Morir Soñando Visits Jamaica
Four members of Morir Soñando, were able to join a lifetime experience trip to Jamaica for one of our owns birthday. Here is a synopsis of the trip with some tips on how to plan a great vacation!
I don't remember the exact moment when I decided I wanted to go to Jamaica but it was on the bucket list for a while. Whenever that decision took place, God Blessed that moment!
I was lucky to round up a group of 11 close family and friends to take this trip off my bucket list. I am a budget traveler. I live alone with my daughter which makes me very conscious about how I spend my money. I don't like to over spend, as I don't limit myself to one trip a year. I like to look for the best budget friendly accommodations including flights, boarding, and activities.
So how do I plan an unforgettable trip to Jamaica for 11 adults?! Here are some tips.
Flights are a fickle subject. Sometimes you just have to be lucky. You can book 4 months in advance or on a Tuesday evening the month of and still get a good deal. You can also sign up for services that email you rates daily or weekly, but those are annoying. One advice for flights is to try Justfly.com.
Once flights are settled, next is accommodations. I prefer private rentals as I like the privacy and it turns out to be the most affordable option for such a big group.
I did some research and found the top 3 places to stay at in Jamaica. Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril. I like to visit more than one town during my trip but as to where we would rent our home I wanted more of a local vibe and to be near the beach. Montego bay was right in the middle of Ocho Rios and Negril. Which made it easier to visit both. It also had a local vibe and great food selection.
As to the house, for 11 of us, including 2 couples, 4 rooms seemed like a good plan. I like to consider Airbnb first, but some countries like Jamaica you can venture out and try Home away for more options. One thing I learned through booking a private home in Jamaica is that most listings on Airbnb would advertise the home but the rate would only be for a room. So, keep an eye out and before booking ask the owner if the listing is for the entire place. On this trip, I was fortunate enough to had found a great house with a pool overlooking the hills of Montego bay into the beach. Major bonus! House came with a driver and a van big enough to fit us all. Everything under $1600 which was about $150 per person! If you compare that to resort rates each couple would have probably paid $1500 for their trip entirely. Major Savings!
After accommodations are set then we discuss itinerary. This just makes sure we get the best of our time anywhere we go. I do always send a disclaimer, “This is truly a suggestion! You can do whatever you want during your trip but here are some things to keep in mind”. I like to keep everyone’s interest in mind and give them time to do their own thing. I made a list and bucket them by towns. We did Ocho Rios Saturday, Negril Sunday, and we stood in Montego bay Monday. Since I have done a lot of the typical attractions in the Caribbean I tend to skip snorkeling, zip lining, and day cruises. I still give all these options to the team for those who wanted to venture out but, for this group we stuck together.
Next tip is on budgeting. Most of these day trips would have been $90+ per person if we would have booked online. With my traveling experience I’ve learned that is best to wait to land and book there. You always meet someone nice enough to hook you up. For Jamaica, since our house came with a driver that saved us so much money. For most things, we just paid the entrance fee.
Another savings tip, Buy bottles at duty free. With a group of 11 at least a bottle each, 2 people can suffice. Then hit up the supermarket. Get breakfast must haves, mixers, and snacks. This helped us during road trips. Also, we would do drink mixes at the house and take them with us to the beach. Leave a bottle without mixing… SHOTS!
An essential step I like to do is a list of restaurants. I looked up spots in different tiers. A fast food spot, a casual spot, and a fancy place, per town. Also, find a great breakfast place nearby. We were lucky for our host to help us out but if you don’t have someone in town to show you the way this list will help.
So my last tip? VISIT JAMAICA. It was amazing. When arriving grab a drink at the bar right off the exit of the airport. About 10 minutes into our trip, we were offered to buy weed. This occurred throughout the whole trip. Weed was everywhere and it was sold in eights and pre-rolled joints. Edibles too! But here at Morir Soñando we promote safety so use at your own discretion. (lol)
Like mentioned above try to visit a few towns. This way you get to experience different restaurants and attractions. In Montego Bay, we enjoyed amazing Doctor Coves Beach. In Ocho Rios, we climbed the Dunns River. A river that flows into the beach with step stone like rocks that you climb with the danger of falling on your ass. We also took the Bob Marley house tour which was a must for culture purposes both during the tour and when you leave. In Negril, we caught the sunset at Rick’s Cafe. Two of our members jumped the height terrifying cliffs. Also a must see in Negril is the 7 mile beach!
As for food, We ate mostly in Montego Bay. Try the House Boat Grill Restaurant for a fancier night. At the entrance you get on a little boat that ferries you to the actual restaurant. It was a very romantic experience. The Pork Pit was a City Island version of dining style... but for pork! GO up to the counter order and take your ticket to the Pork Master. This was a very delicious meal. One of the funniest of our meals was KFC. We heard a rumor that KFC in Jamaica was a must and we HAD TO DO IT! It was really good and a good idea after a long day of traveling. For breakfast our driver hooked us up with his friend who prepared Ackee and Salt-fish, eggs, green plantains, bread fruit and many more options family style for the group to share. This was great! During this trip I also had one too many beef patties, fresh fish sandwiches by the beach, and bomb ass oxtail. Jerk chicken too! Can’t forget that.
Jamaica was the best balance for a vacation. Relaxation, culture, great vibes, and kind people.