How I Toured the Island in 2019 Without Breaking the Bank

Hey guys,

So I went at all 14 parishes, for the first time in 2019. Most of my touring was for work, I worked with a research lab for a while. However, I did go touristing for fun.  Here’s a recap:

St. Thomas

I went to St.Thomas several times in 2019 primarily for the beach.

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St.Thomas

St. Thomas actually has a nice beach that isn’t too popular and it’s pretty easy to get to. Besides the last time I went, the water was beautiful. To get to the beach, I’d have to take a Morant Bay coaster from Downtown for $250 then take a Lysson taxi from Morant Bay town centre to Lysson’s beach for $100. To get into the beach it’s $300, it was $250 earlier this year and if you’re a UWI student it’s free but you’d have to get the pass from SAS before going there. Read more about that here: 5 Things You Can Do With Your UWI ID. 

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This is a beach in St.Thomas. It cost $700 JMD from downtown to get there and go back.

You’re allowed to carry food on the beach and that’s usually what I opt for but there is a cookshop directly beside it you can opt for. For a reasonable $2000 or less I could pay for transportation, access to the beach and food.

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Me at Lysson Beach in September.

Portland

Portland is my all-time favourite parish, I hope I can live here in the future. I went twice in 2019 for different reasons.

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The first time was for work. I was working side by side with the vector control team for one day for research purposes. Since I was working, I didn’t really get to explore but I did go to a new place which was Snow Hill. I bought lunch from a roadside shack selling Jerk Chicken and festival. It cost under $500 and it was really good.

The second time, I went on a road trip with some friends. I did way more exploring here because, well, I had the time to. I spent maybe around $2500 on transportation, access to the beaches and food. My first stop was the Folly Ruins.

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Posing in front of graffiti at Folly Ruins

This was free to explore. You can read more about the story behind the Folly Ruins here.

The next place I went to was Blue Lagoon, this was also a free option. I’m not that great of a swimmer so I didn’t venture off into the approximately 200ft lagoon.

 

After Blue Lagoon we went to Winnifred beach, it was my first time there and I absolutely loved it. The water was literally transparent. There was somewhere to buy food but I was saving my money for Boston jerk pork. There was also no cover charge but they asked that you contribute any amount. I did, maybe about $200.

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Winnifred Beach

After Winnifred Beach we went to Boston Beach. It was my second time there. This time I decided to try the jerk pork and I fell in love. I don’t remember how much I paid for it, maybe around $600 for the quarter and I paid for some festivals. They gave and charged me for an extra one I didn’t ask for but I can’t get mad in Portland. It wasn’t enough pork but I got what I paid for, next time I’ll stop being cheap and buy more. While I’m not 100 per cent sure of the cost for everything, I know for a fact I spent less than $1000 though. To get into Boston beach, I believe was $200 JMD.

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Boston beach

 

St Mary

I never stopped and did anything in St.Mary in 2019 except drive through but I was there so it counts. In 2018 I went to Hamilton Mountain and the surrounding environs to help with vector control activities and lab work.

St.Ann

I went to St.Ann once in 2019 for work. I was helping with training at Shaw Park. Food and transportation was covered by the company of course so I only paid my regular fare to go home from work after we got back to Kingston. I did charter a taxi to get to the lab at 6am though but that wasn’t from my pockets either. Everything would have totalled $900.

I drove through St.Ann another time but that was also for work.

Trelawny

I went here for the first time. We stopped at a gas station right across the road from the sea. Really excited to come back here and find hidden gems. No one really speaks about Trelawny and what it has to offer but I’ll be figuring that out in 2020.

St. James

2019 was also the first time I went to St. James. I went maybe three times, all for work. It was also the first time I went to Montego Bay and as a Kingstonian, I think Mobay looks much better than Kingston.

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Only picture I took in St.James

Transportation was covered by the company, I spent maybe $500 on some food when I was in Mobay.

Hanover 

I spent a whole lot of time in Hanover, okay I spent maybe 3 days but it was a lot of time to me. It was the first time going to Hanover and yes guys, it’s real and it’s beautiful. Hanover reminds me so much of Portland with its beauty. I went here for work and so transportation was paid for.

I wish I was able to explore the parish more but I only went from the hospital in Lucea to Cacoon Castle to help with vector control and gather things for research.

