Recently, my husband and I went to Jamaica. It was his first time and my long awaited visit to my home country. While there, it was such a shocker to me to see how significant the prices on almost everything increased since the last time I was in Jamaica. Nevertheless, we found ways to still have the most amazing time on a budget. We decided not to spend the entire vacation on resorts but instead to live among the locals. We opted to stay at affordable Airbnb as we traveled the country. We dined at restaurants that were not fancy but still served the most delicious foods.
We also stayed away from all the famous tourist attractions and focused on the hidden gems that the parishes we visited had to offer. Yes, parishes! A lot of people don’t know this, but Jamaica has 14 parishes. My family is from the parish of St. Thomas. St. Thomas is often considered as the forgotten parish due to its poor infrastructures and lack of major tourist attractions. However, if you want a romantic and spontaneous get away; St. Thomas is the place to be. I will focus this article on this wonderful parish.
St. Thomas, once known as Saint Thomas in the East, is a suburban parish situated at the south eastern end of Jamaica, within the county of Surrey. It is the birthplace of the Right Honorable Paul Bogle, designated in 1969 as one of Jamaica’s seven National Heroes. Morant Bay, its chief town and capital, is the site of the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865, of which Bogle was a leader. St Thomas also has some of the most beautiful hidden gems in Jamaica for romantic and spontaneous get a-ways such as the:
- Bath Botanical Gardens – one of the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere located in the town of Bath
- Bath Fountain – mineral spring located in the town of Bath
- The Source Farm- Jamaica’s only Eco-village located in the beautiful hills of John’s Town
- Morant Bay Fort – a historic site located in the town capital of Morant Bay
- Reggae Falls- a cool waterfall located in HillSide.
- Lysson Beach- a beautiful sandy beach located in the community of Lyssons.
- White Horses Waterfall- a small waterfall located on the corner of the main road in the community of Whitehorses
- Fish Cove- a mouthwatering seafood restaurant located in the community of Leithhall
- Morant Point Lighthouse. A historic site located the community of Morant
The best part about these attractions is that they are FREE or attract a small fee as low as US $20.00. I therefore encourage you to think of this amazing parish the next time you are considering a vacation on the beautiful island of Jamaica.
Airbnb has also become very popular in Jamaica, so ditch the large resorts and live among the locals in and even more authentic way.