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Category: Favourite Places

Jamaican Hidden Gems: Sun, Seafood and White Sand Beach.

Jamaican Hidden Gems: Sun, Seafood and White Sand Beach.

Recently I returned home to my beautiful island of Jamaica and while there I decided to visit and highlight some of its hidden gems. This will therefore be the first in a series of posts, reserved specially for the land of my birth, that celebrate some of its unknown wonders. Lucky for me one of these hidden gems is only about 10 -15 minutes from my hometown of Lionel Town in Clarendon.

Fishing boats line the beach in Rocky Point.

 

Local fisherman with a rather large catch of the day.

Rocky Point is a fishing town located at the southernmost tip of Jamaica (that little tail of the island on the map). Fishing is indeed a staple in this town, as evidenced by the many fishing boats that line the beach in Rocky Point. It is a great place to get fresh-from-the-ocean fish, lobster, shrimp, conch and more at quite a reasonable price as compared to other areas on the island. But if you are looking to enjoy tasty, made-to-order seafood cooked Jamaican style, then White Sand Beach is where you want to be.

 

For a lot of Jamaicans there are some key places that come to mind when they think of good seafood, and in my neck of the woods at least, these places tend to include Hellshire or Little Ochi. White Sand Beach in Rocky Point definitely needs to be added to that list.

The Look

Beautiful cabanas for a relaxing meal by the sea.

 

I arrived at the restaurant with my sister Francine just in time to watch the sunset by the sea, accented by the authentic ambience of the fishing village. The restaurant is quite easy to find, with a rather large sign on its gate indicating its location on the beach at Rocky Point. There is also ample parking whether on the inside grounds of the restaurant or just outside by the beach. Upon entering I immediately fell in love with White Sand Beach, which boasts a bar and quaint thatch roofed cabanas where patrons can enjoy their meal with a gorgeous view of the sea. The restaurant also caters for events and has a volleyball net and basketball hoop on the sand for even more added fun (work retreat anyone?).

Who’s up for beach volleyball?!

The Food

Enjoying my steamed fish and bammy! Yummm!

 

As if I wasn’t already taken by the laid-back and characteristically tropical atmosphere, the food was definitely the clincher for me. I wanted to have steamed fish and, as with any worthwhile Jamaican seafood restaurant, I got to pick my fish! My sister and I decided to pick one big fish and split it, which even so we were plenty satisfied.  Our meals arrived in fine style with several slices of steamed bammy (a Jamaican flatbread made from cassava), okras, pumpkin and carrots. I absolutely loved every bite of it!

To top off a great meal, two fish dinners, two Tings (Jamaican grapefruit soda) and one Heineken later, our bill was a little over $20 USD (now that’s my kinda seafood restaurant). Now for those who aren’t familiar with other well-known seafood restaurants like Hellshire or Little Ochi, what we paid would have likely covered the fish alone minus the sides and drinks at these restaurants. Needless to say discovering White Sand Beach was for me quite a pleasant surprise and an obvious hidden gem that seafood lovers in Jamaica should give a try.

Recommendations

 

Of course, in my review, I want to give my readers the good as well as the bad. For me, the best time to visit this restaurant would be in the day time, as once night fell there were quite a few mosquitoes that surrounded us. This problem could be easily solved if they were to add tiki torches or citronella candles, which would actually complement the ambience of the restaurant. Otherwise I really had no negative critiques of the restaurant. It is definitely one I plan to return to (in the day, lol) as my other sisters and I have decided to visit with the rest of the family.

So if you are looking for a seafood experience that won’t break the bank but is sure to please the senses, give White Sand Beach a try and let me know what you think. Until then I will be looking for more Jamaican hidden gems for my fellow Roamans to enjoy when in roam.

Top 10 most memorable destinations.

Top 10 most memorable destinations.

