Jamaica, a little piece of heaven nestled in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about (90 mi) south of Cuba (another destination I’d love to explore). While many people associate Jamaica with coconuts, rum, and lilting accents, the country has so much more to offer!
With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. In 1994, Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to launch a website – www.jamaicatravel.com. Take a look at these—60 Interesting Facts About Jamaica!
Jamaica is home to over 200 species of exotic orchid, 73 of which are indigenous. I spent hours just roaming the lush gardens at our resort (in my bikini of course) exploring the flowers. Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. I found the locals and resort staff to be kind, friendly, polite, and overall very warm towards visitors. The most common greeting in Jamaica is a firm handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and a genuinely warm smile. From the moment we landed in Montego Bay I felt 100% welcome, safe, and completely taken care of. It set my mind at ease and within moments I was in vacation-mode.
Jamaica has consistently been ranked among the top five of the world’s top tourist destinations and in my opinion, Sandals Jamaican Resorts contribute to that. Whichever Sandals Resort you stay at in this enchanted paradise, you’ll find natural beauty so stunning, it will take your breath away. Jamaica is home to a magnificent landscape of rolling mountains lined by endless white-sand-beaches, covered by lush foliage. Jamaica produces Blue Mountain Coffee, a highly sought-after and expensive coffee that is popular across the globe. It is one of the rarest coffees in the world and Sandals Montego Bay has it!
While in Jamaica we had the option to stay at any of the Sandals Resorts, but our main debate was between the two closet to the airport (Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean). I didn’t want to spend a lot of time traveling by bus to the resort. That being said, we decided to stay at Sandals Montego Bay. We had read it was the most modern and I was craving that new luxury feel. The beach there is perfect for every type of water sport (included with your stay is: paddle board, wind surfing, snorkeling, sailing and kayaking). The calm, reef-protected white sands offer the perfect spot for swimming and overall relaxation.
Sandals Montego Bay was recently remodeled in 2017 and we were actually the first guests staying in our suite. They have brand new Oceanfront Swim-up Butler Suites available, but I had my heart sight on a balcony suite which felt more private and had a breathtaking view. These magnificent swim-up suites are newly built and reside in the garden level of the all new Almonds building. Stunning oceanfront views amongst the swim-up river pool as well as the private patio equipped with a bistro set and Tranquility Soaking Tub for two.
These dreamy suites feature a comfy king-size bed, HD smart TV, cutout ceiling, and beautiful custom crafted furnishings throughout. Enjoy the lavish spa style bathroom, outfitted with a dual-faucet, long vessel sink with a backlit mirror and features a walk in overhead rain shower. Honestly, the shower was amazing. And the best part about the suites is that you get to enjoy the 24-hour room service by your personal butler, whether you need a drink from the bar or any request you may have. These rooms are available for travel now!
We took full advantage of the brand new main bar at Sandals Montego Bay. It is stocked with premium spirits, Robert Mondavi Wine, and of course, Red Stripe! I found myself drawn to the frozen drinks (trying to keep them virgin until at least noon time and then adding rum)! You can reserve these tiki huts directly on the beach for $150 US dollars a day and have resort staff handling your every need from 8am-5Pm.
We indulged in unlimited dining at nine gourmet restaurants serving authentic regional cuisine (including Caribbean lobster). We had two amazing Butlers that alternated days with us. We felt the casual island vibe from the comfort of our private seaside suite where our Butlers, Karl and Shevon, were on call to fulfill our every need on a whim. They handed us a cell phone the day we arrived to have on hand if we needed to reach them for ANYTHING. The Butler service, in my opinion, offers guests peace of mind. Your private Butler will reserve your beach or pool side cabana so you can relax and sleep in each morning or go to the gym and not have to rush to the beach or pool to save a spot. They also handle your dinner reservations and all travels plans. If you do not have a Butler level suite, I suggest you make your week’s dinner reservation the day you arrive to secure your dinner plans.
I noticed that guests who did not have Butler service needed to throw towels and personal belongings to save their beach/pool chairs and they were not able to get dinner reservations at desirable times. If you do not have a Butler level suite, again I suggest you make your week’s dinner reservation upon arrival to secure your dinner plans.
With Sandals exclusive “Stay at One, Play at All Sandals” program you have the option of enjoying the amenities of any other Sandals or Beaches resorts in Jamaica. We took a day trip to Sandals Royal Caribbean. The resort’s decidedly British heritage begins with the Majestic Georgian-style Great House, surrounded by manicured gardens and roaming peacocks – all complemented with well-heeled traditions like afternoon tea and a rousing game of croquet. Minutes away on the resort’s private offshore island, the mysteries of the Orient unfold in a secluded natural setting where casual poolside and beachside pleasures await you. The private island offers an area of secluded beach for those of you who are looking to have zero tan lines! We took advantage of the beach and the natural “lazy river” that overlooked the most amazing bungalows.
I can say with certainty that on our next trip to Jamaica I 100% want to take advantage of the Caribbean’s first over-the-water luxury suites! These Tahiti-style bungalows hover above turquoise seas and feature see-through glass floors, a Tranquility Soaking Tub, an over-the-water hammock for two, a private infinity pool and personalized butler service. Plus, guests can enjoy private boat transfers to and from the resort – all included. There are complimentary shuttle services between all three resorts (Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, and Sandals Inn) that run hourly all day and into the night.
Although (almost) everything is included at Sandals, I suggest you bring some cash to tip your Butler and any other member of their staff that makes your vacation that much better. I also highly recombined buying a waterproof phone case or zip pouch to put your cell phone in. I changed my US cell phone over to an international travel plan for about $10 a day but kept my cell phone on airplane mode after landing at the airport and upon arriving at the hotel I signed into the hotel’s FREE wireless, so I didn’t have to use the international plan at all. I called home using FaceTime and was able to use social media and e-mail to communicate if needed. I tried to unplug as much as I could, but I wanted to share live stories and pictures on my Instagram. I think of my social media accounts as my daily journal and find it therapeutic.
Jamaica’s State of Public Emergency for the Montego Bay area has been extended until 2 May. That being said, I did not feel unsafe or worried at any point in our travels. We also traveled by resort bus/shuttle service only to and from the airport and back and forth between the two Sandals Resorts. At no time did we venture into the city.
We flew from Providence, Rhode Island to Charlotte, North Carolina and with ease into Montego Bay, Jamaica. Customs was straight forward and a fairly simple process there and back. From the airport crew to our bus driver to the resort staff, we were very well taken care of, including the amazing lounge Sandals offers at the airport upon arrival. I think I had two glasses of champagne before getting on the shuttle to the resort! If you are looking for a vacation that takes very little travel time in comparison to all the beauty it has to offer, I highly recommend Jamaica (and of course staying at a Sandals Resort). Every Sandals Resort sits directly on a stunning beach and on these cold New England days I most certainly will be dreaming of their white sand and crystal clear green and blue waters. Until next time Jamaica!