“Tourist Jamaica” is a pretty self-explanatory concept. There are so many beautiful places that locals just haven’t seen, yet we allow our tourists to enjoy Jamaica more than we do and it’s our own home. Jamaica is filled with a lot of hidden gems, waiting to be explored. I was having a full conversation about Tourist Jamaica one afternoon with a friend, and the chat led to us chanting “lets just do it”, “let’s go tomorrow..at like 7am” and “pack your bags tonight”–the preface to a spontaneous, impromptu trip to Ocho Rios.
I set out at about 7am from Montego Bay, stopped at a gas station’s ‘Stop n Go’ to grab fresh croissants from their bakery and coffee for the road. It was the perfect morning. I made it to Ocho Rios, and you could tell because of the trees all crouching over the well-paved streets, and the smell of fresh river water.
First Stop: Little Dunn’s River
I pulled up to the side of the road, and there was this hole in the wall. Apparently, there was a quick way of experiencing Dunn’s River falls without actually paying for access to this same exact waterfall–just follow the falls to the sea. I climbed through the hole, walked down an unstable path and there it was–
Next: Couples San Souci, All Inclusive Resort
I pulled up to this seemingly simple resort. At first, I was a bit skeptical because it seemed so basic from the outside. I quickly checked in, was given a glass of champagne and was told to explore the resort until the room was ready for check-in. I had a few hours to kill. A Couples San Souci shuttle bus took me from the lobby to the breakfast buffet which was about a 2 minute ride. I headed to breakfast which was quite nice. Simple, and relaxing. Great coffee, great omelette stations and a lot to choose from.
The resort is filled with endless “hidden” walkways through gardens and hidden waterfalls. It was easy to get lost going up and down stairways through nothing but trees. It was a little adventure. Each stairway leading to something completely different, but of course you quickly got exhausted going up and down. I found a pretty large bar by the beach, and started chatting with the bartender. He let me know that I basically haven’t seen a quarter of the resort yet. It was seriously wide spread along the coastline with many “hideaway” couple areas waiting to be discovered.
The “Au Naturale” Naked Beach
Free Bicycles were parked around the resort because of how large it was. It was like living on your own private island. I grabbed a bicycle, and whilst exploring, I saw a gated area with a sign that read “Au Naturale Beach”. I hopped off the bicycle, pushed the gates open and everyone was just–completely butt naked. I was greeted by a worker who shared that this was a naked beach, he handed me a towel and let me on my way.
I stood around fully clothed for a while until I actually felt uncomfortable for being clothed. I was the odd one out, so you do what the Romans do. I stood by a beach chair, and took my clothes off. Everything. Walked to the bar naked, got my drink naked, slept on the beach naked. It was quite the experience. It was like nothing I’ve ever done before.
The water itself was not great however. The beach was right by the mouth of a river, so all the rock sediments lay on the beach floor. It was a mix up of fresh and salt water, and a lot of seaweed and moss. Not great, 3/10. The water looked beautiful however. Various shades of blue.
Everyone just chatted with each other with their whole bodies out. There were “couple swings” on the beach as well, clean beach chairs and ever-changing towels for sanitary purposes. It was great. I took a 2 hour nap on the beach (still not clothed), woke up, got clothed and hopped on my bicycle to my next stop.
Checking In: The Suite
I was issued my keycard, made dinner reservations at one of the restaurants by guest services then escorted by a butler to my suite.
I was placed on the G block which was the best view to the ocean. It was breathtaking. I felt like I was in..Thailand or some other Asia Pacific country. It was one in a million. It was then that I knew it was worth every penny. The room itself was pretty great: Balcony, Living Room Area with full couches, mini bars, flat screen, desks etc, then the bed room was sectioned off with other great amenities and of course, a lovely bathroom.
Shortly after getting settled, I heard a knock on the door. My butler brought up a cheese, and cracker platter, followed by a fruit platter–not a big deal, but it was nice feeling like you lived in full luxury. Room service was also QUICK and reliable. Within 15 minutes, everything you ordered was sent to the suite.
Local Party: Horny Thursdays and Amnesia
I had dinner that evening, then left the property to explore again. All the locals kept recommending “Horny Thursdays” and “Amnesia” as something I had to see. I pulled up to Horny Thursday which was…quite the experience in itself. It’s hard to explain what that was exactly, but just imagine an open space with a DJ, men standing around with rum cups and a few girls dancing wildly in the middle. Not my scene.
I went over to Amnesia which was a club/party. I found the slogan pretty funny. “Amnesia, you won’t forget” or something like that. Ironic, but witty. Amnesia was more of a fun experience for me. A great party in a controlled environment. Ocho Rios had great night life. After the party, the streets were littered with vendors selling everything you could possibly think of. It was alive. I loved it. Very different from what I was used to.
The Next Morning: Blue Hole
I went over to Blue Hole, which was a popular tourist spot. It had large waterfalls, multiple 15ft deep swimming holes, high diving and swings that you could throw yourself off of into these swimming holes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to swim. Entry fee was about $500 JMD, ($5 USD) if you spoke to the right people haha. My tour guide was Dragon, who was AMAZING. If you didn’t know how to swim, you could rent a life jacket which is what I did. We started our up-mountain hike to discover the beautiful falls. It was breath taking. It was unbelievably blue, refreshing and something I’d definitely do again.
After being fully muddy, I ran and jumped off a 15 foot deep end, and into the water below. If that’s not enough to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline through the roof–I don’t know what is. It was the best thing to do.
I grabbed some food which was on the property, then quickly headed back home.
I’m a frugal girl, but I’ll always spend on experiences. One life to live, live it amazingly.