Unbothered Gal Jamaica Travel Tips

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I have been to Negril quite a few times and written past posts about it but I decided to write a different post after my recent venture there. Specifically from the perspective of a female traveling alone or with other women. It might sound crazy to some but not every woman goes on vacation to an island with the hopes of “getting her groove back.” Sometimes you just want a relaxing getaway and nothing more.

Jamaica is a beautiful place but navigating your way through some of the social aspects of it can be tricky. Here is my guide for the cosmo gal who travels to Jamaica and wants to enjoy it safely.jamaica-1

Hotel: This time around I stayed at the Negril Treehouse Resort. I’ve been to other hotels that I’ve written about and they were nice but one thing that gives Negril the edge is that you aren’t bothered by the vendors walking the beach. I’m not sure if it’s because the location is further down from the center of 7 mile beach or if it’s because security keeps them at bay. It’s also hotel away from Margarittaville and a short cab ride to other main nightlife spots. Also the staff is very friendly (which is a theme for most of Jamaica). A free breakfast buffet is included with local and Westernized dishes. They also have a two for one happy hour every day at the outdoor restaurant/bar located right next to the hotel beach area, pool and Jacuzzi. The rooms are comfortable and I felt safe. They have separate outdoor seating with tables and a swing for each room. We were on the second floor with not much of a view but it was still nice. I would suggest looking into their suites that face the ocean. For a highly rated hotel it is also very reasonably priced. jamaica3jamaica2jamaica-5

Excursions:

If you want to do more than sit on the beach, reading a  book and sipping cocktails (which is a fine plan indeed), think of these other solo safe activities.

Rockhouse Spa– There are many spa services in Jamaica to get massages right on the beach but if you want a bit of a getaway, undisturbed experience going to a spa in a hotel is a nice option. Rockhouse is a hotel on the Cliffs with cute rooms with their own mini cliffs for you to get into the water. The spa offers more than massages and includes facials and body treatments. jamaica7

Falls: YS is more populated with tourist, maintained and a little farther away.

Mayfield is less populated, not well maintained but you get more care from your hosts and the waterfalls are just as beautiful. Because it’s not as popular you get more time to experience it which is a major bonus. I’ve been to both and had the better time here. Although this was less popular I still felt just as safe. There are other tourist around so you aren’t in the middle of the land alone with just your host.

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Dining- You can really go anywhere to eat alone and not feel like the odd man out. Socializing is different there in my opinion and it’s not just about being seen but rather experiencing. One of my most favorite places to dine is Kabuya. I could have eaten there everyday. Spicy Seafood Medley everyday all day. The drinks are also delish and the ambiance is visually interesting to keep the eyes busy if you are alone.

Nightlife- So this is where I get a bit nervous in the solo traveling game. For some reason men in Jamaica (be they tourist or locals) don’t get the idea of a female, especially a black female, traveling on her own. This is where solo or even traveling with just one other girlfriend get’s tricky. In summary, many local men were overly flirtatious to the point of making me uncomfortable. In one place a guy didn’t even accept my not being interested and my friend and I had to leave. In addition, there is a growing population of local female “escorts”. I was propositioned by an older male tourist. Once he heard me talk and saw my reaction he said he was just joking and walked away. And before you ask, I was not dressed like I was about to work the stage.

For this reason I would suggest being careful with your nightlife options. Certain hotel bars playing live music are a better option for the solo gal to avoid any harassment. The Jungle, the only club in Negril, was also a fun environment  but that isn’t much fun for solo night out so this is a good option to go with friends.

In the end Jamaica is a great place to travel on your own or in a duo. As with anyplace just be smart and talk to trusted locals about best places to go. One of the main pros for solo travel is that it allows you to really get to talk to people and you will find that many Jamaicans are very helpful and only want you to have a good time in their country so that you come back. So enjoy…and relax!

 

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Traveling While Black: Jamaica and Bahamas

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So I know what you’re thinking, this mini posting series is all about race and international travel, what could I possibly have to say about my experiences with race when going to countries predominately populated by other black people? A couple things actually. I don’t know if other groups feel this connection when traveling but when I go to other black countries there is a pull that I get. At first I thought it was just the people being kind hosts and treating us the way they would anyone else. I suppose some of it is. But I’ve had a few experiences where I tend to believe my friends and I get a little special attention when we travel to brown/black countries because we look like them.

It’s the same joke about when you see another black person walking down the street or the hall you give them a nod or “hi” and if you didn’t, you were rude. I first encountered this logic in college where it was over 90% white so the few blacks there felt like we must have a special connection. If we walked across campus it was an unspoken custom that you say “hi” and if you didn’t, you were talked about and it was passed around that “that person wasn’t friendly to other black people”.  (see this scene from “blackish” displaying this sentiment )https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/k0Zn4NCsP9Q&source=uds

So I’d like to believe, I got the hook up from time to time. We made friends easily from the locals who then gave us the “inside” of what to do, where to go, what to watch out for. Now I’m not saying non black tourist didn’t get this same attention, some did but they got to that closer level by a different route…

On the flip side,  I think I was more generous that usual because of that racial connection. I bought crap I didn’t need and tipped high because I wanted to help a struggling people (yes these places are beautiful but not all of the people are living that life and are working hard).

It can be a hassle at certain times because then there is an expectation from some that because we are black we should help them (see a future post on Italy on a certain international incident about this topic). As soon as you helped one person out, you’d walk down and see another person you’d want to purchase from and then feel a little guilty (well I did) because you couldn’t. I end up spending much more money than I plan to when I go to brown/black countries because I want to do as much as I can to give to the locals.  These people aren’t beggars, they are hard working and full of spirit and kindness (to all groups) and it’s a connection I love to receive when I visit.