Recent Mobile photography Articles

Hotel Review: A Stay at GeeJam in Port Antonio, Jamaica

Soaking tub with a view in Drum & Bass at GeeJam

After falling hard for Port Antonio, my friend Zan and I decided to extend our vacation by an extra night. After shuffling our flights home, we headed to GeeJam (which is managed by the same great staff as the Trident) and checked into the Drum & Bass suite, which is located directly under the GeeJam’s onsite Recording Studio.

Chic island simplicity in Drum & Bass

With only seven rooms– five of which are stand alone cabins and one three bedroom villa, GeeJam is intimate and cozy and feels like a five star glamping experience in the jungles of Jamaica. It’s more rough luxe than the sleek and chic Trident, but the experience is just as fantastic.

All the rooms at GeeJam are named after different styles of Jamaican music

Drum & Bass had a killer deck with a hot tub that we didn’t have time to use and chic island white decor. The glass paneled walls opened up, making the whole place be about indoor/outdoor living. GeeJam has killer public spaces– including the BushBar restaurant where bands perform live almost every night. Even if you don’t stay at GeeJam, I highly recommend coming for dinner at BushBar when their de facto in house band, the Jolly Boys, are performing. 

Love the Flintstones chic paver stones near exterior of Rock Steady at GeeJam

The Jolly Boys are Jamaica’s answer to Menudo– except all the “boys” are over the age of 70. They perform great mento music as well as some killer cover songs I’m particularly fond of their mondern mento cover of New Order’s Blue Monday.

Green grounds at GeeJam at the Jungle luxury

GeeJam is built into the side of a hill, and that might be an issue for people with mobility issues or small children (in that case, the Trident might be a better choice for you). Down the hill, there is also a private beach club complete with loungers, a bar, and paddleboards. If you want more of a local beach experience, the staff will happily drive you to nearby Winnefred Beach or Boston Bay Beach.

Comfy lounging area in Drum & Bass

In addition to wifi, GeeJam (like the Trident) gives guests a mobile phone so they can contact the staff wherever they are on property or in the area.

Left: the soaking tub at Drum & Bass Right: the hairdryer

The bathroom was modern with a HUGE soaking tub and enormous steam shower that I didn’t stay long enough to enjoy.

I slept exceptionally well in the comfy all-white bed in Drum & Bass

Musicians often stay on site here when recording in GeeJam’s studio (like Amy Winehouse and No Doubt).

Banana pancakes for breakfast at GeeJam

I loved the friendly and laid back luxury of GeeJam. The staff was top notch and made sure we were well taken care of. Room rates include breakfast which is a nice touch.

Jamaican swag on GeeJam’s chef’s uniform

The staff at GeeJam had no problem with my food allergies and was friendly to boot.

The exterior of GeeJam’s Recording Studio

GeeJam’s rates start at $395 per night, and you can find specials here.

The outdoor pool table at BushBar

Left: cozy lounge seating at BushBar Right: the view from the deck of Drum & Bass

Zan exploring the Beach Club at GeeJam

On the walk to GeeJam’s private beach, you can take a detour and explore nearby Drapers– which has some great hole in the wall bars and is very atmospheric. You’ll pay $2 for a Red Stripe.

The sharply dressed Albert Minott, lead singer of the Jolly Boys at BushBar

The Jolly Boys performing live at BushBar

Before things got hopping at BushBar

Left: BushBar has fab drinks Right: the outdoor pool table at night

GeeJam is a Jamaican gem and will appeal to those seeking a non-generic luxury experience. It’s part of the reason I am so crushing on Port Antonio (so much so, I’m already planning a return visit with my husband).

Night lights at GeeJam

GeeJam Hotel is located just east of Port Antonio in Drapers.

Skype reservations available on the GeeJam website

phone 1-888-4-GeeJam

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Relax on a Rio Grande Raft Trip in Port Antonio, Jamaica

This Red Stripe cost $3 from a floating vendor on the Rio Grande

The most relaxing day I’ve had in 2014 included a raft trip down the Rio Grande in Port Antonio, Jamaica. The trip was arranged by the concierge at the Trident Hotel, where I was staying with my friend, Zan. It’s the best budget luxury I’ve found this year.

The Raft Trip Departure Center

A driver from the Trident drove for 20 minutes along the curvy roads of Portland Parish until we got to the departure center for the raft trip. There we met Pablo, our raft guide, who did most of the heavy steering of the bamboo raft that was our sweet ride for the next few hours.

The bamboo rafts are similar to the ones used 100 years ago to transport bananas

Pablo was a fantastic guide and even let Zan steer the raft for a bit. As we floated down the river, various vendors approached us. For $3 you could buy a Red Stripe. That was a nice touch.

Belinda’s Riverside Canteen

As fabulous as the trip itself was, the highlight of the day was lunch at Belinda’s Riverside Canteen. Belinda’s cuisine is cooked Flintstone’s style over heated rocks in something that isn’t quite a hut. Despite the lack of high end appliances, Belinda’s meal of crayfish stew, brown fish stew, chicken fricassee, and rice and peas was the stand out meal of the entire trip.

