In 2009, I took my first trip out of the country. My husband and I were going to celebrate being married for 10 years and we wanted to do something memorable. What could we do that was just for us and memorable at the same time? We decided to go on a Sandals vacation to Jamaica! Even though Sandals has various resorts on different islands, we decided on Jamaica because it’s not an every day vacation spot like the Bahamas. Sandals afforded us a one stop shop for flying, transportation and resort costs. After a down payment, we were able to make affordable monthly payments to pay for our “honeymoon” vacation. The money spent was well worth it. Let me tell you about it.
After making our reservation with Sandals online, they sent us a very well put together package outlining what would happen next, what documents we would need, and what to pack. It was very exciting to this is kind of “extravagant” package confirming the amazing vacation we would have. After making a few months payments, I get a phone call from Sandals confirming our travel details. The resort that the representative was confirming was not the one I had reserved. I wanted a relaxing week with my honey, but they had rebooked us into the party resort since my original resort reservation would be under renovations. Oh, no, this was not supposed to happen. I told them that wasn’t acceptable, and that we did not want to be in the “party” resort. The representative apologized for the inconvenience, and rebooked us to an upgraded concierge suite at no cost. How amazing was that?! My soon to be amazing honeymoon vacation just got better. We were so excited to go.
When the day finally arrived to leave, we were nervous with excitement. This would be our first out of the country vacation. We couldn’t wait. We left in the early morning hours from Orlando to Miami, and took the connecting flight to Montego Bay. Once we arrived we were immediately ushered into a Sandals private holding room where we were greeted by an attendant and given a warm cloth to cleanse the travel dirt away. How luxurious! Little did we know that the real fun would start. A driver loaded us all onto a large shuttle, and the fun began. The driving in Jamaica is not the same as it is in the States. They aggressively overtake other cars when changing lanes, and the traffic warning signs are hilarious. One the way to our resort, the driver dropped off other vacationers, and even made a pit stop so that we could enjoy some authentic Jamaican food. The hospitality was so nice. After the pit stop we continued onto our resort at the end of the island.
The driver took us up this long windy trail to the entrance of the resort. It was gorgeous! We were amazed and excited to be there. We were taken to the check-in area, handed flutes of champagne, warm towels, and told to relax. After we were checked in, our butler came to take us to our suite. A butler! I didn’t realize that our upgrade came with a butler. He wouldn’t let us lift a thing or go anywhere without him. He drove us in a golf cart to our suite. The resort views were amazing. We couldn’t wait to have fun. The first thing we did after unpacking was toast our vacation, and went to explore the resort, and grab something delicious to eat. The resort staff were so incredibly friendly. They recommended an Asian inspired restaurant that served the best lemongrass soup. Afterwards, we changed into suits and went swimming at their swim up bars. After a relaxing time outside, we decided to take a nap, and then get ready for their night time Conga party. It was so much fun. Everyone was dancing.
The next day, we went on our scheduled horseback riding excursion through the ocean. This was our first time on horses, and it was such a great experience. The guides were super helpful, and answered all of our questions. We took the horses through a forest trail before coming to the ocean. Once we got to the ocean, the guides escorted us individually into the water and we got to ride (or swim) with the horses. It was a pretty neat experience. When we got back to the excursion site, we took the shuttle bus back to the resort. I really enjoyed the way Jamaicans drive! It was an exhilarating experience. If you’ve never been in traffic in Jamaica, they drive on the offensive and are allowed to overtake while driving. It was fun, and the road signs that they have warning of improperly overtaking were pretty funny. They made their point, but funny nonetheless. Once we got to the resort, we got ready for the beach. It was gorgeous! We did a lot of firsts on this trip. We went on a sailboat. Oh, the water, and sun were perfection! We didn’t want to leave the beach, but alas, we had to get ready for another spectacular dinner and the white party.
The next day, we went on another excursion. This time ziplining through the forests of Jamaica. It was exciting and scary at the same time. Exhilarating! They start you off with a series of small drops and lines. Then longer drops and lines, until you get towards the end where it’s the longest and fastest line. It was great. I would definitely do it again. At the end of the excursion, the crew had drinks and lunch waiting for us. It was so nice. Afterwards, we went back to the resort to relax and enjoy the warm, perfect weather.
The suite where we stayed was sheer perfection. It overlooked the mountains, had a beautiful balcony, a fully stocked bar, and all the amenities we could ask for. We enjoyed breakfast outside every morning with mimosas, and strolls through the grounds when we weren’t at the beach. Our butler and the resort staff were amazing people. They truly made our trip memorable.
By Debora R.