~I received a trip from the Jamaican Tourism board to share my travel experience as a parent. Opinions and stories are my own.~
Jamaica is definitely one of the most gorgeous tropical places that I have ever visited. That is coming from a Florida girl that has visited many different islands over the years. My last post shared with you some amazing places to stay while in Jamaica and this post will give you a small glance at the fun and exciting things you can do while you are there. They are much more than sandy white beaches and blue waters!
I am the one in the white shirt above and these are just pictures with my iPhone. I will be the first to admit that I do not like horses. I like to look at them running in a pasture or galloping in a movie, but I have never enjoyed riding horses. Honestly, I get scared and intimidated by them and I am not a person that gets scared easy! At the Rhodes Hall Plantation I had an absolutely fabulous time riding this horse! This was the Horseback Ride ‘N Swim tour and it was truly amazing. I would consider my horse riding skills as a zero and I was easily able to lead my horse along the trail. We had 3 Jamaican cowboys with us the whole time and they really took care of our group. Their website says that children as young as 6 can ride so this is something the whole family can do together.
It started with a ride through the old plantation or what I would call the Jamaican wilderness; then you get to ride your horse through the water. The guides were super friendly and took pictures on our cameras for us. At the end of the tour they took us to the Jamaican swamp where we got to see an actual crocodile in the wild. I have seen many gators in my life so when I get to see a crocodile I get extra excited. At the very end you head back to the barn where they switch the horses to water saddles and you get to ride them way out into the water. It is truly an experience unlike any I have been on. Even if you don’t like horses I would say to give this tour a try!
I did notice that Jamaica seems to have an afternoon rain almost every day but it always passes quickly. I got to experience the most gorgeous sunsets and no better way than on a catamaran. This one is the Island Routes Survivor Catamaran Cruise. This one departed from Sandals Negril but you do not have to stay at their resort to go on this cruise. This one was adults only and I highly suggest it for those that enjoy music, friendly company and free flowing booze (as all drinks are included).
You get to sail across Negril’s enchanting coastline where you get to see peeks of the famed lighthouses, the historic cliffside and a stop at the famous Rick’s Cafe. Here is a picture of the cafe from our boat. This particular cruise you put on a life jacket belt and you swim there. The water is crystal clear all the way to the bottom even though it is deep in some places. Once you are there you are able to jump off the cliffs into the water. It is much higher once you get close to it! Swim back to your boat and then you are off again.
You get to enjoy dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for a delicious meal. I have been to a few of their locations over the years but this one was all outdoors and definitely the most exotic. The food was absolutely delicious!
You end the evening getting back onto the boat to sail back to the hotel and you get to enjoy a stunning sunset. This was definitely a relaxing ride and even though I am one to get seasick I was not the least bit sick on this ride. I would absolutely sail with them again!
I don’t know how it is possible but even growing up in Florida I have never had a true dolphin encounter. The Dolphin Cove Negril gave me an experience that I will never forget. You can choose from several different encounters to find the best fit for you.
- Encounter – interacting with dolphin while standing in shallow water
- Swim – interacting with 1 dolphin in the deep
- Ultimate Swim – interacting with 2 dolphins in the deep
For the swim children must be 3 and for the encounter there is no age cut off. This is truly an experience everyone in the family can do. I could tell all the trainers and handlers really love what they do because they had such genuine enthusiasm and the dolphins as well as the whole area seemed very well taken care of.
The trainers tell you exactly what you have to do and it just does not get any closer of an “encounter” than this.
Whenever I visit a new place, especially a new country, I always want to learn more about the culture and the history. The Greenwood Great House is a museum so full of historical pieces that you could go through it 10 times and still discover new things every time. They offer a guided tour with in depth information about many of the pieces throughout the museum.
Built during an era of elegance and brutality, Greenwood has retained the atmosphere of the 19th century and continues to capture the imagination of its visitors.
Built by the Barretts of Wimpole Street London in 1800, the home still has much of its original furniture. In fact, Greenwood has the largest and rarest collection of musical instruments and books in the island.
Since opening, Greenwood has received numerous awards including the Musgrave medal for excellence in heritage preservation (one of the most prestigious awards in Jamaica), the National Association of Returning Residents plaque and the Berger Paints Heritage in Architecture award. Additionally, Greenwood Great House is a national monument.
The hours of operation are 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. seven (7) days a week. They are licensed with the Jamaica Tourist Board and contracted with all the major tour companies. I learned more about Jamaica during my tour than I ever thought possible. This is the best way to learn more about the history of Jamaica, by walking through it.
I also visited the Montego Bay Cultural Centre right in the heart of town. It had a traveling art exhibit as well as a permanent history exhibit but because of no photography rules I don’t have any pictures to share with you. I enjoyed riding through the thick of town to get there because I got to see how people live their day to day lives. The art itself was so colorful and bold.
I was also able to attend the Soul in the Sun Music festival. If you are traveling to Jamaica consider arranging your travel to coincide with any music festivals they have going on. They are fun, full of great music and better than several festivals I have attended back home.
I never had a dull moment in Jamaica. Plenty of time to lay around the pool or beach or you can fill up your schedule with fun activities but either way you won’t be disappointed. I get a smile on my face when I think of every single activity I got to do and I would absolutely do them all over again. I had no idea that Jamaica had so much to offer and it has activities for a wide range of ages as well as interests.
My last post on Jamaica will include great places to eat as well as more information on travel through the country. Then you will have all the information you need to book your own family’s once in a lifetime experience.