Jamaica, From a Teen's Point of View - My Family Travels
Lovnisha and family
Lovnisha at Dunn's River Falls

Well my name is Lovnisha and I went to Jamaica with my mother and my little brother. We went to a part of the island called Ocho Rios. We left on Wednesday by Air Jamaica. The flight was lovely. I recommend it to anyone who is traveling to the Caribbean for the summer because the food was excellent and the flight was smooth. Once we got to the airport the hotel sent a bus to pick us up.

By the way, we stayed at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande. After a 2-hour ride from the airport in Montego Bay we finally arrived at our hotel. It was beautiful. I had never seen a hotel so exotic before. It has an open lobby, 720 rooms, 5 restaurants, 4 pools, and the shopping area is right around the corner. They have a game room and a club for the little kids (ages 6-12) called Club Mongoose.

When we first arrived at the hotel we headed straight to the pool. My brother Michael (9) is a complete nag. I wanted to rest and stay in the hotel room to recuperate from our long flight and bus ride. But no, he kept saying “Come on Lovey (that’s me), let’s go to the pool.” So I broke down and took him. After an hour I brought him back up to the room. He began begging my mother to take him back to the pool but she told him no. He sat there whining and crying. We tried to send him to Club Mongoose but he didn’t want to go so he stayed with me and my mother for the rest of the evening.

The next day we went exploring in the hotel. It was pretty big. We found a lot of the restaurants and other pools. Every night they have a special program. It was very interesting. They had dancers and singers. I was picked to be in a dance contest. I didn’t win but I still had fun participating.

On Friday we took a tour to Dunns River Falls. If you ever go to Jamaica you have to go there. What happens is, you climb a waterfall holding hands with the person next to you. You help each other all the way up. The climb is around 950ft and it takes you about 2 hours. It sounds bad but it’s extremely fun. It is for everyone. That night my mother and I went to a club at the hotel called Jamaican Me Crazy. It was all right but it would have been better to go to an outside club. They are better and in walking distance from the hotel. But, my mother is older so she really wasn’t feeling it. I never got to see an outside club because my mother didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to go by myself so I just let the idea go.

On Saturday we went shopping in the downtown Ocho Rios area. It was pretty decent. There were people harassing us with offers for taxis, hair braiding, or to buy things. The street vendors are expensive. They overprice everything, so we needed to bargain down to 1/3 of the offered prices. We got tee shirts for family and key chains for friends. We also got a couple of things for ourselves. My brother kept bothering my mother and I for everything he saw. We were sorry we didn’t drop him off at Club Mongoose.

When we got back to the hotel we headed for the beach. I went jet skiing. I had one of the guides take me out. We returned to the coast to take my brother out too. It was so much fun. We got to see the coast from the water’s point of view. The ocean is blue and green and it is amazing to see the fish and tadpoles. After that we went to the pool and played pool volleyball. That was also exciting.

We knew we had to leave the next day but we wanted to stay longer. Unfortunately, we didn’t, due to the fact that I had to go to work and my brother had camp. So on Sunday we headed back home. This is where our trip turned a little sour. The bus that took us back to Montego Bay airport didn’t have air conditioning. You can’t imagine what that bus ride was like. Our plane was delayed for an hour, and when we began to pull away from the gate, the engine cut off. Thank God we weren’t in the sky when it happened. We had to wait an extra 10 minutes after that. Eventually we arrived in New Jersey safely and in one piece. Then we had to cross two rivers to make it home to Brooklyn. First, we hopped on the wrong bus and when we hopped off, my mother forgot her bag. We waited another half-hour for the bus to return with the bag. Finally, bag in hand, she, I, and my brother caught the correct bus to Penn Station in Manhattan. From there, we caught a cab across the Williamsburg Bridge and made it home safely.

Traveling with my family can sometimes get very aggravating. But when it comes down to it, you have a better time than you would ever have alone. Yeah, you might not get along at times. But hey – that happens at home too!

This article was first published on www.kidtravels.com in 2001 when Lovnisha Wilkerson was 15.

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