Featured Writer: Blake Burge
To date, out of all the destinations my wife and I have visited in our three years of marriage, Ocho Rios Jamaica is by far our favorite destination. One of the reasons we loved Jamaica so much is due to the quality of the beaches and the water itself.
To us what set Jamaica apart was three main things:
First, the clarity of the water was amazing.
Second, the calmness of the water was something that we had not experienced at any other beach destinations we have visited. After being on the island for a few days we asked one of the locals why the water was always so calm….. For those of you who do not already know the answer, here it is. The entire island of Jamaica is surrounded by a barrier reef, which in addition to providing some great diving and snorkeling opportunities, also serves as a breaking point for the waves several yards away from shore. This break, helps to create the amazingly calm water and pristine beaches that can be found all across Jamaica.
Third, You may be saying to yourself, “This all sounds great but I have heard that Jamaica is dangerous and even if I do decide to visit, where should I stay?
During our week in Jamaica we stayed at the Couples Sans Souci all inclusive resort located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This hotel is a bit off the beaten path, about a two hour bus ride from the Montego Bay airport, however it is worth it! First I will start with the negative. Some may consider the two hour bus ride to the hotel to be a drawback, especially after you have probably just experienced a long plane ride to reach Jamaica in the first place. I can understand this and to be honest I was a little leery of this myself before we departed from our home in Oklahoma Don’t let this bother you!! The shuttle bus that we arranged through the resort was very clean, comfortable and we felt very safe. In addition, about half way through the trip we stopped at a small local restaurant where we drank Red Stripe and ate Jamaican meat pies. At the first mention of a “Jamaican Meat Pie” I was more than a little hesitant to actually eat this food, however I must admit this is one of the best things about Jamaica! These things are awesome. As we came to find out later in our trip, these are a local favorite and served all over the island.
Upon arrival at the resort we were promptly greeted with cold drinks and soon were take to our room. Upon first glance, the only negative we saw was that the resort itself and the rooms looked to be slightly dated and could use some updated furnishings, paint and similar items. This being said, these items really did nothing to influence the quality of our trip. The rooms were clean, very spacious and our particular room had a huge deck with a small table and several chairs to lounge in while staring out at the sea.
The natural beauty of the island takes over after a very short time and any updates that may be needed to the furnishings or resort itself are quickly forgotten. The entire hotel staff was not only attentive to our requests or any needs that we had during our stay but they were also a lot of fun! we have stayed at some resorts where the games, nightly entertainment, etc. were anything but entertaining however this was not one of them. The staff at the hotel always seemed to work extremely hard to make sure that all of the guests are happy, whether that is lounging by the pool with a drink or playing an organized game with hotel staff and other guests. The staff alone, at Couples Sans Souci would be reason enough for my wife and I too return. The nightly shows were very entertaining and included everything from a marching band too a small event one night in the main bar with a piano player. I would like to mention that this small event with the piano player was one of the best events of the entire week. He would take requests and knew every song that he was asked to play. He also encourage audience participation and allowed many guests to come sit on the piano bench with him while he played their song.
If you plan on visiting Ocho Rios in the future, or any part of the island, I would highly recommend staying at one of the couples resorts located on the island. I believe there are four total resorts.