If you want to have a really fun snorkeling catamaran cruise while in Jamaica, jump on the “Kool Kat Kelly” in Negril. I love catamaran cruises. There is just something about lying on the deck and feeling like I own the boat. The crew of the 65 foot “Kool Kat Kelly”, does an outstanding job in providing a fun experience.
There was not a large group of people the day we took the cruise. We had a small group of other travel bloggers and some spa bloggers.
To do a snorkeling trip in Jamaica, you first walk down the beach
then you wade out to the Kool Kat Kelly anchored off the beach in Negril
Then you simply sail away!
Then, you get ready to go snorkeling
Sometimes, catamaran cruises can be pretty one dimensional. You go to a snorkel spot, sail around for a little while, then go home. The “Kool Kat Kelly” is different. The crew first did the snorkel part, then we sailed down to the Rock Hotel where we did some cave swimming with some of the crew from the boat. The cave swimming is a lot of fun. It adds a little extra fun to the trip. The water up and down the coast is beautiful—and warm.
getting ready to do some cave swimming near the Rock Hotel in Negril
There used to be a bar in the cave. There are actually some steps that lead up to the top of the cave and the hotel. We did not go up the stairs, instead we just swam around in the cave. From there we sailed off to the world famous Rick’s café.
Approaching Rick's Cafe in Negril, Jamaica
World Famous Rick's Cafe in Negril
Rick’s Cafe was not open in the morning , but we stopped and watched a diver practice a few dives from the cliff. Rick’s has been featured on the Travel Channel a number of times and I wanted to see it. Glad I did. I think it would really be a fun place to spend some evening hours. Ok, I can cross that off my bucket list now.
From Ricks, we headed back towards Negril and anchored off shore for a while. We had our choice of reggae dancing on the boat to a DJ and great music or we could go bounce around on the water trampoline. I did both.
The DJ likes to dress up in a wolf's mask
They set up a good bar on the Kool Kat Kelly
After I practiced my reggae moves, I was off to try my skill on the water trampolines. Between the two trampolines there is an inflatable connecting walkway. The challenge is to walk it without falling in the ocean.
Lots of fun bouncing around on the Aqua Trampoline
I tried it and fell in the first two seconds. My friends, Deb and Dave of theplanetd.com were taking photos of some of us and unfortunately took a photo of me unceremoniously falling into the ocean. However, I am a good sport and will publish the link to the photo here. BTW, you really owe it to yourself to check out Deb and Dave’s web site: theplanetd.com. They are really cool people and have traveled all over the world.
If you want to see a short video on the Catamaran ride that Wayne, our Jamaica Tourist Board photographer shot; you can see it here:
After about 3.5 hours of a fun day on the water it was time to return to shore. We still had more soft adventure ahead with the Chukka ATV Safari.
After that ride down the Mystic Mountain on the Jamaica Bobsled, it was time for some good Jamaican jerk at Scotchies. I don’t know if BBQ was invented in Jamaica or not, but the islanders are real experts in it. When you think of Jerk, you gotta think of the skilled BBQ’ers in Jamaica. Wow!
Entrance to the famous Scotchies in Jamaica
The entrance into Scotchies in Jamaica
When we walked in to Scotchies, all the customers looked pretty happy. A friend of mine had visited Jamaica recently on a cruise. He had asked the Taxi driver to take him to the best jerk on the island. Scotchies is where he was taken.
It was time for us to chow down! We were served a mixture jerk chicken, jerk beef and pork, Jamaican bread, and rice and peas.
a table full of Jamaican jerk-yum!
In the photo below you will see from L to R, members of our travel bloggers group: @travelwithKids, @theplanetD, @harleequinn.
From L to R, Teresa, Dave and JJ chowing down! Hey, save some for me!
They place a bowl of Scotchies hot sauce in the middle of the table. It looks very inviting. I would suggest you start out slow with the sauce. It can be quite hot, but yet very flavorful.
Scotchies special sauce. A little hot!! Jerk Chicken and Pork, roasted yam, Jamaican Bread, a bottle of Ting!
Soooooo, if you get to Jamaica, don’t leave without some great Jamaican Jerk. A good place to try(?)Scotchies of course!!
I had mentioned in an earlier post that I was on a soft adventure tour with some other travel bloggers and we wanted to make the most of our time on the island. So, at 9:30 a.m. on our first day, we took off for Ocho Rios and Mystic Mountain
. Mystic Mountain is a really cool place if you want a lot of exciting fun. For me, it was the “Skylift Explorer” and the “Rainforest Bobsled
(really cool)—a 10 minute run down the mountain. Remember the bobsled team in the Winter Olympics of 1998 that called themselves “Jamaica Bobsled”? I think everyone does……so ya gotta do this one if for no other reason than to support the spirit of the Olympics!!
