Listen, for not really doing much on this trip – I sure have a lot to tell you guys about. There are twists and turns, along with food photos. Little bit for everyone.
It is rare I say the words ‘I don’t know where to even start‘ – but yeah. I had to organize my mind to explain so many random things about this trip.
First of all, I made the ‘Jamaica Covid travel requirements‘ RIGHT at the beginning of this post, because a lot of my Twitter followers inquired about that, so I wanted to make sure you could access that breakdown easily. If you’re looking for it, go like one paragraph down. It’s there.
Second of all, I just wanted to let all of you know that I was actually supposed to be in Egypt. Now, how does one go from one continent being a plan to another?
Well, you can thank the Canadian government for that.
My boyfriend and I had booked this amazing trip to Egypt for my 35th birthday, and then two weeks before the trip, it was announced that due to that dusty bitch named Omicron, ten African countries would require an eight-day quarantine on return, if visited. Unfortunately, Egypt was one of those countries. We had to make a swift decision, because I sure as hell wasn’t staying in cold ass Canada for my 35th birthday, so we chose to go to Jamaica. It had the best flight pricing and again, at least I’d be out of Canada. (**note: three days into the trip to Jamaica, the Canadian government said LOL NEVERMIND about the eight-day quarantine for folks going to Egypt, so basically we COULD have been in Egypt. Yeah, fucked up**)
Let’s talk about the travel entry rules for Jamaica, as Canadians going there.
- Unless you are vaccinated, you cannot get on a plane or train to anywhere in Canada: luckily my boyfriend and I are both double vaxxed up, so this was simple.
- When it comes to being a week (or less) leading up to your trip to Jamaica, make sure you go and fill out the travel authorization form: we did this exactly a week ahead, and received the authorization emails within 15 minutes, others have told me it took a day or more so I’d suggest doing it on that 7-6 day mark ahead, link is here. Many people in line with us to check in for the flight didn’t do this and it was a HUGE pain waiting on them to finish up.
- Rules for tests/vaccines going to Jamaica, specifically: as I understood it, on the day that I flew (Dec 14th) – if you are not vaccinated and just get a negative rapid-antigen test done before coming to Jamaica, you are supposed to ONLY stay on a resort and not go anywhere else. Obviously, that isn’t even a choice for us Canadians, because like I said we can’t even board the flight without being fully vaccinated. If you are vaccinated and just get a negative rapid-antigen test done before coming to Jamaica, you are supposed to ONLY stay on a resort and not go anywhere else, just like for the unvaccinated. However, if you are fully vaccinated and got a negative PCR test – then you are able to roam anywhere in Jamaica, not just have to stay at the resort. The third option was for us, as we had booked an AirBnB and wanted to visit my bf’s family.
- I’m just including this to say that this was how I understood the rules on the dates we went, and that this was particular to us Canadians and that we followed all their rules and guidelines which can be found here. Please do not comment under here asking me what the rules are on the date you are reading this or ask me what the rules are coming from whichever country you may be visiting from. I just know what the situation I was, for MY DATES, which have passed. Ok super. It is a whole new year.
Tuesday, December 14th
Alright, my third trip to Jamaica.
I had been to Negril in 2010, with my infamous solo HEDONISM experience as well as in 2018 for my super awesome Carnival experience in Kingston with my besties. This was going to be slightly different. This was a last-minute planned trip and I was going to a part of Jamaica I didn’t know much about – Port Maria. I DID know, however, they had sun, beach, food and also members of my bf’s family to show us a great local experience. I was really excited.
The morning of Dec 14th, we were off to Pearson airport. I was happy that it wasn’t a super early flight because we were able to take the UP Express from Union to Pearson. I genuinely believe that the invention of the UP Express is one of the best things Toronto has done. It’s affordable, clean and getting from downtown to Pearson at ANY time of day within 25 minutes is awesome. Big fan over here.
