We’re living vicariously through our authors and their stories set around the world! So far, we’ve visited France with Sanaë Lemoine, Morocco with Laila Lalami, South Korea with Michelle Zauner, Indonesia with Jesse Q. Sutanto, Malaysia with Zen Cho, and Antarctica with Maggie Shipstead and Julian Sancton.
Visit Jamaica with Nicola Yoon, author of several novels including Everything, Everything, The Sun is Also a Star, and, most recently, Instructions for Dancing. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter. Check out her favorite places and meals in Jamaica!
What is one of your favorite memories of being in Jamaica?
I spent every summer in a beach house with my cousins. The house was literally on the sand. We’d wake up in the morning and run down to the ocean and stay there all day. It was magical.
What is your favorite place in Jamaica to visit?
Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay. It’s a touristy beach, but for me it’s nostalgic. I have many happy memories of playing there with my family when I was a little girl. Also, I love that the waves are really quiet. You can walk out into the ocean for a long time and the water will still be at your waist.
Jamaica is undoubtedly beautiful, but there is more to it than the beaches and reggae music.
What is one meal you recommend for visitors?
The national dish is ackee and salt fish, and it’s delicious. Ackee is a strange-looking fruit, kind of like black olives inside a bell pepper. Also, it’s poisonous if it’s not ripe. The fish is cod encrusted in salt. When my mom makes it, she adds tomatoes and onions, and the entire house smells wonderful. Ackee and salt fish is the one meal that makes me feel like a kid again.
What do you wish people knew before visiting?
Jamaica is undoubtedly beautiful, but there is more to it than the beaches and reggae music. I wish people would leave the resorts and get to know the locals.
Where is home to you?
Home is where my husband and daughter are. They really are my country.
Thank you Nicola! Discover her novels as well as more of our book recommendations set in Jamaica, from novels to cookbooks.