Soooo let's talk about Jamaica Carnival. It was absolutely EPIC. Better than the year before. Jamaica Carnival takes place in Kingston, Jamaica, the week after Easter Sunday. It was first started by Byron Lee in April 1990, when the first staged parade took place. Despite negative critics and the involvement of soca in a reggae dominant country, the carnival has continued to grow, becoming what it is now. Jamaica Carnival will only continue to grow and I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite carnivals thus far. My friends (Ash, Adrie & Kari) and I truly enjoyed ourselves this trip and I can’t wait to share it with you!
We arrived to Jamaica around 9am their time (Jamaica is an hour behind the U.S). My friend Ash and myself did carry-ons, so we had the luxury of walking out the airport, after stopping at duty free and going through customs, of course. I ended up buying two bottles of liquor, Ash bought two bottles of liquor and Adrie bought 1. Unfortunately, Adrie had to check her bag, since the plane was completely booked. It didn’t take long and before we knew it we were on our merry way to Altamont Court Hotel. Before I continue, I must say, my stay at Altamont Court was absolutely perfect. From the free breakfast every morning to the customer service, I couldn’t have asked for a better hotel. When we first arrived, our room wasn’t ready so they let us store our bags, eat food at the restaurant and then work out in their gym until it was. Our room was ready by 12:30 ish, even though check-in wasn’t until 2pm. The room was everything we imagined it would be plus more. It more than accommodated 4 girls and their baggage. But anyway the trip has begun.
The first night was a fete called I Love Soca. The first night always hits the hardest, because we are all so excited to be on vacation and super eager to drink. We got F$%&cked immediately because we each had our own water bottle filled with Johnnie Walker (our choice of alcohol) and ginger beer. To top the night off, Beenie Man did a quick performance that was more than we could of asked for. It was good vibez with great friends. We ended the night off getting a ride from some of our other friends in exchange for jerk chicken from the man outside the party. It was the perfect way to end the night.
The second day was suppose to consist of a fete called Jam Nation in the morning and another called Tribe Ignite later on in the night. Thanks to our festivities the night prior, we didn’t make it to the first party. However, none of us were mad about that. Yes we wasted our money, but we got invaluable sleep in return. Plus our 4th and final friend, Kari, was arriving today, so missing that party was the least of our worries. Kari arrives and she is holding 2 bottles of Johnnie Walker, that she picked up from duty free. If you can recall I had 2 bottles, Ash had 2 bottles and Adrie had 1 bottle. We finished one bottle during I Love Soca (that’s why we were so drunk) and had 4 remaining and now 6… thanks to Kari. And of course we had to go hard again, because this was Kari’s first night in Jamaica. What friends would we be, if we didn’t repeat the first night all over again. Tribe Ignite was our first party with all 4 of us and it was genuine fun. This party was in Sabina Park, which is a stadium in Jamaica. I Love Soca was at the same place.The music was good, we were finally all together and we were tipsy, of course. It really wasn’t just us 4, because 2 of our guy friends were staying at the same hotel and their other 3 friends were staying at a close by hotel, so we would all just party together. The vibez were more so chill, but I definitely had a great time. Fortunately, we weren’t as drunk as the day before, but that’s only cause we were mentally preparing ourselves for Friday.
Next up… we have Friday. Friday into Saturday was probably the busiest and most hectic party days of them all. We had three parties back to back then Caesar's Army Ambush, which is like a J’ouvert fete filled with paint, powder, water and fun vibez from 2am-8am Saturday morning, Sunrise Breakfast party right after and then costume pickup. Before I go into details, I just want to say that after Caesar's Army, I was in complete zombie mood and I couldn’t even tell you how I managed to keep going. The first fete was MEDZ, which was from 8am to about 4pm, and it was pure vibez. There was food, drinks and a medz man, which is so unique of Jamaica. However, it was super hot and we were all in bathing suits so I’m almost certain this was the beginning of our sun burn debacle. I’m not sure at which time we left but I was beyond tired and didn’t end up making it the second party, Soca Brainwash. I’ve been to Soca Brainwash in Miami, Jamaica (last year), Barbados & New York, so I wasn’t upset about missing out. I would have rather not wasted that $100, but my body needed the rest. After my little nap, it was time for the next party. It was at this moment that I started to become a zombie. I was still super tired, but the feteing must go on and so it did. The last party for Friday was Scorch Duck Work. I enjoyed myself at Scorch Duck Work, but I didn’t get too drunk because I needed to mentally prepare for Saturday, another hectic day.
Side note: Speaking and reminiscing with friends, it was brought to my attention that I was, in fact, drunk at Scorch Duck Work. I just seem to only remember the point at which I was sober. But that’s perfectly fine.
