The One About Jamaica

Some time back I got a one month stint in Kingston, Jamaica. I was based at a University there, in meetings most of the day and at the same time taking care of the 9-5 job in Fiji. The weekends though were strictly reserved for adventures.

Jamaica was one the few places I hadn’t put too much effort into planning. Lucky enough, I had a few fellow Pacific Islanders who were happy to accompany and guide me. Of the three and a half weekends I spent in Jamaica, I went on solo adventures on 1 and a half of them – and thats what I will write about.

Having arrived in Kingston late on Friday evening, I spent most of my Saturday sleeping [It is a looong way away from home], at night I looked up how to go about exploring near by places. I decided on Port Royal. Now, for those who are not big history buffs, Port Royal used to be known as the “wickedest city in the world”. This was when it was the hangout place for pirates from the world over. I chose to go because I have seen Pirates of the Caribbean.

To get there, you need to find your way to the bus station in Kingston, I think its called Parade. From the bus station, there is a big yellow bus [Number 98] which goes towards the airport and Port Royal every 30 minutes. It costs only JMD100 [FJD2] and takes just under an hour to get to there.  To get back, catch the bus from the same place. The Port Royal Museum is only a short walk from the drop-off point.

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Also near the museum is the Giddy House. Its a partially sunk building which makes you feel “giddy” while walking around in it.

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For the second solo adventure in Jamaica, I chose to go to Negril to see the sunsets I had heard so much about. This one was a bit more tricky, or maybe I was getting a bit paranoid. You see, by this time, I have been told more than a dozen times that it was not safe to travel around alone for a female. There were also signs on campus which read “There is safety in numbers, do not walk alone at night”. And not to mention the more than usual amount of catcalls. Anywho, I wanted to have as much details pinned down so I don’t get myself into trouble.

Sorting out the transportation was quite simple, albeit expensive compared to Fiji. I booked online through Knutsford Expess and the ride cost about FJD60 one way. I searched for accommodation options on Agoda and found a lovely place on the cliff, next to the sea called Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa. Its a reasonably priced resort situated halfway between the bus stand and Rick’s Cafe. They also have a sister resort, Legends Beach Resort (situated on the beach and slightly expensive) and free shuttle services are provided. I took a morning shuttle to Legends to spend time at the beach and got back in the evening to head to Rick’s to watch the sun go down.

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Well, those were my solo adventures in Jamaica. For solo females travelling to Jamaica, you are likely to attract unwanted attention, mostly harmless. But it can put a damper to your trip. Have a wedding band handy, and filter out the catcalls.

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