Posted on 05/15/2020
One of our seasoned Travel Advisors, Kristie S., has spent quite a bit of time in Jamaica... her own destination wedding, honeymoon, family vacation, and a daughter named "Marley"! She will be traveling to Jamaica again soon, and will give us an update on the safety and security measures in place during the pandemic.
If you have your sights set on Jamaica... here's what you need to know about the island, experiences, resorts, etc.
What was your favorite thing about Jamaica?
Not only is Jamaica absolutely beautiful, but the people are what make the destination one of my most favorite places to visit! There is a warm hospitality that I feel each time we visit, people are genuinely happy that you chose to spend your hard earned dollars to vacation on their island and they are proud of what they have. Now, in saying that, there are also the super pushy sales people if you go to a straw market, so you just have to know how to handle them!
You got married in Jamaica, right? How was the planning of your wedding?
Yes! My husband and I got married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica 16 years ago and it has certainly held a special place in our hearts ever since. We chose the destination for the ease of planning and legality of the wedding. Some destinations require more time on the island prior to the wedding or you have to get everything translated, get blood tests or get married prior to arrival and just do a symbolic ceremony when you arrive. Jamaica makes the process very easy and smooth. We were married at Sandals which adds an extra amount of ease and stress relief! On my wedding day I hung out on the beach for a bit, had a massage, got my hair & make-up done and just showed up, everything else was taken care of!
You also went back several years later w/ your family / kids...
I've been to Jamaica many many times, just my husband and I, and with kiddos in tow and we love it every time! There are multiple resort areas and all are great and different from each other. So you may think you don't want to go back to the same destination but each time is truly different; one thing stays the same though, the people are so kind and friendly.
What was the hotel/resort like...both for your wedding/honeymoon and then w/ the family?
We have stayed at quite a few resorts in Jamaica but mostly Sandals & Beaches Resorts. We love them all! Sandals is wonderful being adults only for our trips alone, very romantic, great food & service. Beaches is awesome with the kids. Beaches has so many fun things for us to do together (beach, water park, shows, etc.) and my kids love the kids camp activities (they actually beg to go). When the kids are happy, the parents are happy right!?! On a family vacation we actually get some nice date nights because the kids want to go hang out with their new friends and eat dinner, watch movies, etc. These resorts also include lots of fun water-sports that we love to participate in like kayaks, paddle boarding, snorkeling tours, water trikes, water skiing/tubing and glass bottom boat rides. Our personal favorite area is Negril and there is a Sandals and a Beaches resort there.
Is safety an issue?
Just like anywhere you go, there are areas that you want to stay away from in Jamaica. But I've never once felt we were in danger in any way and we always get off of the resort and experience different areas of the island.
Are there things to do for: families, kids, couples, adults only, adventure seekers...?
Besides just great resorts, beautiful beaches and water-sports, Jamaica offers a variety of adventures off-site. You can do things like zip lining, climb a waterfall, see crocodiles, take a bamboo raft ride, ATV tours, riding a bobsled through the mountains, and more!
I have a story about this; on our last trip as a family I took my daughter to YS Falls (where we climbed the falls and she got to do a rope swing over the falls) and the Black River which is where you can see crocodiles in the wild. My daughter actually said "Mommy, this is the best day of my life!" now those are the types of memories that make it all worth it! When that happened I had tears in my eyes because I realized these are the types of memories I help people create every day in my career!
The flight... how was the connection, and overall flights?
Getting to Jamaica is super easy from our area. Just one connection each direction, you can leave early in the morning and be in Jamaica around noon-2pm. Getting to resort areas from the Montego Bay airport is a 15 minute - 1.5 hour ride and our packages always include this transportation. The ride to your resort allows you to see some of the island! Some drivers are telling you all about what you are seeing as you go so it's like a tour of the island!
Was the food up to par? Alcoholic beverages?
I've always had great experience with food and drinks in Jamaica. Some of my personal favorite Jamaican/Caribbean dishes are Jerk Chicken, Pumpkin Soup and Curried Goat, but you can get a variety of different cuisines at the resorts if those don't sound like your "cup of tea." Of course the quality of food & drink can vary by resort. Specifically with Sandals and Beaches all meat is USDA grade, the head chef of each restaurant whether it's Italian, French, Japanese, etc. is from that country so you get truly authentic cuisine, the house wine is Robert Mondavi and you have lots of top shelf liquor options all included!
I have a story to share that will give you an idea about the service. On our last trip to Beaches Negril we had dinner at a restaurant in the sand and my daughter didn't care for the fancy chicken fingers that they served there she wanted chicken fingers from a different restaurant on-site... no big deal, we planned to go get some and bring them over so we could all still eat together. Our server was adamant that we would not be doing that, she would go order them and bring them to her. Our daughter who was 6 at the time dropped her mouth wide open, she could not believe how nice that was, she actually said "Wow, Jamaicans are soooo nice, in America that would never happen!" LOL, from the mouths of babes!
Is there a time of year that is best to visit Jamaica?
All times of year can be a great time to visit Jamaica! Hurricane season for the Caribbean is June - November, so some people prefer to avoid those months, but even during that time you can get some great rates and and still have nice weather.
If you are interested in more information about Jamaica, contact Kristie Staton at: KristieS@MyAmbassadorTravel.com or call 812-479-8687 Ext. 211