Jamaica Road Trip

I’ve said it a million times before and today is no different. The best way hands down to explore Jamaica (at least for me) is to rent a car and just drive! It’s funny because for a long time, I was never a fan of driving, but in Jamaica every time you get in the car it’s a new adventure, from navigating the roads to the people you meet and everything in between.

Before  I leave the island for the Denver Passport Party Project and TBEX, I decided to head out on the open road once again…

Of course, I picked up my rental from Island Car Rentals in New Kingston. I’m sure by now the staff is probably wondering why I won’t just buy a car, as much as I’m in there!

Getting the Corolla checked out at Island Car Rental

Getting the Corolla checked out at Island Car Rental

First stop, Portland

I think it’s safe to say, this is my favorite or at least one of my favorite parishes in Jamaica. Besides the beautiful landscape and laid back vibe, I’ll be making my way to Rock da Boat, an all day retro Jam on Navy, Island. Navy Island was once owned by Errol Flynn, an American actors in the 30s-50s who hosted several wild Hollywood parties on the island. Now, efforts are underway to clean up Navy Island and restore it as a destination for locals and tourists to enjoy once again. Proceeds from the event will go towards clean up efforts.

Rock da Boat Retro Jam at Navy Island

Another Visit at Great Huts

I fell in love with Great Huts a few weeks ago and I’m back again for this weekend in Portland. It’s always great to check into a place and people recognize your face and know your name. Here are a few shots from my last stay at Great Huts when I stayed in the African Sunrise Hut. This time I’m taking up temporary residence in the Queen of Sheba Hut. Here’s a sneak peak of the room. More to come later…

The Queen Sheba Hut at Great Huts

The Queen Sheba Hut at Great Huts

Monday with the Maroons

Monday morning, I’ll be heading to the Maroon’s Cultural Center in Charlestown. Maroons are descendants of slaves who escaped from slavery and settled in their own free communities in the mountains throughout Jamaica. In January, I had the chance to visit Accompong, another Maroon settlement, for the annual Maroon Festival. This time around, I will have a resident of the community showing me around. Excited!!

Come along for the ride

Can’t make it to Jamaica just yet, well join me on Twitter, @AbsoluteADT, and on Facebook, Absolute Travel Addict,  to stay up to date with the journey. I’ll be posting picks and tweeting as much as my Digicel service allows. I’ve already posted an album from the first day of driving. Check it out here.

Portland, Jamaica

Help me decide what’s next…

After my weekend in Portland, I don’t have any specific plans on where to go next. All I know is I will eventually end up in Negril, an area, I’ve spent very little time.

I need your help. Have a favorite place you love to go? Somewhere you’ve heard of and want me to check out? Leave your comments below and stay tuned for where I end up next.

 Disclaimer: Island Car Rental provided the rental car for this road trip.

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  • […] will spend on gas going on your next trip.  As someone who makes frequent road trips in the US and abroad, I think is a wonderful idea, especially when using a rental […]

  • […] my many Jamaica road trips that have brought me through all 14 parishes, Island Car Rentals has been there to help make it all […]

  • Hal Peat says...

    I came to this late, so who knows if you’ll read it. Anyway, your bog caught my eye on mediakitty because you identified as a Jamaicaholic. Then I found this particular blog which really made me smile because your reactions are so opposite to mine about driving on Jamaica. Wild horses wouldn’t drag me to do so. Really – you’re American and you were willing to drive on the left hand side for the first time in your life? Not me – I guess I’ve become less adaptable about some things. I grew up in Jamaica till I was 10 years old next door to the man that founded and owns Island Car Rentals, and he’s offered to give me deals on his cars with a driver – which may just be the way to go next time around if I’m not with a driver supplied by the JTB on press travel. Last summer, I went down and did some of the same route as yourself. The hangup, of course, was that I had to pay $167 (plus tip) to go just one way from Ocho Rios into Port Antonio by taxi. Hiring a driver from Island Car Rentals could not possibly be more expensive than that – and since I’m a travel writer and not just a writer visiting “home”, the incidental expenses matter to me wherever I go in the Caribbean.

