Food, drink, sun, and water combine for fine Jamaican holiday

Jamaica, the Caribbean  island, not the Queens neighborhood, is about a  five-hour flight from CNY.  I write most often about places much closer to home, but into every blog must come the occasional foray into the great beyond, so here goes.

The island nation of nearly 3 million was our home away from home for six days. And we did indeed feel like we had become a part of a new family during our stay at Beaches Boscobel resort,  just outside Ochos Rios, where the staff members are incredibly helpful and friendly.

My family and my brother and his family connected at this all-inclusive piece of paradise on the island’s northern coast. What do six pasty-faced Irish-Americans do in June in the Caribbean? Apply copious amounts of sunscreen, make frequent use of the shaded section of the swim-up bar at the glorious pool,  take advantage of the cooling ocean breezes and shaded chaise lounges on the beach, and stay in the water as much as a human can possibly stay in the water.

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Wife L and Brother M had conspired for months to get us all on a cruise. Nothing against those floating buffet tables, but I am not keen on being cooped up on a ship and waiting in long lines to disembark at various ports of call.

So Plan B was a visit to this Sandals property that had as many activities as we could handle or none at all, if you lean that way.

We snorkeled for the first time, and ended up going two more times. I was enthralled with the display of colorful fish that were brighter than even the Pixar magicians could conjure for Finding Nemo.

I took a lesson on a Hobi Cat and took the family out twice on my own. We went about 60 yards each time before skimming to a halt in the water.  I rallied, but I won’t be competing in any sailing contests on Oneida Lake any time soon.

We had two rides on the banana boat, which fit five of us as we got yanked along at a good clip  by a powerboat.  We swam in turquoise waters and fell asleep on the beach chairs.

We ate jerk chicken, beef patties, bammies, and salt fish, among the Jamaican specialities, and as wide an array of other foods at the five restaurants as you can imagine.

Booze was part of our package. Here is one key tip: At every bar and restaurant ask the bartender/server for a special drink. You will get that person’s own concoction and only a smile when you ask for the ingredients. Rum will be in everything, which is quite alright,  but everything else will remain a mystery.  I sampled a Bob Marley, Hummingbird, Dirty Banana, Morning Glory, Summertime, Reston’s Special, and a Jamaican Delight, among others. And, of course, Red Stripe beer.

I’ll keep this relatively brief and let the photo gallery tell the story. But if you ever get the chance to go, go. It’s a great place to vacation. Just bring the sunscreen (soothing aloe gel is provided by the resort).


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