As you might imagine, my family spends a lot of time discussing travel destinations. We have lists and lists of places we want to go. You might not though that I actually have a spreadsheet out until 2020 with destinations listed.
They aren’t all confirmed of course but it gives us an idea of where and when we can go visit our dream places.
Jamaica is a place that’s been discussed but never actually made our list. Why? Because I’ve been there twice and didn’t love it. Granted that was about 15-20 years ago but still – there are so many other places to go, why go back to one you didn’t love?
Um, because my husband and kids hadn’t been there and it’s a direct flight for us, which is critical when you only have a few days to spend.
So, we finalized our trip to Jamaica. We decided to stay in an all-inclusive, which most places there are. Normally, my husband and I don’t love all-inclusives. We feel like you don’t get to experience the local flair when you stay in an all-inclusive. However, when we went to Mexico, we stayed in one with the kids and it was great. Click here for the details on why I changed my mind about all-inclusives.
For this trip, we choose to stay at the Hilton in Montego Bay. We flew into the Montego Bay airport and it was only about a 10 minute drive to the location.
I was so happy about this because previously in Jamaica, my hotel was far from the airport and traveling through the countryside was not pleasant – mostly because they people were so poor and I couldn’t get over my guilt when I pulled into my gated hotel and got to eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
The Hilton was beautiful and I always love a place that gives you a welcome drink. It’s just so refreshing and makes me feel special. At the Hilton, they gave us a citrus drink called Paradise Delight. My daughter loved it and continued to get it throughout the trip (yes, it was non-alcholic).
We checked into our connecting rooms, got changed, and had a bite to eat immediately. It was toward the end of the lunch rush at the buffet restaurant. We sat immediately and ate a light bite. And, they had a frozen yogurt machine. You could get ice cream whenever you wanted (day or night). Needless to say, my kids and I were in heaven – ice cream, ice cream, ice cream (one of my favorite foods – or I guess, not food really, I should say snack!).
We got a quick lay of the land and went right to the Lazy River. We found tubes and had a blast. Leah loved sitting in the tube and even swimming without the tube. Swimming might be a stretch. She loved paddling while the current pushed her along the water.
We then went on the water slides. My son and I went first and thought it would be good for Leah. She went down with my husband. She didn’t love it. Oops…
We went to dinner that night at the buffet restaurant again, which was fine. During check-in, we made reservations at the other two “nicer” places for the next two nights.
The next day, we went to the beach. It was fine – a little small and situated on sort of slope, which was not so comfortable on a lounge chair. But with a three year-old, I’m not sitting in a lounge chair much so it didn’t matter.
They also had a lot of water activities. Matt and I went for a kayak ride. I’d never done kayaking in the ocean but it was easier than I expected. We had a great time.
After lunch, we went back to the Lazy River area. We had a little trouble finding the tubes. It seems adults love to have two tubes. One for their front half and one for their back half – it seems when you’re drinking in the lazy river, you have to be lying flat. It seems to also be cool if you attached yourself with your entire party and float around the Lazy River (like a huge human/tube chain that nobody else can get around). I think these people may be taking the name “Lazy” River a bit too far, honestly.
Small rant, sorry…
We finally found a tube that my son used and I walked around with my daughter. Still lots of fun. We went to dinner that night at the Italian restaurant. It was fine – not great, just fine.
The next day my husband and son went to Dunns River Falls. It’s a huge waterfall that you can walk up. I’d done it before and Leah was too small so we stayed at the hotel. The boys had a great time and even stopped with their driver at a jerk place for lunch. So fun!
Leah and I played by the shallow end of the pool for quite some time and we visited the playground area (a great addition when you have a preschooler). We went back to the room for a bit and Leah fell asleep!
Wow, a nap! I love Jamaica! I haven’t seen a Leah nap in sooo long – it was awesome!
When she woke up, we went down and got some lunch. The boys were just getting back and met us there. We played with the other activities they had (a huge chess set, bean bag toss game, ping pong, dance competition, etc.).
That night we went to dinner at the place on the golf course. You had to take a shuttle (across the street and up a hill) to get there. It was good but Leah was not in the mood and it really took away from the experience…oh well! When we got back, they had a huge show with awesome drumming and dancers – really fun!
The next day, we had our breakfast and hung out for a while, enjoying our last breaths of warm sea air. We flew back that afternoon. At the airport, my husband sang the Jamaica commercial song to Leah – remember that campaign years ago?
He could only remember one line – “come back to Jamaica, your new island home” but if you’re interested – here’s the whole commercial. Well, Leah continued to sing that line for the next four hours. Just when you thought she was done, she’d start up again – it was, um, a-dorable!
It was a great trip. We just had a lot of fun as a family in a warm destination – in my book, you can’t ask for more.
Everyone ranked it as one of our favorites. I’m glad I wasn’t firm in not visiting Jamaica again!
Side note: I’ll be reviewing the hotel and giving some airport tips in separate posts!