Wanderlust Rewind: Montego Bay, Jamaica (April 2017)

My favorite vacations are the vacations where I can venture out, explore the destination I am in, and experience the culture of the destination. Unfortunately, not every vacation allows me the opportunity to wander and explore. There are some vacations where all I really have time to do is eat and relax. This trip to Jamaica was one of the latter vacations.

In my line of work, I sometimes get lucky enough to stumble across super cheap and sometimes free hotel stays. When I stumble on something super cheap or free, it’s usually for a pretty short stay. This vacation happened to be a rare free stay and as such I was limited to 3 nights only. Yes, I could have extended to have more time in destination but I had to work around the office vacation schedule and be back by a certain date so someone else could leave. Plus, a vacation to sit and do absolutely nothing is nice every now and then.

Montego Bay is about 8 hours of total travel time from Nashville, including layovers (and obviously not accounting for any day-of-travel delays). All of the main airlines (American, Delta, United, Southwest) fly there so it’s a pretty easy trip with only one layover and plane change. I left at 5:45 in the morning and was at the resort eating lunch by 2:30 (after making quite an entrance at the resort by tripping, falling and requiring first aid).

On arrival to Montego Bay, I was fast tracked through customs and immigration as I had purchased the Club MoBay arrival and departure bundle. I will NEVER go to Jamaica without this bundle again. Bypassing pretty much every line makes it worth it. I was through customs and immigration and to baggage claim in less than 10 minutes. Baggage claim took longer than customs and immigration combined. Once I had my bags, I was escorted to the arrivals lounge where there were snacks and rum punches waiting for me while my Club MoBay rep tracked down my transportation for me.

On this particular trip I stayed at a brand new resort called Breathless Montego Bay. Breathless is billed as a hip/sexy/party resort. “Welcome to the party!” is how everyone greets you – and the minute you walk into the lobby, you can feel the party atmosphere thanks to the near constant electronica dance music that is playing (which, honestly, became a turn off for me as my time there progressed – I wanted to eat, sleep, drink and read while by the pool and the music got in the way of that). The hotel is adults only (18+), but I was definitely on the younger end of the age range that was there (and I’m 27!) – probably due to price. There was a good mix of 30 somethings, but a lot of older-ish couples (like, people my parents age, I’m pretty sure). There was at least one bachelorette party, too, so it’s really good for anyone that wants to party on their vacation; not so good for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway. I’m also a pool snob, and the pools here did not really impress me, so the resort just was not my cup of tea on several levels.

The one really great thing about Breathless is it is right next door to and has exchange privileges with it’s sister property, Secrets, which has a really cool pool and a ton of amazing restaurants. My favorite was the Caribbean restaurant, Blue Mountain, where I had lamb curry and crab cake sliders. Breathless had amazing food, as well (the pool side place had jerk chicken wings that I could live off of if given the chance), but the exchange priveleges with Secrets provide ample variety.

All in all, this trip provided me a bit of the rest and relaxation that I was looking for, but it also reminded me of how much there is in Jamaica that I want to see and do. I’ve been there twice now and there’s so much I have not experienced. My next trip will make me an official “Jamerican” according to one Breathless staff member. Hopefully that will be the trip where I get Scotchies jerk chicken, visit Rick’s Cafe in Negril, experience the Mystic Mountain bobsleds, and visit Bob Marley’s hometown, among other things on my ever growing list of things to do. Stay tuned for a future post about all of these things and more from my Jamaican bucket list!

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