I have just returned from a few days in Jamaica, where I attended a travel agent tour of resorts. I would like to share a couple of tidbits on what Montego Bay and the Ocho Rios area have to offer.
The Lay of the Land—
Sangster International airport in Montego Bay is the major airport, where 95% of passengers arrive.
Montego Bay has several resorts and from there you can go west about 1 ½ hours to the Negril area or about 1 ½ hours east to the Ocho Rios area. The one big difference I learned about these two areas is that Negril area resorts are all about the white sand beaches. I didn’t see Negril, I only toured Montego Bay and the Ocho Rios area. I heard someone say the two can be compared to the difference between Cancun and the Mayan Riviera. The resort beaches I saw at both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios were coves with quiet waves (good for swimming with children), although a little jagged and rocky, with landscapes that are tropical with trees and flowering bushes. Cruise ships dock on this east side of the island and there are many activities for excursions.
What To See and Do—
- Dunn’s River Falls and river tubing
- Horseback riding, swimming with dolphins, night kayaking in the luminous lagoon
- Mystic Mountain–chairlift to the top of the hill above the tropical rainforest and bob-sled down and/or zip-line
- Whitewater rafting on the Rio Bueno River, or a tranquil raft down the Martha Brae River
- Many beautiful golf courses
Besides the gorgeous resorts, the other accommodations we toured were several beautiful villas. Some were standalone with very private waterfronts, and some were high on a hill overlooking the ocean and golf course inside of a resort. All had private pools, some came with golf carts for tooling around, all came with up to 5 house staff to cook, clean, and arrange for anything you might need. I was most amazed by the value of these. Some were 5-7 bedrooms that felt like staying in your own private resort. To rent one of these and split the cost for a family reunion or a group of golf friends would be ideal. The total price would end up being very reasonable.
I will definitely be back again. If I had to pick one personal favorite of the resorts we toured, mine would be the Half Moon Resort—golf, spa, tennis, dolphins, quiet, villas, cottages, beach, and superb restaurants.