Hey, rockstar! I want you to travel with me like you did on Instagram and snapchat and let’s see how my trip went together. Are you ready? Make sure you fasten your seat belt, as the plane is about to take off… up, up and away.
6 hours later, welcome to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Before we leave the airport, I need you to know this was a very spontaneous trip. My birthday is on 5/2 and I didn’t want to be in Chicago or any part of the US to celebrate it. I wanted to be in another country, chilling, while forgetting about all my worries. In February, I had written out 4 countries I would like to be at on my birth-day, this includes; Thailand, Peru, Barbados and Jamaica; however, I was not proactive about my plan. April came along, and I still was undecided, although I had different tabs opened on my laptop for hotels and airlines, the expenses were not in favor with my budget. One night while being really serious about taking this trip, I recalled a friend had just recently traveled to Jamaica, So I reached out to her and she gave me all the information I needed to get me a good deal for an all-inclusive package, this was about a week to the end of April. Then comes another obstacle; telling my dad about my intention of traveling to Jamaica alone. My dad wasn’t happy and obviously not in support of me traveling alone. He sounded so worried, so it discouraged me from paying for the vacation. On 4/26, Friday night, I was pouring out my heart to God, letting HIM know how bad I really wanted to travel and other things, and of course, I went to bed in the mid of my conversation with God. Well, waking up on saturday morning, I felt this peace of mind, called my dad and he said “Just because you don’t want to share your cake with your siblings, right? Well, you can go but you must be really careful and make sure you give me all the information about your trip and address of the resort you will be staying at”. Geeked up to hear my dad’s approval, I called the number on the all-inclusive package and booked my flight and made hotel reservation for 4/29 through 5/6.
Now in Jamaica
- At the MBJ airport I changed 100 usd (US dollars) to 10450 Jmd (Jamaican dollars) because some lady kept persuading me to change it, saying “it will be useful at the local market”. But it was all lies and i actually got ripped off.
WARNING; DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MONEY AT THE AIRPOT. GET INTO THE CITY, GO TO BANK AND CHANGE IT AT THE BANK.
My Jamaican Bae, Bryan, informed me about this when we met. I’ll tell you about him later, stay tuned!. Anyways, with Bryan’s guidance, I changed 100 usd to 12800 jmd at one of the local bank’s ATM machine (Bryan had calculated the difference for me and told me what to change). Do keep in mind that your bank will charge you foreign exchange rate plus non-bank ATM fee. On the shuttle bus, heading to the resort, the first thing that was sold to me was marijuana; street name weed, blunt, or whatever you call it. I didn’t buy it because all I could think of was, ‘Tobi, you are alone on this trip, no one to check you and before the American embassy will find you ehn, that’s if they even look for you…”
Quick fact; marijuana is legal in Jamaica and you are allowed to carry at most 2 oz with you. If you are found with more than 2 oz, you will be charged between 5-10 usd.
- Transportation- I think it is better to rent a car if you will be exploring the city a lot. Cabs are quite expensive especially from the resorts. I mean you can bargain prices with them but the least amount you will spend is about 40 usd depending on how close your destination is to the resort. Most cars in Jamaica are right-hand drive, but I heard they have some left-hand cars (I didn’t see any). You can request for a left-hand car if you do not feel comfortable about driving a right-hand car. Bryan, Jamaican Bae was my personal chauffeur, so I did not rent a car. Ja Bae was willing to drive me anywhere, but I had occasions where I filled his car with gas. Lest I forget, gas is very expensive in Jamaica.
Activities/site of attractions
There is an endless list of fun activities and adventures you can do in Jamaica, however, make sure you have your money. Montego Bay is the center for tourism in Jamaica, so you have a lot of tourist attractions here. Below is a list of activities I did in bold, and other activities I did not get the chance to do due to my budget and time.
- Mobay Snorkeling tour
- Bus tour from Montego Bay to St.Ann and Ocho Rios
- Cool runnings Dunn’s river falls day cruise
- Boat cruise/party
- Captain’s water sport (did this at my resort). You might be able to do this at the resort you stay.
- Jungle Ziplining
- Local market tour
- Clubs; Magaritaville beach club and Pier One (packed with tourists, no feel of Jamaican reggae or dancehall vibes)
Other activities are;
- Dolphin swim adventure (Dolphin cove)
- Yaaman adventure park
- Bob Marley’s place/meseum
- Black river safari (Ys falls and Appleton)
- Falmouth mystic/luminous lagoon
- Culinary tour
- Martha Brae river rafting
- Couples Nude beach
- Doctor cave’s beach club and it goes on and on and on. (DO YOUR RESEARCH!)
Below are some pictures and videos of me snorkeling, at the dunn’s river, boat cruise and at captains’s water sport.
Jamaica; her culture and people
- Jamaica is a vibe. Every Jamaican has a vibe and you will feel it but guess what? It’s all good vibes. I love how they say, “Jamaica, no problem!” Here’s for my ladies; once you use the geofilter such as Jamaica, montego bay, your resort, the beach or whichever jamaica location filter, just know that their men are coming for you. Jamaican men are flirtatious, persistent, courteous, playful, funny and friendly. No pun intended; from the airport, when I first landed, to my resort, at the tourist sites, at the beach, on the boat, everyday, till my departure, I received more compliments in 6 days than I have received in the last 4 months. I loved the way they say, “my lady” and make sweet comments about my melanin (dark skin) and how beautiful I am. If you easily fall for men sweet talk, you just might risk it all and start living in Jamaica or marry one, LOL!. Nigerian men are learners beside the Jamrock men, trust me!. Jamaican men might just be the real OG sweet boys or should I say ‘fuck boys’, hahahaha. Their music! I’m in love with their music. The beat, the style, I enjoyed every bit of it. SUCH A VIBE! One annoying thing about Jamaicans is that; they are very exploitative. They laugh it off when ypu tell them they are ripping you off, which makes it annoying. They exploit Americans a lot especially American women. They are aware you got the money, so they will exploit you. They will help you spend your money and make you spend the money (if you know what I mean). Overall, Jamaicans are awesome people and I had fun being around them.
Bryan, my Jamaican Bae (this is how i actually saved his number, lol).
- Without exaggeration I had about 15 Jamaican men in my IG DM through my whole stay but the first person to send me a DM was Bryan. He got in my DM to let me know that I was ‘scammed’ at the airport. While the other men had pictures and all, Bryan had no pictures, I could barely see his profile picture. My curious cat wanted to see what man looked like lol, hence, I kept conversation with him, requested for his picture and we met. I let him come to my resort, we talked for a while, getting to know each other, and like everyone, he was surprised but also found me brave to have come to Jamaica alone. Bryan is so sweet and friendly; he took me everywhere I want to go. Advised me on how to exchange my money for better rates, where to get cheap souvenirs, bargain prices for me, taught me a few Jamaican words/slangs, took me to the clubs, drove me around town. Even on the day he was unable to drive me to town, he sent his 64 years old uncle to come pick me up from my resort, took me to the market to do my little shopping and made sure I made it back to the resort safe. I made him listen to Naija music and I also jammed to Jamaican music (vibes). And yes, I smoked marijuana with Bryan and it sure did feel good! He is so sweet, *blushing*. Bryan, if you read this; thank you for being so good to me, being part of my trip and for making this trip one i’d never forget. *winks*
So, Yaaman, I’m sure you would agree that my my trip was mad fun and exciting. I am definitely having more solo trips, God keeping me alive. This trip was life changing for me and I encourage everyone especially my ladies, to take a solo trip at least once in their life time.
OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA, will be the place I visit on my next trip to Jamaica.