Journey to Jamaica
Many of my earliest memories are linked to the sweet sounds of reggae music. Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Peter Tosh were all regulars in my parents' CD changers. While living in Brooklyn has allowed me to see many of my favorite artists live-in-concert, when I came across the flier for Third World's Under the Stars benefit concert at the Hope Zoo in Kingston, I knew I couldn't resist.
Thankfully, what was initially slated as a 38-hour trip to Jamaica turned into a 4-day solo mission. Here are some photos from my journey:
Port Royal, The Wickedest City in the World
Once the largest city in the Caribbean and an international port of trade for ships coming from waters as far as East Africa, Port Royal is now a sleepy fishing village at the end of Norman Manley Highway. My first stop after leaving the airport was Gloria's on Port Royal's western shore. After some of the best fried fish I've ever had, I spend the rest of the morning wondering the former pirate outpost, talking to the locals, taking photos, and enjoying the sunshine.
My initial plans for this trip consisted of flying into Kingston and spending the day photographing the city, hitting the concert at Hope Zoo, and flying home the next morning. Thankfully that all changed when I found Kingsworth Hostel while scrolling Google Maps.
Nestled into the lush Jack's Hill neighborhood overlooking downtown Kingston, the hostel was the perfect homebase for my newly extended trip. Brothers Lee and Courtney own and operate Kingsworth, and they made sure to go the extra mile to make sure my time there was as enjoyable as possible.
I had scouted the peak online before my trip, but figured it would be relatively inaccessible given the short duration of my stay and my lack of vehicle. Thankfully, I was wrong. After agreeing on a taxi fee with Courtney, we made the hour-long drive from Jack's Hill through some ruggedly beautiful landscapes to the trailhead. Courtney visited friends in the nearby village while I completed the six-hour hike. Unfortunately I was surrounded by clouds and mist at the peak, but the experience was more than worth it.
By far the best part of the trip was the people I met. Travel sites and Google searches will lead you to believe Jamaica is full of violent thieves who pray on tourists; I experienced nothing but the contrary. The warmth, generosity, and happiness of everyone I encountered was overwhelming. Can't wait for the next trip!