Meet the People!
If possible, get someone to drive you up to the mountain to meet real people, see the way they live, enjoy Jamaica as seen through their eyes! The people are warm, friendly, easy to talk to. The mountain scenery and views are beautiful! We went up to a little village named "Bamboo." We also went through Browns Town to Murrey Mount-even a bit higher up then Bamboo. Again, beautiful scenery, views, people! The children were always warm and friendly and so polite! It was such fun to be around them! The water was so clear, warm and relaxing! No words to describe how green and lush everything looked-pictures just don't do it justice!
English is the official language spoken in Jamaica, and all Jamaicans speak English. They also speak what is known as Jamaican "patois", which they claim is a local lingo blended with English, French, Spanish, and African tongues. To me it just seems like a lazy English with a heavy accent. There are books avaiable on the patois, but good luck understanding it.
Just a bathing suit!
Pack light! You won't need much. Bring a bathing suit, a cover-up and one nice dress (or pants and a collared shirt for the men) for your evenings out. Most of the time you can get away wearing just a bathing suit or a pair of casual shorts and a t-shirt. If you're doing the Falls tour bring a pair of water socks (you can buy them there for about $13us) or a pair of old sneakers - I used a pair of old Keds and was fine. These will also come in handy if you go mountain biking or horseback riding.
No need to bring your scuba gear. It's included at the resort. And wetsuits aren't necessary. Trust me. I get cold very easily and was just fine. I had been warned by a friend to bring a supply of pepto, immodium, etc., anything you think you might possibly need. The reason being, you're on an island so things like aspirin, etc will be much more expensive over there. Even if you never use it it's nice to have it with you. Just buy the travel size.
Sandals provides each couple with a welcome pack that includes healthy portions of shampoo, bath gel, aloe vera gel and lotion.
Don't forget the sunscreen! Bring a waterproof camera - the disposable kind will do just fine. And bring lots of film... It's gorgeous over there. All the beach gear you need is provided by the resort. So don't worry about bringing anything yourself.
Day trip to Kingston
As I said in my intro, Ocho Rios makes a good base for excursions; in particular, we chose the resort for its reasonable proximity to Kingston, which was somewhere we knew we would want to visit. We’d already arranged for a day trip to Kingston when we made our reservation at the Blue House, and when we found we were getting on well with fellow guests Michael, Monika and Javier we invited them to join us, which reduced our costs and gave all of us a fun day out. My Kingston page will tell you more about the various places we visited that day, so this is just an overview.
It’s a good two hour drive to Kingston, so we left early and stopped off for breakfast at fast food chain Juici Patti, in Bog Walk in the centre of the island. We made a brief halt in Bog Walk Gorge to admire the scenery, before heading to our first sightseeing stop, Spanish Town, about twelve miles north west of Kingston. This was, as the name suggests, the capital during Spanish rule and there are some wonderful buildings here. Few of them have been restored, however, and some are simply facades, giving them more atmosphere than substance.
From here we drove to Port Royal, the former British capital situated on the same peninsula as Kingston’s airport. Here too the buildings are mainly pretty faded, with the exception of Fort Charles. It seems the Jamaicans value the tourist value of natural scenic wonders above that of their history.
Our next stop was possibly the highlight of the trip, the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston itself. I’ve seen this described elsewhere as a bit of a tourist trap, and it is certainly a very carefully packaged and slick operation, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit so I would recommend that you go and judge for yourself.
After lunch at a good Mexican restaurant, well recommended by Dave, we headed for the Blue Mountains and the beautiful Strawberry Hill Hotel for excellent coffee and dramatic views of the city below, before the long drive home through the Kingston rush hour and back across the island for one of Darryl’s great dinners to round off an excellent day.
Check out the Lime Mill
On the way from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, the cab driver pulled over the side of the road, kinda had us wondering what he was up to. Driver got out openned Terry's door and start to explain to us about this old Lime Mill, plus it gave us a strech with a beautiful view. Also near the bottom of the path there is a grave stone site of a poet Elizabeth Barret Browning. She rests in peace with a beautiful view. Jamaicans love to tell stories, these can be great pices of info to learn about their culture, so we are always happy to listen.