The starting place for the Mystic Mountain Jamaica Bobsled Run
First, you take the skylift for a 15 minute ride up the mountain. From the skylift, you have some amazing views of the forest and Ochos Rios in the distance.
The skylift up to the top of Mystic Mountain for the bobsled run
Look to the left and you will get a fantastic view of Ocho Rios as you go over the tree tops.
A view of Ocho Rios from the skylift
The tram takes you right over the tops of the trees.
The skylift ride through the trees on the way to the Jamaica Bobsled run
At the top, there is a visitor center where you can look at the history of Jamaica’s involvment in the Olympic Games. Below are some travel bloggers: @thePlanetD @GoNomad @Travelwithykids and in the background is Wayne Lowers our trusty cinematographer
Visitor Center at the top of Mystic Mountain
In the Visitor Center you have a chance to read specifically about Jamaica’s entry into the Olympic bobsled event and how ingenious they were in getting prepared to enter the games.
An overview of the Jamaica Bobsled in the vistitor center
Once on top at the bobsled run, we go through the safety instructiions (important).
Written instructions for the Mystic Mountain bobsled run
I tried to remember if I had any bad karma hanging over me before I got into that bobsled for the run down the mountain.
Steve Barrymore ready for the Mystic Mountain Jamaica Bobsled run
I turned my life over to Jamaica bobsled and away we went!! 10 minutes of twists, turns, ups, and downs at speeds reaching almost 40 mph per hour! Yikes!
You control the speed with an accelerater handle and brake. Go as slow or as fast as you want. Once you start down the run and gain confidence, you will really want to push the speed. After the run, there is a cable that pulls you and your sled back to top for another run if you like. Or, if your nerves are shot by this time, you can simply just visit the gift shop.
As your trip advisor I would say, “don’t leave Jamaica until you have done the bobsled ride!!”
If you want to see a really cool video of the ride, Rob at stophavingaboringlife.com does a great job of narrating his own run down the mountain. You can see his video here. I think you will find his travels very interesting.
After the bobsled, I was ready for that food that made Jamaica famous-Yep, Jerk! That’s my next post, “Scotchies” Jamaican jerk.
Follow me on Twitter: @stevebarrymore
Lets take a look at the outside areas of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand and some of the things you will encounter on the property. Here are some shots of the common areas-pretty nice, huh?
A view of all 3 of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand pools
Iberostar Rose Hall Grand pool, Jamaica-looking towards the ocean
Infinity pool of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand Hotel-Montego Bay, Jamaica
Can you picture yourself sitting in the infinity pool and just staring out to sea? A great way to daydream about how lucky you are to be in Jamaica.
Looking back from the inifity pool towards the main part of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand Hotel in Montego Bay, Jamaica
After you have had either enough swimming or beverages, it is an easy few steps over the open air restaurant that overlooks the beautiful Caribbean. They open at 8 a.m. for breakfast and is a great way to start the day. It is also a great way to finish the day with a late afternoon buffet served until 6 p.m.
Iberostar Rose Hall Grand pool and beachside snack bar
Late afternoon snack at the pool and beachside restaurant
In my next Jamaica blog I will tell you about a really fun day at the Jamaica Bobsled run on Mystic Mountain.
Follow me on Twitter: @stevebarrymore
The beginning of a great vacation at Iberostar Rose Hall Grand-Jamaica
When you first enter the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand
, you are consumed by the grandness, openess, and beauty of the lobby. It has that feel of upscale casual elegance. The Iberostar Rose Hall Grand
is part of the Iberostar chain that is well known for quality throughout the Caribbean.
LObby of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand-Jamaica
Lobby of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand-Jamaica
Lobby Bar of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand-Jamaica
Central Stairway of the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand-Jamaica
One of the hallways leading to the rooms in the Iberostar Rose Hall Grand in Jamiaca
The check in process is very easy.
Rose Hall Iberostar lobby check in
While the property is a good size at 295 rooms, I wouldn’t necessarily put it in that “mega resort category”. It’s small enough where people know and recognize you, but big enough to feel very spacious, which is one of the reasons I liked it. One of the first things I noticed was the friendliness of the staff.
If you dine at the hotel
there is a resort casual dress code in most of the restaurants. I packed linen slacks and tropical shirts which is fine for all of the restauarants. In my next post I will give you an idea as to what you can expect from the grounds and the very attractive pool areas.
Follow me on Twitter: @stevebarrymore