We end up in this long ass line to check in with Swoop, a phenomenon I am not accustomed to since I usually travel with only a backpack. This checked-in luggage stuff is AWFUL. Lines and more lines and waiting. 0/10
As I said earlier in the post, there was a lot of people in the line to check-in for Jamaica that did not have their travel authorizations done, as well as people packing and repacking their damn luggage for being overweight. Please guys, weigh your goddamn luggage at home with a luggage scale (HERE IS A LINK TO ONE), or weigh it on your regular body scale or come a little earlier to the airport and weigh it on one of their scales to redistribute your items prior to getting in line. It’s so frustrating and time consuming when people don’t have their luggage prepared for check-in, and now you add needing a travel authorization, showing your vaccination status and your negative test results. It really makes lines even more annoying and longer.
After checking-in with the airline, we end up in another long ass line for security. I believe we stood in this for 45 minutes. Basically, by the time we got through both lines, it was time to board the plane. This irked me, because I get to airports pretty early to be able to have a nice breakfast and then board. Nope, not this time. So if you’re heading anywhere in the near future, leave yourself a lot of time at Pearson airport.
So we get to Montego Bay airport, and I thought maybe my misery at airports would be done for the day. Nope. After we left the plane, we ended up in a customs line and then another customs line…….and then another customs line. The airport was total havoc, as it looked like maybe 5-6 flights had arrived at the same time. We were standing in one line a lady told us to get into, and then we were told that was the wrong line and got ushered to another even longer line. Chaos. Waaaay too many people were crammed together in a very small arrivals/customs area in that airport. I thought to myself, if there was any point I may catch Covid on this trip, this would be the moment.
When we finally did get to the customs lady she asked for all our testing documentation and for the address we would be staying in Jamaica, as well as a local number to be reached at. We gave our AirBnB hosts number.
One happy moment in the airport was – DUTY FREE!!!
I love duty free. The one in Montego Bay airport had some nice deals too, there was a buy two, get one free for the Bacardi rum that I definitely took advantage of. After duty free, we went to where our luggage was supposed to be arriving for pick up on a carousel, but it had already been removed and put to the side due to how long it took to get through customs on arrival.
And then, ANOTHER long line up to actually leave the luggage pick up area. We had fortunately picked a good line, because the line next to us randomly closed after folks had waited for some time. The kiosk had stopped working or something, so they had to go join other longer lines. Basically, between Pearson and Sangster – I was not impressed with either. Plus, I was hungry and I am a MEAN hungry person ok?
My boyfriends cousin, Dean, came to pick us up from the airport to begin the drive over to Galina, where our AirBnB was. Google maps had lied to me, and the traffic going through the parishes over to where we had to get to was ridiculous. In my head, I thought Galina/Port Maria was like 90 minutes from Mobay and 90 minutes from Kingston, you know, a nice MIDDLE. Wrong. That drive from Sangster to get to our AirBnB took forever. It was like the never ending drive.
The priority was to get some food. On the way we stopped at a place called Ultimate Jerk Centre. Now, this? This was heaven. I got to have some rum, festival, fritters and for the first time ever, jerk rabbit. Oh so delicious and necessary for the kind of day we had.
We finished eating and continued on our long journey. There was a quick stop in Ocho Rios, where I was able to get my hands on some sugarcane. Love. But while I was sitting in the back of the car gnawing on the cane, a little girl ran up to the window to ask me if I was a ghost. Dammit. Clearly, I needed a tan in Jamaica REALLY BAD this week.
I think we finally arrived at our AirBnB in Galina at 10pm. It was something late and ridiculous for people who had landed at 2pm. Luckily, the gentleman who takes care of the property (Chris) was still awake and able to let us in.
Now, usually I have lots of pictures and wonderful things about the AirBnB’s I choose to stay at – yeah, not this time. We wanted somewhere close to his family and because we chose last minute, we took what we could.
Uh, not my favourite AirBnB.
Not to say that being close to the water with the most incredible breeze wasn’t awesome or that Chris, the caretaker, wasn’t one of the sweetest human beings I have been fortunate enough to meet in my travels. For aesthetics and like overall cleanliness, I missed the mark on this one. It did the job, don’t get me wrong, we had somewhere safe to stay and there was hot water, yay. But for accessibility alone, unless you were a local there was no way you could even find this place. Live and you learn right? The reviews were great and I think I may just have different opinions.
At least I was finally close to a bed and could go relax after this long day of travel, with a crazy arsenal of alcohol from the Duty Free.
