Travel post #1 – Jamaica

wander

I’m just realizing that I have yet to write about anything travel-related on the blog. Travel is a BIG part of who I am. Learning about and experiencing new cultures – the music, landscape, people, food, etc – makes me feel so incredibly happy and fulfilled.

I was lucky enough to marry my best friend on a beautiful beach in the Dominican Republic on Leap Day (February 29) this year. 60 of our closest family and friends (yep, 60!) joined us for a week long party. What an amazing time.

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We weren’t able to take a honeymoon immediately after our week-long wedding vacay, so we postponed it awhile. In July, a great Groupon deal showed up in my inbox. About an hour later, we had decided to pull the trigger and take a trip to Negril, Jamaica in December!

This would the first visit to Jamaica for both of us, and my 17th country visited thus far.

We stayed at SamSara hotel in the West End area of Negril. Flying into Montego Bay, we had about a 1 ½ hour drive from the airport to the hotel.

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SamSara Hotel

The resort is very quaint and located on the cliffs, about a 5 minute drive (or $6 taxi ride) from 7 Mile beach. It is a “sister” resort to Legends, which is located right on the beach – all-inclusive eating and drinking is available between both properties, which allows you to experience both sides of the coin.

This vacation was very different from the typical “Ashley trip” (which generally includes backpacks and hostels). This was exactly what we were looking for – R&R, with some cliff-jumping and a little reggae mixed in.

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We visited a waterfall called YS Falls, which is about a 2 hour drive from Negril. Gorgeous – very touristy but worth a visit. Cool pools to swim in and ropes to swing from…it satisfied my need for nature, and we were able to capture some beautiful photos.

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The highlight of the trip came on our very last day. Along with a bunch of people from our resort and the owner of a local club (who, it turns out, worked with the same people as I did at a previous travel job – small world!) hired a driver to take us 2 hours down the coast to St. Elizabeth Parish. We were on our way to the home of a guy named Sam, who is about 60 but miraculously has the rock-hard body of a 20-something. Sam owns a home on the beach with about 30 dogs and a bunch of pigs. And for a fee, he’ll let you hop in his fishing boat and will take you out to the Pelican Bar….aaaaah, the Pelican Bar.

This is Sam.

Located over ¼ mile out to sea, the Pelican Bar is a true Jamaican experience. Only accessible by boat – it sits on a sand bar and reef. This thing is made out of random sticks and boards. They sell Red Stripe by the bottle, so you’d better like beer. And if you want food, just let them know. But be prepared to wait an hour or two because they have to go catch the fish for you. Talk about fresh!
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Would I go back to Jamaica? Ya, ‘mon. I liked that Negril is safe enough to roam around and check out the sights, restaurants, etc, without being confined to your resort. All-inclusives tend to make me antsy and a bit claustrophobic, but because we got such a great deal on the trip, we were able to get out for meals and drinks without breaking our budget.

Our trip was exactly what we needed. A pre-holiday break from the daily grind and the perfect belated honeymoon 🙂

 

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