It’s almost Easter time in Jamaica which means those of us who made a sacrifice for Lent are counting down the days until we can again indulge. It means the religious among us are getting ready to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ in our finest Easter Sunday church suits. It also means schools are on break and where there’s a long weekend on an island paradise, it means we flock to the beaches in search of fun in the sun with lots and lots of rum.
When I was in college, I looked forward to this break as much as most of my other peers as it meant putting together our finances to book a room in a seedy hotel in Ocho Rios that we’d all share so the we could party all weekend long, similar to spring break in the US. We were broke college kids, there weren’t any all-inclusives in our budget. But the fun was the same as any other. This is a picture of me with my girlfriends at Luau which was a mainstay event on the Easter Weekend lineup back then.
Fun times, fun times. This was in 2007, things were so much simpler back then. As we get older and responsibilities set in, the party weekends became less of a thing as we outgrow them in favour of other activities like spending time with family or traveling overseas, frowning upon the youngsters that we’d be mixing with if we were to ever frequent the party scene now.
However, the party scene has grown with the partiers and reinvented itself with some events marketed to those who are “grown and sexy” and still want to get their groove on. (Of course, such events existed then too, I’m sure, but they were for old fogies, which I clearly now am.) Some of these events do so by way of ticket price, however I veer far from these events because having more disposable income now doesn’t mean I want to spend it on a party with a hefty price tag. With age comes responsibility and I couldn’t rationalize heavy spending on a party when I’m still saving to buy a house. A hefty price tag also doesn’t always mean a more mature audience, it can simply mean a more “uptown” crowd. The kids of wealthier parents flock to some of these events.
So what kind of party would I, a middle-class, not yet middle aged woman with responsibilities who still likes to let loose choose? For me, that includes a party in a great location, with a good mix of music, that is drink inclusive at minimum though food is necessary for me if it is a day to night party and that manages to do all this without making me feel like I should have put this money towards my goals. I do spend money on leisure, I’m not putting it all away for a rainy day as I believe in living for now and tomorrow not just one or the other. But I have to believe that I am getting value for my money. Sure, fun could be had at the more pricey parties, but I’m having fun at the less expensive ones too. Though it’s nice, I don’t necessarily need fire breathers and lobster and top shelf. My pocket dictates that I’m good with jerk chicken and Appleton VX or Johnnie Walker Black.
So with that in mind, lets look at the possibilities for Easter Weekend 2015 to see where I’m likely to spend my money. (Prices are quoted in $US for ease of reference and are a rough conversion)
Marbana – Easter Sunday- Frenchman’s Cove Portland – $90 – Food and Dink inclusive from 11am-7pm.
This is a premium event at an amazing location. For me, this event is out of my price range simply because at that price I would be limiting myself to only one outing and the weekend is 4 days long. It’s also in Portland which means I would have to stay over, be prepared to drive back after a day of drinks and partying or spring more money for their shuttle service. I have family in Ocho Rios so it makes more sense for me to look at my options there instead. This one is unfortunately a no. The pictures from last year do look fun!
Canboulay Breakfast Party – Easter Monday – Errol Flynn Marina – $50 Food and Drink Inclusive 4am – 11am
Breakfast Parties are gaining popularity in Jamaica now as our Carnival scene gets more and more like the authentic Trinidad experience. I haven’t been to one myself yet and would have made this my choice if I were staying in Portland since it only make sense. But, I’m not staying in Portland nor am I prepared to shuttle in simply for a party at the crack of dawn. If there were another alternative to party the night before or in the day after, then this would have been an option and maybe I would have looked into making Portland my Easter destination.
These are the Portland options that I am aware of. If my pocket were stronger I would have made this trip because I have never partied in Portland before and it is a beautiful parish so I look forward to experiencing this when I am comfortable shelling out the big bucks. Moving on to Ocho Rios. This is the original and still the popular Easter Weekend destination for party-goers and as such, it has a wider variety of events.
Beach J’ouvert – Sat. April 4 – James Bond Beach $55 – $85
I’ve already given up on this mainstay on the Carnival Calendar because it attracts a much younger crowd who are all too happy to be drinking alcohol. The bars are also a mess traditionally, taking way too long to get one drink for what is not an inexpensive price tag. I’ll pass.
Luxe – Sat April 4 – Sunset Beach – Drink and Food Inclusive 4-10pm $60
So, I haven’t been to this party before but I do like that it’s sponsored by Moet. I am however concerned at the patron profile I see in the pictures. I fear it may be a little to uptown for me. I prefer my parties to have a good mix of “down to earth” people, like me. This group for me, knows how to let loose and have fun. Responsible fun. It’s a contender, but lets look at what else there is.
Daydreams – Easter Sunday – $50 – $70 Food and Drink Inclusive 2-10pm
This is also a mainstay on the Easter scene having been around forever. I went to the one in 2012, I think it was, because I was in Ocho Rios for work. I loved the location, it wasn’t a bad experience and it’s more of an audience I’m used to. However, I’m not sure it’s moving in the right direction. You can call me snooty, that’s fine. People are comfortable with like and I am no different in this regard. I don’t want to be too uptown or too local. I need something somewhere in-between this and Luxe. I’m picky. Now, I am by no means saying I only stick to one type of party, I am the queen of the street dance and rum bar scene after all. But I like definition. Daydreams straddles the line for me.
Rise up – Sat. April 4. – Groovy Beach – Food and Drink Inclusive 4-30-11-30Am $70
This is another breakfast party and it’s also a Frenchmen party which is coveted among the well-to-do party goers. I have no idea of the actual price but this is my guestimation based on their combo deal with Beach J’ouvert which includes both parties for $110. This is a no for me right off the bat simply because of all the breakfast parties I would choose to go to, this isn’t the one. If I will actually make it to the one in my line-of-vision, I’m not quite sure as it has a hefty price tag itself in the grand scheme of things. But yes, there’s no real pull for me to go to this party unless I were already out in Ocho Rios the Friday night. Which I don’t plan to be since it’s Good Friday. If it were Sunday morning it would have a better chance at getting my money.
So with all said and done, my choice is between Daydreams and Luxe unless there are parties I am unaware of. Remember there are also parties in the city at the beaches in Portmore. But ain’t nobody staying in town on a long weekend. Country we seh! It would be nice to give both Daydreams and Luxe my money but the next weekend is Carnival and that comes with its own set of expenses. Wow partying in Jamaica can be quite an expense! Maybe I’ll do a post with a lineup of a few of the Carnival parties as well, as the scene is getting fierce!
So… Where’s the best value for money?
What are your plans for the holidays?