> Destinations > Jamaica > Trip Reports > Trip Report
I have had the benefit of learning many a good things from this site, so I figured it only right that I too write a trip report to help others in there quest for a good holiday.
We went to Jamaica for the week of Sunday April 4/04 to Sunday April 11/04. We flew Skyservice. Booked just two weeks before and had to pick up our tickets at the Sunquest counter. No problems there. Flight was 1 hr delayed. Not too bad. The food was okay. Usual movie stuff and crying babies onboard. Other than that, nothing unusual.
The transfer from airport to hotel was a breeze. We couldn't check in right away but our suitcases were in the lobby and we were free to check out the Holiday Inn Sunspree.
HOTEL / ROOM
This is a typical Holiday Inn. The buildings were older, but kept very clean. The hotel staff was very diligent with TRYING to keep it clean, but some people are just slobs by nature. Our room was very spacious, two double bed with a partial ocean view room. It really did have a good view. We were near the pool, but seldom in our room during the day so the pool activities didn't bother us. The nighttime shows were generally over by 10:30 PM , and we were only in our room that early once. The open closet was big so all our suitcases tucked nicely in there leaving the whole room open. We were upgraded because we have Priority Club memberships (see Holiday Inn website for further details) and this gave us turndown at night, new dry towels and 2 little bottles of Tia Maria. Not only that, they left us extra coffee (had a coffee machine in our room) for the morning so we could sit on the balcony and overlook the pool/ocean area. The rooms were kept pretty clean and there were no shortage of toiletries.
The buffet restaurant was pretty good. Breakfast was your usual fair, omelets, eggs, toast, bacon, fruit, yogurt, cereal etc. Lunch in the buffet was ok. Too much meat for my liking, but I had NO problem getting something to eat. Dinner at the buffet was ok too. At Guest Services you can see what the basic menu for the night is going to be and you can book the a la carts accordingly. We don't like seafood, so we booked that night for sure.
Vista's is an Italian Restaurant. We ate there twice. The food was really good. They ran out of chicken, but I got over it. My husband got the beef filet and he said it was great. I had the lamb one night and pasta the other night. Both were great.
The Jamaican Restaurant wasn't to our liking. Not because the food wasn't good, but because we aren't big on Jamaican food.
There is a place to get burgers, fries, hot dogs, grilled cheese and fish near the beach. It also serves drinks. We had a couple of burgers one day and they were good. I never did get to try the grilled cheese, but they looked really good.
There is also a Jerk Chicken and Pork hut on the beach. We tried the chicken, and it was good. Hot but good. They serve it with a piece of bread and any drink you choose.
There is a bar in the main lobby that was always packed. Tips didn't seem to matter. There is another bar upstairs in the Piano Room and hardly anybody was there. We spent a lot of time up there as the service and bartender were both great. It was always nice and quiet up there, if that is what you were looking for.
There is also a bar at the ADULTS only pool. It was nice to be able to get away from all the kids occasionally. That bar closed at 7:00 PM.
As I said above there is an adults only pool, but there is also a really big pool for the kids. It was great for them. They had a blast there. There is also a little kiddy pool.
The resort staff was pretty good with the activities. The usual stuff, pool bingo, shows, etc. There was a teen room with a couple of pool tables and some other games. There was also a mini golf. The mini golf is in the shade, which makes it good to get that much needed break from the sun.
This is the reason we go south. We are avid divers and could not get a response from the on site dive shop before we left so we thought we would just book when we got down there. The dive op was called Resort Divers. I printed the pricing and boat departure times off of their website and headed over there upon arrival. Well, the pricing changed when we got there. So, being on vacation, we rolled with it and booked 4 dives each. That was the biggest package they offered. This is funny as we usually book between 10-20 dives each when we go anywhere. We get on the boat and get the briefing. Dive at 90ft with a maximum bottom time of 20 minutes. I almost had a heart attach. 20 minutes? I thought they were joking. Well, they weren't. I went in with 3000 PSI in my tank and came up with 2000 PSI. Needless to say, no tip. The next dive was about 1hr later and it was at 40 ft for 40 minutes. Once again I came up with about 1200 PSI. Better, but not happy still. We tipped after that dive. The next day we get on the boat thinking maybe they get the whole "stay down longer, get bigger tip" thing, but no way. 20 minutes again. Did the afternoon dive and then never went back.
We walked down the road heading towards the airport and found a little hotel called Carib Blue. There was a dive flay outside. It had a dive facility there but that was it. I can't remember the name of the dive op, but they sure had a better dive system. We got to stay down till we needed to come up. We dove 6 more dives each with this op and were very happy. Our bottom time on our last dive was 72 minutes. That is what I call DIVING :o) !
Jamaica is a beautiful island. The mountains, the water, the flowers. All beautiful. Don't be mislead though, it is a very poor country, devastated by the drug trade. We went on the bus to do the shopping tour (much cheaper than a cab to Montego Bay, but you only get a couple of hours) and looked around Montego Bay instead of the "gated" shopping facility. We had to hide our wristbands so the natives didn't know we were total tourists. We walked down to Sam Sharpe Square to see some culture. All I can say is that I am so glad that I live in Canada. These people have nothing. It was hard to watch.
At the resort you were also gated. This is the first place I have ever been to that I could not walk down the beach. I knew this before I went, but I didn't realize how much I missed doing it. There is a little shopping place across the road that is much cheaper than the resort shops, and the people need the money over there. The only problem is, you need to get by the people selling dope at the corner to get to the stores. We just told them we didn't smoke and said thank you. They left us alone then. We went over so many times they got used to us.
The weather was perfect. We had highs of between 90-95 and lows about 75-80. My kind of weather. In closing I can say, I am glad I went and learned a lot, but I have to say that I will probably not be returning.
If you have and particular questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Tracey for this trip report ...