Insider: Fit & Fun in Jamaica

Insider: Fit & Fun in Jamaica

Expert blogger Lee Hersh shares the best ways travelers can fully enjoy their island experience without sacrificing wellness.

In fall 2015, full-time blogger Lee Hersh traveled with Funjet Vacations to the new, all-inclusive Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, seeking to experience the destination through fitness and food. She recently sat down with Here & Beyond to share what she learned.

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INCORPORATE MOVEMENT INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE.
“Activity shouldn’t be something you’re dreading,” Hersh advises. “Have fun with it.” In Jamaica, it’s startlingly easy to do that. The island nation’s best feature is also your single best resource for an active lifestyle. “The ocean is the most beautiful thing,” she adds, “and at Sandals, you can try so many water sports, including stand-up paddleboarding
and snorkeling.”

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RESORT AMENITIES, INSIDE AND OUT.
Be sure to check out what the resort has to offer. For Hersh, Sandals 100- acre property proved to be a fully equipped base camp. “For starters, they have a great gym,” she says. “They also have an awesome rock wall.” This trained Yoga Sculpt instructor also suggests that yoga enthusiasts take time to practice on the beach.

BE ADVENTUROUS WITH FOOD.
Sandals Ochi’s Reef Terrace restaurant showcases Pan-Caribbean and Jamaican foods. Think conch chowder, snapper, jerked chicken, tamarind beef tenderloin and roasted yams. While on site, Hersh had the opportunity to make ackee and saltfish alongside the chef. This traditional Jamaican recipe combines Jamaica’s national fruit, ackee, with salted codfish, fresh vegetables and spices. It’s often served with rice and beans cooked in coconut milk. “Definitely try the local cuisine,” Hersh says. “You might discover flavors and ingredients that you never thought you’d like but are absolutely amazing.”

ENJOY YOURSELF, BECAUSE YOU ARE ON VACATION.
Fresh seafood, vegetables and fruits are mainstays of the Jamaican diet, and visitors should eat as many whole foods as possible. One of Hersh’s personal strategies was to focus on clean eating at breakfast, incorporating whole grains and fresh fruits. “It started the day off right,” she says, “and it provided some balance, especially when I knew there would be cocktails later.”

SLOW DOWN, UNPLUG, AND REALLY CONNECT.
In Jamaica, life moves at a slower pace. Hersh encourages vacationers to make a concerted effort to slow down, too. Not only will you rest and recharge, you’ll be more fully
present—and have an opportunity to connect with local people. “In America, we move at the speed of light,” she says. “Take this opportunity to get away from your phone, your email and the Internet. Enjoy every moment.”

You can follow Lee Hersh online at fitfoodiefinds.com. To learn more about planning your own Jamaican adventure, call your travel professional or visit funjet.com.

Heather Steinberger

Heather Steinberger is a Contributing Writer for Here & Beyond, where she writes feature stories, interviews experts for in-depth Q&As and insider articles, and covers a variety of news items and vacation trends. Heather holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she has been a professional magazine editor/writer for nearly 20 years, with articles appearing in nationally circulated titles such as Backpacker, Boating, Cabo Living, Islands, Sailing and Sport Diver. Her work has taken her from the United Kingdom and Germany, to the Mexican Caribbean and the Sea of Cortez, to Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga.