Hey There! I have been so excited to share with you our vacation that we took earlier this summer to Montego Bay, Jamaica! It was our first time there and it definitely won't be our last!!
My husband and I really love to travel and the Caribbean is one of our favorite places with the blue green water and relaxed vibe. Jamaica didn't disappoint!
Montego Bay - Jamaica
With it being our first time to Jamaica, we decided to stay in Montego Bay for a few reasons. One of the reasons was it was literally like a 10 minute drive to our resort from the Sangster International Airport, and we really liked that. We've stayed on other islands where the drive was 1+ hours and we just wanted something closer this time.
There are other resorts in Jamaica that are further from the airport and we will definitely check them out now that we've been there. Another reason we decided on Montego Bay was that there were 2 sandals resorts, Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Montego Bay right next to each other, so we could stay at one and play at both so it was a win-win! Airport transfer both to the resort and back to the airport is included in your stay at Sandals. (If you are a Club Level like we are on have a Butler Suite, you get picked up in a separate car like this one - if not there's usually a shuttle bus that picks you up from the airport and takes you to the resort)
The first thing I'll say about Jamaica was the people were SO FRIENDLY! We've been to other islands and it can be hit or miss on how nice people are to you but we had an amazing experience with everyone we encountered in Jamaica. They seemed really happy and grateful that we were visiting and welcomed us so much.
The second thing I'll say that I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised to see was the infrastructure of the island, at least in the area we were in. The roads were in great shape, everything was clean, and we felt safe. I'll admit I had some doubts prior to us visiting based on some experiences I had heard about from friends that had visited the island, but compared to other islands we've been to, honestly Jamaica is one that we would absolutely go back to again and again.
Sandals Royal Caribbean
We stayed at the Sandals Royal Caribbean over the Sandals Montego Bay resort because when I was doing research, it sounded like the Montego Bay resort was super "party party" so we opted for Royal Caribbean.
The Royal Caribbean resort was elegant and relaxing. It features a private off-shore island that's only a 5 minute boat ride away with a Thai restaurant. You can also hang out and lay out on the beach. The resort also features 7 other restaurants so it has 8 total restaurants. The resort is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens that Sandals is known for.
There is a beach, however it is sectioned off so there's a few separate areas which offer some seclusion and they have some cabanas to enjoy during the day, but if you are looking for a long stretch of beach, you won't find it at Royal Caribbean. Great news is Montego Bay has it all and it's only a few minutes away and the shuttle service is included! We also indulged at the Red Lane Spa and each had relaxing massages and then Leeroy booked a facial for me which was soooo nice!
View of island and Thai restaurant
Over the water bungalows
Getting Ready For Dinner
View From our room
Beach Cabana at Royal Caribbean
Gardens at Royal Caribbean
Sandals Montego Bay
Sandals Montego Bay is the very first Sandals resort, and it's been recently renovated to match the modern luxury that it's other newer resorts offer. When you arrive you are greeted by a gorgeous open-air lobby that extends to a panoramic view of the ocean. There are 12 restaurants including our favorite - the French Cafe "Cafe de Paris"...literally we love going there for ice cream and coffee! The long stretch of beach and ocean is gorgeous!!!
Enjoying the View at Sandals Montego Bay
Lobby area at sandals montego bay
Both resorts offered a lot of the same amenities that guests of Sandals have come to enjoy including state of the art fitness facilities, the Red Lane Spa, free Wi-Fi, All inclusive food and beverages, land and water sports, nightly entertainment, ENDLESS COFFEE and so much more! We have been to 8 Sandals resorts and we can't say enough about how great they are.
If we were to go back to Montego Bay, we would choose to stay at Sandals Montego Bay not just because we haven't stayed there, but we did like the vibe a bit more - it wasn't crazy "party party" but it was a bit more energetic than what we experienced at Royal Caribbean. We also really liked the longer beach area and the restaurant options.
We visited at the end of May and it rained quite a bit which they said was pretty rare for it to rain as much as it did, but even lounging under an umbrella on the beach in the rain was relaxing and fun.
Dunn's River Falls
We did 2 different activities off the resort. The first excursion we did was the Dunn's River Falls. It's about an hour and a half away from Montego Bay in a city called Ocho Rios. We took a shuttle from our resort with other guests and picked up some guests from nearby hotels. Then we stopped at a store to use the restrooms and purchase water shoes and water pouches for our phones because they told us we wouldn't be able to take regular cameras with us on the excursion. If you are doing this excursion BUY THE WATER SHOES. The rocks are super slippery.
When we arrived, we checked in and then our group walked down some stairs to get to the bottom of the falls. Everyone held hands to form a long chain and started climbing up the rock waterfall. The water was FREEZING but you warm up pretty quickly. Leeroy started at the bottom and I joined him about halfway up so if you aren't up for the activity, you can walk "beside" the group as they climb up the falls from the safety of the stairs and then if you decide you want to join in, there are openings where you can like I did.
Most people wore bathing suits and I would recommend for ladies to wear some sport shorts or even yoga leggings over your bathing suit bottoms because the climbing can put you in some awkward position if you just have a bathing suit bottom on. I ended up just wearing a sports bra, tank and yoga capris and was fine because it dried really quickly. If you wear sunglasses, I'd recommend a strap that goes around your neck so you don't lose them!
Bob Marley - Nine Mile Tour
The second excursion we did was a tour of Bob Marley's childhood home in Nine Mile, Jamaica. It's also where he is laid to rest. It was incredible to see the area where he grew up and hear about the history of his life from a real Rasta guide. The tiny village is at the top of a series of steep hairpin curves and the views are incredible. Highly recommend to anyone visiting the area!
Views from Nine Mile, Jamaica
Bob Marley's "meditation rock"
I hope this helps if you are looking to book a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica! We enjoyed our vacation and will definitely be back!
If you want some tips on how to travel, How to Travel Like a Boss where I share my tips on traveling and packing like a boss!