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My Year of Travelling Jamaica, Part I

As 2012 draws to a close, I’m eagerly anticipating another year of travel and discovery. But before I start the New Year, I wanted to look back at my year of travelling Jamaica.

Since January, I have logged hundreds of miles around the island. Sometimes I traveled solo, sometimes I was with friends who were visiting. Each trip though, brought me face to face with intriguing individuals, or took me on explorations of interesting and historic places, or opened my eyes to things I’d missed or just hadn’t paid attention to before.

The best times during the year though, were the simple ones. At those times, my camera felt intrusive. I didn’t want to break the flow of conversation or make notes. I only wanted to savor the moment that I was no longer observing and reporting, the moment I felt a part of the story.

Here’s some of what I experienced.

Sunrise over Negril Jamaica

Sunrise, Negril

At dawn one morning in February, friends and I walked the beach in Negril from our hotel near the center of town to well past the Hanover border. It was the first time I’d done that and I loved the near emptiness of the beach and the pinkish color the sun had painted the sky as it climbed above the horizon to start the new day.

Herb vendor, Jamaica

Herb vendor, Negril

The first person we saw was this guy who was walking the beach selling various herbs. After chatting with him, I bought a bag of ground bissy or kola nut. Bissy came to Jamaica from West Africa and is used to help digestion, and fight fatigue and hunger. It’s also good for the heart.

Tall and cruise ships, Jamaica

Two ships docked at Freeport, Montego Bay

Two, sometimes three times a week, ships dock at Freeport in Montego Bay. Usually, it’s a ship from the Carnival fleet but early in 2012, I spotted this tall ship. It looked impressive even from a distance and I watched it almost all day.

Pink skies over the Blue Mountains Jamaica

Blue Mountains

In March, I fell short by a few hours in my attempt to hike to the top of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s tallest, to greet the new day. I was very disappointed but on the hike back, I was able to see what I had missed in the 2:00 a.m. walk up. These views almost made up for the sunrise I didn’t get to see.

Coffee Beans on the Blue Mountains Jamaica

Coffee Beans, Blue Mountains

Clouds and house on the Blue Mountains Jamaica

Clouds on the Blue Mountains

One day, I visited King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General who is the Queen’s representative in Jamaica. A few days later, I was at the former home of Bob Marley, the King of Reggae.

King's House external view - Jamaica

King’s House

Bob Marley Museum Jamaica

Bob Marley Museum

Two places of worship caught my attention during my travels: Holy Trinity in Kingston and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. Ann.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Jamaica

Holy Trinity, Kingston

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Jamaica

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Ann

In July, I discovered Fay who still practices the (almost) lost art of making peppermint candy by hand. I also found out that it was a skill my paternal grandmother had.

Fay, the Peppermint Candy Lady, and her family

Fay and members of her family

Peppermint candy swirl Jamaica

Peppermint candy mixture

It was fascinating to watch Fay’s mixture turn from brown to white then, as she added coloring, to red and white. (More about Fay in an upcoming post.)

Hope you’ll check back for Part II of highlights from my year of travelling Jamaica.

This is my submission to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday series, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Hope you’ll head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.




  1. Your descriptions of the sights and foods of Jamaica make me want to visit. My son is recently engaged and is planning a destination wedding. He’s thinking of St. Lucia but I’m pushing for Jamaica so I can experience what you’ve written about and with luck even meet you.
    Happy New Year.
    Leigh recently posted..Highlights of My Year (2012) in PhotosMy Profile

  2. Seems like a really full year! My wish for you in 2013 is for you to finally reach the peak of Blue Mountains by sunrise 🙂
    Aleah | recently posted..Travels of 2012—Bittersweet Memories of my Solo Backpacking Trip in EuropeMy Profile

  3. Thank you, Aleah! It’s definitely back on my list for 2013.
    Looking back now, it feels like a full year but there were days when I felt I wasted too much time.

