Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jamaica Part 1: The Resort Life

Hey there sunshine!

We are officially back from our short but sweet Jamaican vacation! This post will be anything but short, although certainly sweet!! 

Life's hustle and bustle was put on pause for 5 days while we had no worries in Jamaica. I mean really...no worries. Everything in Jamaica is "Whatcha need Princess?" followed by a "Yeah mon" and "No problem!" You might feel like Kate Middleton for a couple days with all those Princess words being thrown around. :)

Usually when we go out of town, I research, plan, and research some more. I want to know where the best places to eat are and the best kept secrets of the towns. I want to know where the locals go, because those are the best places, right?

When we go to Jamaica, I am free from all that. This was our second time traveling to Jamaica. Both times we were accompanied by great family friends, Mike & Karina, who grew up in Jamaica, have many friends there, and are friendly with the locals. They are in-the-know when it comes to anything Jamaica = Total relaxation for me! 

The first time we went was five years ago, before kids, and what a difference a vacation is with kids! While the vacations were similar (same hotel...), they are almost completely different. 

To say we had a great time would be an understatement. The smiles and pure excitement on my kids faces every day was incredible. It's what makes my world go round.

So let's begin!
Here's how our trip went:

Wednesday morning we woke up at 4:30 a.m to make the drive to Orlando. Our plane was at 10:15 a.m. and we landed in Montego Bay around noon. The girl's were wonderful on the plane ride. Penelope slept almost the entire flight, and Sophia was so busy enjoying everything to even make a peep, except to ask for more juice. 

Once we arrived to Montego Bay and went through customs, we rented a van and made the trek to Ocho Rios (about 70 minutes from Monetgo Bay airport).

On our way to Ocho Rios we stopped at a place called Scotchy's where we picked up jerk chicken, pork, festivals (fried bread), and chicken vegetable soup. A wonderful and enticing welcome to Jamaica!

Almost to the hotel, Mike wanted to buy some pineapples from a road side vendor. I won't even tell you now much the Pineapples were but Mike said "no worries, these are the best pineapples you'll ever taste in your life." He was right. He had the waiters at the resort cut a pineapple for us at each dinner and these pineapples were so sweet and delicious. I'll never look at pineapple the same way again. Step your pineapple game up Publix. 

We made it to the hotel, pineapples in hand & on the shirt, and checked into our slice of paradise.

We stay at the Riu Ocho Rios. It's an All-Inclusive hotel very close to Dunns River and all the shops of Ocho Rios. I've only stayed in one other all-inclusive in Mexico (honeymoon trip), so don't have much to compare it to. I know there are tons of all-inclusive resorts, some adult only.

If there is one thing I love about the Riu resort, it is how kid-friendly it is. There are so many activities going on for both us and the kids. They have a kid's club with playground, nightly kid's shows at 7 p.m., and the food buffets have almost everything imaginable, so no worries if you have a picky eater! 

There are two sides to this Riu resort. The adult-only pool on one side and a kid friendly pool on the other. Obviously we stayed on the kid-friendly side, and not only is it kid-friendly, it's the FUN side. It's where the Riu Entertainment team is, so you have water volleyball, water polo, water aerobics, dancing, singing, bars, in-water lounge chairs, and a beach entry for kids. Sign me up! 

Sophia & Nelpe were 100% interested in the pools, beach, and banana smoothies! 

Penelope would like to tell you all about the fresh banana smoothies she enjoyed daily. 
Sophia's swimming got better each day. She is my little fishy and NEVER wanted to leave the pool.
She rested only for those banana smoothies!

Besides hanging around swimming and playing on the beach, we ate. And by golly miss molly, we ate! 

The Food:

Fresh fruit & Juice Bar every morning

Jerk Chicken buffet for lunch. This is usually done out on the beach at a place called Jerk Hut, but since the weather wasn't ideal when we got there, it was brought onto the patio. 


I didn't get pictures of the regular lunch buffets, dinner buffets, 24 hour pizza/pasta buffets, or all the other snacks they have out for you to eat whenever your heart desires. You will never be hungry while you stay there. If anything, you may actually get tired of eating so much! It's possible... :)

There is so much to do at Riu Ocho Rios, we honestly didn't even do it all! Along with everything in this post, they have FREE kayak, sailboat, paddle boat, and wind kite surfing rentals. I saw stand up paddle boards and got so excited to do it! It turns out they were from the resort next door. Hopefully they get some at Riu for next time! (Anyone in Jamaica reading this?!)

We didn't get to enjoy any spa treatments while we were there. If you want a massage by the pool, on the beach, or in the spa, you got it! Sophia got her first massage by the pool! A three year old enjoying a back, neck, and hand massage sitting there at the pool!! {Heaven}

They have a small casino with slot machines and a sports bar which we unfortunately spent some time in. :) Why were there so many "important" sports games going on this past week?! Basketball, Hockey, Soccer...it never ends.   :)

I'm sure I'm missing SOMETHING about our fabulous time at Riu Ocho Rios. Writing this makes me want to hop on a plane and go back. It's truly an amazing vacation spot!

Check in tomorrow for Part 2 of our Jamaican Vacation: Outside the Resort!


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