One of my cousins recently asked me for advice about planning a trip to Jamaica. She is married and has two kids – a daughter that will be graduating from high school and a son in middle school. They haven’t traveled much and have never been out of the country so she wanted advice on where to stay in Jamaica. We went to Jamaica last year and now all of this research has me itching to go back!
Before I started researching hotels in Jamaica, I asked how they picked it as destination and what they wanted to do there. It turns out that Jamaica was the kids’ choice and they are interested in zip-lining, riding ATVs and having access to a nice beach. They would also like to be able to do the trip on a reasonable budget. They would prefer to spend their money on activities and excursions rather than on a hotel room that they won’t spend much time in anyway. Jamaica certainly fits the bill for all of these wishes. In addition, it is a relatively easy first international trip since the official language is English and it’s a short plane ride from the east coast of the US where they live.
With their interests in mind, I think they should consider staying in Negril, which means flying into Montego Bay, Jamaica. In Negril, they can stay on Seven Mile Beach and have access to many different restaurants and activities. A quick review of TripAdvisor shows that Country Country Beach Cottages would be a solid choice for a reasonably priced hotel located right on Seven Mile Beach. Rates are ~$120/night for early June on Hotels.com and they are currently building a new pool. The rooms look very nice and each cottage has a small patio.
Another reasonably priced hotel option is Rondel Village, which has garden view rooms available for $90/night (in early June) and gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor. Rondel Village also has two and three bedroom villas available for an additional cost, as well as two pools and two jacuzzis.
With all of the options for activities in Negril and the surrounding area, there is no chance of her teenagers being bored. Here are the possible tour activities that are listed on just one company’s website (Island Routes – Caribbean Adventures): ziplining, bobsledding, Black River cruise and YS falls visit (which we did last year and highly recommend), catamaran cruise, riding ATVs (minimum age of 16) or dune buggies (for those 12 years and up), horseback riding through the rainforest and on the beach, Dunn’s River Falls visit, swimming with dolphins, and jungle river tubing.
I just checked airfare prices from Syracuse to Montego Bay (MBJ) in June and the tickets are only $356/person with one stop in Newark. (Julie – the best website for airfare searches is kayak.com in case you want to search airfare prices for other dates).
Have you ever been to Jamaica? Do you have any other suggestions for my cousin in planning her first trip to the island?