Jamaican Travel and Culture

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Jamaica Travel, Uncategorized

My Jamaican Adventure

My name is Ashley and I wanted to share my first experience of Jamaica and its culture with you.  My first trip to the beautiful island of  Jamaica was back in July 2008 when I went to Reggae Sumfest.  I had no idea how much of a life changing experience it would be for me.

As I looked out of the window as the aeroplane descended into Montego Bay, I was in awe at the beauty of the island and how different the landscape was compared to what I am used to in Canada.

Landscape1

When I stepped out of the airport and the heat wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It was so relaxing and welcoming.  I felt at home and at peace, and could not wait to see what the island had to offer. During the journey from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, my eyes were darting all over the place trying to take in all the amazing new sights around me.  I admired the lush greenness of the Jamaican landscape, the stunning blue sea, the crazy drivers, the people by the side of the road selling Jamaican foods like fried fish, jerk chicken and ackee, as well as Jamaican fruits such as sour-sop and mangoes.  I stuck my head out of the window and inhaled all these unfamiliar smells.

Jamaican People
My first impression of the Jamaican people was just how friendly there are.  They are bold, confident and are not afraid to laugh.  It was such a pleasant refreshing change from the coldness that is often experienced in Canada.  When people honk their horn, it is to say “Hello” and not a version of the middle finger.  When you say hello, you actually get a hello back. People really know how to live and enjoy life in Jamaica, and for me it was a huge perspective changer.   A lot of people are poor, and life was simple yet they appeared to exist quite happily without the need for the all the material trappings that we take for granted.

Simple and enjoyable

Jamaican Attractions
There are many attractions in Jamaica, and I found so many fun things to do from visiting the Green Grotto Caves and climbing up Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios, to swimming in the gorgeous blue sea and relaxing on the soft almost powder like golden sand.  I saw the most amazing sight at Firewater, which is located at a Rasta community in the hills of St Ann.  It is a healing spring that has real fire on it and you can see some photographs of it here.  It really was the most amazing thing I have ever seen!

I sampled many of the gorgeous cocktails and local Jamaican drinks, such as the Jamaican Rum Punch, Jamaica Kiss and the infamous Red Strip Beer.  During my vacation in Jamaica I visited some of the local nightclubs and hotspots in Ocho Rios such as Amnesia, Ocean’s and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.  There is so much to do and see, and there is never a dull moment in Jamaica.  For more information on what I did and to see photographs, check out my trip report on the forum.

not kristis sunset

Jamaican Culture
Dance and music are a huge part of the Jamaican culture, and on my first night out I was blown away by the talent.  Everybody can dance, and after a witnessing a night of Karaoke at Ocean’s which is held every Tuesday night, a lot of them are amazing singers too.  Between art, music and dance, the raw talent in Jamaica is incredible.

Night time in Jamaica is the most silent noisiness you will ever hear. On my first night on the island, I sat on the balcony outside the guesthouse, enchanted by the smell of weed and jerk chicken, and the sound of the crickets and reggae music echoing around me.

It filled me with a sense of peace and serenity that I had never felt before. Jamaica possesses a special magic that leaves visitors enchanted, and you can’t help but leave a small part of you behind when you return home.   Jamaica can be a place of healing for someone who just needs to get away, or it can be an experience full of physical activities and parties for someone who just wants to have fun and let their hair down.  Jamaica has a bit of everything and little bits of magic in every corner.

Since my fist visit to Jamaica in 2008, I have been back four times, and every time I return, it never ceases to leave me in awe.  It is the most beautiful, enchanting, fun and amazing place I have ever had the privilege to visit, and I can’t wait to go back again in September 2009.  Check back for my trip report that will be on the forum along with lots more amazing photographs of Jamaica.