Day 5 Jamaica Trip April 2024

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 Today my friends aunt was coming to pick us up at 10. I went for breakfast at 9:30. My friend was there earlier and she got some plantains today but they weren’t very ripe. Breakfast was the same as yesterday for me so I didn’t take any pictures. In the morning I did call for some bottles of water to my room but it was too early I learned I could get some at the buffet.  My friends aunt was delayed so had time to sit at the coffee shop. This was the view from the coffee area. We chatted with security and the taxi driver at the hotel for awhile before we left. We didn’t leave the hotel until 12. My friends aunt got proper plantains we ate it in the car. Today we decided to go to Ocho Rios. I have never been there and it is not that far from where we are staying. We have a driver booked for tomorrow to take us around the area and Bob Marley house tour. My friends aunt wanted Pizza Hut we stopped in a plaza that had KFC, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut. Last time I was in Jamaica I saw the plan

First day Jamaica trip Apr2023 -part 1



My trip started out by taking the train from Ottawa to Toronto and staying a few days with relatives. I really enjoyed my time in Toronto and did not blog.

My best friend from Vancouver is Jamaican. We decided to go on a trip together as we could both get time off work. We have been to Jamaica together seven years ago and it was really interesting to see how it has changed.

My friend and I do not have the same travel style. I have travelled a lot prepandemic with my parents that have now passed. My friend has not been to many places outside of North America her travel style is to be on the go nonstop and mine is to get some relaxation in. There was a lot of planning that went into this trip especially with us living in different provinces now. I am so thankful that I reconnected with one of my highschool friends who is now my permanent travel agent. She did a fantastic job dealing with all the issues and highly recommend her if you need a travel agent here is her link https://www.travitudetravelgroup.ca/

My friend and I met at Pearson airport she travelled straight from Vancouver and I came to the airport. I got to the airport early and had Starbucks before waiting in the long security line. The plane was packed but my friend and I were seated in aisle seats in the same row. All the planes on our trip were on time and out luggage made it to our destinations. We flew Westjet which may have been sunwing previously. My friend flew rountrip to Vancouver on a package and I only flew return to Ottawa her price was cheaper than mine so get a package if you can. 

We were handed customs forms on the plane so remember to bring a pen like the old days. At the airport there were self serve kiosks it took some time but that wasn’t the end. Then there was another long line to manually get checked and then again another line which moved faster. Two packed planes landed at the same time things are busy. People were getting frustrated be ready to be patient lots of people arriving and limited staff like anywhere else. A airport host explained that one step was customs, one was immigration, and then there was a secondary check. This process was much longer than it was in the past mostly just waiting in lines the actual check part was fast. Later there are people who have taken your luggage of the carousel they request tips. One more check after luggage where you get asked about what is in your luggage. They didn’t seem to be using the scanners just questioning what is in your bags.

After that it was time to find the bus kiosk which wasn’t westjet. I had noticed that both the bus transfers were in my friends name I had my travel agent change it incase we ended up on separate planes. It wasn’t updated at the airport but it was okay because we were together. They told us at the bus that our rep would be at the hotel until 4 and we could talk to her there. Then there was a lot of confusion to get on the bus. They kept taking luggage off and people said to sign in but the reps kept leaving and not paying attention. It was an odd process in the end we just watched to make sure our luggage was on the bus and got on. Once the bus was on its way it was a comfortable ride. The hotel was in Trelany which is about half an hour away from Montego Bay airport. 


We stayed at Ocean Eden Bay which is an adults only resort but has access to Ocean Coral Springs which is the family resort next door. This was my first time traveling as a vegan as my previous trips I was vegetarian. The reviews for this hotel said it wasn’t good for vegans there was actually a lot of vegan food with no labels. My friends aunt lives in Jamaica and our plan was to have a car to go into town to eat anyways. Jamaica is known to be vegan friendly so I knew I would be able to get enough food. I did know that it would be hard to leave this resort without access to transportation.

