Negril, Jamaica

Ivan's Bar, Negril, Jamaica

"Ya man!"

As the subways of New York City have become plastered in Jamaica Tourism posters, I'm reminded of our quick trip to Jamaica a few years ago. Although Jamaica is more well known for its Bob Marley-esque slang sayings like, "don't worry, be happy" and "ya man," when I think of Jamaica, I'm reminded of the stunning ocean in varying shades of cerulean and cobalt blue, and the sharp cliffs of the province of Negril.

Jamaica is both reggae and refreshing, you just have to find the right spot for your tastes. This particular spring, my family wanted a brief break from our busy work and school schedules, so we chose a location that would allow us to relax on the beach with a good book and enjoy the scenery.
As soon as my spring break began, my mom, dad, and Grandma boarded a non-stop to Jamaica. Our resort, the Secrets Wild Orchard in Ocho Rios was just the place to relax on the beach with a good book. Ocho Rios, or "eight rivers" boasts the island's best high-class shopping (not that we visited the shops), and its only 3km away from Dunn's River Falls, the best water attraction on the island.

Dunn's River Falls

Dunn's River Falls is a gigantic water fall that pools at the top, then rushes down smooth boulders all the way to the sea. The Falls have become amusement park of sorts. Visitors hike 180 feet up the side of the Falls and then slide down the slippery rocks to the bottom pool. It's quite exhilarating, both for older kids and adults. I think its particularly exciting because its probably not safe at all. Although no one has died climbing the Falls, I'm absolutely sure that this unregulated "watercourse" wouldn't be permitted on US territory. That makes it all the more fun!
Dunn's River Falls,
As a national park, Dunn's River Falls takes advantage of its high demand. Admission to explore the falls is $20/person. With those high prices, it makes sense that tourism earns over 50% of Jamaica's foreign exchange earnings and provides 1/4 of the country's jobs!

Peer Pressure 

Back at the hotel, my family and I were having a splendid time. Secrets Wild Orchard organizes fun activities for their guests to participate in. One night, as we were walking to the open air Italian restaurant for dinner, my mom spotted a poster advertising a resort-wide talent show.

Just my luck. Of course, our night's dinner conversation was consumed with my family persuading me to participate! Their strongest argument; the top three winners would receive complimentary massages (and my poor grandmother hadn't had enough relaxing on the beach, she needed to have a massage). Finally, I relented.

We spent the next day on the beach picking out a song and practicing. Come time for me to go on stage, I think I was almost as nervous as I looked! The audience, mostly middle aged couples, cheered me on as the youngest participant. At least I had that going for me. I sang my song and danced my dance, and when it was done, I happily descended the stairs and took my place next to my family.

With much anticipation, I won 3rd place! Well, there were only five contestants, but that doesn't matter, does it? Yes, my grandmother enjoyed her massage and I got to be congratulated by every person we walked past for the rest of our vacation. Lucky me.

Night Life During the Daylight

Sometimes I wish we were more into the nightlife scene. If we were, we sure would have loved Ivan's Bar at nighttime. Instead, we visited the famous bar-restaurant-activity place for lunch one day. Ivan's is a sort of settled down version of Margarita or Senior Frog's situated on a cliff overlooking the teal ocean. Not only could Ivan's guests hang out at the bar on the edge of the cliff or grab some chow in the double decked open air restaurant, but they could also take a dip on Ivan's pool or line up to jump off the cliff 30 down into the ocean. Not sure how safe this would be at night, haha.

You can find a picture of my mom, me, and my grandma at Ivan's on the top of this page.

All in All, we had a blast in Jamaica. My grandma has been asking to come back ever since. Who knows, maybe Jamaica will be our next spring break getaway!

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