Hey, Hey, and HEY Guys! =)
How is everyone feeling today? I hope perfect, I am feeling fine but I must say the weather here in Toronto is fairly gloomy, damp, and cold of course! I could definitely due with some sunshine and warmth so for today’s post, I decided to take you guys back with me to Ocho Rios! Now doesn’t that sound nice =)? Let’s go guys; I have lots to show and tell you!
Time of Travel – Early March
Flight Duration – 5 Hours roughly
Airline – Air Canada, fairly good experience
Travelled As– A Couple, the resort we selected was adults only. I would recommend this resort and perhaps the entire chain for honeymooners, mature couples, ideal for individuals looking for relaxation
Weather – Very hot, get your sunscreen ready! The sun in Jamaica is hot, hot, and hot! We did experience a few showers but they did not last for long maybe only one day it was gloomy all day
Resort – Sandals Ochi Beach (Ocho Rios Location) Accommodation – The room was very clean, comfortable and spacious. The grounds of this resort were also very beautiful and well kept. Staying at Sandals you do have the opportunity to visit their surrounding resorts which we were in between their Ochi Beach resort and their sister resort which I believe was called Sandals Great House…It was literally across the street which there was a shuttle transporting guests to and from.
Exploration Opportunities – We did two excursions, Zip lining – Which also included Bob sledding and we did the Duns River Falls Climb. My boyfriend and I were interested in going to some parties off resort as the resort itself pretty much shut down at 12:00AM (no nightlife at all!) but there was a lack of excursions allowing us to do this. If we did choose to do this, we would have had to gone with a local cab which we did not feel comfortable doing as it was only the two of us.
March of 2016 my boyfriend and I decided to take our first overseas vacation together. It was an exciting moment for both of us as it would be his first time on a plane and my first time travelling without parental supervision. Now I know, you guys are probably thinking, how old are we again? Hehe we are old enough (We did stay in an adults only resort) just we took some time before taking this step as I would say we both see travelling together as a big stepping stone and we have protective families. Any who, I would say it was one of our first big experiences together and we were both excited to go! We had started planning our trip in January of 2016 and decided to go to a travel agency to narrow down our options. We went very well prepared, my boyfriend wanted to see Jamaica and I wanted to see Dominican Republic but either place would be a win as we just wanted to go somewhere! After discussing it with the flight agent, we were totally thrown a curve ball (all our preparation, yep down the drain!) as the flight agent strongly recommended that we visit Jamaica and not only just any resort but one of the Sandals resorts. Now! I am not sure how familiar you all are with these resorts but it is PRICEY! At first, we were a bit hesitant but I must say, our flight agent must be a pro at his job (yes we still use him up to today and he is always throwing us curve balls) or we just give in with ease… “Wow this place sounds and looks amazing! What budget?” is usually the line that flows through our head. So, after a bit of back and forth amongst ourselves we decided you know what! If we are going on our first trip, let’s make it the best first trip ever! Let’s splurge and go for this Resort, so we did! After a few swipes of our credit cards, a few signatures, couple of documents, and of course a very nice book of their resorts to take home, we were set to head to Jamaica! So, let’s get to the experience shall we!?
Our expectations for this resort was extremely high as we were promised so much and unfortunately now after being to Dominican Republic I think both my boyfriend and I agree that you can get SO MUCH MORE for so much less honestly! Now I do not want to be bashing Sandals because we did enjoy ourselves, the food was OUTSTANDING (I would say they beat back Punta Cana with their cuisine), we made some good memories, the staff are GREAT, Jamaica is a beautiful country, and overall, I would not say we regret staying at Sandals as it was our first trip, we live and we learn right! Here are some further details about our experience outlining the positives and negatives!
Resort Grounds – The resort grounds were very nice and well kept, every day we seen staff working on improving the grounds which at first thought we were like…that is weird to be doing but we understand that maintaining the appearance is something that must be kept up all the time. One thing I would say I did not like very much was at certain areas of the resort there seemed to be quite a lot of stray cats and the main area they seemed to hang around was the Jerk Shack (restaurant). We went there a few times but the cats basically lingered around where you sat and even came very close to your legs…Not pleasant for me while I am eating. Everything else in regards to the upkeep of the resort was great; the resort has a modern and fresh look.
