't imagine what it was like on a good one. I watched some of the people jump off the cliffs and wished I could work up my nerve but didn't think it was the best idea with my bad back, lol!! It looked like great fun. On the other side there was a rope that people were swinging into the water from only not as high as the cliff jump. Negril was a very beautiful place with more of a laid back island feel than Montego Bay. Next time I go to Jamaica, that will be my destination.
Finally, we made our way back to Montego Bay. We left Negril around 7:30 pm. All I can say is that driving in Jamaica feels a lot like playing chicken. The driver laughed and told me not to look and to just trust him. It was hard but I followed his advice and happily made it back to my hotel in one piece. The bellman was waiting when I got back and seemed genuinely thrilled that I had such a good day. The people of Jamaica were such warm people and I got the feeling that they did want visitors to love Jamaica in the same way that they did. That was genuine and not because they wanted to sell me something or because they wanted a tip. It was a warmth that added to the beauty of the island.
I would recommend the Iberostar in Montego Bay. The lay out was very nice. It was large but had a small feel due to the friendliness of the staff. Nothing seemed like too far of a walk or out of the way. Going from the restaurant or the lobby to the pool was close. The pool overlooked the ocean. I think its called an infiniti pool but I'm not sure. I alternated between laying on a lounge chair in the ocean to going to the pool ordering a drink and hanging on the wall facing the ocean. It was the most relaxed I've been in a long time and it helped that everyone seemed to be waiting to see what they could do to make my visit as enjoyable as possible. When it came time to leave I literally stayed in the pool until ten minutes before my taxi came to take me to the airport. I didn't care about going to the airport in a bathing suit and cover up because I wanted to soak up all I could while there. I will definitely go back to Jamaica. If I took my kids, I'd stay in Montego Bay just for the ease of having everything at my fingertips and never having to leave the resort. For a solo trip, it will be the laid back warmth of Negril.
writealiving is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for sharing writealiving. Sounds like you had a great time. 30 sleeps and I'll be on my way too
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Jul 11th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Have a great time Sharie!! I fell in love with Jamaica and cannot wait to go back!!
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Jul 11th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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Now I want to go too, maybe my next trip
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Jul 24th, 2010, 08:16 PM
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I just got back from 10 days in Negril, half the trip was solo the other half I met a group of old friends. I *highly* recommend Negril as a destination. I prefer the cliffs to the beach (I stayed quite near to Rick's). Negril is really a fantastic destination. There's all-inclusives there, so even going with your family, I'd still pick Negril over MoBay any day of the week.
;-)
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Jul 31st, 2010, 08:12 AM
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Glad you had a great trip, Suze!! Negril was beautiful!! The cliffs were amazing, but my preference is staying at the beach. My ideal is waking up and walking right into the water!! My next trip to Jamaica, I will stay in Negril. The only thing I did find a little annoying was how many people I had to get through to make it to the water and when I was in the water, one followed me around and tried to "buy" my friendship. Eventually they all took no for an answer, but they were pretty intimidating. MoBay wasn't as beautiful as Negril, but as I said before, it was still pretty freaking nice!!
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Jul 31st, 2010, 08:52 AM
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I'm guessing it's different at different stretches of the beach, but no one bothered me much in Negril. I spent the morning at Charela Inn because it is the sister hotel to where I was staying on the cliffs. It wasn't real obvious but there was a staff member who sat to the back of the beautiful beach area (palm trees, loungers, etc.) giving out towels and keeping an eye on things. I did buy some wonderful banana bread from a vendor strolling the beach, but I had to go approach him. There were also strolling musicians and one lady offering a massage, but that was about it. It was not crowded, or too many people around.
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Jul 31st, 2010, 11:04 AM
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I have a feeling that all the people were there because I was on an excursion from my hotel doing a day trip. I doubt that the hotels in Negril have as many people that are so aggressive. It struck me more as when I went on a cruise and certain islands waited for the passengers who disembarked. All in all, the beach was amazing and I will definitely go back. The cliff area was beautiful and I enjoyed Rick's, but I would love to be on one of those Negril beaches and just wake up and walk out into the ocean. It truly was beautiful!! And I thought it was you that posted about the chicken patty guy. I was so excited to see him but he was out of chicken patties, lol!!
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Jul 31st, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Absolutely I'm sure that was probably it! Vendors know when the cruiseships are in, or in your situation when a bus tour of newbies unloads onto beach.

Nope not me, about chicken patties. But I am in love with the banana bread that the bakery guy sells.

When you stay on the cliffs you wake up and JUMP into the ocean
;-)
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Aug 5th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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We have spent the past two Christmas holidays in Jamaica, the first in Runaway Bay and the second in Negril. We love it so much we are headed back to the Negril area for Christmas 2010!

Ocho Rios didn't thrill us. We only spent a morning there, but that was enough. Wouldn't feel safe getting off the main street, although there was lots of security /tourist police there. Just didn't like the feel.

Our second trip -two weeks Negril- was amazing! We did 5 days all inclusive and then the rest in a light housekeeping suite with our son and his friend at Shields Negril Villas, on the beach, but only about 5 minutes walk from the Roundabout. I never felt unsafe on the beach, even walking at night. Sure, they asked you if you smoked, if you wanted tours, a taxi, whatever they were selling, but a no thanks and a smile was returned graciously.

The patties from the Pattieman on the beach were tasty, the Red Stripe cold and Bourbon Beach jerk chicken blazing HOT! It is a two beer dinner, for sure! We also ate at the small restaurants down the beach - Mom's Place, Coconut International and Angela's for pizza (Expensive, but the best pizza outside Naples!)

You can't ask for nicer sunsets or a better beach.

This year we are headed to a tiny more isolated resort to the south east of Negril at a place called Hope Wharf. We don't need the nightlife - just a bonfire on the beach and a Red Stripe or Rum Cream does the trick and waking up with the Caribbean at my front step!

No matter what type of holiday you want, Jamaica has the answer!
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Aug 7th, 2010, 03:14 PM
  #11
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Lyndzee, glad you had such a great time!! I'm still wanting to taste those patties!!!
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Aug 7th, 2010, 07:19 PM
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They were very very good from the Pattieman, but the ones from a little shack further down the beach were better and cheaper, with a $1US Red Stripe that was freezing cold! It was worth the walk...but we did buy from the little guy on the bike. He was so friendly - made them himself everyday early in the morning and trudged up and down the beach in the heat and humidity selling until they were gone. Can hardly wait to go back...we are hooked on Negril!
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Aug 7th, 2010, 07:25 PM
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If anyone happens to be up on the Cliffs the patties at Out of Town Bakery (waaaay out the road past Tensing Pen, Catha, Citronella, etc.) were out of this world! Actually the vegetables ones were my favorite, over the meat or salt fish & ackee (bleck).
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Aug 7th, 2010, 07:48 PM
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I never have acquired a taste for ackee...double bleck!
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