Jakes Resort: Ultimate Jamaican Family Vacation – Part II

In my previous post, I shared my family’s off the beaten path adventure at Jake’s Hotel and Resort, located in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. When we first arrived, I was concerned the kids would be bored because they weren’t going to be enrolled in a traditional vacation camp program. Instead, my kids were going to explore the land, sea and culture of Jamaica and you know what? That experience proved to be one of the most exciting of their lives.
Since we already let you in on the details about our adventure at sea, let’s jump right into day three!
IMG_0205.JPGDay 3: We began our morning with breakfast at Jake’s restaurant – Becca and I opted for traditional porridge and Dylan went for the french toast. Meanwhile, Darin savored callaloo – which tastes like spinach – cod and ackee (the national fruit of Jamaica). As the kids went for an early morning dip, Darin made his way over to the Driftwood Spa for a Swedish massage. Meanwhile, I got the chance to chat with Jason Henzell, the owner of Jake’s about vital projects that will serve to strengthen the economy of Treasure Beach while supporting the entire community as a whole.
This fall, a fishing sanctuary will be unveiled off the coast of Treasure Beach to help revitalize the fishing industry. The sanctuary will be off-limits to fisherman, enabling fish to breed and grow for at least two years – thereby increasing the amount of viable fish available in the region.
Jason also shared details of a brand new 15 acre sports park that is currently under construction in Treasure Beach. The sports park, also slated to open this fall, will offer a formalized youth program for budding soccer athletes and cricket enthusiasts – with trained coaches who will guide players through instruction, practices, games and tournament play. The fields will also be utilized for local and international cricket and soccer tournaments. The project will be built in four phases and when completed, will also include tennis courts, basketball and netball court, community and cultural center and playground. Jason’s wife Laura is spearheading the development of the playground and is currently raising awareness and funds on behalf of the project.
“I knew what we should do with the land the moment I laid eyes on it,” says Director Laura Henzell. “It begs for some park benches where parents and grandparents can sit and enjoy watching the kids, a few swingsets and slides where children wide eyed and with toothy grins can run around safe and happy. It only takes a few tools to get kids going … by taking away commonly found sticks and stones and replacing them with simple but quality equipment, by just doing something as simple as that — you’re allowing kids to release some energy AND some imagination!”
Sponsors for the sports park project include businesses and banks located throughout Jamaica and Canada as well as residents of Treasure Beach. In fact, guests of Jake’s resort have even lent their support. In lieu of wedding gifts, one couple asked that their guests make a donation to Breds to support the playground build. Another promotion taking place at Jake’s is an initiative that will launch Sept. 15-Dec. 15 where guests will receive an upgrade in return for bringing a soccer ball (ie; 6 soccer balls would upgrade guest for 6 nights to a higher room category). Visit www.jakeshotel.com for details or the Treasure Beach Foundation online where you can find out more about the sports park project and make a donation to help support the project.
The idea for the sports park came from Darin James – a lifelong resident of Treasure Beach who lives directly across the street from Jake’s. Darin currently works for Jake’s as a driver and took us on a picnic to YS Falls. While Darin was driving to the waterfall, he told us about his love of sports – he was an avid cricket player in his youth and shared his idea with Jason about building a sports park in Treasure Beach to better serve the youth residing in their community. His vision is now being turned into reality with the help of Treasure Beach residents, the Jamaican government, sponsors such as Digicel and the Breds Foundation, which Darin had previously served as an executive board member.
SANY0374.JPGBefore we knew it, we arrived at YS Falls, a breathtaking waterfall comprised of eight cascades falling 120 feet. We first hopped aboard a tractor which transported us up the winding road to YS Falls and after viewing acres of farmland, cows, horses and goats, we finally made it and proceeded to follow a guide who escorted us to the falls.
From there, the guide encouraged all of us to swing from a vine and jump into the water below. My husband and kids instantly accepted the offer, while I stayed below on the rocks videotaping and snapping photos of their experience. The guide then directed all of us to swim directly under a waterfall and once I sought refuge on a large rock, the kids and my husband climbed above the waterfall and jumped into the water below.
SANY0384.JPGThe kids couldn’t stop talking about the exhilarating experience they had just had as we made our way over to a picnic table where we opened a basket packed for us by Jake’s and dined on smoked marlin, caribbean chicken and tuna sandwiches along with a fruit plate with watermelon, mangoes and pineapples. As we sat down to unwind, flying high above our heads were tourists who were riding a zip line through the trees. While we didn’t opt for that adventure, it definitely looked pretty exciting. For me, it looked incredibly scary…if I don’t jump into waterfalls, I obviously don’t go for zip lines either.
Following lunch, we walked over to a beautiful cold water pool where the kids took a dip before we headed back to Darin’s van and the kids and I took a nap in the back seat on the way back to Jake’s.
More to come…