Wednesday, December 15th
Okay, day two. I am well rested and there is sunshine. I love that for me.
Dean comes to get us in Galina to take us over the family house in Port Maria.
I fell in love immediately.
The family house is only a few meters from water and because of that proximity, even on the hottest day the breeze has you feeling cool. This must be what heaven looks and feels like. I was greeted with water views and a breakfast consisting of stew chicken, fried dumpling and callaloo. This was a ‘pinch me, am I dreaming?‘ moment for me.
Eventually, I stood up from my food and view-induced fantasy and we went off to the center of Port Maria to do some grocery shopping. My bf’s cousin Suzette, SHOUT OUT TO SUZETTE AND YOUR AMAZING COOKING, would take us into town to the supermarket and then she’d cook those items for the time we were visiting. The walk from their place to the center was pretty darn close and for such a small place, the center of town sure was busy. Although I am fully vaccinated, I did wear my mask almost non-stop while in Jamaica. Remember people, being vaccinated only helps us if we get sick to not be super duper sick, it doesn’t stop us from catching sickness. Stay masked up and use sanitizer at all times!
We did the grocery shopping and I will admit, I MAY have gone slightly overboard. But you know when you go grocery shopping in a foreign country and you want one of everything you can’t get back home? Yep, that’s me. They had some delicious fresh coconut water, a pineapple flavored Minute Maid and these delicious cheese bun things. Whoever came up with that gooey cheese thingy in a bun? I love you. You did some good for humanity. I love those things. I’d like to note one thing that was NOT different from Canada is – oxtail is still ridiculously expensive. Shame. Still bought it.
We had to take a taxi back to the family house because we had purchased so many items at the supermarket. Thank goodness we took one because as we arrived, the pouring rain began. It rained all damn day, but when you have family and food – does it really matter?
I spent most of my afternoon sitting on the veranda at the family house enjoying the views, chit chatting and then having another delicious meal. I loved it all. I never ever relax when I travel, it had actually been brought to my attention recently that I travel, I do not ‘vacation’. And those people were right, I’m always go go go on my trips and taking time to just chill and literally have ZERO plans, kind of nice.
Please see delicious and luxurious oxtail photo of my evening meal, also made by the incredible Suzette.
The rain eventually calmed down a little bit and we went back to our AirBnB, located behind God’s back.
We did have a pleasant surprise when we returned to it – we suddenly had some neighbours. Yay. We saw Chris and invited him over for a couple of drinks and befriended our new AirBnB neighbours. It was a group of young guys there for a few days to party for a birthday. The birthday boy emerged eventually and we took some shots because his birthday was today and my birthday would be at midnight.
Really great night. A lot of drinking. I’m also going to need Jamaicans to stop telling people Wray and Nephew is a good idea, it’s not. Please do not believe them. It burns and you hate yourself after. Just stick to the Bacardi that you’re used to. Listen to me.
I brought my 35th birthday partying on a porch in Jamaica with friends we made two hours before that. I truly live for these kinds of shenanigans.
Thursday, December 16th
You know what isn’t awesome? Hangovers.
Happy Birthday to me! I turned 35 today and woke up in pain because liquor is a bad idea guys. Very bad. With the 10pm curfew in Jamaica due to Covid, drinking at home with friends or family was the primary choice for celebrations and we sureeeee celebrated the night before.
One of the best things after a night of drinking is the magical porridge Jamaican people make. I don’t know what superpowers are present, but oh my goodness it feels like all your issues are gone after one spoonful of that delicious, thick, yumminess.
For my birthday breakfast, Suzette had gifted me this cure. Warm porridge on the veranda at the house in Port Maria. I had suddenly been rejuvenated and was finally able to function like an adult.
Today’s goal for my birthday was to finally hit a beach. How could I go to Jamaica and not go swimming? Impossible.
Dean picked us up and we tried to make our way over to James Bond Beach. The weather was finally cooperating after the rain for two days and we had to make it work.
Tell me how we get there and James Bond Beach is closed. Impossible to enter because of big gates on both sides and no security to open them. Now, I don’t know if this was maybe due to Covid, but I had a reason I really wanted to go to this specific beach.
