17 May Trip Recap: 5 Days in Ocho Rios
Looking for ideas and inspiration for your next trip to Jamaica? You’re in luck! Earlier this month, travel agent Michelle Jaffrey and her husband spent five days in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Below, Michelle recapped the highlights of her recent visit including reviews on the resorts, excursions, and the lively Ocho Rios area as a whole!
1. Which Resorts Did You Stay At In Ocho Rios, Jamaica?
We stayed at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa for two nights and Sandals Ochi Beach Resort for three nights. Moon Palace is family-friendly while Sandals Ochi Beach is adults-only resort, so we got to experience two completely different atmospheres!
2. Describe the beaches, pools, rooms, and amenities at the resorts.
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
The beach at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is broken into two areas, a lounge area and then a little cove where the water sports are available. It is a narrow beach but fairly long in length–perfect if you like to take long walks or go for a run along the shore. However, when you cross the property line (which is marked with a security guard) there are some locals soliciting for excursions. The water at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is very calm and safe for kids. It’s also great for paddle boarding!
The main activity pool at this property has the most going on, while there are also a couple of quieter pools with their own swim-up bars. We liked that the beach chairs had so many umbrellas set up at both the beach and pool areas! The restaurants were great and the dress code is casual for the majority of them. We thought that the service was outstanding–everyone was so attentive and friendly.
Sandals Ochi Beach
Sandals Ochi Beach also has their beach split up into a few different sections, with an area for swimming and snorkeling, a calmer middle section with floaties, and a third area for all of the water sports. This beach is narrow and rockier with some noticeable seaweed. While we were there, the currents were pretty strong which made watersports difficult at times. There are so many pools and hot tubs to choose from, but our favorite pool was located on the hillside of the property at the Manor House with the largest swim-up bar.
The food here is amazing and the service is good too. We stayed in the Honeymoon Hideaway Luxury Club Level Villa Room. It is located in a nice, quiet area with views of the brooks and has a cottage feel to it. This property, in general, is very active and has activities at all hours of the day so it is impossible to get bored!
3. How long were you there? Would you recommend more or less time to future travelers?
We were in Ocho Rios for a total of five nights, and felt like that was plenty of time to be able to do a wide range of excursions and activities. One more night would have been nice, especially because a couple of the days were partial due to travel time (along with the hour and a half transfer from the airport).
4. What was your favorite part of the trip?
Our favorite parts of the trip were definitely the excursions. We did zip lining, the river tubing and blue hole excursion, and golf at Sandals Golf and Country Club. All of the tour guides were amazing and made everything fun and safe. The blue hole is beautiful and the water is truly blue and crystal clear. This excursion consisted of cliff-jumping, a rope swing, and venturing into the waterfalls. For zip lining, there were five lines at different heights and lengths, starting from the longest and highest and moving down in size. River tubing was relaxing and such a fun experience to be on a river in Jamaica. You can bring drinks on the river, and the guides are always helping along the way. Sandals Golf and Country Club is beautiful and a caddie is required. They are so knowledgeable and really help your golf game!
5. What was your least favorite part of the trip? Is there anything that you would advise against to clients?
Our least favorite part was the drive from the airport to the resorts, as an hour and a half in the car after flying makes for a long day of travel. On the plus side, the drivers were very fun, informative, and laid back, making it feel more like a guided tour than a transfer. We learned a lot about the country itself on the drive and got to see Jamaican life outside of the resorts. All in all, we would always do the drive over again to get to the Ocho Rios area!
6. Did you learn anything new about the area?
We learned that tourism and bauxite are the major sources of income for the area. Also, May is generally rainy season but due to the tropical climate, it doesn’t last long. We were worried when we looked at the forecast ahead of time because it said there was 80% chance of rain every day. It ended up being mostly sunny with very short periods of rain.
Have you visited the beautiful island of Jamaica? We’d love to hear all about your trip in the comments!
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