Best of Jamaica
8 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Montego Bay
Welcome to Jamaica! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you arrive early, perhaps take a tour of Rose Hall, one of Jamaica’s most historic plantation homes, and learn about the legend of the 'White Witch of Rose Hall'.
Day 2 Montego Bay
Everyone does a bad Jamaican impression, so today you'll receive a lesson on how to speak proper Jamaican patois (also known as 'patwa', 'patwah' and 'Jamaican Creole'), the language spoken in everyday conversation. Standard English is Jamaica's official language, but it's reserved for professional environments and situations. You can put your newly learned patois to use on an included tour of an indigenous Rastafarian village, where local musicians, farmers and artisans will help you understand the reverence for nature and humanity at the core of the Rastafari philosophy and lifestyle. Next you'll visit a variety of Montego Bay hotspots, including the Hip Strip, Charles Garden Market, Dome Street and Sam Sharpe Square. There will be free time in the afternoon before you head to dinner at a private home, where you'll enjoy a traditional meal and some conversation with the locals.
Day 3 Montego Bay
Unsurprisingly, the flavours and spices found in Jamaican cuisine have been greatly influenced by the Spanish, British, Africans, Indian and Chinese who have inhabited the island. No matter where you are in the world, however, nothing recalls Jamaica like a plate of jerk chicken with rice, plantains, carrots and green beans. Today you'll learn some basics of Jamaican cooking before sampling what you've made for lunch, followed by a cultural experience with locals. In the afternoon you're free to explore on your own. Perhaps admire the view from the Richmond Hill Inn, a former 18th-century plantation house perched 150 metres above Montego Bay. At sunset, it's off to witness the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence at Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon. Marvel at the eerie glow created by the millions of microscopic organisms that thrive due to the convergence of salt and fresh waters in the lagoon's shallow waters. Bioluminescence isn't an unusual occurrence, but this is one of the best places in the world to view it from the comfort of a boat. You also have the option to swim, so don't forget your swimsuit!
Day 4 Kingston
Enjoy a trip out to Kingston today (approximately 4 hours), stopping somewhere on the way for optional lunch. Instead of being located in the busy city centre of Kingston, you will be staying in a rustic hotel on the edge of the Blue Mountains. Make the most of this opportunity to relax in a hammock, indulge in an in-house massage, or hit the tiki bar. Alternatively, you can take a short hike along rugged terrain to a beautiful, refreshing waterfall. The hotel offers delicious, reasonably priced meals for dinner.
Day 5 Kingston
After breakfast, drive to Spanish Town (approximately 1.5 hours), one of the oldest continuously occupied places in the Western Hemisphere. Today the historic centre contains the Caribbean’s most extensive, albeit decayed, assortment of Georgian architecture. You'll visit Spanish Town's Rodney's Memorial, Emancipation Square, Old Kings House and St Catherine Parish Church. Afterwards, head back to Kingston and pick a place for an optional lunch. Perhaps your leader can point out a place to try a Jamaican pattie which is a fun and cheap fast food option. Take a stroll around some of the main streets of Kingston, but keep in mind it's not a particularly pedestrian friendly city! Later, stop in a Devon house which, built in 1881, was the residence of George Stiebel (Jamaica's first coloured millionaire) but is now famously known for the ice-cream shop situated in the middle of the lush gardens. Then it's on to Kingston's most visited site, the Bob Marley Museum. It's housed in the old colonial building where the reggae legend lived and recorded from 1975 until his death in 1981. After the two-hour guided tour, you're free to have dinner either in town or back at the hotel restaurant.
Day 6 Negril
Be ready for an early start to travel from Kingston by public bus to Jamaica's western tip, the laidback beach town of Negril, for a day of aquamarine waters and swaying palms. You'll head south in a taxi to the section of Negril originally settled by hippies in the 1960s and where cliffs as high as 15 metres lure daring divers. Watch them as you sip cocktails at Rick's Cafe while the sun dips into the Caribbean Sea.
Day 7 Montego Bay
After breakfast, take a dip at the incongruously labelled Seven Mile Beach (it's really four miles). Despite this curious detail, it's the finest stretch of sand in the land. After checking out before midday, head inland (approximately 1 hour) to Mayfield falls. This eco-tourism attraction consists of two beautiful waterfalls, 21 natural pools, and swathes of lush plants and flowers all around. Take your time walking along the river, because the rocks can be slippery. Return to Montego Bay (approximately 1 hour) for your final night of reggae (or rest and relaxation).
Day 8 Montego Bay
The trip ends after breakfast this morning.
All This Included
So much more than the homeland of reggae superstar Bob Marley, Jamaica is a land of white sand beaches, native cuisine that gave the word 'jerk' a delicious connotation, an artistic culture that punches well above its weight and an Africa-centred religion that for many is a way of life. See and hear Rastafari culture on a tour of an indigenous Rastafari village, stroll among the bright and bold artworks at the National Gallery of Jamaica and swim the azure blue waters of Seven Mile Beach. From an authentic Jamaican cooking class to a traditional dinner with Montego Bay locals, this eight-day trip will provide plenty of proof Jamaica's truly the Home of All Right.
Hotel (7 nights)
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