The Jamaica episode of Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown – he went to this beach. Obviously I can’t afford to stay at a fancy pants place like GoldenEye Resort, but I wanted to at least experience this beach. Fail. So there was a small fisherman’s cove next to it and we were able to set up camp there. Aside from 3-4 young boys going swimming and a few fisherman, we had the whole place to ourselves.
Nirvana in Oracabessa.
It was beautiful and the water was perfect and so was the weather. Birthday was keeping strong! Bacardi and coke drinking on a beach to myself.
You know what swimming does? Makes you hungry.
We left the beach eventually and went home to get changed before dinner. I love seafood and I had read that this place named Sharkies had some pretty good food. Dean picked us up with Suzette and we drove over to the Runaway Bay area for our 7pm seating.
It is a shame it was already dark at this point in the night, because I think during the day this place must be even more awesome. It is right on the beach and it has a lot going on. I loved that. The restaurant was very busy but we were able to get a table for us four.
This is where I will suggest something to you if you have never been to a restaurant in Jamaica – prior to ordering, ask them what they don’t have. I caught myself wanting things during this trip at food spots and then I’d try to order them and they wouldn’t have it. So before you get yourself excited about a dish, immediately ask what is available to you. It’ll save you some disappointment.
All the starters and mains we wanted, the restaurant DID have though.
We started with pepper shrimp and chicken spring rolls. For the mains I went for the seafood boil and a side of lobster mac and cheese, because it’s my birthday and I was hungry. Don’t judge me.
Finally, it was time for dessert and the server brought out a cupcake with a sparkler for my birthday, and then told us that there was no other dessert available from the menu, they were out. Yay cupcake.
We drove back to Galina and went back to drinking from our Duty Free stock at the AirBnB.
At about 11:30pm, Dean came by and asked if we were interested in going to a Go-Go club to finish up my birthday. As I am not here to ever encourage breaking the laws or rules in any country, I will leave it up to your imagination as to if we decided to go clubbing past curfew or not. Cheers.
Friday, December 17th
A beautiful Friday morning, and another awesome breakfast by Suzette.
Today I would be having some yummy mackerel with boiled dumpling, plantain and green banana to start my day – on the veranda, of course.
After breakfast I really wanted to go walk along Pagee beach, because I didn’t have a chance to yet. We were able to walk along the water all the way into a whole other part of Port Maria. It is a SHAME this beach has so much garbage. On a clear and sunny day, the water looked so inviting and you want to go jump in to cool off, but with the garbage there it was damn near impossible to go on the sand and into the water.
Naturally, we decided to pick up some more food while in the center of town. We swung by this place called Juici Patties. I made that mistake I mentioned before and got excited for a menu item I had read, and was promptly told they were out. Damn you shrimp patties, I wanted to taste you. We instead got two one-dozen packs of the regular beef patties. One to leave at the family house and one to take home.
With the curfew in Jamaica and us staying in an AirBnB in the middle of nowhere – food was certainly an issue at times. We live a very privileged life in Toronto where even during lockdown, I was at all times able to go pick up food from a restaurant or order some to be delivered to me via 15 different food ordering apps. Not so much in Jamaica. When they say 10pm? They mean that shit. If you got caught not having food after hours, you would be eating sleep for dinner.
I was so thankful we had purchased those patties earlier in the day, because of course, that same night I was randomly hungry at 9:45pm and I had them in the AirBnB with me to indulge in.
Also, the patties weren’t good enough because even after three of them I was still hungry – so here comes my bf’s other cousin, Buju. Big shout out to Buju for picking us up in Galina and taking us into the center of Port Maria to get LITERALLY the last piece of jerk chicken on a BBQ. There was two men with their barrel BBQ’s outside and one had already shut his down, so the second one had one big piece of chicken left and we just bought the whole thing to bring home. Thank goodness we got there in time.
Saturday, December 18th
Today was my day to live my best tourist life.
In my two previous trips to Jamaica, I never had the pleasure to visit Dunn’s River Falls. I heard so many good things, and I had also purchased water shoes just for this because my friends told me it could get slippery and I am the clumsiest person ever. (Thanks Sherry!)
But first, breakfast. Today I was blessed with Jamaica’s national dish – ackee and saltfish with some yam and plantain. Ooooouuuuh I love my life.
