Negril, Jamaica

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“Mi come soon!”

Decided to activate my Walk into the Future and make my way back down to Negril, Jamaica in July.

I made a point to visit Negril on an annual basis prior to COVID-19 and this was my first trip back down since May 2019.  I felt comfortable when I traveled out to Portland, Oregon for the NACE2022 conference back in June and got the urge to get down to Jamaica since COVID restrictions were scaled back.

I went back and forth on when to travel to Jamaica but decided to just look at hotel and air prices to determine the best time for me to travel.  Found dates that were compatible with my work and life schedules and booked a trip to my favorite spot, Samsara, which sits on the cliffs on the West End of Negril.  I found Samsara years ago and always stay at this resort when I’m in Jamaica.  The location is great for snorkeling, catching sunsets and experiencing Jamaica in a more authentic manner than staying at a large resort and never leaving the property.

The staff at Samsara is great and most remember me when I return which makes me feel like a family member.

My overarching goal for this trip was to get down to Negril and relax.  Yes, I could have found a spot closer to home to relax but the Irie vibes in Jamaica kept calling me.  I made sure to pack my snorkel gear since I wanted to spend as much time in the water as possible on this trip—mission accomplished.

Arrived at Sanger International Airport after my 2-hour JetBlue flight from Orlando.  Made my way through customs, got my luggage, and headed to the Jamaica Tours counter to catch my shuttle to Samsara.  The airport is about an hour and a half away from Samsara, so I got a Red Stripe beer at the airport and got on the shuttle for my ride over to Negril.

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Samsara has gone through a remodel since my last time down there.  They added a couple new buildings, a new infinity pool and deck overlooking the water.  These additions were a complete hit with me as they brought a new level of adventure to the resort.

My room was in the newest guest building and was steps away from the infinity pool.  This view created some unique pictures for me with the sunsets bouncing off the pool and the ocean.  I did not get in the pool but appreciated the addition and several other guests were regulars.  Guess not everyone goes to Jamaica to get in the ocean. 😊

I did not book the all-inclusive packages since I wanted to explore and not have to be at the resort at a determined time for a meal.  Also, there are other options close by and I like to experience different venues for my meals.

One of my regular spots on this trip was the 3 Dives Jerk Centre on the West End.  This spot has some of the best jerk chicken on the island and the price is fantastic.  I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods but the seasoning they use is great and they provide the jerk sauce on the side so I can add more or not.  Mostly, I don’t add sauce and just eat the jerk chicken with rice and peas.

I made another stop at the Rock House to get lunch and had the grilled snapper, peas and rice and plantain.  The chef at the Rock House has an international reputation for great Jamaican dishes and I’m never disappointed when I dine there.  The rum punch is pretty good too!

There was not as much live reggae available as past trips but believe this is because the island is still adjusting to having tourist back.  Legends on 7 Mile Beach is a sister resort to Samsara and they host a live reggae band on Sunday nights.  This is a new music spot from the last time I was in Negril and the band was good.  The larger venues had DJ music which was fine but I’m a huge fan of live music so gravitated more to the bands/groups that were playing.  Hoping the live music continues to come back since I’m already planning my next Negril trip.

This song was a surprise request for the band:

I was able to snorkel daily in the morning before leaving the resort for my food and music excursions.  The water off the cliffs is calm in the mornings and provide a perfect place to float and see a wide variety of fish.  There were no jelly fish this time, so this allowed me to stay in the water for extended periods of time.  There were only a few other folks in the water, so it felt like I had the ocean to myself.  😊 Plan to get out to the reefs my next time down to explore a bit more.

I was able to get 4 full days during this trip and enjoyed every minute I was back in Negril.  Hope the become a regular visitor again so I can enjoy the irie vibes, food, and great views. 

Continue readingNegril, Jamaica

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

(Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay)

2020 has been a tough year for us all!

The good folks from the Walk into the Future blog wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2021 New Year!

The challenges we endured in 2020 will lead to a stronger mentality as we get ready to have a FANTASTIC 2021!

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”.

