Ocho Rios-Jamaica

Jamaica is an area that thrives off of tourism. The white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters are some of the things that bring the travelers in. Ocho Rios is full of lush green vegetation that leads right down to the beaches leaving the area less populated along the shoreline, which many travelers enjoy. It is an island full of culture and history and not to be missed!

As I stepped off the boat onto Jamaican soil the salty sea spray hit my face, and the smell of the ocean filled the air. I was finally here! We left Miami on Saturday 26, and set sail for a day at sea on Carnival Destiny, and then on to Jamaica, our next stop was Grand Cayman and then a day at sea on the way back to Miami.

I was first approached in Ocho Rios, one of the main cruise ports in Jamaica, and asked “eyyy gal, you want some Jamaican rum punch” in the infamous Jamaican accent. It was only 10am! I had to laugh because I had never heard the proper Jamaican accent, except for when watching movies like Cool Runnings.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is the different languages and accents. Many people around the world speak English, but very different versions of English. Jamaican-English was fun to listen to because even though they spoke English, I had to listen very hard to pick up every word they said. When the Jamaicans spoke fast it was hard to pick up every single word, it was challenging to do so, but it is something that I find most interesting in different countries.

I asked a local how he made his living in Jamaica and he said simply “tourism.” He proceeded to tell me that he has a small boat that he charters people around the island, wherever they want to go for a small price. When tourists come off the cruise ships or into the city center he asks if they would like to tour the area. He said he takes people to Dunn River Falls, snorkeling, and to several local popular beaches, it is the only way to make a living in the area.

Another thing that I enjoy about foreign countries is the food. I love to try traditional foods because they are normally dishes that I cannot get in the states. I asked several locals what Jamaican dish I should try while on the island and they all insisted, “jerk-chicken.”

Jerk-chicken is chicken that has been rubbed with jerk sauce and seasonings popular to the island and then cooked slowly over charcoal. Throughout the area you can see every restaurant with a cooker outside and they are perfecting the jerk-chicken.

I am not the biggest fan of hot and spicy foods, but the locals recommended the jerk-chicken, so I knew I had to try it. I am so glad that I did, it was a bit spicy but nothing that I couldn’t wash down with an ice-cold Jamaican drink. The chicken was tender and juicy with all the flavors of herbs and spices. The meal in total was about $10, but I didn’t go to a fancy restaurant in Ocho Rios. It was just a small bar on the beach, which had a cooker and all the necessities for drinks.

It was one of the best meals that I have eaten, which basically came off of a street cart.

At this time, Jamaica was not very expensive, on average meals were around $10 and drinks were $6 or $7. The public beaches are free and most have resorts located within walking distance from the beach. There are also plenty of restaurants’ in the city center, if you do not want to eat off of a food cart.

Jamaica is a very relaxing island and has lots to offer visitors: from the crisp blue waters and lying on the beach and sunbathing, to the resorts and spas. It is an area that is sure to please all vacationers.