In October of 2012, I attended the Jamaica Tourist Board Familiarization Tour. During my visit, I toured 9 resorts, attended a Bridal Expo, stayed at two different resorts, shopped and attended a party. Prior to the tour, 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, great customer service, white sand beaches, picturesque 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 Negril and Montego 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 offer American plan (no meals) or European plan (only breakfast).
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 the Catamaran Cruise which are all great entertainment options while visiting Negril.
My last two days were spent in Montego Bay, which has lovely beaches, beautiful scenic mountains; it’s lively, and great for active singles and families. You have resort options such as Sandals, Secrets, Sunset at the Palms, Sunset Beach, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Iberostar, the Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, 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.
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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