(Proverbs 27:17)

I hope the Walk into the Future blog has sharpened you in 2020.  Looking forward to another great year enjoying life to the fullest and sharing my experiences, thoughts, and adventures with you in 2021!

Thanks for walking with me!  Irie!

Merry Christmas!

Calvin

The happy spot: Negril, Jamaica

Curry Goats

Made my annual pilgrimage back down to Negril, Jamaica in May.  Decided a few years back I would travel yearly to Jamaica to enjoy the sun, rum and reggae.  I’ve missed a year here and there but have been consistent getting my Jamaica passport stamp.

The Jamaican Tourist Board (JTB) created the ‘Once you go, you know’ slogan in 2003 to generate tourism interest and get more people to visit the island.  I always thought about the slogan because I wanted to ‘know’ what Jamaica was about but thought it was beyond my price point.  A simple check on Expedia highlighted how affordable a trip to Jamaica can be—prices vary based on brand names (Sandals, Beaches, Palladium) to more economic options (Samsara, Legends, Rock House).  You can spend as much or little as you want based on resort brand, location and all-inclusive food/drink options.

Samsara

My preferred resort is Samsara which is situated on the west end of the island.  The unique feature for Samsara is the resort is located on a cliff.  The cliffs provide unique experiences for guest to ‘cliff dive’ while enjoying the water.  I don’t cliff dive but use the access to put my snorkel gear to good use.  I spend about 3 hours daily exploring underwater caves, following fish and watching Jamaican spear fishermen catch barracuda.

 

Samsara is close to other west end resorts, so I have made a point to visit some of them while on the island.  This allows me to experience additional waterfront views, menu options and drink specials.  My favorite lunch spot on the island is the Rock House.  The Rock House has an expanded menu with a lot of traditional Jamaican food options.  Steamed snapper, peas and rice and callaloo is my go-to meal ‘every’ time I’m there.  Callaloo has a look and feel of collard greens but I will warn you, the Scotch bonnet peppers are smoking hot.  I spend more time pulling them out, but they do add flavor to the dish.

Rock House

I got a bit adventurous and decided to stop at a new spot on this trip.  I pass the Kool Vybes Bar and Jerk Centre every time I’m in Negril but never stopped.  Just assumed everything on the menu would be smothered in Jamaican jerk sauce but they provide the option to have the sauce on the side.  The food at the Jerk Centre was great and may be the best food bargain in Negril.  I will ensure to make it back to the Jerk Centre—recommend getting the jerk sauce on the side if you’re not into spicy food—Jamaicans like food with a kick!

http://realnegril.com/koolvybes/

Jerk Centre

Samsara has a sister resort (Legends) on Seven Mile beach.  Guests have full privileges at both resorts which provides additional options while in Negril.  I can spend time snorkeling off the cliffs at Samsara and then trade for beach activities to include jet skis, catamaran excursions, shopping and dining.  This 2 for 1 resort option is a ‘hidden’ gem to enhance the overall enjoyment while in Negril.

7 mile beach

Reggae

My go to spots to listen to live reggae in Negril are Alfred’s and Bourbon Beach.  I always ask the locals for places to visit and they all agree Alfred’s Ocean Place and Bourbon Beach are the best places to hear live music and catch the Irie vibe.  I’ve never been disappointed with the music or the vibes while at either place.  Both locations are right on 7 Mile beach so you can kick back with a cold drink, listen to the bands and hear waves crashing at the same time.  Very enjoyable experience!

A new place I added to the rotation this trip was Roots Bamboo Beach resort.  Large stage with an impressive sound system with live reggae on Monday and Wednesday nights.  Roots Bamboo Beach is extremely close to Alfred’s and Bourbon Beach—went back and forth between venues when a band had to take a break.

Negril’s uniqueness with cliff and beach access keeps people like me coming back year after year.  It’s always great to meet someone from Europe or Canada and hear they are on their eight trip to Negril—most are like me and stay at the same place every time.  They are in the ‘know’ about Negril.

So, now you know—Negril is my happy spot and I plan to visit as often as possible.  Already looking forward to my next trip down.

What is your happy spot to visit?  When’s the last time you were there?

Sunset 1

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