The check in process was very busy and chaotic. Although they were giving our welcome drinks it was done randomly and I never got one. My friend and I had separate rooms. The person I checked in with was a little rude. Someone asked her if there were maps of the resort she said no. The person my friend checked in with gave her a map. I was given a letter at check in thinking it was like other resorts that would have information about the resort etc it was just a letter saying due to covid services might not be available. I read everything so there were some signs up with a barcode for restaurant menus. You needed a code to get into the site I was given a code but it didn’t work I thought it might take some time to register. While I was waiting for my friend to register I asked the Westjet rep if she would be there the next day she said yes I got the feeling she wasn’t interested in talking to me. It was the end of the day so thought maybe she is done her shift. I went to the bar my friend and I were planning to get something to eat right after we went to our rooms. I noticed people bypassing me at the bar service had an attitude and after this happened a few times throughout the resort it was impossible to ignore the obvious class system Jamaicans are second in the order. I was not the only one that noticed this as I met a few other guests with similar experiences. The family side had much better service and this service attitude seemed to be limited to the adult side. 



The Bell person took us to our room. He was great. My room was first and it was great. The room was huge separate toilet, bathtub, shower, balcony, living area. There is an elevator as I was on the third floor and pretty close to the lobby. I found it faster to take the stairs. The only thing I didn’t like was the fan right above the bed. My air conditioning seemed to work at night so I was okay with leaving the fan off when I was in the bed. I did have to leave the fan on while I left the room during the day. My friend and I had separate rooms requested close together. Next we went to my friends room the door would not open and finally maintenance opened the door and said we couldn’t come in. We decided to leave the luggage in my room and then we had to go back to the front desk. My friend went with the bell person while I freshened up in my room. I went to the lobby half an hour later and my friend was still waiting to get assigned a room. This is with her being the feisty person she is and pushing them. She did ask if we could go somewhere else but I had put in too much research into this resort. We were tired and hungry. It took over an hour to get her a new room. The new room was way on the other side of the hotel so now our rooms were far from each other. We were too tired and hungry to do anything about it. There was only one restaurant open at this time. It was between lunch and dinner we were too hungry to wait for other things to open. It was a small beach buffet there was barely anything left on the buffet and not many vegan options for me. They had a loaf of bread on display I asked if I could have a slice and someone came out and told me it was for display only. The same type of bread was on the buffet for breakfast the next day. I ate a bit of the few vegetables and bread that was left on the buffet knowing I might not get anything else that day. I knew there was room service in the room but remember my code not working and since I couldn’t see the menu I had no idea if they had vegan options. The other thing that ruined this restaurant it is a lovely beach restaurant on the family side playing terrible music that was not appropriate for kids. This is music Jamaicans like now but not the kind of music you would expect at a resort. 





We were super tired so went to the room. I tend to sleep late normally and they were having some sort of party at the pool. The music and vibration were super loud in the room it was frustrating it didn’t end until after 11. It was only really bad on the first night I think that was the only party like that while I was there. There were other music nights that were better and finished earlier. My friend wasn’t bothered by it in her room but she had issues with her air conditioning. I feel like my apartment at home has central air conditioning so I may be used to air conditioning issues as I felt mine come in the mornings with no issues. 

 

In the morning we had the choice of a few buffet restaurants. I knew that I was likely to have more success with vegan options on the main family side. There were a lot of boiled vegetables unfortunately they were not cooked enough. My friend wanted plantains but didn’t see them on the buffet she found a lovely cook who made them fresh for us. If my friend didn’t get her plantains she probably would have made me leave the resort. Every restaurant in this resort they ask if you have any food allergies but then they say nothing about accommodations they have. I was pleasantly surprised to see almond, soy, and banana milk on the buffet. It was a relief to have non dairy milk available everywhere. The buffet was large and there was enough to eat. 


When I was doing research about this resort I had read that Mike’s coffee shop was great. It is on the family side of the resort. It was an excellent addition to an all inclusive although they didn’t have any marked vegan food they did have almond and soy milk for beverages and great coffee. They also had water and ice tea jugs. My friend and I don’t usually like the same things but we came here daily. 

Now that we have had our first coffee it is time to end this blog stay tuned for part 2.







Comments

  1. Thank you for booking with me!
    It was a pleasure to deal with you and your friend even with the hiccups. Glad we solved them promptly!
    If any of your readers are looking for an travel advisor I would love to help them.
    www.facebook.com/groups/farahnak.ttg

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