When we visited Jamaica we had bad weather for a week; heavy rains came down everyday. The beach at our resort got washed away into the ocean leaving behind a brown murky water that did not look inviting. One of the ladies working at the reception told us she was scared and that it hadn’t rained like this in 7 years. This was not very reassuring. We were staying in Montego Bay and apparently it was sunny in Negril so we decide to take an excursion there.
Of course, the rain followed us but we got to see Negril’s 7-mile white sand beach, which was beautiful with its clear calm waters. We then headed to Rick’s Café where we watched people jump from the rocky cliffs into the ocean below. No we didn’t try it.
A vacation doesn’t have to be ruined because of rain. While not ideal, there is usually something else to do if going to the beach isn’t an option. We went to Dunn’s River Falls in nearby Ocho Rios to hike the waterfalls. The water was very cold and water shoes were essential to have a better grip on the slippery rocks. We didn’t bring any, but the locals sell you a pair of brightly colored overpriced slip-ons that double as a souvenir and reminder to buy your own. This excursion is usually offered to cruise ship passengers since it’s one of the top excursions in Jamaica and it can get pretty crowded so visiting when there isn’t a cruise ship in port would be more enjoyable.
Tip: Bring your own water shoes.
We also visited the artisans market near our resort, which is a good place to interact with the locals and to buy souvenirs. We bought a nice hand carved mask to add to our collection.
Our all-inclusive resort wasn’t completely finished and the buffet restaurant was still under construction so they were setting-up tables around the pool. This would have been lovely if the weather had cooperated but unfortunately it rained most of the time and the wind picked-up while they were setting up for the New Year’s Eve Dinner. The staff and tourists alike were scrambling to get under the patio and the next morning it was a mess with all sorts of food in the swimming pool! We were leaving the next morning and as luck would have it the power went out just as we were packing. Packing in the dark isn’t an easy task! The resort wasn’t prepared and didn’t have a working generator, and didn’t even have flashlights or candles to offer. Fortunately the power returned but this is one of the reasons why I always pack a small flashlight.
Getting bad weather during our trip was the luck of the draw but had we done our research before hand we could have avoided staying at this resort. Today, with the abundance of social media sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp it’s easy to read and capture fellow tourists reviews for places to make an informed decision. Check always for a large number of reviews and recent reviews as hotels often go through management changes and even renovations. For Jamaica, I also have to say that the locals weren’t as welcoming as the people we encountered in Cuba, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Perhaps the bad weather affected their moods or we just happened to meet the grumpiest ones. That said; the experience has not made us want to go back, while we have revisited other places many times.