In October of 2012 and 2013, I attended the Jamaica Tourist Board Familiarization Tour. During my visits, I toured over 20 resorts, attended Bridal Expos, stayed at four (4) different resorts, shopped at the local craft shops, attended beach parties and played at Mystic Mountain. Prior to the tours, I had vacationed in Jamaica in 2009 at the Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios and in 2010 at the Secrets St. James Resort in Montego Bay. I fell in love with Jamaica during my first visit and nothing compared to the culture, Caribbean-spiced food, awesome customer service, white sand beaches, picturesque blue mountains, mountain grown coffee, and so much more. After my first visit, I knew that Jamaica would be the place that I would visit as much as possible.
When I became a travel agent, I really wanted to become more familiar with the resorts and attractions that I could offer my clients. During my tour with the Jamaica Tourist Board, I inspected resorts in Montego Bay (MoBay), Negril, Ocho Rios, and Runaway Bay that would be suitable for families, singles, couples, and groups. From modest resort options for those who may have a limited budget to the luxury resort options, for those who may have lots of disposable income. Many of the larger resorts offer all-inclusive meal and beverage plans, whereas most of the smaller and boutique resorts do not offer a meal plan.
In 2012, the first part of my stay was in Negril, known for its infamous 7- mile stretched beach, a smaller, more intimate beach resort town. You will find resorts such as Sandals, RIU Palace Tropical Bay, RIU Club, Negril Tree House, Hedonism II, and Couples. Negril is great for that quiet getaway, honeymoon, or if you just want to enjoy the beach. Negril has been rated as one of the top ten beaches by many travel magazines. It is located approximately 1 1/2 hours from the Sangster Airport, which is located in Montego Bay. Home to the world famous Rick’s Café, the Jungle Night Club, Sports Bar and Grill, and Catamaran Cruise which are all great entertainment options while visiting Negril.
I toured Montego Bay (2012 and 2013), which has lovely beaches, beautiful scenic mountains; it’s lively, and great for active singles and families. Mobay resort options are as follows: Sandals, Secrets, Sunset at the Palms, Sunset Beach, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Iberostar, Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, the newly built RIU Palace and so many more. Montego Bay offers open-air market and plaza duty-free shopping, and numerous nighttime entertainment options. I attended the Bridal Expo at the Montego Bay Convention Center in the Rose Hall section of Montego Bay, where vendors showcased their products for destination weddings and honeymoons. Montego Bay is home to Jamaica’s biggest annual beach party, the Reggae SumFest which is held in July.
In 2013, I toured Ocho Rios, which is home to the popular Dunn’s River Falls, Mystic Mountain, where you can ride a bobsled and visit Bob Marley Centre and Mausoleum. Ocho Rios has great oceanfront resorts such as Beaches, Couples, RIU Ocho Rios, Jewel Dunn’s River, Jamaica Inn, etc. Ocho Rios is neighbored by Runaway Bay, the home of the Green Grotto Caves, and also home to the newly opened Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa; a wonderful adults-only, premium resort which has an all-inclusive health and fitness theme.
Jamaica is beautiful, romantic, family friendly, relaxing and fun-filled. The island is so diverse and there is something for everyone. For me, it’s the closest thing to paradise. “Once You Go, You Know” is not only catchy, it is positively true!
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