My fiance and I just returned from our first trip to Jamaica. Thought I'd share some trip highlights:
We arrived at the Mobay airport after a long red eye flight. Passed through Immigration quickly, made our way to the Superclubs lounge to get our transfer to Breezes. Once at Breezes we waited to check in (were able to check in at 2:00pm).
We were in a Deluxe Oceanview room. The room was clean, but I must say MUCH smaller than we expected.
This was not a big deal, as we planned to spend very little time in our room anyway.
Funny, we had plenty of hot water for showering, but could not get any cold water in the sink or shower at all! For the price of the room (300 + a night) we felt it should have had a mini fridge in the room.
The staff at Breezes was nice, and provided good service.
The dinner buffet is actually very good, as were the drinks, and food service in general was good.
There is only one pool, which is located smack dab in front of the outside buffet area. We weren't fond of the location of the pool, and never used it.
One annoying thing: Although it is in the hotel pamphlet and displayed on a sign in the lobby, Breezes would not convert our US Dollars to Jamaican dollars. They would do 5$ as a "souvenir", but we were told that no one accepted Jamaican, and that it wasn't a good deal to use Jamaican anyway.
This was ridiculous. We went across the street to 'Strawberries' where we were able to convert at a great rate (1-65$).
We got much better deals using Jamaican dollars during our stay, and it was much easier to use them in the craft markets.
We made our way to Doctors Cave Beach which was beautiful. The water is calm, and clear. We were never approached on the beach by vendors, etc.
The downside is, the Breezes section of Doctors Cave is a bit small, and you are not served free drinks.
You must walk back to the bar, which is a bit of a jaunt. If you want to sit on the other side of the beach, you must pay for umbrellas, chairs, drinks, etc.
I asked a nice waitress at The Groovy Grouper to bring us drinks, which we paid for but it was worth it.
We didn't spend very much time at Breezes. Our goal was to see (and eat) as much as we could.
We walked up and down the hip strip shopping, then took a cab downtown to go to the Harbour Street Craft Market.
We were approached numerous times while walking the strip. No one was rude, but it made walking around overly complicated sometimes. One disappoint about many of the people we encountered was that you would strike up conversations with them about the area, and afterwards would say things like "Give me a dollar". There are alot of beggars that have nothing to sell, and would see our Breezes armbands and pretend that they knew us from Breezes.
We often walked the hip strip at night coming home from dinner, but walked at a steady clip. We were approached often.
taxi observation: JUTA is outrageous. The drivers wanted $10 a person to go downtown. We used mostly JCAL drivers that were up for negotiations, and got you there at half the price. All our drivers were very friendly.
Downtown Mobay is very chaotic. We felt safe during the day, but thought twice about going down at night.
The Craft market was massive. You see alot of the same stuff. After bartering, you usually get what you want for 50% off what they come in at. It is quite an experience. We were polite but firm when we didn't want to buy something.
Pier One for dinner. Awesome view of the bay, the food was OK but a bit overpriced.
Went to The Pork Pit for lunch (delicious) and walked across the street to Walter Fletcher/Aquasol beach.
We actually liked the beach here better. It is shallower, just as clear, and the sand is packed. We were the only "tourists"
there, the beach was packed with Jamaican families.
The cost adds up after renting chairs, an umbrella, and drinks, but we had a great time. The staff was very friendly.
Went to The Pelican for dinner. After reading reviews , I was surprised that it ended up being like a Dennys. There isn't much on the menu. I had curried goat which was good.
Triple Threat tour ran by Fun Tours Jamaica.
First to bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae river, which was fabulous. I highly recommend it.
We then drove to Shaw Botanical Gargens in Ocho Rios, then to Dunns River Falls which we also really enjoyed. It was better than I expected.
It was nice driving along the north coast, there is alot to see.
Went to a chinese restaurant called Guangzou for dinner. We waited 2 hrs to be served dinner. It was busy, but everyone was served before we were. We didn't say anything, were finally served, and the food ended up being very good
Barrett Adventures personalized tour of Kingston and Port Royal. Carolyn Barrett provided a great trip. The drive to Kingston was longer than we expected 4+ hours, and driving back to Mobay that night was hair raising. A note on driving in Jamaica: It is nuts. The roads for the most part are narrow, and under construction. People drive CRAZY.
Went to the Bob Marley museum in Kingston, and toured downtown. From our experience, Kingston is made out to be a little scarrier than it really is. It is definately a concrete jungle, and I would certainly not venture into certain areas, but like any large city, it has its good spots and bad spots.
We then made our way to Port Royal the old pirate town. I am glad we went. It is very cool, and has an interesting history.
Got back late, and exhausted so we ordered pizza delivery from Tonys' Pizza. Yummy!
Took a taxi in the morning to Negril, to spend a night at Coco La Palm.
The drive is nice, and fairly short, and was the best stretch of road we had been on.
Our driver got in a fender bender on the way while shuffling through CDs, which ended up resolved quickly and was quite humorous.
We were impressed by Seven Mile Beach. It earns its' reputation. The sand is white and sugary, the water clear and beautiful.
The staff ant Coco La Palm was delightful and our standard room there was bigger and better than our Breezes room at half the price!
We were allowed to check in at 9am!
Took a taxi to Ricks' Cafe to see the cliff divers and watch the sunset. The views at Ricks' are breathtaking, and the divers were fun to watch.
Drinks are ridiculously expensive ($14 for 2 Red Stripes and a Pepsi), as was dinner. I would not recommend eating dinner there. We left, and went to Margueritaville, and some other bars along the beach.
We had been very lucks weather wise so far. Everyday had been sunny and fabulous.
The next day in Negril it rained. POURED rain. We were in the Craft Market at the time, and it was coming down so hard, we were drenched and up to our knees in water. We "rented" an umbrlla from one of the vendors, and sloshed around.
There was more variety at the Negril market, than that of the Mobay markets.
We shopped at Sunshine Plaza, then called our driver to take us back to Mobay. It rained in Mobay, that night as well. We prayed for sun for our last day.....
Decided to spend ourlast day on Doctors Cave where we proceeded to get the sunburn of our lives. No worries. After the rain torrent of the day before it was nice and sunny. Went to Marguerites for our farewell dinner, where we had a exteremely expensive dinner that was good but not quite worth the $120 price tag.
I can see why the trip reviews people have of Jamaica are so varied, and was amused at the number of people that never left the resort. I think it is a shame that some people choose not to go out and explore the island more. We rarely saw other tourists out and about during our wanderings.
We really enjoyed our trip, and are so glad we went.