No, you *must* book a trip to Jamaica Pronto
Ask any of my friends or family members and they’ll tell you the same thing: only the place I wanted to go this summer was Jamaica. For three years, all I thought about was finding my way to the enchanting Caribbean island that my mother and grandmother call home. So at the start of 2022 when I created my vision board of all the things I wanted to happen this year, “spending time in Jamaica” was right in the middle.
You’d think having family in Jamaica would make visiting easier, but I haven’t been to the island nation since I was 8 – and that’s *way* too long to be far from your roots. I’m a millennial and the work/life balance is hard enough. A journey of self-discovery on a tropical island on top of everything that seemed out of reach.
But as the protest would have it, a great opportunity with CheapCaribbean landed in my lap. A travel site for beach lovers (hi, hello), CheapCaribbean offers beach vacation packages that are both affordable and customizable. Everything from excursions, transfers and your resort stay can be booked through the site.
So not only was I able to return to my mother’s homeland, but in the past month I was able to experience the island in a way I never imagined. My long weekend at one of Jamaica’s luxury all-inclusive resorts was bliss – and believe me, the magic of this island transcends family ties.
My vacation essentials
Celebrity Status Hosting
If there was ever a hill travel worth dying for, it’s this: always take the first flight. Not only did I arrive at my destination early in the day, but the airport was virtually empty when I arrived, so clearing customs was a breeze. After collecting my luggage, I was taken to the all-inclusive adult-only Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa via Amstar transportation.
Having been to Jamaica as a child, I had often fantasized about the Caribbean island – what it would be like to return there, what color the water in the ocean would be – but this resort exceeds anything I could dream. Located in the Montego Freeport area, Breathless Montego Bay offers incredible views of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains just beyond the beach. *Literally* everywhere I turned – whether I was in the lobby overlooking the pool or on the balcony of my room facing the ocean – I was in awe of the picturesque surroundings.
I stayed in a suite at the Xhale Club which is nothing short of celebrity status accommodation. It has a huge floor-to-ceiling rain shower separating the bathroom and bedroom, a romantic bathtub on the balcony, a well-stocked mini-bar and a tablet to easily control the lights , air conditioning and blinds. And another standard amenity is a personal concierge. Mine was Raynard and he arranged my morning coffee delivery each morning; arranged a picnic for an excursion, and he even requested that the spa stay open late one night. Honestly, I cried saying goodbye to him.
The resort has three pools to suit all your moods: a bustling main pool with DJs and daily foam parties, a slightly quieter hot tub where you can still enjoy the music (without feeling the bass in your chest) and one on the hidden roof. There’s a flyover connecting Breathless Montego Bay to one of its sister resorts, the Secrets St. James Resort & Spa, so you can also enjoy the amenities (delicious restaurants, bars, and beaches).
Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Everything is included in this adults-only getaway, from premium spa treatments to 24-hour room service. If lounge time is your priority, plan to park at the rooftop pool and bar. Or if you don’t want to think about planning at all (honestly, same), check out CheapCaribbean’s $99 per person itinerary, inspired by Cosmos List of essentials. And because you’re an adult who deserves good things, CheapCaribbean is offering a five-night all-inclusive hotel stay for one lucky reader.
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A food and drink paradise
If you’ve never tried Jamaican cuisine, well, I’m sorry. I was so excited when Breathless Montego Bay delivered authentic cuisine and iconic dishes not so far from my grandmother’s home cooking. (Apologies – nothing and no one can beat Grandma.) I ate ackee and saltfish, oxtail with rice and peas, and jerk chicken at Culinaria, a buffet-style restaurant . And I would have easily backed off for a few seconds, buuut I wanted to try everything. The property has four other restaurants, including Altitude and Bare Buns Grill, which serves steaks and burgers in a more familiar setting.
Now I’m a breakfast person – like I could eat eggs and toast with every meal – so when I was greeted by a lovely spread delivered to my door every morning I was at the heaven. A little something I learned on vacation: Omelets taste even better with an ocean view and no liability.
When you’re thirsty, remember that Jamaica, like much of the Caribbean, is known for its rum. All five bars serve the resort’s signature Breathless rum punch, but you can also ask any bartender to mix you your drink of choice. This all-inclusive life! Thanks to Nico from Altitude Rooftop Bar, I learned that my new favorite liquor is crème au rhum, which he used to mix up the best espresso martini I’ve ever had.
Outside the resort
Since I’ve been to Jamaica and experienced all of its splendor, staying strictly at the resort was *not* an option for me – and luckily CheapCaribbean has some amazing adventures in store for me. I’ve wanted to see Dunn’s River Falls since I was little, especially since my mom and stepdad can’t stop talking about it.
One thing to know about the island is that although it is relatively small, it can take a while to get from town to town. Dunn’s River Falls is located in Ocho Rios, about an hour and a half from Breathless Montego Bay, so I brought a book to keep me busy along the way. Did I read? No. Did I stare out the window drooling over the lush greenery, 18th-century architecture, and fruit stalls? Yes.
I was speechless when we arrived. Although the attraction attracts millions of tourists every year, when I first saw Dunn’s River Falls, I thought of the generations of my family who were in the exact same spot. With an experienced guide, we climbed the 180 foot high waterfalls. At the top of the waterfall there is a park with gardens, a water slide and a paddling pool. There is also a photo shop for you to have your picture taken and a local craft market.
Another day we took a more leisurely excursion with a rafting trip on the Martha Brae River, located on the north coast of the island, near the western edge. You know those bamboo rafts that seem to float downstream in the middle of nowhere? Yes, I took one! It was so relaxing to sit and feel the cool water and warm sun. At one point my raft captain let me steer a bit.
Jamaica is so important to me and my family, so of course this trip will always hold a big place in my heart. But – hear me out – even if you book a CheapCaribbean trip to Jamaica without a fuss, I can guarantee that this incredibly special island will mean something to you too.
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