When we started our journey we had no idea that we would fall in love with this iconic phrase. That we would experience a culture that would out shine others with it’s warmth and love. Jamaican culture is one of the friendliest, humorous, and loving that we have been in contact with thus far.
We decided to change our family Christmas traditions this past year. Instead of wrapping gifts that would pile up in our children’s collection, we wanted to give them the gift of travel. We wanted to share a piece of the world with them. We wanted to open their hearts and minds to a world they had never seen. Most of all we wanted to give them memories and the opportunity to see how big their world really is.
From the the moment we stepped off the plane and the warm humid air hit our faces we were greeted with warm hellos and genuine smiles. The kids were exhausted from our red eye flight. So being received by kindness kept their spirits up. They had never been to a country less developed that the US. We began the drive from the airport to our hotel in Montego Bay. The drive was long as the driver took us winding in and out of the streets of the city. School was just getting out for the Christmas holiday. There were Jamaican children everywhere. Each one wearing the uniform that belonged to the school they attended. This drive was very eye opening for our kids.
We had made arrangements to stay at a family friendly resort that rested on the beach. Sunscape Splash is an all inclusive resort that caters to family travelers. Beautiful and loaded with activities surrounding the kids and families. On site is a water park complete with slides and a pirate ship. We played an epic three hour game of hide and seek tag. Honestly I haven’t had that much fun since my childhood! There are also kayaks, giant chessboards, a bungee trampoline, kids club, and daily activities for everyone. One of our favorite things was enjoying Jamaican Jerk freshly prepared for lunch daily! We couldn’t get enough of it!
After three days days we decided it was time to travel outside of the resort. The countryside is rich in culture and history. We had a tour guide that explained the Jamaican customs and told of their history. She was amazingly informative and super funny. She also kept it very entertaining for the kids keeping them involved in the conversation. We drove for about an hour and a half to get to Mystic Mountain. Here we would ride up 700 meters above the jungle canopy. The views were incredible!
At the top we strapped into harnesses and put on helmets. It’s was time for some zip lining!! This was probably our favorite part of the day. Flying through the trees was amazing. Following the zip line we were able to ride the Jamaican Bobsleds through the jungle. The movie “Cool Runnings” was definitely the inspiration for this!! Rounding out the day, we ended in the beautiful infinity pool and water slide!
The following day we traveled to Dolphin Cove and played with the dolphins. Boston was so nervous at first. That didn’t last long at all! The kids loved the dolphins and the dolphins loved the kids. Ignoring some of their commands to hang out with the kids of the group just a bit longer. Pretty sure this was the highlight of Phoenix and Thayden’s trip! On site there were also sting rays that swam right up to us, camels and an ostrich to feed.
During the final few days of our trip we were able to go into the Jamaican community. I loved walking from stall to stall at the Jamaican market. Talking with the people and seeing the goods that they sell to support their families. We had been told by friends that it is really hard for kids in Jamaica to get candy. We had purchased several bags to share before we had arrived in country. The kids couldn‘t wait to hand the candy out. Not only were the Jamaican children excited but the adults as well! I don’t think I have ever seen candy disappear so fast! Instantly I wish we would have had more to give. Our kids still talk about this part of our trip. How they loved making all the kids happy. This right here is what warms my heart and exactly what we wanted them to experience. The true gift of the season.....to give.