Hit the road with Island Routes, because the greatest part of any road trip isn’t arriving at your destination, it’s all the fun you’ll have along the way!
I’m handed my keys and a cold bottle of water but the truth is I only have eyes for the gorgeous bright green and black Mini Cooper which is about to become my road warrior best friend for today. As I open the door and slide into the surprisingly roomy interior a grin of excited anticipation breaks out on my face.
As we filled out the forms I got to know my co-adventurers for the day and we eagerly chatted about our upcoming road trip. When I asked their reason for choosing to do the Island Routes MINI-Routes tour they reinforced my thoughts. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, it’s a fantastic way to get off property and explore Jamaica, yet with a bit of a safety net built in for those not quite prepared to rent a car and make a go of it on their own. After all, Jamaican drivers have a bit of a reputation and it can be daunting for those who may normally drive on the opposite side of the road (Jamaicans drive on the left with the steering on the right).
Choosing between the Ocho Rios or Negril itinerary had been a tough choice but I ended up choosing Negril, a great road trip for foodies. (I am assured that in the very near future I may have a few more MINI-Routes tours to pick from!)
We met our amazing team for the day, lead driver David, back up Marshall and our wonderful tour guide, Marlon, who were about to take us on our epic road trip. A little ping pong and we were off to get introduced to our cars.
Mine is named ‘Vibez’ and I am in love.
As we pull out Marlon’s voice reassuringly comes over the walkie-talkie, and although in my own car, I immediately feel connected to the cars in front of me as we all call in our ‘OKs’. We pass a day stopping off at local spots and famous landmarks while I listen to the local radio station thoughtfully already tuned in for me. As we all get comfortable in our new roles as ‘Jamaican drivers’, I fall back a few times, taking in the stunning views around every corner, but the lead car always has an eye on me and makes sure I catch up again.
At the end of the day I had a full ‘belly’ having feasted on coconuts, jerk pork and bammy (a local favourite) and more.
I had walked white sand beaches, jumped off a cliff and stood on the westernmost end of Jamaica. Exhausted but happy the hardest part of the day was handing back those keys and saying farewell to ‘Vibez’ and my newly minted friends.
by Deanne Allgrove
Visit www.islandroutes.com for your MINI- adventure!