Hey Roamans! So I thought I would kick-start my travel blog by taking a stroll down memory lane to highlight the ten most memorable destinations that I have visited thus far. If it isn’t obvious already, I love to travel, and all the destinations I’ve visited have stayed with me in some way or another, however, there are a few which stood out a little more than others. Of course memorable doesn’t always mean good, but luckily most of my travel experiences so far have been fun-filled and have generally left me yearning for a do-over. In compiling my list I also thought about places I think may deserve a second chance despite sour experiences. So without further ado, here we go:

 

  1. Milan, Italy– Now according to my other half this is the city of which we do not speak (let’s just say he didn’t quite take to the city due to a series of unfortunate events). However I think Milan is quite lovely, especially for all the fashionistas out there, it’s like shopping heaven. Exciting sites to see include Sforza Castle and La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which happens to be right next to another famous site, Il Duomo.
Il Duomo, a famous cathedral in Milan
La Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
  1. Orleans, France– This city became a second home for me when I lived and worked in France for the first time. France is such a beautiful country, but I believe many people tend to be a little too obsessed with the concept of Paris and ignore the very quaint countryside areas that I find to be the real gems of France. Orleans is one of these little gems. There are beautiful castles that can be found on the outskirts of the city centre, amazing markets offering fresh produce and awesome wine from the Loire Valley, scenic rivers and vast woodlands that just make you feel like you’re on the set of an old Elizabethan movie. My best memories of Orleans were during the Christmas season (I LOVE Christmas). There are usually lights draped everywhere and a lovely Christmas market where you can enjoy tasty treats like vin chaud (mulled wine) and one of my favourite French dishes, tartiflette (yummm!). For the history and culture buffs, Orleans offers places like the Musée des beaux-arts d’Orléans and an annual Joan of Arc Festival which goes on from the end of April to the first week of May usually. Orleans is also just a 45 minute train ride away from Paris, so if you feel like taking a quick day trip away from the city of lights, give this quaint town a try.
Place du Martroi in the centre of Orleans. That’s a statue of Joan of Arc behind me.
Cute little carousel in the town square.
  1. Lake Como, Italy– This is such a beautiful and idyllic looking town in Italy, and I initially decided to go there for the same reason everyone decides to go to Lake Como, to see George Clooney’s house. Turns out there were a lot more beautiful things to see than just George’s house. Take a boat ride around the beautiful lake or view the interesting artistic statues around the town. I’m a sucker for scenic places and Lake Como was definitely one to amaze the eyes. If you’re ever in Italy this town is definitely day trip worthy.
On a boat ride around the beautiful Lake Como
A view from the dock.
  1. La Dordogne & L’Occitanie regions, France– Honestly, thus far, these are some of the most beautiful regions I have seen in France. It is quite a marked difference from what one sees in Paris but definitely in a good way. I was living in a small town called Excideuil at the time and so I really got to see a lot of what these regions had to offer. There are amazing caves to explore, historic sites to see, great chateaus and vineyards for all the wine lovers like myself (may I recommend Monbazillac, you won’t regret it). Some of the awesome places I visited include Beynac, Rocamadour, Padirac, Montignac, Bergerac & Perigueux.
On my way up to see the Chateau de Beynac. Fun fact, the movie The Messenger: The story of Joan of Arc staring Milla Jovovich was shot here.
Inside the Gouffre de Padirac. It actually rained inside the cave after rain had fallen above ground two days earlier.
  1. Berlin, Germany– I only got to spend two days in this city unfortunately, but I got to see quite a lot during that time thanks to a free city tour which really hit all the major sites that every tourist needs to see while in Berlin. Berlin was a little of a sour experience for me as people were being a little grumpy and callous on the street and this made things a little frustrating for me and my travel partners especially as it concerned help with directions when trying to get around. Otherwise, I did get to see a lot of the history behind the city and I have to say it is quite worth the trip. I think Berlin is definitely one for the second chance list; maybe people were just grumpy because it was so cold at the time.
The Berlin Cathedral.
The famous Brandenburg Gate.
Having fun with some of the art found on the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall.
  1. Athens, Greece– Have you ever read a book, that describes a place or culture, and think “I neeeeed to visit this place.”? Well Greece was that place for me since childhood. For some odd and inexplicable reason I loved Greek mythology as a child (who does that?), and I always dreamt of seeing the temples of the gods and the famous Parthenon. Of course it didn’t help that I later went on to study Literature, as I developed a whole new obsession about seeing the ruins of old amphitheatres where many historic Greek plays were presented. So fast forward to the day I finally get to see this exotic and intriguing country. There I was fidgeting with excitement as the plane landed. I walked out of the airport and took a big whiff of the crisp, cold night air with my travel companions in tow. As we skipped down the street on our way to our destination it began to snow and we were in winter wonderland heaven until the next morning when I realized something was blocking the sun from my window. What could this be? Snow! Yes, snow taller than my 5ft 7” frame. So this whole snow storm deal really messed with all the sight-seeing we had planned for Athens but I was determined to at least see some of the places I read about before. Well unfortunately determination doesn’t always lead to success. I got to see the Acropolis from afar and also the Temple of Olympian Zeus but not much else because evil snow decided my dreams weren’t important (at least I got to try moussaka). Needless to say Athens is one for the do-over list, not just because I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted, but also because my sister accidentally broke my flash drive with most of the pics I took while there (luck of the bloody Irish I have I tell you). I was lucky enough though to experience the nightlife in Athens (somehow along the way we had a snow-fight in a bar), and thanks to the wonder that is Facebook not all was lost with the flash drive. So here are “some” pics of my time in Athens…
Yup! That about “somes” it up! Note to self, learn to invoke the power of the cloud on future travels.
  1. Bordeaux, France– This is another lovely city I really enjoyed in France, and is definitely on my do-over list. The city has quite a magical and entrancing feel when you roam through it. The lights are alluring, the people are hospitable and the nightlife is great. One of my favourite attributes is how pedestrian friendly the city is. You can feel free to use the tram which runs throughout the city centre, but when I travel I really prefer to walk and experience all the little nooks one is more likely to encounter on foot. There is also a lovely biannual carnival called La Foire aux Plaisirs with rides, games to be played and yummy Nutella crepes and churros to be had. Needless to say I was quite in love with this city and plan to return, especially for the wine tours I didn’t get a chance to do while visiting.
A view of the Bordeaux Cathedral.

