Welcome to Jamaica! Welcome to Jamrock! Jamaica is a beautiful island with so many activities to do!! It’s the most popular island in the Caribbean and a great getaway to relax on the beach or to turn up with friends in a party. This island is known for the famous reggae music of Bob Marley, flavorful jerk chicken, cool Red Stripe beer, and the best track athletes in the world like Usain Bolt. I have traveled to Jamaica many times, but this year I traveled to Jamaica for carnival in Kingston, Jamaica. Jamaica Carnival is usually after the Easter Holiday, in the month of April around the third Sunday of the month. The carnival is usually about a compact week of festivities and parties which are Soca “fetes”. I really like this carnival for the beautiful costumes this captured my heart first lol, reggae/dancehall music, great food, and nice beaches. Compared to Trinidad Carnival, I appreciate the following (7) aspects of Jamaica Carnival:
· Accessibility and affordability of this carnival
· Reasonable flights especially from Miami
· Beach access to many nice beaches
· Currency exchange rate to the dollar
· Abundant affordable hotel or Airbnb accommodations
· Spring season date in April
· Most of all the great food options
For planning, I recommend planning in advance with a friend or carnival concierge if you’re not a carnival veteran like myself because carnival is a very expensive but fun experience. You can check the Xaymaca.com Band site for carnival fete tickets, planning, and recommendations. For packing, I recommending packing all your carnival essentials (i.e. fanny packs, portal chargers, tape/pasties, makeup) lightly with your best swimsuits, beach attire, or summer clothes. This island has some great summer fashion is very up to speed on all the trends. I recommend getting a good driver or using a good tax service. Jamaica has so many good taxi drivers and the best taxi service I seen on a Caribbean island. I have the best Jamaican driver and for week I do not miss my car or using Uber because he is best. Getting a good driver is major key to getting around and having someone to take you to all the great local spots or to give travel recommendations.
For flying, I recommend Jet Blue Airlines or Caribbean Airlines. This year I traveled with American Airlines with flight layovers in Miami. I did not have a good experience when my return home flight was cancelled and rescheduled last minute with American Airlines which left me stranded in Jamaica for a day. But I made the best of one day stay in Jamaica. For stay, if you’re a first timer, I recommend staying in a big chain or known boutique hotel like Kingston Marriott, Spanish Court Hotel, or Knutsford Court Hotel. Also, recommend Airbnb accommodations or staying with family that lives in close proximity to Kingston. This year, I stayed in Knutsford Court Hotel for most my trip and then an Airbnb home for a night. I enjoyed the Knutsford hotel location which was close to all the carnival festivities but this hotel was very dated. I mostly enjoyed the Airbnb home and views of the Kingston. Here are some Kingston trip details:
Currency: $1 USD = 134 JMD
Airport Code: (KIN) Kingston, Jamaica
Average Cost: $2,400
Communication Option: T-Mobile
So let’s view this amazing island! Here are the following (4) recommendations for Jamaica:
1. Costume. My favorite part of carnival is costumes. It’s the reason why I travel and get excited. This was my third carnival experience with Xaymaca band and they have some gorgeous costumes and good costume designers. Costumes are usually launched in the November/December months from the year before. This is new but very big carnival band with many carnival costume sections. This year carnival pickup was very simple and I appreciated the details of the costume bag boxes and favors in bags (i.e. drinks, snacks, phone accessories, cooking seasonings, labeled key chains, logo gym bag, and sticker tattoos). Their customer service is best compared to Tribe band in Trinidad. This year I experienced the Casualties of Carnival when my carnival bra did not fit for the road. But good thing, I was prepared and made it work with tape and bra pasties.
2. Beach. One of my favorite beaches in Kingston is the Hellshire Beach in Portmore area. This beach keeps the essence of island vibes, good food, and nice views. I love how this beach keeps the authenticity of local mom and pop restaurants and chill beach vibes. This beach has the best seafood (snapper and lobster) with festival that you ever eat. I still miss and think of the food on this beach.
3. Food. Jamaica is known for some popular and great food dishes especially for breakfast. They are known for the popular Caribbean dish of ackee and saltfish with boil banana. This breakfast is best and leaves your tummy full for hours. Some of my favorite yummy food options are (i.e. Jerk Chicken, Snapper, Beef Patties with Coco Bread, Escovetich Fish and of Course Oxtails). The thoughts of the food on this island makes me want to fly back lol.
4. Music. One of favorite genres of music is reggae and dancehall music. When you think of this beautiful island of Jamaica, music is one of the best parts. Reggae music originated in Kingston. This music is cool, acoustic, and very relaxed. I recommend visiting the Legend Bob Marley home museum. During the carnival, I enjoyed dancing to dancehall music of some of favorite artists on the road which was so much fun. This another beauty of Jamaica carnival is hearing dancehall and Soca music on the road. My top three favorite fetes are (I love Soca, Soca Brainwash Jamaica, Xaymaca Beach Lime). For Jamaica carnival, you can enjoy many different types of fetes (i.e. Breakfast parties, Beach limes, J’ouvert which are “daybreak” parties in paint, Cooler fetes, and Boat parties). There were some casualties of carnival on the road and in fetes such as the unbearable heat, long lines, and dehydration, but I recommend make the best of any situation and have a great team of friends to make your experience best. Jamaica Carnival is a great experience, it’s “Must” if you miss Trinidad Carnival and defiantly a “To Go” for vibes.
Live Passionately! See the beautiful world! Jamaica is always a good idea especially for your next Girls trip, Bachelorette, Adventure, or Wedding. Book your next Lime Vibe Travel trip to Jamaica. Explore and Travel to Jamaica!
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