I’ve done a handful of all-inclusive destination packages in the Caribbean over the years, but Jamaica is still my favourite destination by far. Good food, good music, and that good ‘ol Jamaican spirit best encapsulated by Bob Marley’s music and his affinity for a nicely rolled joint. Relaxed.
In 2013, I found myself on a romantic honeymoon in Negril with one of my best friends, Ashley. Her wedding had been a few days prior in Montego Bay, and although she and her husband had a booked a week at a luxury resort directly after the ceremony, her husband found himself with a new job opportunity he couldn’t turn down. So naturally, I took his spot.
Other than that, the people were welcoming, the beach wasn’t crowded, and the water was warm. And so that brings me to my one big tip:
DON’T FREAKING EAT OR DRINK AT JIMMY BUFFET’S MARGARITAVILLE. GOD ALMIGHTY.
I couldn’t understand it. We entered the restaurant where the bus had dropped us off, jam-packed with guests, and decided we’d keep pushing on. Margaritaville is like any other restaurant you’ll find in a million tourist destinations: deep-fried Americana, loud pop music, and the kind of interior piled with knick-knacks that gives the illusion that the establishment is unique and hip. I do love me a good generic, greasy meal after a big night out. BUT REALLY, NOT IN JAMAICA.
We stopped to observe the menu, and then headed out on the beach. About ten minutes along we came across Sun Beach Restaurant & Bar. We spent the day there. Why? The beers were $2USD, as opposed to the $6USD beers at Margaritaville.
And the food. The food! We ordered jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, plantain chips, and conch fritters. And then when I thought it was all over, a little man came along pushing a cart filled with spicy Jamaican patties, and I ordered two vegetarian, and gobbled them up right there on the beach with the hot Caribbean sun beating down on my freckly shoulders and drool trickling from my chin. I’d give my left pinky-toe for a Jamaican patty right now.
We spent the day here, ordering cheap drinks and lounging around on the chairs. When I cut my foot open on a sharp rock, the bar staff came running with a First Aid kit, and set about wrapping it up.