A2A in Jamaica: Do it for the love, don’t do it for the likes
For those of you who are following me on Instagram, you likely saw a few snapshots of my recent trip to the beautiful island of Jamaica. The reason for the amazing vacation was my cousin’s wedding but while down there, I made sure to indulge in many of the fun activities “Jamrock” has to offer. While I had initially booked my vacation for just 10 days, an unexpected debacle with my airline, Fly Jamaica, forced me to tack on an extra week, which of course, made for more fun in the sun.
Now, for many of us bloggers and avid social media users, we often become so wrapped up in getting the perfect Instagram photo that the joy of the moment is lost. As this vacation was the first time my entire family would be together in the same place at the same time, I really wanted to ensure that I lived every moment to the fullest, with or without the camera rolling. This choice inevitably resulted in fewer pictures being taken but in retrospect, it was the best decision I could have made. Funny enough, while in Jamaica, I heard a song by reggae artists Chronixx called “Likes,” in which the singer talks about today’s social media hype and the constant desire to attract more “likes.”
Though I’ve been to Jamaica many times, this last trip was without a doubt the best. With good Caribbean food always on the table, great friends and family around me and a savoury drink always on hand, this was a vacation for the books. Here are just a few highlights from #A2AinJA.
It may have been humid but love was still in the air.
First up on my trip was my cousin’s wedding and all I can say is, “Move over Harry and Meghan!” This wedding was royalty and elegance at its finest. From the beautiful venue, to the amazing food, to the gorgeous wedding party and of course, to all the love in the air, it was a wedding to remember! I even had the honour of taking part in the couple’s sand ceremony, a symbolic ceremony of union in which two separate sands are poured into one vase, representing the bride and groom coming together as one. You can see a snapshot of the couple’s special day in their wedding video below.
Rising, shining and grinding at Sunrise Breakfast Party.
After partying until the early hours of New Year’s Day, my cousins and I headed over to Sunrise Breakfast Party. The annual party – which is actually more of a soca fête– started at 5 a.m. and went until early afternoon. At one end of the outdoor venue, guests could help themselves to an all-you-can-eat breakfast of traditional Caribbean cuisine and an open bar (hence the name “breakfast party) while on the other side, a DJ and hype man got the crowd winding and grinding to some of the best in dancehall, reggae and soca.
Now, let me tell you: Going to bed at 3:30 a.m. only to wake up an hour later for a party is not easy. “Why did I even agree to this?” was what I distinctly remember thinking as I woke up that morning to get dressed. But with good food, great music and even better company (not to mention an unexpected sighting of Usain Bolt!), to my very surprise Breakfast Party ended up being a highlight of my trip.
Indulging in a few Jamaican staples at Hellshire Beach.
Fried fish is a must in Jamaican cuisine. Although this staple food item tastes good anywhere, anytime, there’s just something about devouring it on a beach that makes it taste even better.
Hellshire Beach is just one of those beaches at which fried fish is perhaps best indulged. A popular tourist spot located near Portmore, admittedly, this spot is now more fish vendor shops than beach (significant erosion over the years has left very little of the shoreline) but nevertheless, there’s something to be said of Hellshire’s simplistic beauty and of course, great food.
I’ve had many fried fish dishes in my lifetime and before heading out to Hellshire, I was fairly confident I’d experienced the best of the best. But after ordering a plate at Aunty May’s (one of the fried fish restaurants along the shoreline), I realized just how wrong I’d been. Served with your choice of freshly fried festival or bammy (staple Jamaican side dishes) and topped with a savoury – but spicy – vinegar sauce, this fish was without a doubt the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating! And for the lobster lovers out there, Aunty May’s also puts together a mean curried lobster.
The hike of my life to Falling Edge Falls.
It’s not a real vacation in Jamaica unless you visit one of the island’s many gorgeous waterfalls. While sites like Dunn’s River Falls and YS Falls draw thousands of tourists every year, some of Jamaica’s most beautiful falls are actually hidden gems.
This time around, I had the chance to visit Falling Edge Falls, a secluded waterfall in the small community of Bowden Hill (about 20 to 30 minutes from Kingston). While this waterfall is nothing short of a beaut, let me warn you: The trip to get there isn’t for the faint of heart. The site can’t be accessed by vehicle and instead, requires a 15 to 20-minute hike up Jamaica’s mountainous terrain. And this terrain isn’t the easiest to navigate, either – it’s quite rugged and the surrounding bush is quite thick. Of course, as fate would have it, it had rained the morning of our trip to Falling Edge and so we also had to deal with slippery slopes and a lot of mud (all in sandals, I must add).
The death-defying trek is certainly worth it, though. The secluded site is quite tranquil, only disturbed by the steady sound of rushing water. That day, we were the only ones at the falls and we certainly made the most of it with our seemingly endless supply of food and drinks. You can check out a highlight reel of our day trip to Falling Edge Falls down below (video courtesy of Official Shanif).
Dare I say that I miss Jamaica already?
Whether you’re visiting for the first time or like me, you’ve been to the island several times already, there’s always a new experience to be had in Jamaica. Regardless of what you get up to while there, be sure to remember Chronixx’s words: “do it for the love, don’t do it for the likes!”
But that’s just According to Adrienne.