Meal Planning and Food Shopping at your Jamaica villa …
How unnecessary fears about meals at a Jamaica villa can ruin your vacation experience
Repeat guests know first-hand that meals at a Jamaica villa are an integral part of the experience. Fear of the unknown, however, can cause first-timers to waste time and money trying to shop for food, a lot of time and money.
Face it, you are going to a foreign country and you literally have no idea of what to expect. Even though we provide a lot of information to our guests prior to arrival and coach them on the value of the staff, and explain that we are only a phone call or email away, we always suspect that there might be lingering doubts despite our best efforts, especially as it relates to meals.
Many people simply choose the all-inclusive route to try to avoid these fears. But, you don’t have to. Don’t let worry about meals ruin your Jamaica villa vacation. You are on vacation after all and it should be stress-free. Remember, that’s why you have a staff. They can create a worry-free experience for you. And, you should let them!
Face these common fears about food shopping or meal planning in Jamaica head-on so that you can enjoy your vacation to the max! Always remember, your villa team is there to help you.
A lot of fear about renting a vacation rental or villa in Jamaica centers around food and meal planning. This is the very reason why we are upfront with people about what the expected food budget should be.
Unfortunately, many people think that Jamaica is a third-world country and so food must be cheap. As a result, they ignore our suggestions regarding budget and you can guess the rest. The best advice I can give you is to plan ahead for your food budget and not scrimp in this area.
If you do not purchase or have enough food purchased on your behalf, you simply won’t have a quality dining experience and will have unhappy members of your group.
Food is likely to be more expensive than in your hometown but is still reasonable compared to other vacation locations. Food shopping in Jamaica is like shopping at Fresh Market or Trader Joe’s all the time instead of a Walmart or Safeway. If you pay attention to our suggested budget you will be fine, unless you expect to be eating filet mignon and lobster every night. In that case, you need to budget more. You will also need to increase your budget if you plan to purchase alcoholic beverages, especially fine wines, and champagne.
Fear of being taken advantage of with the cost of food
Overcharging can happen for example in the markets where you might have to bargain a bit on prices. In general, I have not found this to be much of a problem. Here is where your villa’s staff can help you immensely.
Typically, guests are given the receipts for the food and household items that are bought on their behalf. These are then reconciled with whatever funds were given to the staff for expenses.
Very small shops and, of course, the farmers’ markets, roadside food or fruit stands as well as local fishermen will not have standard receipts for you. If this bothers you, you could insist on having all your food purchased at places that give printed receipts. Accept though that these will be established businesses, such as large supermarkets, which typically will not have the freshest and best foods or the best prices. The trade-off is not worth it in my opinion.
Trying to go grocery shopping yourself is also not the greatest idea unless you are familiar with the area. This is a guaranteed way to waste time and money. Very rarely does our staff purchase everything from one store. They shop at multiple stores because they know that some stores are better than others for certain things. They have their favorite fruit vendors, for example, who give them the freshest produce at good prices. Let your staff use their local knowledge for your benefit.
Suggested blog post for more reading: Food prices in Jamaica
Fear of not having familiar foods for the kids
Typical kids’ foods are widely available. Cereals, chips, cookies, and the like are also popular in Jamaica. Supermarkets sell chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Villa chefs have a way with children so don’t worry. They will be so well-fed that the villa’s chef will probably surpass you for the “Best Cook Award”.
Fear of not liking the food
Jamaica is a foreign country but we know how to cater to tourists. The island hosts over 2 million tourists each year, many of whom are repeat visitors to the island. We have it figured out by now. Rest assured, you will be able to find food that you like.
Although Jamaica has food that is culturally distinctive, American and European cuisine, as well as a wide variety of other foods, are widely available. There are supermarkets that will make you feel like you are in Miami or some other city abroad. It all depends on how much you want to spend.
Fear of not being able to get what you want
In the unlikely event that there is something that is an absolute must-have, you might have to bring it with you. Or, simply let your villa know your needs ahead of time. If what you need is not commonly used by Jamaicans, it may have to be sourced from a specialty store in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, or maybe even Kingston.
Fear about the quality of the food
Will the food be fresh? Will it make you sick?
Montezuma’s Revenge is typically associated with Mexico, not Jamaica.
Water in Jamaica, especially in the resort areas, is considered safe to drink and even to brush your teeth. Running water is chlorinated. You can eat fresh green salads and unpeeled fruit by following basic hygiene standards.
Fear of figuring out how to purchase food while at a Jamaica villa
At most Jamaican villas, the staff prepares what their guests either have bought or have given them money to purchase. But how is this food actually purchased?
There are five options for handling food shopping. Avoid unnecessary frustration with grocery shopping by choosing which option works best for you and your group.
- You may accompany the staff to do the shopping or do so on your own. More than ninety-five percent (95%) of our guests don’t care to spend their vacation in this manner. A small minority actually enjoy the experience. Some people like to go to the stores or the markets to get a better handle on what the food options and prices are like. This is totally up to you. You absolutely do not have to do this.
- You discuss the menu with the staff. They shop for you. You fund them for the food costs and transportation costs. This is the most common approach.
- A store account can be set up whereby items are delivered to the villa as needed. You would then settle up with the store before departure. This is the most convenient as well as the most expensive option. Convenience does have a price.
- A few villas have an all-inclusive option where you select your meals from their menus for a pre-set fee.
- Some combination of the above. This is your vacation so you determine how you would like to spend your time and resources.
As frequent travelers ourselves, we understand these fears and try to do everything we can to alleviate them. Our staff at Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica prides itself on fantastic dining experiences each and every time and strive to make the shopping experience as stress-free as possible for our guests. All we ask is for you to communicate with us so that we can understand your needs and meet or exceed them.
Read the reviews of our villa. It is the unusual review that does not mention the food. Food is one of the main highlights of any Jamaica villa vacation. If in the unlikely event that you want to eat out there are many restaurants from which to choose.
Hopefully, by reading this article, you will see that fears about food shopping and meal planning during your Jamaica villa vacation are largely exaggerated and unwarranted. Food shopping is second nature to our staff. They know how to get you the best food at the best prices. So, relax and enjoy every minute of your vacation leaving all your cares in the capable hands of the villa’s staff. Contact us today to book Mais Oui.
Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Visit our website: https://MakeItJamaica.com
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