Riu Ocho Rios Jamaica

Published: May 7th 2013
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So I intend to kind of backtrack as I go here, starting with my most recent trip and going back from there.

This was the first time I have traveled out of the country since having children and I had heard warnings from other parents about how hard it would be to leave the kids..... I can tell you I survived! Not only did I survive, but i think it made me appreciate everything about the vacation even more!

Traveling B.C. (Before Children) you have a great time and you relax, you might do some exploring excursions etc, but after children you see all these experiences with a new point of view. Suddenly you realize that for the first time in a long time you can go at your own pace, you don't have to pack three changes of clothes, seven snack options and a couple of drinks for a day trip. These realizations are endless, the subtle ways you see that your life has changed, and suddenly you and your partner have transformed back into a couple again, instead of a family!

This time I did not do a package vacation. My hubby and I flew out on the Friday morning, on a charter with Air Transat. I know most people prefer to travel on the weekend since you don't have to use as many vacation days, but for my hubby and I it is worth it to use an extra day in order to have the extra couple of weekend days to get back into real life. I know Transat is refurbishing many of their planes but I was unfortunately on one of the older planes. This means share TV screens, and smaller seats. I am only 5'4 so it is okay for me, but I have to say on the way back i was squished between my 6' Husband and another large man, didn't leave much room for me.

Once we arrived in Jamaica we had purchased transfers to the hotel, this was a little confusing. The directions from the desk there were not very clear and no one seemed to know where we were going. Once on the bus though things were fine. We had a few stops along the way, so it took about 2 hours to get to our hotel. Also they do make a stop at a bar along the way, if you can wait to drink till you get to the hotel I would recommend you do so, as the drivers get kickbacks from the places they stop and they will completely overcharge for drinks at these places.

Check in went smoothly, I had requested a king size bed and just reminded them at check-in. they were nice enough to upgrade us to a Junior suite. All in All a nice room, we had a partial ocean view, sitting area, the bed was fairly comfortable. The bathtub was not in the best repair, but I have come to find that in Caribbean countries they don't really have the same access to renovation materials as we do. Other than that a comfortable stay. Housekeeping had the fridge stocked and room tidy everyday.

We ate at four of the a la carte restaurants and the best by far was the Asian. They had delicious seared tuna, terriyaki chicken, beef and broccoli, dumplings. All delicious! The steakhouse was the worst. My husband loves steak and he didn't even finish his. I ordered the Jumbo shrimp skewers and they were anything but. The first place we ate was the international restaurant and it was pretty good too.

The buffet was pretty good. They had a wide variety everyday, my favorite was when they had conche! Some of the options were repetitive, especially at the desert bar, but that is what you get at a buffet. They did have theme nights though which were quite good, including a nice Valentines spread with chocolate galore.

Entertainment on the resort was always around doing something, darts, various strange competitions, vollyball, bocce ball, dance lessons, singing, it was fun, but some of the contests and entertainment was a little racy, not a place I would bring my young kids for sure.

As for off the resort I did a shopping excursion, which takes you to an outdoor mall geared only to tourists so the prices aren't great but they offer some nice stuff. I bought a nice Pandora charm to commemorate my trip.

The excursion I would definitely recommend though would be the Dunn's River falls Catamaran trip. I had booked it ahead of time through Island Routes. I had done the Dunn's river once before without the catamaran, and it really is so much better with it. We did a snorkeling stop on the way there, docked and climbed up the falls. The guides were really funny and made it a fun climb. They videotape the whole thing and you can buy a copy at the end. They cost $40 but we split the cost with another couple we were traveling with and it was worth $20 to have it. On the way back the party starts, drinks, food and dancing on the boat. Flying fish were jumping in front of our boat as we bounced over the waves back to our resort.

The people in Jamaica are very friendly and this was my third time traveling there. I have never been disappointed by their service despite some reviews I have read about having to tip etc. I have never found that. I love the food in Jamaica and it is definitely one of my top recommendations for travel to the Caribbean.


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