It happens to even the most seasoned traveller: you get to the airport and your passport is expired. Okay, no. Scratch that. That would never happened to a seasoned traveller, but it did happen to me on my most recent getaway to Jamaica with Signature Vacations.
Imagine the nightmare I faced after begrudgingly leaving the house at 3 o’clock in the morning, hustling to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport after just a short 3 hours of sleep, only to discover I’d have postpone my trip – one that had been meticulously planned.
That’s the thing about Signature Vacations, their trips are downright idiot-proof. Everything from your flight and your hotel to how you get to your hotel and what you do once you get there is planned in one swoop, you’ve just gotta cover the basics and remember that when it comes to travelling, preparation is key.
But regardless, after running around to arrange an emergency passport (which only takes a few hours and a few hundred bucks if you have proof of travel) and rearrange my flight out to paradise, I made it to Montego Bay, Jamaica safe and sound. Once I got there, I was in for a world of adventure that led me climbing up waterfalls, smoking ganja at Bob Marley’s birth home and eating like a local at Usain Bolt’s restaurant.
If you’re thinking about escaping to the Caribbean and a trip to Montego Bay is in the books, here are some noteworthy places to check out.
Stay: While sprawling resorts have become the norm, there’s something charming about the intimacy of a smaller hotel, and the best of both worlds is exactly what you’ll get when you stay at the Riu Palace. The adults-only resort is sandwiched in-between the adults-only Riu Reggae and family-friendly Riu Montego Bay, and a stay at the Riu Palace gives you an all-access pass, with your own hotel open only to Riu Palace guests.
But with three resorts yours to explore, the Riu gives you a bevy of options for entertainment including a la carte restaurants, a disco, an outdoor stage with nightly live shows, more than a handful of pools, access to water sports, tie dyeing on the beach, and more.
Eat: Should you choose to stay at the Riu Palace, the resort has one of the best buffets I’ve ever experienced at an all-inclusive resort. Fruit is fresh and vegetables are a plenty, but they also serve up local favourites like Jamaican patties, jerk chicken and pork, rice and beans, and stews.
In town, you’ll definitely want to check out Usain Bolt’s restaurant, Tracks and Records, which has locations in Ochos Rio and Kingston, and serves up delicious local flavours and spices. Just be warned, in Jamaica, not spicy always means there’s a little spice.
Explore: A trip to Jamaica isn’t complete without a visit to Dunns River Falls, which is just a 1.5 hour drive from Montego Bay. Tours can easily be arranged through Nexus Tours; either with a hotel representative, online or on board your Sunwing flight. The falls are quite a sight to see and a guide will lead you up where you’ll literally walk 600 feet up through a water fall. You’ll definitely want to bring a pair of water shoes and waterproof phone case should you want to snap some pictures.
My next suggestions is for fans of Bob Marley, one of the greatest musicians to ever live. Tours through his birth home in Nine Miles run daily, where you can see where he grew up, his mother’s collection of (somewhat creepy) handmade dolls, and Bob Marley’s mausoleum. Pot enthusiasts will be happy to hear that massive blunts and ganja tea is on high supply and available for purchase.
Have any other suggestions of what to see and do in Jamaica? Tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.