If you have in mind to vacation in the Caribbean, Jamaica is really one of my favorite destination. Ok, I’ve always loved reggae and dub music (check this! and this one too!). But aside from the music, there’s a really warm culture there if you choose well your place and stay away from the large tourist-trap resorts.
We spent a week at Jake’s when Marcelo was almost a year old. It’s quite a drive from Montego airport which is the negative (about 2h30) but then you are on the south west coast, well remote from the over developped beaches around Montego Bay.
They label it as a boutique resort with personality and charisma, and it’s exactly that. The owner Chris Blackwell is the guy behind Island Records, the famous music label that produced Bob Marley and other stars. Therefore rhythms infuse from everywhere. There’s no dedicated kids area, but it’s an easy going place, facing the ocean from wherever you are, with a very quirky style and several family cottages. The long Calabash beach is 10min walk from the hotel, pretty and unspoiled with waves and fishermen. There are often yoga classes, an ice cream parlor where they also make delicious pizza and hot hot jerk chicken! Dining is really pleasant, candlelight, with 3 different places to choose from. There’s the possibility of taking boat trips, and this place would be particularly pleasant with children in their tweens.
Not that you will need it, but it’s good to know that there is a good public hospital nearby! We had to rush there for an asthma attack that Marcelo had, and we were so well taken care of, not just because we were tourists. If anything, it’s that 5am super fast drive through the countryside with the ambulance which was scary, but it got us there safe and in no time. We will never forget the adrenaline rush. Oh kids, when they get us worried, they really do.
Some will prefer a more luxurious experience like Round Hill, which we have never tried but does look amazing. The positive is that it’s located less than an hour drive from the airport, and has a full kids club with nannies always on duty. It’s pampering at its best, but it comes at a price and usually gets booked well in advance. I also know of a family who keeps on going back to Tryall Villas with their friends. It sounds like a classy and well rounded family resort, with villas for rent.
Jah lives. Children yeah. At Jake’s.