Happy New Year! Though going forward, I just have to bring up one last travel experience from 2014. In early December, I was invited by Visit Jamaica, the country’s tourism board, to go on a “Bucket” List four-day tour along Jamaica’s north coast. This itinerary was packed with at least 10 various must-do and see activities and sights that visitors should check off. Or at least one or two of them. Our small group arrived in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, and then ushered from Norman Manley International Airport to have our first night stay in this large city. We went straight to a dinner hosted at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites, which introduced us to a lot of Jamaica’s culinary wonders as well as the property’s staff and Jamaica’s tourism representatives. The Courtleigh, first-class property, is about 25 minutes from the airport and is located near Kingston’s business and commercial district.
Our dinner was a great introduction to Jamaican cuisine: grilled seasoned meats, citrus/sweet fruits, and hearty fruits and vegetables. And spices! Plates with Jerk chicken or pork or roasted breadfruit, sweet potatoes or plantains were passed around and sampled from. With the holiday season in swing, we were served Christmas Cake, a dark and rich fruitcake with Jamaican rum as an ingredient, for dessert. Another specialty was festival, a cornbread fritter (similar to fried dough) that often is paired with servings of chicken or fish.
As for spending our first night, we headed to Knutsford Court Hotel, a sister property that often gets both business and pleasure travelers. It’s a garden-style setup with a number of banquet and meeting facilities with a daily continental breakfast buffet at its restaurant, The Melting Pot. I’ll be doing continuous posts on each part of, and each city, on the trip: Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Next up, on the following morning, we crossed off #VisitJamaica Bucket List item No. 1. We went for coffee in the Blue Mountains!