I believe we got to Dunn’s River pretty late in the day, since the place shuts down at like 4:30pm due to Covid. Let’s say about 12pm-ish.
If you can, I’d suggest buying your tickets online before coming because the lineups can get pretty crazy to pay. Also, us coming in the middle of the day on a Saturday wasn’t our best idea. I usually avoid touristy busy times, but yeah, here we were.
The entry cost is $25 USD for tourists and $1000 JMD ($8 USD) for locals. You know, as we were driving to Dunn’s River I had said to my bf that I hope the cost for locals isn’t as much as tourists because that would be a shame. Not having access to your own natural resources at a decent cost. So I was happy to learn they had a different and lower price.
I loved Dunn’s River. I could imagine coming here with my family and a cooler from early morning until closing – EVERY Saturday. But I live in stupid cold Canada.
The falls are beautiful, but I really enjoyed the beach. It was such a wonderful vibe with young people, old people, families etc. If we were allowed to stay later in the evening, I would have definitely remained.
Tour groups were there and doing the climb from the bottom of the waterfall to the top – but even with my water shoes I was not feeling up to this task. I totally went to the middle and took my photos there. We also saw one guy in an all-white outfit doing the climb in the water – I mean like, white pants, white polo and actual shoes. That was something. There was also another man climbing in Gucci slides. I don’t know what kind of dangerous and extravagant life the rest of you live, but I do not.
Again, swimming made me hungry.
It was time for the customary visit to KFC Jamaica.
Before you start, I do not go out of my way to have American chains while traveling in other countries. It’s not my scene. However, if you go to any Caribbean country, you must stop by their KFC. Oh my goodness.
From the first moment I tried the BBQ chicken at a KFC in Jamaica…. I knew. It’s unreal. I don’t know what kind of fancy chicken they have here or what they put in this sauce, but absolutely nowhere else does the KFC taste as good as in Jamaica. Unfortunately with that deliciousness, comes long ass lines.
We stopped by the KFC in Ochi and the line for the drive through was equally as long as the line of people standing. But you must make sacrifices for what you want in life. We got that damn chicken. It was just as delicious as I had remembered.
Sunday, December 19th
The majority of this trip was spent doing random things whenever we wanted. But today, we were doing something we had actually planned ahead of time. It was time for a day-trip to Kingston.
Now, I love Kingston. If I had to name my favourite place in Jamaica – it would definitely be Kingston. I had the absolute best time there in 2018 and I had been waiting to return.
The choice was driving on the scenic route (not the highway) to Kingston from Port Maria, and wow. This route was amazing. If you ever have a chance to do it, make sure you go this way. If you are someone who isn’t too comfortable with narrow paths over the side of a mountain, perhaps this isn’t for you though.
We left early in the morning because we wanted to make it in time for a brunch party my friend Marlon was hosting at Kingston Jerk. As it was our intent to be intoxicated for the majority of this day, we also had booked two rooms at The R Hotel.
Due to check-in not being until 3pm, we left our bags at the hotel and went straight to the party.
On my previous trip to Kingston I had used a personal driver for the week, and I decided to reach out to him this time as well. I didn’t want any drinking and driving, so instead of Dean having to keep driving, I reached out to my former driver and he obliged! He drove us from the hotel to Kingston Jerk.
When we arrived the party wasn’t in full swing yet. The cost of entry was $25 USD per person, this included a complimentary mimosa on entry and also unlimited breakfast foods. So this mean all the ackee and saltfish I wanted, as well as dumpling and some curry goat too. Ahhh! Wanted it all.
I loved the vibe and set up at Kingston Jerk. This was outdoors and it never got packed. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, so having all the space in the world to dance and enjoy was great. Social distancing while trying to be social.
So what had happened was, I asked our wonderful waitress (shout out to Russian!) about how much it would cost for a bottle. Once I was told how much a bottle of Appleton would be, it was a definite purchase.
We had an awesome time and then a member of my extended family, Craig, decided to turn up to the party as well. Suddenly there was TWO Appleton bottles. By 2pm we were making great life decisions. I will also add, these new Angostura Lemon, Lime & Bitters you can get as chaser with Appleton? Out of this planet. If you’re in the Caribbean you have to try them. I regret not bringing some home with me to Canada.