    But, that was also interesting to me about the Rock Da Boat event in Portland and Navy Island. I didn’t grow up in P.A., but I became obsessed with it from the time I was a boy and found out my great-grandfather once owned it. Long before Errol Flynn. The view down toward the Blue Lagoon from the grounds at Mocking Bird Hill is stunning, one of the most magical views you can have of a bay on this planet. I don’t know why my people ever left from here long ago. It would probably be huge fun if my path ever crossed with April Thompson some day – maybe on the A4 where the road gets windy just before you reach Port Antonio, but I’ll be the one sitting next to the driver and not behind the wheel:)

    • I read everything that comes through Hal! Glad you found me. Jamaicaholic I am and I’m back again on the island now. LOL at the wild horses comment. I actually find driving in Jamaica more peaceful than stressful (in small doses of course) and that windy piece of the A4 is one of my fave parts of the drive.

      Rock da Boat never actually occurred, but cool to know your great-grandfather. I’ve been trying to find a way to get over there and check it out, but no one is biting. :-/

      I can’t imagine Island would be more than the taxi, especially with your hookup. OR, you can just hire me and I’ll drive you around. LOL

  • Jamaica My Way says...

    TOTALLY agree that driving yourself around the island is the best way to discover everything! Being on your own agenda rocks!

    April, we need to take a raincheck on our road trip….kinda sucked being on opposite ends of the island from each other. so it go…..we’ll get it together. Loved reading about this road trip!

  • Tina K says...

    Hmmmm, well that really depends as Negril has so much to do and then there is just hanging on the beach watching the sights go by (submitting to Sand Gravity!). So it can be as active or as relaxed as you like….
    There are some great restaurants and bars on the beach, on the beach road, and into the cliffs. Some of my favs are Sunbeach, White Sands, Sunnyside (all on the beach), Sweet Spot, Sweet Spice, & Shaggy’s (on the beach road)to just name a few. A lot of places or bars especially on the beach will have “happy hour”. One of my absolute fav places to have a few rum punches and a nice meal is Canoe…great view at sunset, great rum punch, and amazing food! It is on One Love Drive (Westend Road) just at the beginning of the cliff area. It also has a small beach which is nice to hang out on during the day.
    On the cliffs there are also some great places like Westender, LTU, Xtabi, and Firewater (bar). Also great places to sit, have a nice meal and watch a beautiful sunset. A few places on the cliffs will let you hang out for the day (just purchase a drink or two, maybe some food) which is nice because swimming off the cliffs is much different then swimming off the beach.
    As for nightlife (if you like) there is Alfreds (3x a week) which is my fav, Roots Bamboo, and of course Ladies Night at the Jungle. Sunbeach has a local band/singer 2x a week which is nice to have a meal and listen. If you like watch the people go by, then take a seat outside at the Corner Bar (it’s on the turn on the road going up to the cliffs). The music is loud, the drinks are cold, the food is yummy, and the sights are plenty!

    • Wow! Ok, that was comprehensive. LOL. Will have to keep that in mind for next time as I’m still in Portland…

      • Tina K says...

        LOL, yep I love Negril and visit often!! love getting out and about to see what is happening….too bad you didn’t make it….one day! It will always be there!

  • Lily says...

    I’m looking forward to following along and hearing about the Maroon stop! Safe journey!

    • Thanks, Lily! I’m interested to see how this one turns out as well. So far, so good.

  • Tina K says...

    Great post!! I love a good roadtrip and nothing is better than one in Jamaica!! Love Portland also, but I spend most of my time in Negril so I hope you have a great time, I always do!!

    • Agreed. JA roadtrips are the best. Going to head to Negril sometime this week. I’ve never really given the town a fair shot. Any must see places you recommend?

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