Destination Spotlight: Jamaica

Summer time is almost here and that means it is time to start planning that summer surf trip.With so many different places to go, how can you decide the best location for you?We are starting a weekly “Surf Destination Spotlight” here at thesurfingblog that will help inspire you to travel to those places you have always dreamed about.So check back often to get the scoops on a new location.It’ll help get you through that week of work stuck in the cubicle.

To start off our Surf Destination Spotlight we want to spotlight the one and only reggae island, Jamaica.  Home to Bob Marley, Reggae, Red Stripe and great, un-crowded surf, Jamaica is a surf trip you will never forget. 

Jamaica is a great summer surf trip because summer is the season when it lights up with swell as the trade winds blow across the sea all day.You’ll want to wake up early during your trip to catch some early glass, as conditions can get choppier throughout the day.But just like California, you can catch glass off in the evening and even get lucky enough to have it all day sometimes.If conditions aren’t great, you can always take in the sites until they improve.

The standout spots in Jamaica are on the east side of the island, so you will want to fly into Kingston.Jamaica offers beach breaks, lefts, rights, hollow shallow reef breaks, A-frames, waves peeling through bays, etc.You will be able to find waves to suit your desires.If you want a more local take on where to go to score the best waves while you are there, make sure you contact Jamnesia Surf Club.The legend, Billy Mystic and his crew will show you an awesome time.

Jamnesia Surf Club is also the best place to stay while on the island (it is the only surf camp).Unfortunately, as kind as everyone can be, there is a dangerous side to Jamiaca too.Staying with the local surfers at the surf club is your best bet to scoring good waves and staying safe.  They will make you feel like long time friends from the moment you meet them.

If you want to venture off on your own and stay somewhere else, yet you want to still be close to the surf, you’ll need to stay in Kingston.  Not the safest place in the world, but there aren’t really any options outside of Kingston on the east side of the island.

If you don’t care about how luxurious the hotel is, you can stay for under $60 at places like:

– Hotel Sandhurst,  Olympia Crown Hotel,  Indies Hotel

If you have your wife and or kids with you, you might want to spend a bit more money on a nicer location.

Some places under $200 are:

– Terra Nova Hotel,  Goblin Hills Villa, Morgan’s Harbour Hotel

But make sure you consider staying with Jamnesia Surf Club.  It truly is your best bet for an enjoyable surf trip in Jamaica.

To get you excited about the surf Jamaica has to offer, here is a brief explanation of a couple main breaks in Jamaica.

– Boston Bay (picture to left) looks like it came out of the animated movie “Surfs Up”.Located in a beautiful bay setting, at Boston Bay you can go either right or left.And just like in the movie “Surfs Up” watch out for the urchins, they can be quite painful.

– Lighthouse is predominately a right and can be quite the high performance wave.When its going off you will definitely get barreled.The greatest part is the wave empties into a channel, providing for a nice and simple paddle back out into the lineup.

– Long Bay is another bay that will have you feeling like you are surfing a movie set.The wave more often breaks left, but you can find some rights too.On a good day the wave lines up nicely and you can score some long rides.

– Zoo is a great wave if you have the experience.It’s a little too heavy for the beginner.Zoo could easily be considered one of Jamaica’s best waves and therefore can have more of a crowd than other spots.

While you aren’t surfing there is plenty of Rastafarian, One Love, Jah Bless culture to take in.For hardcore reggae fans check out the Bob Marley museum and don’t miss the crazy tour guide who has the funniest laugh and smokes weed throughout the tour while singing Bob Marley songs.If nature is more your style, check out the rivers and waterfalls, zip lines, and ATV tours.There are tons of tours for all types of activities.You won’t be bored while you aren’t shredding waves.

Jamaican food is delicious.Local meals consist of ox tail, rice and peas (which really is rice and beans), brown stew chicken, plantains, fresh fruit, and the the world famous “jerk” style of cooking.Make sure you stop at the different Jerk Stands on the side of the road and get some jerk chicken or pork.It’s a uniquely spicy seasoning that you’ll love, and its not expensive. Also for a quick bite, you can stop at any gas station and pick up a Jamaican patty.  They are like an empanada, stuffed with different meats, and range from mild to hot. For beverages, while in Jamaica you have to drink Red Stripe beer.It’s the national beer.If you don’t want beer, you have to try Ting.It’s a grapefruit soda that comes in a glass bottle.They are both perfect post surf beverages.

You can find delicious Jamaican food at these restaurants in nearby Kingston

– Tastee Patties (cheap and quick)

– Gauchos Grill

– Norma’s on the Terrace

– Island Grill

But like I said, if you want to save money, buy from the local stands along the road.

So make sure you listen to your fill of Bob Marley and Buju Banton before you book your tickets so you can sing along to the reggae vibes.If you have been or are planning on going, leave your comments and let us know about it. One Love…Jah Bless!

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