Ladies guide to traveling Jamaica
Warm, white sand beneath your feet. Aqua blue ocean waves roaring in the distance. Endless palm trees and comfortable lounge chairs decorating the landscape in front of you. This pleasant description could be depicting any one of the 7,000 Caribbean islands. If you're looking for vacation with a little more than just a beautiful beach, there's one island that is filled to the brim with culture, delicious food (and drink) and incredible amenties, and that island is Jamaica.
There's no better place to vacation with your girlfriends (or just on your own) than Jamaica. This large and beautiful country, sitting right below Cuba and to the left of Haiti, is full of luxurious resorts, world renowned spas, five-star dining, fantastic shopping and the amazing cultural sights you look for in a sophisticated women's getaway. So pack those bags and head down to the Caribbean for a luxurious and breathtaking vacation!
Where to stay
The Jamaica Inn
If you're looking for a quiet, luxurious resort that is a little off the beaten path, the Jamaica Inn is your place. Nestled on private beachfront real estate in Ocho Rios, this beautiful hotel has been around since the 1950s. This quaint hotel has 47 rooms and three private cottages. Each room has a stunning oceanfront view, with some rooms leading right to the private beach! The inn has one working restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on the beautiful large veranda overlooking the bay and also serves all room service meals. The cottages are furnished with private infinity pools, but the main inn has a community pool in the middle of the resort. Rooms start at $307 in the off season (April to December) and $503 in the prime season (December to April).
Moon Dance Villas
If you'd rather be closer to the hustle and bustle of one of Jamaica's hubs, check into the Moon Dance Villas, a luxurious five-star collection of villas in Negril. The resort has six large villas, with the largest being a five bedroom, so it's the perfect place to go with a big group of your girlfriends. Each villa is complete with a private pool, personal chef, bartender, oceanside dining, views of the ocean, private gardens and a Jacuzzi. You also have the option to add an all-inclusive package to your stay for an extra $125 a night, which will cover three meals, all snacks, beverages and all wine, liquor and Champagne. Villas start at $600 in the off season and go up to $1,900 in the prime season.
Where to get the best spa treatment
The KiYara Ocean Spa
No classy ladies trip is complete without a full spa day, are we right? If you have the funds, don't stop at just one day. Spend a few days of your well-earned vacation at one of Jamaica's amazing spas, most of which are located on the properties of the beautiful resorts. For a truly one-of-a-kind spa experience, check out the KiYara Ocean Spa at Jamaica Inn. This spa is located on the bluffs of the coral cliffs at Cutlass Bay. Each of the three rooms has a breathtaking view of the ocean, especially the top room, which is settled inside a tree house. You can get treatments ranging from massages and reflexology to manicures and pedicures. Because of the limited space, reservations need to be made well in advance.
If you're staying in Montego Bay, check into the beautiful Fern Tree Spa at the Half Moon Resort. The spa is only open to guests of the hotel, but the amenities of the spa make it well worth it to stay a few nights. The spa is 68,000-square-feet and has treatments both inside and outside. Each room has its oven private garden terrace, where guests can opt to get their treatments. In addition, couples are able to book over-the-water bungalows for added romance. There are also separate living and spa treatment rooms saved for weddings and large parties. Fern Tree offers massages, pedicures, manicures, facials and hydro-therapies.
Where to eat
Hours of pampering and cocktails can surely work up an appetite, so where is the best place to eat in Jamaica? If you're looking for some traditional authentic Jamaican fare in Montego Bay (and a view), check out the Chill Out Hut. This beachfront restaurant is super casual, but the food is out of this world. They serve everything from Jamaican jerk chicken to BBQ chicken to fresh-caught snapper. For more formal dining, check out the Sugar Mill Restaurant located in the Half Moon Resort. The dress code is casual elegant and it's only open for dinner from 6 to 10 pm. This five-star restaurant offers fresh-caught Jamaican seafood, like conch, crab, crayfish and snapper and features local delicacies like pumpkin soup and passion fruit prepared in innovative ways. Reservations are required. If you find yourself in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, locals urge you to try dining at Strawberry Hill, an exclusive resort hidden in the Blue Mountains. The restaurant specialties include traditional Jamaican fare and guests swear by the grilled fish with jerk mango or the curried dishes, like curried goat or tofu. Reservations are required.
Where to play
There is an endless supply of activities outside the resorts that can keep you occupied. If you're a girl who prefers a horse-drawn chariot to walking herself, go rafting down the Martha Brae. Instead of horses you get trained river guides who paddle you and a friend down the beautiful river on a handmade bamboo boat. The river is very smooth, and the ride is extremely relaxing. If you'd rather shop, check out the Shoppes at Rose Hall, which are located in Montego Bay next to the historic Rose Hall mansion. The prices are steep, but you're likely to find some beautiful handmade artwork and souvenirs to take home. Another great shopping center is the Old Fort Craft Park in Montego Bay. The park has more than 180 vendors, and you're more likely to find authentic Jamaican pieces here than anywhere else. Plus, each vendor is an individual so you will be more likely to be able to barter the prices.
Because no ladies getaway is complete without a night on the town, head to Margaritavilla in Montego Bay for a drink and some dancing. The Margaritaville concept was developed by two Jamaican entrepreneurs so locals say this is the first Margaritaville in the world. Another bar that is called "the coolest bar ever" by Trip Advisor is Floyd's Pelican Bar in Negril. This bar is located on a sandbar and can only be reached by boat! The views are spectacular, the food is fresh out of the ocean and the music and drinks are fun and cheap.
Jamaica is the perfect place for your next ladies getaway, so get booking!