Last year, on Thanksgiving Day, I entered into the third decade of my life. 30 years young. For months leading up to my birthday, I told anyone that cared to listen that the only guarantee for my big day was that I would be jumping down somebody’s waterfall in Jamaica. Since my birthday fell on a family holiday, I wasn’t really concerned about who would be able to make the trip and big plunge with me, as long as I had a rushing body of water, a Red Stripe or 3, and a camera to capture the moment, life was fine with me. So, a few months before my scheduled departure date, I sent out a mass email to my usual travel crew and began to plan my first vacation to the reggae capital of the world.
The Jewel Dunn’s River Resort was worth every penny. The rooms were spacious, the resort beach beautiful, the premium liquor plentiful, and the staff became our friends. When was the last time you went to an all-inclusive resort that served Hennessy? I’ll wait, but let me just say that the liquor selection definitely overshadowed the mediocre food that you find at just about any all inclusive resort.
Note: If your Jamaica travels will land you in Montego Bay versus Ocho Rios, you can click here to read my MoBay travel guide filled with tips, or click here to book your room at either a Secrets or Breathless resort.
While I’m a beach bum at heart, I am also a tourist, and there were some things in Ocho Rios that were must sees on my list. There was no way that I could go to Jamaica and not visit the birth and resting place of Bob Marley, Nine Miles, or not find the perfect waterfall (Dunns River and Secret Falls) to make my birthday wish come true. Unfortunately, my phone died before we reached the peak of Nine Miles, but some sights photos wouldn’t do justice anyway. If you’re struggling in the humble department, take a trip through Jamaica and up to Nine Miles, and it might help you remember that even on your worst day you are blessed. From the shanty huts to the children chasing behind our tour van barefoot on the undeveloped roads like on Belly, I had to take a minute and just say, “Thank you God.”
And if you’re a free spirit with a wild heart that’s open to taking a walk on the wild side, take a trip to Shades on a Freaky Friday. Sorry, no pictures were allowed, so you can only imagine what that means. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but you can definitely say I sent you.
What is a trip to Jamaica without enjoying traditional cuisine in an authentic Jamaican restaurant. I couldn’t imagine depriving my travel crew of not only a home cooked meal for Thanksgiving, but also making them suffer through the Jamaican attempt to Americanize the buffet with dry turkey, bland dressing, and a host of other holiday items that didn’t even slightly resemble your mama’s home cooking. So, based on a host of yelp reviews and recommendations from the locals, we ate our Thanksgiving late lunch/dinner at Miss T’s Kitchen in the heart of Ocho Rios. Usually a very opinionated and conservative food connoisseur, I must admit that the ox tails and rice and peas were fingerlicking good. The ambiance of the restaurant also did not disappoint, as it was set outside in the center of a lush garden, protected just enough so that the daily torrential downpour didn’t dampen our moods or our clothes, but instead merged in harmony with the Bob Marley playing from the speakers.
P.S. If you would like help planning your next vacation, click here.
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