We decided to stay at Sandals Resorts again after such an amazing experience in Exuma, Bahamas last year. Deciding on a location wasn’t easy! Jamaica has so many beautiful places to stay – Montego Bay, Negril Beach and South Coast, being just a small selection with every one offering a different vibe. We settled on Ocho Rios – located closer to the things we wanted to see and do. Our hotel was colossal with a good selection of restaurants and a nice split of partying and relaxing!
Things to do
The top thing on our list was Dunn’s River Falls. I had so many people message their recommendations and it was always the most popular – with many spending their honeymoon there! We took a Catamaran Cruise with Island Routes which was the best thing we did. We sailed out and had a short snorkel stop before stopping at the waterfall. It was so much larger than I expected – an amazing experience! With thunderstorms the day before, the water was flowing pretty wild which made it challenging but amazing fun. We got absolutely drenched so be prepared to get wet!
Remember to bring some water shoes or trainers. You need something that can grip onto the rocks – flip flops or sandals are definitely a no go! You can rent them on the boat for $10 but trainers are fine.
Island Routes also had a tour to the Luminous Lagoon. Totally different to anything i’ve ever done before – we set off at 5.30pm and stopped at a huge lagoon in the pitch black. We then boarded a small boat and set off into the dark waters. Stopping in the middle we all jumped into the water to discover an illuminating glow every time we splashed the water. It was a really strange experience but such a beautiful image and something we’ll always remember. Unfortunately it was so dark outside that our camera wouldn’t work properly!
There aren’t many places in the world where this phenomenon happens and I’ve been told Jamaica has on the brightest. It happens where fresh water from the Martha Brae River meets the salt-water ocean as the water is filled with phosphorous – allowing it to illuminate, beautifully, when disturbed. The glow is formed from small microorganisms that emit a flash of light when touched creating a natural phenomenon, known as bioluminescence. The only thing I didn’t like was the lagoon floor! It was like walking on squishy jelly! A horrible sensation on your feet so I would recommend wearing shoes. But jelly aside… the colour of the water is amazing and something you have to see!
Our final tour was to Mystic Mountain. Again, we booked this through Island Routes because we had such a brilliant day out on the other tours and on previous holidays too. They take all the stress out of finding a pick up, which can take about a week to organise in Jamaica! We did the Tranopy Tour which was a great laugh. It included a sky ride across the tree tops, a bobsled ride and a zip-line! The sky ride took us up the mountain, showing beautiful views across the coastline of Ocho Rios.
As a kid, Cool Runnings was one of my favourite films so as you can imagine, we were pretty excited to get on the bobsled ride. Surprisingly it went pretty rapid! Much faster than I was expecting. The only downside was that we only got the one ride – we wanted to go again. Ziplining was brilliant. Initially, I was petrified but once I flung myself over the edge and into the trees – I was loving it. Our guides were hilarious too and made the whole experience worth while.
- Rick’s Cafe – a tourist hot spot based over in Negril. You can cliff jump and watch a beautiful sunset.
- Usain bolts restaurant – Tracks and Records.
- Blue hole – Based around 20minutes from the Ochi Rios area. I was told this was one of the most beautiful places to swim in with crystal blue waters and areas to cliff jump to. You can also chose a few add ons, like river tubing and Ziplining in order to make it a full day out.
- MINI routes tour – Buckle up and take the wheel of your own MINI Cooper during this first-of-its-kind tour to Ocho Rios along the beautiful north coast of Jamaica, where you’ll get to See, Touch, Taste and Drive your own island experience! You’ll follow an expert island guide to the best local spots and famous landmarks.
Tour operator: www.islandroutes.com