The Vacation is Over.

The Vacation is Over.

The first day back from a vacation is the hardest. I've spent the last 24 hours trying to adjust to re-entry into the real world. The last few days have been filled with love, laughter, white sand beaches, and plenty of fruity frozen adult beverages. It amazes me how fulfilling and quickly time passes when its spent with family and close friends. 

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Experiencing Dunn's River Falls & The Blue Hole

Someone cue up the Damian Marley! Jamaica has been on my bucket list for years so I was stoked when my cruise ship docked in Falmouth, Jamaica. Out of all the port days that I had researched, planning for Jamaica was the most stressful, but ended up being the most adventurous!  I apologize in advance for the long post, but by know you all should know that in order to “See the World through Shasha” you need to know all the facts! My friend Tyson brought a Go-Pro for our vacation and he did an awesome job capturing my group’s day. Thanks Tyson!

This video really provides a great visual and embodies the feel of my day in Jamaica, but keep reading so I can really break it down for you.

Dunn's River Falls

Many people might argue that Dunn’s River Falls is pretty touristy. I can agree to a certain extent (they try to sell you a video and photographs) but the experience was awesome, and unlike anything I've ever done before. I loved climbing up the falls and at times it was challenging. Our guide was awesome, and he even helped me when I lost my footing.  Dunn’s River Falls is a must do, and it’s difficult to capture the true beauty of the falls in photographs. It was one of the highlights of my Jamaica day.

The Blue Hole

This tour is off the beaten path, and is as genuine as it gets if you want a real Jamaican experience. Since, my group was pressed for time due to our operator; we didn’t get to jump off all the cliffs at the Blue Hole. Our tour guide Dillon was amazing and made our safety his priority. This tour is not for the faint of heart, and if you have any health problems I do not recommend it. If you’re claustrophobic I strongly advise that you do not climb into the caves as my husband said it was scary! He also came out with a really bad cut, so be careful! The Blue Hole tour was exhausting, and even if you’re a good swimmer just go ahead and get a life jacket because it’s just that serious. Can you believe that I jumped off of that cliff in the video?  I even got my Jane of the Jungle swag on by swinging on the rope swing. If you’re really feeling like Drake, and all about YOLO life then go ahead and take the 50ft. cliff jump. I have no idea what got into me but I did it. Over the past year, I’ve been an advocate for facing fears head on, and I am so proud that I took that jump. I screamed the entire way down, but I felt like a boss after I landed in the water. 

Booking an Excursion, through a Private Tour Operator

From this point onward, I need to reiterate that the opinions on my blog are simply my own, and your experience might differ from mine. I wanted to get an intimate experience for my group of 6 so I felt that one of the big bus cruise ship excursions wouldn’t give me the experience that I was looking for. I spent much time on TripAdvisor perusing through reviews of good tour providers and trimmed my list down to three. I knew that I was taking the risk of getting to port late by booking a private tour, but every company I reached out to guaranteed that they would have us back in time.  

My one regret of my Jamaica tour is choosing the operator that I did. Although, he was highly rated  , I should’ve chosen someone who had proved early on that their customer service was a priority. I had previously joined a Facebook Meet and Greet for this cruise and many others had chosen this provider so I decided to go for it.  After all the ship couldn’t leave all of us? Right?

From this point onward, I need to reiterate that the opinions on my blog are simply my own, and your experience might differ from mine.

I ended up booking a tour that included transportation to Dunn’s River Falls, the Blue Hole, and lunch at Scotchie’s with Peat Taylor tours. We had no problems locating them at the port, and our guide Vincent was very knowledgeable. He explained where would meet after the excursions and how things would work. As we traveled in the van he provided a ton of commentary about Jamaica’s history, economy, and tourism industry. My main gripe later in the day, was that we did not have time for lunch, and our guide made no mention of this. Also, there were people on the bus going to different locations, so we had to take time to drop them off and pick them up. I think this greatly impacted the tour time and our ability to stop for lunch, and to arrive back at our promised time of 4pm. Since my ship docked in Falmouth the ride from Ochos Rios back to the port was over an hour. Please keep this in mind if you book a non-cruise ship excursion. My group didn’t miss the boat by any means, but we didn’t get back to Falmouth until 4:20 when we had a scheduled onboard time of 4:30. By the time we got back to the port it was a ghost town, with only a few straggler passengers walking around. Granted, I know Jamaicans run on CP time, but we cut it a little too close for comfort.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t book a private tour, but our guide was visibly nervous our entire ride back and made no apology when we arrived back to the port. Nonetheless it was a great day, and I'm not against private tours. I'll just choose differently next time. 

