The island of Jamaica is the third largest in the Caribbean. Ideally located, it captures trade winds that assist in maintaining a near constant temperature between 77 and 82 degrees and which bless the mountainous island’s northeast coast with abundant rain. Jamaica supports a wide diversity of plant and animal life. More than half the island is higher than 800 feet above sea level. The economy depends heavily on tourism, and some of the Caribbean’s finest resorts and elegant boutique hotels are found on the beaches of Jamaica.
Jamaica has long been a coveted vacation spot for honeymooners, but few people recognize its great potential as a family destination. There are a number of resorts on the island that lend themselves excellently to guests who travel with their spouses and children, and quite a few of them are right on the beach. Riu Negril is located on beautiful Bloody Bay Beach, and its sister hotel, Riu Palace Tropical Bay, just finished its renovations and is now open for business once again! Guests at the Palace have exchange privileges to use any of the amenities at the Riu Negril. The Riu resorts and the Royal Decameron Club Caribbean in Runaway Bay are all fantastic seaside options, but resorts are especially abundant near Ocho Rios–and for good reason, since this is one of the most gorgeous areas of the island. Shaw Park Beach, the Sunset Jamaica Grande and Riu Ocho Rios all offer beautiful mountain views and hikes to nearby waterfalls in addition to their location on the sand, which is nothing less than ideal. Don’t neglect Seashore Bay Beach in your Jamaican resort search, either: this is Karisma’s first hotel outside Mexico, and it sits on 1000 feet of the beautiful Seven Mile Beach. Royal Decameron Montego Beach is especially blessed, with Doctor’s Cave Beach on one side and the Hip Strip on the other–the beach is only a short walk from great restaurants and shopping, and vice versa! For an extra special beach stay, look into Sunset at the Palms: these treehouse-style bungalows sit just steps from some of the best beachfront property in Jamaica.
But Jamaica offers more than lovely beaches and crystal clear water. Jamaica is more – much more. Jamaica is deep emerald green rainforests, waterfalls and mountain streams. Jamaica is an array of birds – colorful parrots, macaws, and hummingbirds with tails that curl three times their body length. Jamaica is reggae and intricate wood carving. Jamaica’s culture does not lurk around its edges; you don’t have to go looking for it in museums. Jamaica’s culture permeates the island. It drifts through every breeze and wafts through every moment on the island, whether in the smell of roadside food preparation or in the rhythm and sound of the music present everywhere. Jamaica dances and invites you to dance with it. The Jamaican culture has endured slavery, oppression and bad times. Its culture, like its people, not only survives, not only endures, but thrives.
Of course, for some people, a good vacation means getting something more than just a little sun and culture–specifically, it means getting a few rounds on a choice golf course. Jamaican resorts and hotels excel in this regard, offering courses for every golfer’s taste and experience level. The Ritz Carlton has a golf course spanning 600 acres, offering breathtaking views of the Caribbean to golfers while they tee off. If you’re a non-golfer traveling with someone who can’t get enough of the links, you might consider choosing a resort with a golf course and a spa. Riu Montego Bay offers both of these, but the Hilton Rose Hall takes it one step further for families with kids by including a championship golf course, a spa with a full menu of treatments and luxuries and a water park complex that will keep everybody happy.
Families have many options for accommodation and fun in Jamaica–no matter what your tastes and preferences are, you’ll find something to suit them!