Now this party had ended at about 6pm, way before curfew. Following the rules and whatnot. Craig drove us back to our hotel and we were thinking we’d maybe try to find another party later in the night, you know, NEAR that suggested curfew time. We were able to check-into our rooms now. Have to say, after the not-so-impressive-AirBnB for past week, this hotel was AWESOME. The place was clean and the bed was huge.
Falling asleep drunk in our respective rooms, of course I woke up at 10pm. Starving. Fuck.
This was horrible planning on my part, or lack thereof. I’m sure all of my fellow drinkers know, that time when you sleep off your drunkenness, you wake up SO hungry.
No food, anywhere. The room service at the hotel had ended. There was no restaurants open. There was no food delivery. I spent two hours looking up every possible chance of food on Google and calling the front desk.
I even contemplated walking at almost midnight down to a Circle K. Obviously, I didn’t. I ate sleep for dinner and that was the end of that.
Monday, December 20th
Breakfast couldn’t come soon enough okay?
It was included in the cost of the hotel stay and I made it to that rooftop ASAPtually to eat. Unfortunately it was only just ‘ok’ for taste and took forever to get, but we had other food plans for the day.
We checked out of the hotel and went to our first stop for the day, to get a PCR test because we were flying the next evening back to Canada. My friend Nikkie had recommended Technological Solutions Limited, and we made an appointment with them to both get tested. For $75 USD it was not a terrible price and we were in and out pretty quickly. I have to say, this was the first time I had a swab this huge used for a PCR test though. Usually the RT-PCR tests I received during traveling were still the skinny swab that doesn’t go super far up the nose. But the swab they used at TCL was thick and just tickled. If every PCR test was like this, people wouldn’t hate it as much.
(Major note I want to make here – as we were actually about to leave for Jamaica, this article had been sent to us about PCR testing on resorts. Now, this is not to tarnish any resorts or processes in Jamaica. It is not all resorts obviously, but I think it is something you guys should be aware of if you’re planning to go. Maybe don’t get tested on a resort and choose an independent lab like the rest of us non-resort people do. If you read the article I linked, you will understand why. We actually met a couple on our flight back from Jamaica that said the people they had traveled with had tested positive and were stuck in two week quarantine on their resort, and were not allowed to book a second independent test to confirm. Just read, stay aware. Making sure you’re all informed!)
After the test I wanted to take Dean and Mark to one of my favourite food places in Kingston – Gloria’s in Port Royal. Now, on my previous trip to Kingston I wanted to go to Port Royal because I had read at one point it was the wickedest place on earth and that is why God chose to sink a part of it. I mean, with that kind of history, you knew the food here had to be amazing.
Port Royal is definitely way outside downtown Kingston, so I had my driver take us there for 12pm because we wanted to eat and get the heck out of Kingston before the afternoon traffic. I asked my driver what was the best way to get him to come pick us up from Gloria’s, and he said 30min before we were ready to go to give him a call and he’d come get us. Perfect!
We sat down and ordered some shrimp, fish and a whole bunch of carbs. Everything we ordered here, they DID have available for us. Wonderful meal.
It was 2pm now and I messaged the driver to leave, as we would want to be out of there latest at 2:30pm. He said no problem, so we ordered some more drinks and waited.
2:30pm – no driver. I message him and suddenly get a voicenote saying he had to take his aunt to the grocery store so he’s running a little behind. Ok.
2:45pm – no message.
3:00pm – another voicenote, apparently he had to take his aunt to the grocery store, and wait for her to finish, and then drive her home.
3:30pm – no driver.
3:56pm – the guy finally showed up to pick us up.
Now, anyone who knows me, I mean, look at the name of the damn blog. I am not a patient person. I also don’t like being played around with when I am paying for something. If he was unable to come get us, he should have told us and I would have asked another driver. Instead of being long gone heading back to Galina by 3pm, we were now not able to leave Kingston until 4:30pm. Right into traffic. Even with taking the highway back this time, we did not arrive back to our AirBnB in Galina until 8pm. Total waste of an afternoon/evening.
I was so freaking angry. I try not to get upset on vacation because, it’s vacation! How much could really go wrong you know? But as it was our final day in Jamaica, this really killed half a day. Very annoyed.
