Whether a first timer or repeat visitor, arriving in Jamaica for Reggae Marathon is thrilling. Landing at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, named after Sir Donald Sangster Jamaica’s 2nd Prime Minister who died after only 3 months in office, involves flying in over the ever-changing colours of the Caribbean on final approach. There is only one runway and during a daylight landing in good weather miles and miles of Jamaica’s north and west coast are visible.
With some fantastic upgrades to Sangster International Airport (OK, a few years ago now, but still ‘new’) the trek to the arrivals hall is manageable “once the aircraft has come to a complete stop in front of the terminal building and the Captain has turned off the seat belt sign” (I’ve heard that way too many times). Be prepared for a bit of a walk from the arrivals gate to the Immigration Hall though so make sure you have a sturdy backpack and your carry-on has working wheels.
Ahhh…the Customs and Immigration Experience. At busy times you can expect a bit of a wait while the line snakes back and forth. But hey, you’re on the ground in Jamaica for Reggae Marathon. And as a plus, the Immigration Agents are generally pleasant especially when you tell them you are on your way to Negril for Reggae Marathon.
A tip for you once through Immigration: on the immediate right in the narrow hall is the Foreign Currency Exchange Booth. This is a good
place to stop to buy some Jamaican Dollars. Very competitive exchange rate, and it beats doing it at your hotel later or having to go to the banks in Negril. The exchange rate fluctuates as well so you’ll be getting the most current rate. Have your Passport ready.
From there it’s only a few steps to the baggage claim area. Check for the signs on top of each carousel with flight information. Again, big improvement here. Bags are usually already off the airplane and on the conveyors by the time you get to the luggage carousel. It’s not the old-style Jamaica anymore! Make sure you have yours then head directly to Customs where it is usually a quick dispatch out into the arrivals hall. Again, I’ve always received a warm smile from the Customs Agent when I mention that I’m here for Reggae Marathon. Nice!
Next up: Road Trip! Look out for Montego Bay to Negril, Part 2 next week.
Until next time…
For more information check the Reggae Marathon Web Site. To register now click here for the Reggae Marathon Registration Page. Click here for more details on Reggae Marathon’s Abe Issa Award for Excellence.
Photos courtesy of Sangster International Airport.