As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to go to Jamaica. I pictured friendly Jamaican people with dreadlocks happily dancing on the beach with not a care in the world because life is good. I know that sounded stereotypical but that’s what I was honestly picturing in my head!
I’ve been following the website vacationstogo for awhile now. If you don’t know what that is, it is a discounted cruise ship website with deals up to 87% off cruise ships. I have dreamed of doing a Caribbean cruise for a long time now but I couldn’t afford the hefty price tag of $2000 to have that experience.
Fastforward again to 2014, I finally found the deal that fit both me and my girlfriend’s budget. It was a five day cruise starting in Miami and the destinations included Jamaica, one of my dream destinations! The trip cost us only $270 each for the inside cabin and we got to eat lobster, prime rib, and a lot of delicious food that was included as part of the cruise ship experience! Me and Karen definitely gained a lot of weight…at least the ship had a gym so we at least worked out to mitigate some of the damage done by the buffet.
Upon arriving at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the first thing we noticed was it was raining like crazy. It was not the perfect weather to be exploring this land. As soon as we got off the ship and started to walk towards the city, we were immediately bombarded by the locals to buy stuff from their store or to get a taxi ride from them.
We were even followed on the street, constantly harassed by the locals to buy what they had to sell. Karen felt uneasy right away and I had to make sure we go where other tourist are flocking to ensure our safety.
This experience definitely left a bad taste in our mouth. I’m sure Jamaican people are good people and they are just trying to make ends meet because they have a poor economy so I will try not to judge and possibly visit the country again in the future. Just a word of advice, it is not cheap in the Jamaican tourism, we paid $26 for curried goat and the portions was quite tiny. I’m not sure if it’s safe to venture further to get a better deal but it probably is as long as you don’t flaunt that you are rich.
After finally leaving Jamaica, we went to Grand Cayman Islands. We didn’t know what to expect as we got on the small boats that will ferry us to the island. To our pleasant surprise, we had an amazing experience in the island! We spent a good amount of time just playing in the beach and checking out the city. We ate rum cake which was delicious and took many tourist pictures. The city is very safe and I highly recommend that everyone check out the Cayman Islands at least once in their lifetime. It’s a good place to just relax and soak in the sun. If we had more time, we would’ve rented a scooter and go for a ride around the island.
After we got back to Miami, we took the Megabus back to Orlando and slept in the airport until it was time to fly. (I don’t recommend sleeping in the airport, it is not a pleasant experience)
The overall takeaway from the whole trip is that travel hacking works. We paid $140 for our flight to Orlando Florida and back to Vancouver thanks to Aeroplan. Because we booked one way each way, we managed to sit beside each other during the flight. The cruise ship cost us $270 per person, the buses cost us about $70 in total, the taxi ride cost us $20, and our Marriott Hotel stay was free.
The total cost outside food and entertainment is a grand total of $500!
Travel hacking definitely makes seeing the world accessible to everyone.
If you want to learn how to get started on travel hacking, check out the Canadian Travel Hacking meetup group and check out a blog post I made on credit cards to get to get tons of Aeroplan points fast.
Feel free to comment below and send me an email if you have any questions!