Falmouth, Jamaica

Falmouth, Jamaica

My day in Jamaica was great but I still have some unfinished business there. I still want to visit a Jerk Center and I want to check out their amazing beaches. Another trip is definitely in store! Have you been to Jamaica before? Drop a line in the comments and tell me about it. 

Bahamian For a Day

When in the Bahamas do as the Bahamians do! Sound familiar? During my recent cruise vacation I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Nassau, Bahamas. Visiting the Bahamas has always been on my bucket list and it did not disappoint. Nassau showed me so much love, so I am obliged to return that love in the form of this blog post. Are you planning a visit to Nassau? If so be sure to check out the following:

Kick Back at Junkanoo Beach

Instead of opting to get a day pass at the British Colonial Hilton my family and I  decided to check out the local Junkanoo Beach. Junkanoo Beach is only a 15 minute walk (10 if you walk fast) from the Cruise Terminal. Follow the signs that read Junkanoo Beach, and it’s an easy walk.There are multiple vendors on the beach that sell food, drinks, and offer services including chair and umbrella rentals. Junkanoo Beach proved to be one of my BEST beach days ever. It was quaint and the background Caribbean music had me feeling like Ziggy Marley could’ve made an appearance at any moment.

Eat at Da Fish Fry a.k.a Arawak Cay

I am fully aware that I typed the word “Da.” However, in true Bahamian fashion it would only be proper do so.  Da Fish Fry (also known as Arawak Cay) is home to some of the best and freshest food in Nassau. This is the where the locals eat, so if you want to eat like one GO THERE! If you love fresh seafood, local bahamian specialties, fresh fruit drinks and juices; Da Fish Fry has it all. This area of restaurants is only a 10 minute walk from Junkanoo Beach, making it a convenient area to visit for great local eats. Don’t let the exterior of some of the restaurants dissuade you, as the food will be sure to amaze you.

My family and I settled on Twin Brothers based on some of the reviews and accolades that were advertised outside the restaurant. Since we were a large group, a cab driver offered to transport our group of 10 back to the cruise port for $2 a person. To secure the rate, we needed to let the hostess know that he referred us. This was a pretty good offer since it was dark and we didn't want to walk back to the cruise port. Keep an eye out for cabbies and work out a deal if transportation back to the cruise port concerns you.

Get around town on the #10 Jitney

In Nassau, the locals refer to a bus as a jitney. Jitney’s are about the size of a shuttle van, and for $1.25 you can get wherever you need to go. Most of the buses say that they are #10 which I found to be slightly confusing. Our cruise line had alerted us to crime warnings in Nassau so I was a little hesitant to ride on the local jitney’s.

However, since we were staying in tourist areas and it was daytime, I put my fears aside as I embarked on my quest to be transported like a local!  Riding the jitney was quite an experience. We had to wait for the bus to completely fill up before we could leave and whenever we thought all the seats were full, the next passenger would pop up a fold able seat!

The whole process was fascinating to observe.  I didn’t take too many pictures aboard the bus as I didn’t want to seem like a disrespectful tourist. Our bus didn’t smell too great, but the driver made up for it by blasting Caribbean music, and trying to impress us with his steering maneuvers. The ride was adventurous to say the least. However, I would definitely take the #10 jitney on any future Nassau adventures. For the price it really can’t be beat. After all why not live like a local for day?

Have you ever visited Nassau? Did you love it or hate it? Do you have any helpful tips to share? If so, drop a line below!