12 Days in Jamaica with Kids - Day 1

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

What do you do when friends invite you to come visit them in Jamaica?? You make it happen and GO! 

A few years back we took a family trip to Barbados and met up with some acquaintances who quickly became friends. Since our time together they have moved to Jamaica and invited us to come visit them. 

Who says "No" to that??


We prefer to give our children experiences rather than things, especially at the holiday time, so a trip to Jamaica seemed just right. 

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

We began our Jamaica trip on Christmas morning - really early!! We were a little afraid that nothing would be open at the Nashville airport due to the holiday and early hour, and kids like to eat! Never fear - Starbucks to the rescue! Open and even gave me a free refill - I think the barista saw our group and knew I was going to need all the caffeine I could get! :)

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

You may ask - how does a large family (we have 5 children and took one extra with us!) take such a trip? With a lot of planning! I planned a lot of our trip from the Jamaica handbook - that I found a little dated once we were there, so get a newer version if you decide to buy one -, and online at Trip Advisor, plus talking to those that have been before. I even met a girl from Jamaica on Instagram and received a few good tips from her.

Our secret weapon is our Citi Card credit card that we get American Airline air miles on to purchase our airplane tickets pretty much for free. That does mean that you take the early bird flight and get to see the sunrise from the sky! Worth it!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

This little guy was so excited about going to Jamaica and the plane ride! He turned 4 years old while we were there, so he saw the trip as his own personal birthday present. Sounds good to me!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

Generally, people who travel to the Caribbean islands stay at resorts, most of which are all-inclusive. That doesn't work well for us $-wise, so we like to "live like a local" and rent a house for our stay. Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO are three websites that we used to plan our trip. 

We arrived on a holiday - Christmas and Boxing day - and Jamaicans takes their holidays (equals days off work!) seriously! Only gas stations were open, so our food choices consisted of bread, tuna, milk, cereal, cheese, coffee, and a few other minor staples for the first few days. Note to self: Pack PB next time!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

The first three days of our trip we spent at a home on Flamingo Beach, about 20 miles from Montego Bay where we flew in, and it was both beautiful and interesting! You quickly learn that Jamaica isn't all about luxury in the real world. Hot water being one of those luxuries. But there was a beach right out the front door, so we were good! 

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

The wind was crazy, so we used one of the many logs laying around to anchor our flip flops!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

The hubby (John) and I trying to unwind! The little guy was everywhere and had to be watched 110% of the time as he has no fear of the waters or the waves. The blue water and sound of the waves rolling in were wonderful and relaxing!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

Don't ask how many pictures I took of the waves over my toes! I mean we ARE at the beach!

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

The big boys were up for an adventure, so we jumped into our Jamaican 8 passenger rented van and head for Montego Bay. Just be warned - a luxury model van comes with all the dents, and really only means it has ac and is an automatic rather than manual drive.

Montego Bay is the lime light of Jamaica, on the west side of the island. You will see everything here, and there's plenty to do. I was a little nervous about all that I heard about the town, and yes, we were offered weed and a few other things, but it wasn't as scary as I had imagined, though I wouldn't hang out there at night.

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

One benefit of it being a holiday is that the restaurants that were open weren't crowded. Pier One got a great review in the Jamaica travel book that I had brought along, so we stopped and had our first of many tastes of jerk chicken, rice and peas, and fruit punch. Very good food and awesome views.

The streets are narrow, and Jamaicans drive on the "wrong" side of the road and all in their own time and to their own rules, so driving in Jamaica is an experience of its own - one that John was glad to leave behind when the trip was over. But driving around is the best way to see the town, so we saw most of Montego Bay in an afternoon drive while the little guy had his nap.

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

We love the beach, so we spent all the time there that we could, ending each day playing in the sand, lying in the beach hammocks, and watching the waves roll in.

We began most days that way too! 

12 days in Jamaica with Kids Day 1

This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip - Bella and Cade spending a few quite minutes together. I think she was really worried he was going to decide to jump in!

Stay tuned for Day 2 of 12 Days in Jamaica with Kids





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