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This was the view from the hospital and no this photo was not edited
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We stopped for gas so I ran across the road to take a photo with the sea.

Westmoreland

I also spent a lot of time in Westmoreland for work. I mostly stayed in Negril but went to a couple other more rural places to collect data. When it rains over in the west, it pours. I learnt how to walk on steep surfaces in the pouring rain and not slide on swampy lands. Of course, transportation was paid for but I did spend some money on a box food and Popeyes in Savanna La Mar. All of that would have been maybe $1000 total.

We stayed in a quaint little resort across the road from the beach.

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Pure Garden Resorts where I stayed. They’re very reasonable.

After work, I’d go over there for dinner. They’re not cheap, I bought some fried chicken strips and fries for maybe $700. I liked it so I got it the next time I was there and drank water. I save a lot of money just drinking water. The company would have helped with some of the cost of food on these trips though.

I liked Bourbon beach, not just because there was no entry free but the sunset was beautiful.

St. Elizabeth

I went to St.Elizabeth both for work and fun. While we mostly drove through St.Elizabeth I did get stranded outside Santa Cruz. Driving through St. Elizabeth to get to the rest of the west for work was always the most tiring part of the journey. It felt never ending.

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A very blurry picture of me outside the “Welcome to St. Elizabeth” sign

Right at the border of Westmoreland and St.Elizabeth, you can get seafood or you can go up the road to Middle Quarter for shrimp. You’d spend no more than $1000. I spent nothing because I brought snacks and protected my pocket, even though I was travelling that time for work.

I also went to St. Elizabeth for a wedding. It was right outside Treasure Beach. I was tagging along with my mom so of course, I didn’t have to worry about transportation.

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Treasure beach

It was a wedding so food and drink were covered of course.

Manchester

I spent quite a bit of time in Manchester, primarily Mandeville and Porus. This was again for work and so transportation and food was primarily taken care of. I had fun walking up the steep hills and steps in Porus and Mandeville, it was a good work out.

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Clarendon

Clarendon was mostly a drive through parish for me this year but I did stop at the Juici Patties in Toll Gates a couple times for a cheese patty.

St. Catherine 

St. Catherine was another drive through parish for me. Hopefully I can explore this parish more this year.

St. Andrew

This is where I spent most of my time. I attended workshops, award ceremonies, movies, anything. You can read about it here:

I did touristy things too like go to Devon House and explore Gordon Town for the first time.

When it comes to St.Andrew, I get most of my fun from exploring restaurants. I went to South Avenue Grill for the first time 2019 for my solo birthday dinner.

Always looking for new experiences and restaurants in this parish. St. Andrew touring isn’t really considered travelling per say so I’ll leave the budget out of this one. I should mention that I got a free movie pass from work, entry to some workshops for free and free food so I still saved money.

Kingston

Ironically, Kingston was parish 14 even though I’m so near to it. I did a couple things in Kingston like boarding the coaster to go to another parish, attending an art festival, attend workshops like

Fare to go to Kingston and get home is capped at $200 and I didn’t pay for any of the events I went to.

My favourite thing about Kingston 2019 was seeing Waterfront and the Art festival. I sampled all sorts of wine from ackee wine, to sorrel wine and passion fruit wine.

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Posing with Melisa Kerr’s art Downtown

Well, there you have it, a brief synopsis of what I did in all 14 parishes this year. I didn’t spend much out of pocket which was primarily because of the nature of my job. There are ways to cheaply tour Jamaica, the places I did go for fun didn’t break the bank either. I find that carrying food cuts down on the cost. You just have to do some planning. You can check out: How to Travel in Jamaica on a Budget

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great recap of your Jamaican adventures in 2019! I explored quite a bit too, visiting Westmoreland and St. James for the 1st time and I ended up visiting each twice! I saw 4 new waterfalls and many more beaches too, but I aim to visit at least 6 new waterfalls for 2020. We’ll see. I hope you have an even more adventurous 2020. 🙂

    Like

    1. that sounds great! you know i’ve only been to one waterfall? like ever??? so i copied one of your waterfalls list and put it in my notes so hopefully i can see more. I hope you get to have more adventures too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice read! It’s on my bucket list to do an all island tour in a week or two!

    Like

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