After Dave and I booked our very first trip to the Caribbean, we decided to turn it into a honeymoon. When we chose to get married twenty years ago, we did it after booking our vacation. We thought, if we're going to go somewhere warm and romantic, why not make it a honeymoon? So we raced down to city hall, set up our marriage license and booked a wedding date. A week later, we were on our way to the islands as Mr. and Mrs. Bouskill. We've travelled a lot through the Caribbean since then, and we agree a Honeymoon in Jamaica is the perfect choice.
Honeymoon in Jamaica
Dave and I treat most of our travels as a honeymoon. We're married, so why can't each vacation be like a honeymoon? We always search for romance to mix in with our adventures and we find that the island of Jamaica has the perfect blend of both. It's one of the few Caribbean Islands we've visited more than once and that's because not only is Jamaica a diverse and beautiful vacation destination, it is huge! You can't see the island in one go. You need at least three or four visits to truly experience Jamaica.
Looking for a unique excursion in Jamaica? Check out Jamaican Bobsledding.
During this visit to Jamaica, we spent most of our time in the Southern part of the island, in the St. Elizabeth area. First, however, we stopped in Montego Bay for an all-inclusive treat.
When we arrived at the beautiful Riu Palace in Montego Bay, we checked into our room complete with jacuzzi tub, all inclusive bar, and rainfall shower. This all adults only resort offers quiet and comfort that other package resorts can't match.
Nothing says romance like an infinity pool
With two beautiful infinity pools and two sister resorts right next door, there is plenty of space to go for a sunrise stroll and enjoy quiet moments with the one you love. When staying here, you have full access to the Riu Montego Bay next door, which allows you the chance to sample 9 different restaurants and bars. There are countless water sports, a gym, a nightclub, and a gift shop.
But nothing says honeymoon in Jamaica more than an infinity pool. We've always said Santorini is the honeymoon capital of the world, but give me an infinity pool looking at the sea, and I could honeymoon anywhere!
Off the Resort
For us, the most exciting thing about travel is getting of the resort, even while on a honeymoon. While all-inclusive living is perfect for a couple of days to detox and unwind, the real honeymoon in Jamaica starts when you explore the island!
Moving on from the Riu Palace, we spent the next few days enjoying couples adventures that force everyone to turn off the cell phone and reconnect. Dave and I normally go for whitewater rafting and excursions that are a little more thrilling, but a bamboo raft down the Martha Brae River will make all the tensions from home disappear. It's a 90 minute float down a meandering river with a river guide telling you about the history of the island.
The Guide Really Makes the Trip!
We really lucked out with Jamison, who sang folk songs and recited poetry. He turned our rafting experience into a work of art.
Note: Be sure to bring some cash so you can stop at the many bars and stalls along the way. We thought we'd get very wet on the raft so left everything but our GoPros and waterproof cameras behind. You won't get wet unless you want to, as it is a relaxing journey. Plus you sit atop the raft on a padded seat! Had we brought more cash, we would have stopped at the rope swings, sat at the bars, and supported the local artists. There's nothing better than bringing home a piece of art from your travels.
Looking for something other than a honeymoon in Jamaica? Check out why you should choose an adventurous honeymoon.
Getting off the beaten path is our favourite thing to do when we travel. The southern part of Jamaica feels like the real Jamaica and you can delve into the Jamaican culture. It is here that locals live their lives away from tourists and therefore welcome visitors with open arms. Jakes Resort is a family run resort that has been making headlines for 20 years.
Located directly on the Caribbean Sea, this quiet retreat offers guests their own Moroccan Inspired Cottages. The minute you enter Jakes, you feel at home. Everyone welcomes you with a smile and the property is so huge, you feel as if you are staying in your own private villa.
The Local Experience with a Luxury Twist
Right next door is a local hang out where you can hop over for a Red Stripe beer and some authentic Jamaican Jerk chicken. Both of those are wonderful, but it's dining on the outdoor terrace with meals prepared by Chef Albert that will make for pure romance. Tables are spread out for optimal privacy so that patrons can dine by the water and gaze into each other's eyes in solitude.
Couples Massage and Spa
There's live music, a salt water tiled mosaic pool, and plenty of lounge Muskoka chairs to take in the extraordinary views. But when on a honeymoon in Jamaica, you have to take a spa day. Jakes has a lovely spa, and honeymoon packages are available on request. Take it from a couple who has had many a couple's massage, nothing brings you together more than a deep tissue massage followed by champagne and fresh fruit.
