Jamaica was my absolute favorite. I want to get rich and buy a vacation home there one day. The people were amazing and friendly, the scenery was beautiful (it actually looked a lot like Virginia, but with different foliage), and I basically fell in love with it.
For our excursion, we chose to go river tubing. After debarking the ship, we boarded a tour bus that contained one of the best tour guides I have ever seen. She informed us a lot about Jamaica and it’s culture, and even taught us how to speak a little bit like Jamaicans. In Jamaica, the official language is English, but they also speak Patois, which is a blended French language. When two Jamaicans speak to each other, they usually speak English but they are impossible to understand because they speak so fast. It’s kind of funny to listen to .
Our bus eventually arrived at Chukka River Adventures (Chukka means play) after a very bumpy and entertaining tram ride through a coconut/orange grove to the river, we donned our life jackets and went off into the Martha Brae river.
Tubing through the jungle was amazing. There wan’t any wildlife (unless you count the ants, termites, and spiders that kept falling on us when we bumped into the banks) but the foliage was amazing. We passed by and under some really awesome tropical plants. Of course I can’t remember what any of them were now but I promise you, they were cool.
After our one hour tubing adventure, we explored the complex for a while. Chukka is based in an old plantation, and they have preserved a lot of the old buildings and reconfigured them into things such as a rum tasting building, a coffee shop/ ice cream parlor, and a cafe where people can try Jamaican jerk chicken (which we regret not trying).
Zach and I tried the ice cream, which I’m pretty sure was made in Jamaica and featured a lot of interesting flavors. I got coconut and Zach got grape nut. I loved the coconut, it was the perfect taste to accompany our jungle adventure. I tried the grape nut too, which I can’t really describe. It did have what looked like grape nut cereal in it, and it was pretty good.
Going back to the ship, we had a very informational bus driver. Some of the things we learned on the ride back:
- The main source of income in Jamaica is the tourism industry.
- The port in Falmouth exists becuase Royal Caribbean cruise lines invested $170 million dollars to help rebuild it. It just opened in 2011.
- 2.8 million people live in Jamaica, but 1.2 million of them live in the capital city of Kingston.
- Kingston is where all the rich and/or famous people in Jamaica live.
- Usain Bolt is from the province that Falmouth is in, and they are very proud of him. He now has a house in Kingston.
- Jamaica’s main exports are sugarcane, rum, coffee, bananas, oranges, and coconuts.
- Bananas take 9 years to reach the point that we eat them in the US. The Jamaican people will harvest them when they are about 2 months old, boil them, smash them, and eat them like potatoes.
- The main religion in Jamaica is Roman Catholic.
Even the menu & table setting were themed to the occasion:
Soup/salad: Caribbean Conch Chowder. Slightly spicy, but perfectly so. This wins for best soup of the trip. I’ve never had anything like it, and probably never will again.
Main course: Seafood pasta. Nothing stellar, but was delicious. I couldn’t get enough of their scallops!
Dessert: Fruit cobbler. It didn’t say what kind of fruit and I honestly don’t know myself what it was. I think it was mixed fruit. Nothing exciting.