  4. Hmmm, that’s a difficult one, Leigh. I’m glad I don’t have to choose.
    If you’re going to TBEX in June, maybe we can meet then.
    Thanks! Wish you all the best for the New Year.

  5. What a great wrap-up, Marcia! I love virtually following you around Jamaica and I have learned so much from your posts. Great seeing some wonderful pictures all in one post. Looking forward to Part II and learning more about Fay. Wishing you the best and more travels in 2013!
    Mary recently posted..A Year of Travel Memories and Adventures in 2012My Profile

  6. I wish to visit Jamaica someday. Thank you for info 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Paradise Go!! Go!! – Argent snowMy Profile

  7. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Fay and the peppermint candy. Looks like you’ve had a great year!
    Michele recently posted..Best of 2012: Highlights from the YearMy Profile

  8. Fay’s story’s definitely on the agenda for the New Year, Michele. Please stay tuned.
    Looking back, I did have a great year though at times I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough.

  9. You’re welcome, Muza-chan. Please let me know if you do, I’ll show you around.

  10. Thanks, Mary, wish you the same in 2013.
    It was great looking back and seeing what I accomplished — many times I felt I wasn’t doing enough.
    Glad to have had you along with me, Mary.

  11. You’ve shown us so many wonderful and diverse aspects of Jamaica throughout the year. I’ve enjoyed following along with your travels on the island. Do you think the ground bissy really works? I wonder where I can find it!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Nativity Scenes at PeterskircheMy Profile

  12. I’ve learnt so much about your beautiful country this year, Marcia. Eager to have a closer look.
    Sophie recently posted..Arctic Sortland: Norway’s Blue TownMy Profile

  13. I’ve enjoyed your travels through Jamaica.

    Hey, here’s an interesting idea. I’ve just discovered in a meaningful way that you can view other places on Google Maps.Like you’re walking up the street. I’ve known for ages now that I could do that, but I’ve only given it a cursory glance in the past. But today I really saw it. And I have just thought, if you give us the coordinates or the address in your post, we could probably go thereon Google Maps and have a good look around.
    Narelle recently posted..the divineMy Profile

  14. Happy New Year to you! I look forward to more from you and your Jamaican travels in the coming year!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..2013: We’ll Be On the Road ~And Going 60!!My Profile

  15. Jamaica is majestic! Your experience in Jamaica got me wanting to go there. I think it’s the perfect vacation for people wanting to escape the city life. It’s definitely going on the top of my list on places to visit.
    Connor Harley recently posted..Why Invest in Gold?My Profile

  16. Wow, these are fantastic highlights from your year! I’ve so enjoyed getting to know more about Jamaica through your blog, and hope to be able to visit myself someday soon!:-) Cheers to a happy 2013!
    Jess recently posted..Choral Festival At Carnegie Hall + GiveawayMy Profile

  17. You shared a lot of good stuff… looking forward to more. 🙂
    ElizOF recently posted..Welcome 2013: Tips For A Happy Healthy Year!My Profile

  18. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Sounds like such a great place to have fun and refreshment. I never been in Jamaica but as far as I know the place are really great.
    Danyelle Franciosa recently posted..Allkind Joinery Brisbane – Upholding a Proud TraditionMy Profile

  19. Thanks, Elizabeth. Lots more to come!

  20. Thanks, Jess. Hope you get here someday soon.
    Happy New Year to you too!

  21. Thanks, Jackie, look forward to bringing you much more!

  22. That sounds neat, Narelle. I didn’t know you could do that! Thanks for letting me know.

  23. Thanks, Sophie. Glad to have been able to share it with you.
    Happy New Year!

  24. Glad you were able to tag along, Cathy.
    I think it does work. Check out health food stores, they’d probably have it.
    Here’s something I found online –

  25. Thanks, Danyelle, it is.
    Thanks for your comment.

  26. Thanks, Connor. I’m glad that you’d like to visit – thanks for saying that.