YES take your kids to Jamaica!
In April 2004, my son Curtis was 11 and I was taking him with me. My mission: To convince a city-slicking kid that Disneyland is NOT the only vacation on the planet! The tools I had to complete my mission: 2 tickets to Jamaica and an extremely limited budget. Let me tell you he was kinda miserable about it before we got there. He stayed up the whole night before departure downloading music for his mp3 player so he would “have something to do” there.
Skip ahead to landing in Jamaica; his tune quickly changed when he got to walk off the plane, onto tarmac, into the blazing sunshine. The first thing he adored in Jamaica was our taxi driver Clyde, because Clyde and Curtis were talking “man to man” and he felt like the bossman right away. I just let him do his thing with Clyde and sat back to enjoy our ride to Negril, because the next thing I had to worry about was whether or not my son would actually agree to sleep in the wooden cabins I rented for the week. Nope….no Beaches Resort for me. NEVER! Only 4 wood walls, a bed and an outdoor shower. We had to rely on EACH OTHER for fun…what a concept. I think most families are missing that point when they go on vacation.
We arrived at Lazy Dayz on the beach in Negril, which would be our home for the next 7 nights. To my complete and utter shock Curtis thought it was the coolest thing EVER to have his own cabin (I rented one for each of us), his own key and a beach about 25 feet away. We’ve been to the beach in California a billion times but it pales in comparison to the Caribbean sea.
Throughout the 7 days we were in Negril I was really quite delighted how much Curtis came into his own just by being there. He didn’t entertain himself the way I would have thought. Our first night there he made friends with an old Rasta who was carving wood on the beach. The bartenders where I was sitting at that time marveled at how independent and open to the culture he seemed. I just let him do his thing while I enjoyed a few beverages and kept a close eye.
After the first day I took him to Rick’s Cafe for some cliff diving, he decided to go back there 4 other days for more! My friends who work there were pretty amazed that Curtis could never get enough of jumping! He even started climbing the rocks on the opposite side of Ricks and jumping from over there. I had to laugh because this is a kid who was too chicken to even swim til he was 6 years old!
One afternoon on the beach Curtis wanted to do some souvenir shopping so I gave him $1000 JMD and said “go nuts”. I also told him that its okay to wheel and deal with most vendors, and knew he’d work it…I’ve seen him at garage sales LOL. Off he went and returned about 40 minutes later with his stories. With $1000 and 40 minutes to work with he had souvenirs for a couple friends, had eaten 2 patties and spent 20 minutes at the internet cafe emailing his friends! That kid got better deals than I would!!
Early one of the mornings I woke up and thought I’d go check his cabin to see if there were signs of life. He didn’t answer my knocks so I assumed he was still sleeping. I took my time in the outdoor shower, enjoying the scenery around me, danced to the reggae playing in the distance, went into my cabin to get dressed, when I hear Curtis outside, “Mom…the guys at the restaurant up the beach want you to come pay them for my breakfast now”. I never laughed so hard!!! That kid was up earlier than I was and already off, had breakfast and was in his swim shorts!!
YES YES YES take your kids to Jamaica! And do them a favor….DO NOT book in at a resort!! Does this look like the face of a kid who didn’t want to go to Jamaica?
I guess its true what they say about Jamaica…….ONCE YOU GO, YOU KNOW!!