Tuesday, December 21st
Due to our late arrival the night before, we had missed out on a surprise by Chris. He thought we would be back earlier in the day (because that was what we told him) but that did not happen.
Chris being the nicest person on the planet that he is, woke us up at 7:30am with a BBQ directly in our back yard with jerk chicken on it. He intended to do this with us the evening before, but instead had to do it this morning. I have to say, this was one of the highlights of the trip. Such a kind gesture and what an amazing smell to wake up to. Jerk chicken being marinated by Red Stripe. Wow
Should mention, during this time we had also gotten the e-mails from TCL notifying us of our negative PCR tests. Under 24hrs for results, great.
We said our goodbyes to Chris and went over to Port Maria for the final time. More breakfast. As if jerk chicken wasn’t filling enough, Suzette, the awesome Suzette, had curry goat and plantain ready for us. Gave me time to enjoy the veranda for one last time before heading back to Canada.
Now we had to say our goodbyes to the family and the view – it was time for that long ass drive to Sangster airport in Montego Bay.
We had a plan to get to Mobay early and go check out a local restaurant before going into the airport. Our flight was pretty late at 7:30pm, so we had time.
The trek to Montego Bay did end up taking a super long time, again. Even with the wild driving, it took a pretty long time but at least we planned for this and could go to dinner and fly on time.
Then my email notification goes off.
You must be fucking kidding me. Just under 4hrs until our flight, and Swoop had cancelled it. This is hell.
Luckily I used my Rogers Roam Like Home on this trip and got the notification immediately on my phone. I imagine for those who use their phones on vacation only when they get to wi-fi had an even more unpleasant surprise when they arrived at the airport.
The initial Swoop e-mail said we could rebook with WestJet and I was able to do so via their website within six minutes or so after receiving the initial cancellation notification.
This flight was leaving 25 minutes before our original flight, which was fine. But between the annoyance of this and now an earlier flight – we didn’t go to the restaurant as we planned, and went straight to the airport.
As we arrived, we were able to check-in with the WestJet counter but although we had paid for an extra bag with Swoop, that did not apply with WestJet now. There goes $100 USD.
We had to show our negative PCR test to the WestJet agent, and our vaccination status. Also, this is where we had to show that we had filled out our ArriveCan. Remember if you’re flying to Canada from anywhere, you have to have that app downloaded and filled out to enter. MAKE SURE YOU DO IT.
The process of getting through security in Sangster was way quicker than Pearson. I don’t think we spent a total of three minutes getting through, no line at all.
My bf and I sat down and ate some fast food at the airport before boarding and purchased some items at duty free to take home. Yes, Hennessy Pure White.
I have a theory on what happened with the Swoop flight now. As we boarded the WestJet flight, almost everyone had a whole row to themselves. As Swoop is owned by WestJet – I assume both flights just didn’t have enough bookings so they combined them. That is just MY theory, but that is what it sure looked like at the time.
We took off on time and landed on time in Toronto. The arrival process at Pearson went surprisingly fast. Between disembarking the plane, picking up our luggage, going through customs and being chosen for random testing – we were still out in under 20 minutes. With all the hell we went through during departing, it was kind of nice that arriving went so smoothly.
Shitty thing is, yes, we were chosen for the random PCR testing on arrival. I don’t understand fully how our flight was chosen, but the incoming one from London, with their one million positive cases was not. But whatever. Make sure you have a Switch Health account before traveling, this will speed up your time in line for the testing on arrival. They told us we would receive our results between 24-72hrs and to quarantine until then.
We received the two negatives the following night, just over 24hrs. Not so bad.
This trip sure was something. From this being a totally different destination than what we planned, to the random days of no itinerary and for all the rules and regulations. It was still a wonderful birthday trip.
If you have a chance, make a trip to Oracabessa and to Port Maria. Such cool areas and so chill. If you enjoy being off the tourist path, these are your spots.
Have to send one last special thank you to Dean, Suzette and Chris because without you this trip would have not been as awesome. No way. Very lucky to have met the three of you and can’t wait to see you again.
Hope this was informative and I didn’t go on and on about nonsense. Just wanted to make sure I was detailed.