We were greeted at the Montego Bay airport by Cutty, the driver for Cabarita Lookout. Although we were delayed more than an hour past our original arrival time, his first words were, “No problem.” His sense of humor, knowledge of the island and his drive to please made our week at the villa even more delightful than we could have imagined.
When we got to the villa, Cutty introduced us to Sharon, the cook, who had our dinner already prepared and waiting for us. Devon, the unofficial gardener, helped Cutty take our bags to our rooms and also welcomed us with a huge Jamaican smile. Dinner was delightful and we headed out to relax on the large porch overlooking the pool and Cabarita Island down in the ocean. Cutty joined us later for conversation and then the lights went out! “No problem” as the villa has a generator, but we chose to sit in the semi-darkness until bedtime when Cutty turned on the generator so the air conditioner in the lower level bedrooms would work and cool things for the other couple we traveled with. We were in the master bedroom and the breeze was wonderful. All of a sudden, the lights came back on and the hillside awoke with music from the local roadside bars below us.
Our first morning, we went shopping with Sharon to the local supermarket, prepared with our list of dinners for the week. We asked Cutty to get some fresh fish for one evening and we decided to eat out another evening. Sharon shopped with us, picking out local foods as well as several items we were surprised we could get on an island (like Pillsbury canned biscuits). When you are in the supermarket, be sure to ask Cutty about the money man…the walk-up ATM man who will give you the best exchange rate for your US money (all legal and legit!)
Since we were at the villa over Easter, we told Sharon to take Sunday off and stay with her family and we cooked our own breakfast. We decided to head down to Toscanini’s for a nice, formal dinner. The food at Toscanini’s was wonderful and we highly recommend this local hang out for superb Italian dining.
My wife wanted to go horseback riding and even though we investigated Hooves, Cutty recommended Chukka Cove. We were so glad we followed his recommendation! We arrived about 15 minutes prior to the first morning ride since we didn’t have reservations. (Although we had no trouble getting in, we highly recommend making reservations for peace of mind.) We rode through trees and fields and ended up on their private beach where we were able to ride the horses in the ocean. They divided the group and took the first group out into the water. Once the guides found out that my wife was an experienced rider, they invited her to go again with the second group….and she “raced” with a couple of the guides in the water and had a splashing time! Photos were wonderful and I think we were the only ones that bought photos.
That night, the captain of one of the fishing boats arrived at the villa with a huge mahi mahi, freshly caught that day. Sharon cooked it on the grill, lightly coated with butter and garlic and ohhhh, it was fantastic!
Each day, Cutty talked with us about our plans for each day and was always willing to drive us where ever we liked, telling us about local customs of the island and people. We went to Reggae Beach one day, Margaritaville for lunch in Ocho Rios, and up the Dunn’s River Falls another day. One day, Cutty drove us through Port Maria, the little fishing village that looks out on Cabarita Island. We stopped several places for lots of photos and Cutty was very patient the entire time! (Great HDR photos resulted from this day!)
Be sure to ask Cutty to take you to Shelly’s for local shopping. She is off the cruise line path and the market vendors appreciate your business. They will be pushy, but will take no for an answer. (As a tip for bargaining, start out at about a third of what they first tell you they want for an item. They expect you to haggle back and forth!) They truly appreciate Cutty bringing them business so be sure to smile and bring lots of small bills with you!
About the villa itself….the view is indescribably wonderful. We spent many hours by the pool just reading or drinking something we mixed up in the kitchen. Every morning, breakfast smells wander through the house as Sharon cooks up something delicious. Lunch is on your own, to be sure to grab things at the market when you are there the first day. Dinner menus are suggested in the informational binder in the villa. Be sure to ask Cutty for at least one night’s meal of fresh fish, you will not be disappointed in Sharon’s preparation of mahi mahi!
The only downside to the trip was the road leading up to the villa...the potholes threatened to engulf the van! Cutty took his time and seemed to know the depth of each and every one though. He is the Mayor of the Hill, honking at everyone and waving and smiling. Everyone knows Cutty and everyone watches out for the house when they see him drive down the hill with guests. We were not worried about our belongings back at the villa, even though Cutty did make sure we locked our room doors.
We made a wonderful new friend in Cutty and we are sure that everyone else that visits Cabarita Lookout will enjoy his company and his wonderful “no problem” smile!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.