Travel has been at the forefront of life goals over the past few years. Jamaica was decided upon rather spontaneously while researching travel destinations. As always, vacations boil down to price.
For two travellers, Negril, Jamaica can be as low as $1,400 for 6 days (5 nights) roundtrip airfare, and resort/b&b accommodations.
The majority of our stay was spent wondering the West End, on foot, seeking out delicious food and memorable conversation. Thankfully, both were plentiful.
There are those who travel seeking a hands-free, beach-bound, do nothing, be served, type of refreshing/recharging vacation. I affectionately refer to these people as “beach people”. I fall into another bucket/term called “explorer”. I appreciate the beach, but can only handle it for small amounts of time.
My girlfriend and I prefer an authentic cultural experience when travelling. We chose to stay in the cliffs over the beach because we’re not beach people, but we’d like to stay in close proximity, if we’re inclined to go. The deciding factor in our resort choice was whether or not it was Jamaican-owned. Too many resorts in Jamaica are internationally-owned. They may be great resorts; employing Jamaicans, offering steller views, but some discourage exploring off-compound local businesses. They may not give the traveller an authentic experience when it comes to food. Some (Sandles) use scare tactics to keep wary travellers on their beach front property compound.
My experience at Negril Escape led me to start reviewing places on Trip Advisor.
We had some truly incredible food experiences. Here are the highlights.
Ras Rody’s Organics
A bit of food and philosophy
Our second day in Jamaica prompted our first on foot exploration. Having read about Ras Rody and his food cart, I knew that he was not supposed to be manning his “Ras Rody’s Organic” truck during the week we were here. Man, I’m glad his week-long retreat was cancelled, and we were able to meet him. Ras Rody divides his time between being a cook at a restaurant in the United States some odd months out of the year, and living in Jamaica running the food truck with his Son Shadrach, the remainder of months out of the year.
We sat down on one of two small benches lining the food truck, immediately piqued by what we were smelling. Ras Rody seems like a genuinely nice gentleman. His smile is unforgettable. His food and conversation are legendary. I very much hope our paths cross again some day.
It was dark and rainy, and we desperately needed food. We hailed a cab and asked the driver to take us to a place we read about called The Rough House. Having been in Jamaica for a few days at this point, we somewhat knew the general area in which this restaurant was supposed to be. We turned off the main road into residential territory, and I was a bit confused – as again, we kind of knew where we were supposed to be and our surroundings were not that. After navigating some, we arrived at a somewhat sketchy looking house, adorning a sign that read “The Rough House”. I asked the driver, “we’re looking for a restaurant called The Rough House. This does not look like a restaurant”. He thought for a moment, and said “Okay, I think I know where that place is”. We returned to the cab, still holding on to that unclear idea of where this mythical Rough House eatery may or may not be. So after heading back in the direction we felt this restaurant was, alas, no restaurant. We did drive by a place called “Pablo Restaurant”, which we had walked past a day or two before this experience, and told the driver to turn around and drop us there.
Long journey, and some meandering storyline later, we enjoyed our favorite meal in Jamaica. My girlfriend chose a garlicy pasta dish, aptly called “Rasta Pasta”.
A full day of exploration
Out of our 6 days, we chose one to pack full of planned activity. Our airport taxi service Clives Auto Trasfer, offered a tour package. A driver would spend the day with you and drive you to three different activity destinations. We chose the Black River, YS Falls, and Appleton Estate Rum Factory.
Crocodiles, birds, mangrove trees, oh my.
Cool springs, layered pools and falling water.
I never knew rum could be so good.
It always sucks leaving places you love. Some day we may find ourselves back in Jamaica. I very much recommend vacationing in the cliffs, if you’re the type of person who loves to explore.