5 Ways to Experience Jamaica off the Resort

5 Ways to Experience Jamaica off the Resort

August 17, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen

After months of being grounded, a trip to the Caribbean is exactly what the doctor ordered. Am I right or am I right? 

While Jamaica is always a favored destination, laying around on a quiet resort is only one way to shed those quarantine blues. Jam Rock can deliver a lot more than tranquil beaches to earn rave reviews from us shut-ins. Jamaica has a deep well of hidden gems to keep you and your crew entertained and off the resort. We suggest these 5 travel tweaks to push you beyond the gates of your all-inclusive, and into the heart of ‘the land of wood and water.’ 

Do it for the Culture: We all come to Kingston expecting to jam down at the Bob Marley museum and The Tuff Gong recording studio. You can also detour to other historic homes and museums. As an alternative to the Marley home, try the legendary Peter Tosh museum in Pulse Centre, New Kingston. There you’ll get to hear how the musical genius transformed from Winston Hubert McIntosh, born in Westmoreland in 1944, to Peter Tosh, thriving in Trench Town by 1960. Better still, you must check out Marcus Garvey’s Liberty Hall, the Jamaica headquarters for the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.) that would aim to get Black people all over the world excited about repatriating to Africa. Now a national heritage site, the restored building houses a museum and a library, in honor of the cultural icon. These two spots are not to be missed.

Shop Women-Owned: While many vendors are beachside to sell to the loungers and swimmers, you’ll find appealing variety in wares once you leave the resort and head into town to shop. There are many women-owned artisan boutiques that are a marvel. Check out Bridget’s on Abbeydale Road for simple sandals that are as sweet as sugar, and as tough as nails. If your travels take you to Devon House, you’ll have lots of vendors to choose from, but choose wisely and pick up handmade jewelry at Rêve. In addition to the owner’s exclusives, other artists also sell their wares there. No matter your taste, there’s something there that’s got your name written all over it.

Fall for some place new: Aside from Dunn’s River Falls, there are 20+ hidden cascades throughout the island. We suggest the mineral waters of Reggae Falls in Saint Thomas (2-hour drive from Kingston) or Breadnut Valley Falls in St. Elizabeth Parish (2.5-hour drive from Kingston). Both are rugged, so you’ll have to pack for what you need and travel with a group. In fact, both of these falls go by other given names, so this excursion is bound to feel like a scavenger hunt. Your prize for a day well spent outside of your comfort zone? A slice of nature and a picturesque selfie. 

Forget Carnival, come for Accompong: While Jamaica is best-known for Rastafarians, rastas have their roots in maroon communities, i.e. remote African village settlements established by self-emancipated slaves. These culture-keepers have become more popularized as of late, and Jamaican currency even bears the bust of the infamous Queen Nanny, who waged and won battles against British colonizers. What few people realize is that these communities are still strong today, but descendants hide in plain sight. Lucky for you, they show their regalia once a year – during the annual Accompong Festival on January 6. If you can’t make it on that specific day, book a trip to the Accompong village to learn more about their culinary, cultural, and musical traditions.

Eat Stush: Stush is Jamaican parlance for bougie or fancy. Well, we know you didn’t come on vacation to be basic! So, on this trip, after you’ve had your fill of the jerk hut, get your tush to Stush in the Bush. This family-run restaurant is known for farm-to-table vegetarian meals that are actually served on the 15-acre farm where the food was grown. Menu items like Vegan Chocolate Cake, Fyah grilled pizza, and dasheen chips with chimichurri sauce earned the place its motto of “sexy vegetarianism.” This slow food favorite books up months in advance, so you would be wise to build your visit to Jamaica around your confirmed reservation.

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