 

The other half shooting plates at La Foire aux Plaisirs in Bordeaux.
  1. Paris, France– It would be impossible to compile this list without including the gorgeous city of lights; a city so beautiful at night it can make you feel in love even when you’re single. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited Paris quite a few times now and I can tell you, it never gets old. I always look at the Eiffel Tower like it’s the first time; I’ve walked on the Champs Elysees again and again just to see the glamorous street and stores I had seen many times before. Paris definitely has a permanent spot on my do-over list, especially since now I have acquired extended family there.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Outside the Louvre.
The Eiffel Tower.
  1. Venice, Italy– Trust me when I say this is one for the bucket list if you haven’t already been. I had seen so many pictures of this place but WOW, I was so in love the very moment I saw it. Venice is another one of those European cities that just fills your heart with joy and wonder when you enter it. The canals filled with tourists enjoying their gondola rides is quite the beautiful sight and the best gelato I had while in Italy was in Venice. Add this one to your roaming list for sure.
View of the canal in gorgeous Venice.
Piazza San Marco.
This gelato right here! Definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Venice.
  1. Rome, Italy– By now if you haven’t realized, Italy has a special place in my heart and no place therein do I love more than I do Rome. I literally walked around this entire city to visit all the amazing sites I could, I even walked to the Vatican (can you tell I like walking?). Must see sites include the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum. Rome will always deserve another roam for me.
    Stuffing my face with street food in front of the Colosseum.
    A crowded but still beautiful view of the Spanish Steps.

     

    So what have I learnt from compiling this list of the most memorable destinations I’ve visited? Well for one, my camera choices back then were questionable and secondly, I realize that I have seen so much yet have barely scratched the surface of all the amazing wonders this world has to offer. I am so anxious to capture more of the world’s beauty (with much better camera quality) and to find more adventures ahead to document. Keep roaming guys!