The more emphasis we put on wanting things to change, the more unpeaceful we will be. The more emphasis we put on accepting and having gratitude for ‘What is’ the closer we are to arriving at Nirvana.
– Matthew Donnelly
Nirvana On The Beach
Summer, is right around the corner, well, depending on when you are reading this, it could be right now! Either way, it’s never winter in Jamaica, and it’s always party time in Negril. If you want a simple, affordable and quiet little getaway, in the middle of all of the action, Nirvana On The Beach will serve you well.
The summer of 2013 was an epic one for me. I am sorry, if you had a bad year but this was definitely the best year of my life and I am not ashamed to admit it. It wasn’t perfect, because it had some downsides, but definitely, the good always outweighs the bad, and I am fortunate that there was a lot more good.
2013 was the year, I decided to try something different with my life. I spent over a year planning to move to Thailand, about half of that time was with the intention of becoming an English language teacher.
Teaching initially was a backup plan, but later became my main focus. It was also the year my family members were planning a family reunion. (my cousin Downer to be specific….nuff respect!)
I didn’t factor this into my planning, although, I think the family reunion was in the making for like 2 years or more. I thought I would be gone to Thailand long before the reunion even happened.
Anyways, I am glad I managed to make the trip to Jamaica. It set me back a little with my financial goals, but when it comes to experiences like this, there just couldn’t be a good excuse to miss a trip to Jamaica with my family.
Even if it meant missing a Space Shuttle launch to the moon with Richard Branson and Bill Gates, I would have had to cancel that flight to spend time with the family.
“Memba me tell yuh.”
Translation from Jamaican patois: “Remember I told you so.”
The family reunion was held in St. Elizabeth and after about 3-4 days in Santa Cruz we left for Negril with my immediate family. My father, mother, brother Darren, sister Tracey, and my nephews, Devon, Kamali, Kameron, and Dyllon.
We adopted a few more to our family for our trip to Negril, and Boston Bay. Stacey from New York, her son Kymani, and her best friend Allegra from California. I met Stacey and Kymani two years before at Great Huts, Boston Bay, and hadn’t seen them since but always kept in touch. It was only a coincidence that we had both planned to be in Jamaica at the same time but when we found out; we plotted a chance to meet again.
It ended up working out that they would spend a good portion of the trip with us, so my mom and I planned for a bigger party. This is where Nirvana On The Beach, became the deciding factor for our stay in Negril.
Leaving Santa Cruz
My parents had never been to Negril before. They’ve lived in the U.S. for over 40 years and have returned to JA. many times for family reasons or vacations. On this family trip they wanted to visit another part of JA. Since, Negril is not far from my father’s hometown, we decided to plan for a few days there after leaving the reunion. I also convinced my parents and my sister to squeeze in at least one night in Portland, at Great Huts, which is my favorite place to vacation on the island.
We’ve done many trips with large groups of us, but usually in separate cars. Back in 2007, we rented a 12 passenger mini-bus, but for this trip we reserved a 15 passenger mini-bus because we expected to have an even larger group. When we arrived at the rental pickup that first night out of the airport, I was shocked to see how large this mini-bus was.
We spent 1 night in Kingston and 3 nights in the Santa Cruz area for the family reunion. On Monday morning we went to Mother’s for a Jamaican breakfast, and I don’t mean anyone’s mother, it is just the name of the fast food restaurant that serves authentic Jamaican style meals.
Stacey, Kymani, and Allegra were staying at some friend’s of theirs not too far away actually in the same town, so I left the family in town (downtown) and went to search for them. I tell you it was not easy navigating this giant mini-bus on the small country streets of Santa Cruz, and after some 4 point turns and a few u-turns later I was picking up our newly adopted members of the family. I went back, got the rest of the family and we headed out to Negril.
Nirvana On The Beach
A few months before this trip we spent a lot of time researching for places to stay. I mainly used VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner). Because we had so many people, we found it would be a better value for us if we rented a home or some sort of bed and breakfast type accommodations and not the typical all-inclusive resort hotel.
We’ve done a lot of the hotel packages before, but for me, I prefer resorts that have a more home-like environment. I find places like that to have a more personal touch, more unique, and more genuine culturally.
I believe, I did find Nirvana on the Beach through VRBO, and I sent emails, and spoke directly with the owners Lonnie and also her daughter. We paid for our stay several months ahead in installments, which made it a lot easier to budget and plan with one less expense to worry about when we checked in. We rented 2- 3 Bedroom cottages, for our group.
Unfortunately, for the sake of the post and for a review of Nirvana on the Beach, I did not get any photos of the actual cottages. I usually go around and get pictures at some point but this time, I only got a few pics of the grounds.
The cottages are what I like to call rustic. I liked them. They are quite dated, but in good condition. I think that is what makes it special because you are actually experiencing what it might be like to live in your own little house on the beach.
The most important thing is that they are clean, there was hot and cold water, a kitchen, and dining area in both cottages. Nirvana provided one cooked meal every day, either breakfast or dinner.
We cooked too, well my mom did. We had breakfast and dinner in our cottages a few times, and sometimes ate out for lunch. When my mom or staff cooked we all met in my parent’s cottage and ate there.
My brother, Stacey, Kymani, Allegra and myself had our own cottage. The kids spent most of their time playing games in our cottage when we weren’t out or at the beach.
My dad, Devon and Tracey came over one evening to play dominoes and I played some oldies reggae. There was no air-conditioning, only fans but we had large windows that helped keep the sea breeze flowing through the cottage. I don’t think anyone ever complained that it was too hot.
There was another area outside that had a gazebo and some chairs and that’s also where we would congregate at times because the wi-fi worked better from there.
We were a stone’s throw from the sea, and there were plenty of spots with hammocks and tables and chairs all the way from our cottage out to the beach. We also had an outdoor shower and bathroom near our cottage. I usually used that when we were all getting ready at the same time. The staff was always available on the grounds if you needed anything and security keeping watch.
Nirvana on the Beach, is in between some popular hotels on the main beach. If you walk in either direction along the beach, you will find plenty of activities, jet-skis, bars, clubs, restaurants, and vendors selling fruits and drinks and cheap souvenirs.
My nephew Devon, Allegra and I took a boat trip out to do some snorkeling one morning. Later, that day, the rest of the family went out I believe on the same boat to an island where they had a barbecue. I missed that one, but it sounded like they had a great time.
When we went out at night, we only had to walk either to the club across the street or find other beach side parties going on. We stayed here from Monday to Thursday night, and checked out a different spot almost every night.
The nice thing about Nirvana On The Beach, is that it is a great place if you have children, and even though it is between a lot of larger hotels, it is very quiet and secluded. You don’t have to worry about hoards of rowdy party animals here, but if you want that, it’s not too far away, and the price to stay here is a lot lower than many of those larger hotels. So you can go party the day or night away and have a nice peaceful haven to recuperate in.
If you don’t require an expensive all-inclusive hotel with giant pools, thousands of people, and American style buffets, then Nirvana On The Beach might be for you. I enjoyed it and I would take my family and friends there again.
One evening after dinner, we managed to make it to Rick’s Café for the sunset, but it was over cast. There wasn’t a whole lot for us to do with all the kids, but I volunteered to jump off the cliff for their entertainment and mine of course. Kamali, had shown us his adventurous side at YS Falls with the rope swing over the falls and he was ready to take on the 30ft jump but I don’t think grandma was going to allow that.
Maybe next time!
Big up! …to Alton and Tristan, who did not make this trip. We really missed you and hope we can do it again in the future with everyone included.
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