Food – OK GUYS! Sandals takes the win for food, hands down. This resort gave us access to dine at 16 different restaurants! YES 16!! I think that was a big selling feature for us, we knew we had endless options for the duration of our trip and I cannot say they let us down there. They have such great restaurants and the standard of cooking is beyond amazing! They have very formal dining for dinners which require reservations and they have more causal options for breakfast and lunch which included a few buffets. I would have to say my boyfriend and I truly loved their dockside restaurant “Kelly’s”. It was a great experience (very romantic) to dine so close to the ocean and food was great! I had scallops they were so tasty *drool*. Another one of our favorites was “Soy” which is their sushi bar restaurant. This place had great sushi! We had to go ALL the way to Jamaica for my boyfriend to FINALLY give sushi a try and guess what!? He seemed to enjoy it =). Lastly, our late-night snack favorite would have to have been “Tapas”. They served up quick comfort food such as hot dogs, burgers, jerk chicken, fries, etc. They were the only spot opened until about 3:00AM and that my friend turned into our makeshift “club”.
Pools – There are endless amounts of pools at the Ochi Beach resort, can you guess how many? 105 pools! Isn’t that insane! On top of that I believe they have about 20 jacuzzies/hot tubs which my boyfriend truly enjoyed! Those hot tubs were only manageable for me late at night, sometimes he would be in the hot tub and I would be in the pool next to it =). He enjoys the heat, I like to be cool hehe. Overall the pools were nice, they were never overly full and all were surrounded by nice scenery. Only complaint I would have with the pools would be that they were not cleaned frequently therefore many bees and flies were kinda floating around in the water which was not a pretty sight.
Excursions – We decided to do two excursions while in Jamaica, one being zip lining which included bob sledding and the other being the Duns River Tour which also included snorkelling. Both excursions were good!
Zip Lining + Bob Sledding – These activities were both very different for us as we had never done anything like this before so I am happy that I had the chance to experience it =). The bob sledding is what we did upon arrival which was fun and a tiny bit scary! It is super fast and I would say like a roller coaster but rather than being controlled by an operator, the sled is controlled by the passenger in the front seat, in my case…my boyfriend lol he showed no mercy for my screams! After that thrilling ride we were lifted above the forestry to the peak and geared up for zip lining. Let me tell you! I thought this was going to be super duper quick and we would be very close to trees sorta in and out…That was my vision but! It was very relaxed, not fast and I honestly thought we may have seen a lot of wildlife…I think the most I seen was a dog. Again, like I said before both were good as they were very different but I guess I had imagined it going a little bit different.
Duns River Tour + Snorkelling – So, if you asked me which excursion I prefer I would say this one! It was totally different, I don’t know when I will be climbing up rocks that have a steady flowing river that leads into the ocean again! Prior to getting to Duns River we were transported by a catamaran which we made a stop over a section of coral reef in the ocean. At this point we got our life jackets on, our snorkelling gear and into 10 plus feet of water went…*Warning My boyfriend and I both cannot swim!* So I would say it was safe to say we were fairly nervous but we did have a guide with us who was very informative and even taught my boyfriend a lesson about swimming (now he is pretty comfortable in water, me…I still can’t swim) While snorkelling we seen a few different types of fish and there was some gorgeous coral reef to view. Once your nerves calm, its an enjoyable experience =). Moving along to Dun’s River, this was cool and the water even cooler (temperature, ice cold) along with pretty good pressure. For this excursion is was important that we had water shoes, so if you are thinking of doing this please get some water shoes! They rent them but you can buy your own for $10.00 or so! Anyways, the climb was fun! We made a long chain with the group we came with and all worked together to make it to the top, “all the way up, up, up to the top” as they say =). Along your climb, they will be taking videos and photos for you to purchase at the end for memories sake! We are suckers, or maybe I should speak for myself! I am a BIG sucker for memorable items so any pictures I can get for purchase I will be buying no matter if I look a bit whacky!
So, Guys! I think I have said a lot here and I hope some of you are still with me as I am wrapping things up here. Overall, we did enjoy Jamaica, after coming back we thought it was the best thing ever however; After being on another trip and seeing what basically half the price of what we paid to go to Jamaica can get us we will definitely not be splurging on going to Sandals anytime soon again…At least I do not think. The resort is great! And It is honestly a honeymooner’s resort or a resort to celebrate years and years of marriage, milestone birthdays (50?), etc. But for us being in our early 20s and not being on a honeymoon, it was just not everything we were looking for. They fell very short with entertainment but everything else was lovely! I guess we like to maybe party too much while on vacation =) Long story short! Try it out, see how you guys like it and let me know or! If you guys have been to Jamaica or have gone to a Sandals resort, leave me a comment, send me a message let me know your thoughts!
For now, I will leave it at that, thank you SO much for reading!
Take care for now, lets get to the weekend again right!?…Until my next Travel Adventures…Soon to come guys stay tuned!