When, Where and Why
I went to Jamaica on a family vacation with my parents and younger brother for one week in August 2019. It was such a nice opportunity to relax and spend family time together, and to earn my Open-Water dive certification. We decided on Montego Bay because of the promise of beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts. This isn’t a way I normally travel – all inclusive resorts – but I will say that it is a luxurious break from the norm! It was very much a touristy relaxing vacation, and not a culture trip. If this is your jam, I can’t recommend booking through CheapCaribbean.com enough. They make it easy to find flights & resorts to book as a package all at once. Their prices are really good too. I always compare the cost to purchasing flights and resort separately, and CC comes through as the cheapest option.
About the destination
Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second largest city, after its capital Kingston. Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean. They were granted independence from Britain in 1962. English is the official language. Montego Bay is a very tourist-oriented destination, so you don’t need to worry about any language barriers. Jamaica uses the Jamaican Dollar (JMD), but again, it is so tourist-orientated that we never even exchanged currency and used USD or credit cards everywhere we went. I loved using my Capital One Venture card because I don’t pay any overseas fees and earn travel rewards! Use my link for $100 bonus upon approval.
Getting there & Staying there & Trip Costs
As mentioned, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort called Riu Reggae Montego Bay. We booked our flights and resort package through CheapCaribbean.com. I always like to check out the resort’s direct webpage to learn more about it and compare prices, so here is Riu Reggae’s link.
For my own room and round trip airfare through American Airlines from Boston, MA, USA (BOS) to Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), I paid $2,115 for a 6-night stay ($352 per night). Yes, pricey, because I had a room to myself. This would have been a lot less expensive had I been sharing a room with someone. For comparison, my parents shared a room and paid a total of $4,237 for their 8-night stay ($264 per person per night). They arrived on a Friday and I arrived on a Sunday after attending a friend’s wedding.
Keep in mind this was for an all-inclusive resort package, which included:
– Roundtrip airfare
– Roundtrip transfer from the airport to hotel
– An all-inclusive stay (all food, alcohol, snacks, entertainment, in-room fully stocked minibar)
– An adults-only resort
– Nightly entertainment performances by the Riu performers (7 different shows a week!)
– Daily entertainment, including games (like Bingo) and sports (beach volleyball)
– Daily workouts
Try This There
- Get Scuba certified and/or go diving. The reef is gorgeous and the water is warm. I earned my PADI open-water certification through ScubaCaribe and it was an incredible experience. I could walk there from my hotel, the staff was friendly and professional, and my instructor worked with me one-on-one (I got lucky!) and was amazing. I learned so much from her and felt totally comfortable and confident. I paid $389 in total (3-day dive course, gear rental, PADI ebook, and licensure card), which included leaving a tip for my dive instructor, Anne. The hotel had given me a coupon for the dive shop which was awesome. You receive it upon checking-in. Overall a great experience and introduction to diving!
- Go snorkeling! We saw turtles, all different types of rays, and hundreds of fish. The coral is alive and well, so it makes it really fun to explore.
- SUP or kayak. Rentals were free since we were guests at the hotel.
- Visit the hotel’s spa (extra cost, but I went for a facial and it was amazing! You also receive a coupon off your visit for being a hotel guest)
- RELAX by the pool, by the beach, in the sun, in the shade. The weather was perfect in August, the water was super warm yet refreshing, and you honestly can’t beat reading your kindle in the water with a drink in your hand.
- Visit the luminous lagoon – an evening activity where you swim among bioluminescent microorganisms that emit a blue-green glow whenever you disturb the water! Our family loved this. We booked a trip through the hotel which included rt transport and a fire show.
- Visit Dunn’s River Falls
- Visit Secret Falls
- Visit the Blue Hole
- Take a sunset catamaran cruise
- Go duty-free shopping
- Go on an adventure tour – ziplining, 4 wheeling, see crocodiles
- Take a rum tour at the famous Appleton Rum Tasting
- Visit the Bob Marley museum in Kingston, the capital
Let me know if you go in the comments below!