Caesar’s Army… Sunrise Breakfast Party… Pick up costume… PM Fete. That was the schedule for Saturday, but where would the fun be if it went exactly as planned. Caesar’s Army was amazing, per usual. I, however, died/ turned full zombie mode, after this. I don’t even remember a good amount of what happen. One minute it was dark outside and I’m at Caesar’s Army and the next minute I’m in the hotel napping before the next event. I definitely don’t remember washing off all the paint, or what I thought was washing off the paint. Somehow, I managed to throw some makeup on my face, which looked pretty decent considering my state of mind and wellbeing at that point. When it came time to put on my ALL WHITE outfit, my bubble was instantly bursted. After squeezing into it, it was no longer white, but a mix of red paint and gold body glitter…I hadn’t cleaned off as well as I thought. Luckily, Ash had another backup outfit I could wear, that wouldn’t be soiled by my failed attempted at washing the paint off my body. I threw some shades on to hide my sins from this morning and we were off to Sunrise. Sunrise was very good vibez, but it always is. All inclusive food, liquor and music… what more could you ask for. I just wish I wasn’t still so drunk/tired, so I could of enjoyed it more. But the day still wasn’t over, because we had to go get our costumes. If anyone has been through the carnival experience, you know costume pickup can vary between minutes to hours. But Xaymaca was very organized. It took no more than 30 minutes to get all of our costumes. I would recommend checking your box, while you are still in front of them, because I was missing my panty, but once I let them know I was provided with one ASAP. It was FINALLY time to head back to the hotel so I could take a nap and boy did I nap. Ash and I ended up staying home and not going to PM fete with Kari and Adrie. I slept from the afternoon of Saturday till to the morning of Sunday, and I woke up hungry as ever, but ready to FETE!
SUNDAY was the big day. Time for the road. We went down for breakfast and then headed back upstairs to start ROAD prep. Road prep consist of doing hair, makeup, body bronzing, body painting, putting together costume, etc. We do our best to look our best, so prep can take hours. Only Adrie and I had the same costume. Kari and Ash had two different ones, but we were all playing with Xaymaca. The road to me was perfect, I could smoke and drink all I wanted, there was space to just dance and free up, security was doing their job and we were provided with lunch and dinner. The lunch break was great cause at that point I was starving. I did almost have my phone stolen, but before the person could walk off I realized what was going on and grabbed my phone back. That could of really ruined the road for me, but it didn’t.The food lines weren’t too crazy and they had several options. I had meat so I can’t speak on the experience of those who had the vegetarian option. After lunch, we returned to the road and continued to fete till our feet hurt and it was dark outside. The road with Xaymaca was definitely a great experience. It was seamless, quick and fun. They catered to their masqueraders and ensured, to the best of their ability, that we were all able to have the best experience on the road. Fun fact: Up until the road, I hadn’t had 3 consistent meals in a day. That could of been, because of all the parties and such but I certainly ate good on the road, which is usually the complete opposite. Since our feet were hurting from the road, we decided to end our night early and just relax.
The next morning was Xaymaca Beach Lyme. The first time I went to this was last year and to see the growth from last year to now, is honestly astounding. I had fun both times, nonetheless. The beach lyme was located at Fort Clarence Beach in, although it was really windy and the sand was getting blown everywhere, the sun was shining and drinks were flowing. One of my favorite things about the beach lyme was that you got to hear more reggae songs than you did in other parties and you could just free up on the beach. That for me, was necessary, because it is Jamaica’s Carnival. You wouldn’t go to Trinidad carnival and not play soca. I must say I really enjoyed myself at the beach lyme and it was the perfect end to Jamaica Carnival 2018.
Although, all the festivities ended on Monday, April 9th, my friends and I booked our trip till April the 14th. We were able to actually relax and enjoy Jamaica the last couple days we were there. The day after the beach lyme we went to Hellshire Beach. Now, Hellshire is nice for seafood and just enjoying yourself, but according to people form Ocho Rios and Negril, this isn’t a beach, or at least a good beach. Considering we couldn’t make it to Ocho Rios before we left, Hellshire and Fort Clarence, would just have to do. Unfortunately, Adrie had to leave that night since her flight was at 1:25am the next morning, but Ash, Kari and I went to Puls8 night club with some friends followed by a trip to Taboo Stripclub. This was my very first time in a stripclub of any kind, so I was excited just to be going. Overall, it was such a really nice experience within the local nightlife and made the trip that much better. The next day we had dreadfully had to check-out of the hotel, even though our flight wasn’t until 1:25 am on the 14th. Luckily, we were able to get a later check-out for 1pm and were able to spend some time by the pool before we left. To our surprise, the hotel staff just happened to be taking pictures for their website and asked if it would be okay if they could include us in some of the shots. We happily consented and now have a picture on the website of Altamont Court Hotel. 1:00pm was quickly approaching, so we packed, repacked, rearranged and stuffed our bags until we couldn’t anymore, and then left our home away from home for the finally time. Ash’s cousin picked us up, since we still had a whole 12 hours before our flight. We ended up going to Fort Clarence beach just to relax. After Fort Clarence, we went to eat at the popular restaurant M10 Bar & Grill. I completely understand why they are so popular, the food was all soo good. I ordered the garlic shrimp for myself, but also had a piece of oxtail and fried snapper and they were both great. Our last stop in Jamaica was Devon House, a landmark/estate that once belonged to the first black/mixed millionaire in Jamaica. There were all types of shops and restaurants there, but most of them were closed, so we ended our vacation with a scoop of ice cream from Devon House I-Scream, which is definitely a must-visit.
Now that I’ve told you all about my Jamaica visit has anyone else gone to Jamaica or Jamaica Carnival? What was your experience like? What was your favorite part about the trip and your favorite place to visit? Did you learn anything new while in Jamaica? Would you return/recommend to a friend? Feel free to comment below!!