Did I mention the outdoor showers? I just love outdoor stone showers. There's something purely decadent about having a shower outside while listening to the ocean breeze.
From Jakes you can book many day trips around the island. What sets these trips apart here from the usual Montego Bay or Negril trips is that you will have them all to yourself and you'll explore quiet villages, deserted beaches and isolated trails. Our favourite tour of our entire trip was a private boat trip with Captain Joseph. He picked us up directly at the Jakes Resort dock and whisked us away to his private beach.
Before settling in to our day on the beach, we searched for dolphins and found a couple of pods playing in the bay. We loved how Captain Joseph didn't chase the dolphins, but instead kept a safe distance away so as not to disturb them or overstay our welcome. This is how responsible travel should be.
His private hut is called Beach Point and has a high lookout where Dave and I enjoyed rum punch and a cold Red Stripe while he prepared our lobster feast. While taking in the views, we saw even more dolphins playing in the sea. It's no wonder he called this spot Dolphin Lookout!
Private Beach Dining
Donning his chef hat instead of his captain's cap, Joseph cooked a feast of fresh king fish, mouthwatering lobster, and jasmine rice. Oh, and of course a cold bottle of Chardonnay. We were in heaven and didn't want to leave.
Captain Joseph is entertaining, talented, and an excellent cook! We were in good hands as he's been sailing these seas for 25 years and knows the waters well. He told us that as a boy in the 80s he was lost at sea for 15 days and drifted to the Cayman Islands, where they were then rescued. He wasn't captain then. While he was working as a fisherman, his captain lost sight of the coast and his compass stopped working, forcing them off course. I asked him if he was afraid to go back in the water after that, and he quickly responded “No. There is no better place to be than the sea.”
A Jamaican Honeymoon wouldn't be a honeymoon without some partying. The most unique bar on the island is definitely the Pelican Bar, which is located a mile offshore in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. The only way to get there is by boat, and it is the perfect spot to watch a sunset while enjoying a cocktail.
The only other all-inclusive resort in the area is Sandals, so when visiting the Pelican Bar, you are going to meet mostly like-minded travellers who are staying in their own vacation rentals or cozier family-owned places. Going to the Pelican Bar means that unlike the bars like Margaritaville in other parts of the island, you'll feel as if you have stepped back in time and experienced the true Jamaica.
If I am going to go to any bar in Jamaica, it is going to be the Pelican Bar.
What could be more romantic than couples cooking together? While staying at Jakes, we signed up for a cooking class with Chef Albert. Jamaica is famous for its Jamaican Jerk but our meal put a twist on the usual jerk chicken, and instead we made Jamaican Jerk Red Snapper.
After gearing up in hair net and frock, we washed our hands and began our training while listening to the cool breezes of the ocean. Don't worry, you're on vacation so you can work as little or as much as you like.
Once we had made all of our ingredients by hand, we learned how to make Jerk sauce from scratch and even how to prepare our fresh lime sauce for the garnish. But the most important lesson learned was how to make tomato roses. Dave learned to peel a tomato and made me a beautiful rose! I'll be expecting that every meal from now on!
Making New Friends
Once it was completed, we ate our freshly prepared fish dinner at sunset while listening to the crashing waves of high tide coming into the rocky coast of Jakes Resort. We followed our meal with cocktails at the bar, where Trudy and I became instant friends. When you go to Jamaica, you always leave with new friends.
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and the Dominican/Haiti. You can't see it all in one trip, and while on Honeymoon in Jamaica, you won't want to feel rushed or stressed. So, choose an area to spend your time at, but make sure to get out and explore on a few day trips. It's nice to sit by the pool bar for a day or two, but it's going to see the real Jamaica that will create everlasting memories. You won't regret booking at least part of your vacation in the South.
Jamaican Travel Fast Facts
– Guided tours or car rentals can be booked through Island Routes Jamaica.
– For independent travel, book rental cars at Enterprise Jamaica in Montego Bay Airport.
– St. Elizabeth is a 2-hour drive from Montego Bay. It's worth the drive.
– Many excursions can be booked through Jakes Resort; visit their website for details.
– Jakes Resort and Riu Palace are both excellent, but very different experiences for a honeymoon in Jamaica. Here is the link to Riu Palace Resort
– Bamboo Rafting can be booked through Riu Palace, Island Routes or you can go directly to Martha Brae River
– For more information on Jamaica visit the Jamaican Tourism website and follow them on social media: Twitter: @VisitJamaicaNow Facebook: VisitJamaicaCanada Instagram: VisitJamaica YouTube: MyJamaicaJTB