I have been saving up airmiles for more than 10 years and I barely have enough for one ticket to Asia. I therefore figured it was high time I cut the cord and tried another travel program (hello Capitol One). Before doing this though I needed to use up my miles so where to go? Unfortunately Tina and I used almost all of our vacation earlier this year so I figured a long weekend escape may be the best plan. After trying to book a number of countries (airmiles sucks folks) I settled on sunny and warm Jamaica for our November getaway.
The trip was a surprise for Tina (I handled all the details myself) so she was very excited to find out we were going to visit a country on her top 10 places I want to visit list. Our flight took off and landed on time and before we knew it we were in Montego Bay on our way to our hotel. If you have read any of my previous posts you will see that we travel pretty low frill (ok cheap) so my booking an all-inclusive for our first two days was a rare splurge.
That being said, I didn’t go overboard so we stayed at the Royal Decameron, a mid-tier hotel not far from the airport and at the top of the ‘hip strip’ tourist street. The hotel turned out to be quite nice actually and while dated, it was very clean and the staff were extremely friendly. The beach was decent and there was a pool and hot tub for those not wanting to jump in the ocean. The meals were surprisingly good with a very good mix of local and western style foods. Day one was spent relaxing on the beach and enjoying our all-inclusive drink and eat privileges. The next day we headed down to check out the hip strip (its not very good at all so don’t go out of your way to visit) as well as the local beaches (Doctor’s Cave Beach, Cornwall Beach), which are actually very nice. They cost $5 to get into but they are clean, well taken care of and much longer than those in most hotels along the bay.
The next day we were off to Negril to stay at a hotel on the famed 7 mile beach. I think its fair to say that the beach deserves its great reputation as its beautiful white sand stretches uninterrupted for the full 7 miles. We stayed in Sandy Haven Resort as I scored a great deal on Orbitz and we were not disappointed. The room was massive as was the balcony and the beach front was perfectly sized. Free breakfast (pastry, fruit, tea, coffee) and very helpful staff topped off a perfect stay.
The two days we spent in Negril were mostly about relaxing and doing nothing and though some rain got in our way, we fully enjoyed both the beach and the city.
One of the best parts of travelling is trying new food so we were happy to get out of the hotel restaurant in Montego Bay (though it was very good) and explore the local scene…..and it was very tasty.
Across the street from our hotel was the Sweet Spot which had great jerk chicken. Juici provided the Jamaican patties (beef, chicken, veggie) and we highly recommend a stop at Sweet Spice for some great local fare.
Overall, Jamaica was a pleasant surprise. The locals were extremely friendly, polite and welcoming and not once did we feel out of place while wandering in town (though I did stick out like a sore burned white thumb) or on the beach. The weather and the food were great and it turned out to be a great long weekend getaway.