Left: Belinda preparing lunch Right: Behold Belinda’s chicken fricassee

Belinda’s chicken fricassee was the best chicken Zan and I have ever had. Ever. I want to go back just to get more.

Belinda preparing a plate

Left: Crayfish, Jamaican style Right: Brown fish stew

Best. Lunch. Ever.

There were other stops too for swimming in warm swimming holes. The whole raft trip experience was highly enjoyable and very relaxing.

Pablo was a fun guide

Cruising with Pablo on the Rio Grande GIF

The Rio Grande Raft trip is a not-to-be missed excursion when you’re in Port Antonio.

Red Stripe is the “Champagne of Jamaica”

The staff at the Trident Villas arranged our raft trip.

You can also book through Rio Grande Rio Grande Tours Ltd – Port Antonio

Raft & Guide (for two people) about $75 US (not including tip)

Lunch at Belinda’s Canteen about $15 (depends on dishes cooked that day).

Tel: 1 876 913 5434

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Check Out HipStop: Port Antonio, Jamaica in the #Music Issue of Snap

The #MUSIC Issue

I’m still crushing on Port Antonio, Jamaica, and I’m thrilled to share my HipStop: Port Antonio, Jamaica feature in the #MUSIC issue of Snap Magazine.

Boston Beach overview

It’s always hard putting together an edit for Snap, and not everything makes it into the issue. For my blog readers, I’ve included some additional images that didn’t make it into the magazine.

Left: Jamaican Crayfish  Right: Breakfast at the Trident Villas including mackerel and a boiled banana

French press Blue Mountain coffee was a lovely way to wake up at the Trident Villas in Port Antonio

left: Live Jazz at Mike’s Supper Club Right: The Jolly Boys performing a GeeJam’s Bush Bar

 

Snap is a digital magazine that showcases the driving forces behind global creative culture and explores provocative new ways to interpret the beauty around us. You can download Snap in the iTunes Newsstand and it’s free.

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Port Antonio Portraits: A Mobile Photo Essay of Jamaica

Bartender serving fierceness in a Bar with No Name

It’s hard for me to distill my feeling for Port Antonio, Jamaica into words. All the ones that pop to mind– authentic, genuine, unspoiled– seem like travel cliches. And there was nothing about Port Antonio that is cliched. The people are genuine and unaffected. The ones I met were warm, friendly, and sweet. Here are some of my favorite mobile photography portraits of people I met in Port Antonio. I hope they can convey what I can’t express with words.

Friendly Portie Locals outside a barber salon

Port Antonio doesn’t have a Starbucks, but it does have lots of colorful shops that often have dancehall or reggae music blaring from them.

A photogenic rasta vendor at the Port Antonio market

I met this guy at the weekend market. He sold me a beaded bracelet for $2.

Sharp Dressed Albert Minot is the lead singer of the Jolly Boys

The Jolly Boys are Jamaica’s answer to Menudo… except if a member gets replaced, they get someone older. The average age of this boy band is probably 72. Check out this video for a killer cover of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab. The video was shot in Port Antonio.

Dickie, who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret.

Interesting Port Antonio trivia: Dickie who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret, an amazingly unique sit down restaurant in Port Antonio and Albert Minot, the lead singer of the Jolly Boys are cousins. You’ll often find Albert hanging out at Dickie’s when he’s not performing at the Bush Bar at GeeJam Hotel.

Local cook Belinda makes the best chicken I’ve ever tasted

I’ll tell you more about Belinda’s cuisine when I do a full post about rafting down the Rio Grande. Suffice it say say she cooks “Flintstones style.” She’s awesome.

Obligatory selfie with my BFF, Zan on Boston Beach in Jamaica

All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 5s using Hipstamatic Oggl or ProCamera apps.

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Check out HipStop: Santa Barbara in the Black & White Issue of Snap #BW

Hipstamatic Old Santa Barbara Mission

I really love working on travel stories for Hipstamatic’s Snap magazine. Shooting Santa Barbara for the March #BW issue was one of the most challenging and fun assignments I’ve had and provided me with a few challenges. I’m proud of the way the piece turned out. You can check out my images (and read my Santa Barbara article) online here.

The cover of the March 2014 issue of Snap

I’ve included some of my favorite outtakes in this post for my blog readers.

Hipstamatic Beach Cruisers at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp

Left: Hipstamatic Santa Rosa Airstream Right: Hipsta Airstream bathroom

Scarlet, my dog, stopping to smell the bamboo

Left: Arroyo Burro Beach Right: Shadows on Butterfly Beach

Left: The Four Seasons Santa Barbara in B&W Right: Hipsta Succulents

You can download Snap on iTunes here.  All the images in my HipStop Santa Barbara piece were shot on my iPhone 5s using the Oggl and Hipstamatic apps.


 

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