You know what’s the best way to get over a month of over-indulging, socializing and Netflix marathons…a.k.a, the Holidaze? Taking a week off to do more over-indulging, socializing, relaxing and maybe an adventure or two somewhere tropical and hot. I know life is tough.
So if you follow along on Instagram you may know that just before the holidays hit full-on in mid-December, my blogger pal Renee from Re:Creative and I found out that we were going to be shipped to Montego Bay, Jamaica for a week thanks to our very awesome friends at Expedia.ca. Christmas? Who cares, Santa came early and we couldn’t wait to our feet in the sand.
This was perfect timing because we both just wrapped up a few especially crazy months (and year) of work and really needed the break. Being a solopreneur means that yeah you have freedom because you’re the boss but hello! you also have 10x the responsibilities because you’re the boss. You also have to wear about 20+ different hats and be a creative genius 24/7. It can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Taking a break at the end or the beginning of a year is a great way to press ‘reset’ and reenergize for the upcoming year.
So we found ourselves a great deal on Expedia.ca at the 5 Star Hyatt Ziva and were off for a worry free week in the sun. Be warned that this is kinda a long post and may bring up some feelings of jealously or envy. #sorrynotsorry
I had been to Montego Bay before and had a great time but there’s no question that the Hyatt was a big step up from where I stayed last time. The rooms were nice and comfortable but we didn’t spend much time there. The common areas were the real show stoppers. So modern and well designed which didn’t go unnoticed by two decor junkies. The most impressive for me was the swim up rooms. That wasn’t us but you can bet it’s my wish list for next time. Like seriously, is there a better way to wake up in the morning?
Not that the pool area was a consolation because it was also stunning. The biggest decisions of the day were beach or pool? Pool first or beach? Where is the best place to grab a chair? What will I drink first? Is it too early to have jerk chicken?
Renee is a totally sun addict while my precious fair skin stayed in in the shade as much as possible. Guess who’s the one that got the burn? Ya mon, you can see that I had no problem kicking back and relaxing. I think that’s probably a tiny piece of jerk chicken stuck in my front teeth.
We quickly started an afternoon tradition of visiting the sweet shop and the wine bar in the late afternoon followed by some chill time in the room before getting ready for dinner.
The resort had so many great restaurants and cafes with local Jamaican choices as well as options like Brazilian, French, Italian, Asian and of course a buffet with a bit of everything. Renee and I both love food so our biggest decision in the evening was which restaurant to try and how to get one of these seats by the fire after the sun goes down. The night life was ok but if you’re looking for more bootie shaking then you may want to consider a night off the resort.
The modern design in the restaurants impressed us the most. The evening light wasn’t very forgiving so you can check out the hotel profile on Expedia.ca for better photos of the amazing restaurant design. Here’s snapshot of the cool bar stools & on-trend tiles by the bar.
Now the primary objective of this trip was definitely to kick back and relax and recharge to kick off the new year but we had to throw in a little adventure. Expedia.ca has a bunch of options of day trip excursions that you can pick from in the area. Since I had already been to Montego Bay and had Dunns River Falls, Appleton Estate Rum Tour, Rick’s Cafe and YS Falls already crossed off my list (it was a busy trip!), I decided to try something different this time.
With a trusted recommendation from a Canadian-Jamaican friend, we hired a private driver for the day and went to find The Blue Hole near Ocho Rios. We heard about it from another resort guest and knew that it was the perfect adventure for us. I don’t however, recommend finding your own private driver unless you have a trusted source. You can ask the concierge at your resort and they will connect you with a licensed driver or if you’re comfortable driving you can rent a car through Expedia.ca and make it a real adventure! Just don’t forget that they drive on the left side of the road.
So we really weren’t sure what to expect at the Blue Hole. We knew that although it was a tourist destination it’s much more off the beaten track and not as well-known as the other falls mentioned above. We couldn’t have dreamed up a more beautiful place. I like to say that paradise is a blue hole in Jamaica. After a bit of a bumpy and windy ride we came to a parking area with a few souvenir stands and a group of fit young men ready to escort us through the Blue Hole.
Now I should say that because I rarely do the proper research, and it turns out Renee is the same (we’re hopeless together) that we both brought our towels, cameras and shades expecting to swim and lounge around a beautiful blue swimming hole. Well we were about 15% right. What we DIDN’T know is that we would be doing some light hiking through a stunning rainforest, climbing up and down waterfalls and jumping off cliffs into deep blue swimming holes. Same but (very) different. So needless to say, bring water shoes if you have ’em or you can rent them from $6 USD. The entrance fee is $10 USD and it includes a private guide with spider-man meets The Little Mermaid skills. These guys are good! and extremely patient and the reason we have any photos of this experience. Who needs a waterproof camera when you have this guy? Watching him swim across pools and climb waterfalls without getting one drop of water on the camera was beyond impressive.
It really was the most amazing experience. I loved it so much that I’m going to actually share photos of me in my one piece mom-like swimsuit. I tried cliff jumping (I use the term ‘cliff’ extremely loosely) a few times when I was in Australia and Costa Rica but both times I was a pretty big scaredy cat and it took me like 10 minutes to actually jump from 15 feet. But looks like I got over it because I was jumping into that beauty of a blue hole every chance I got. Needless to say this blurry pic is all the evidence you’re going to see.
We chilled (nearly got blown over) in the waterfalls and finally had some time to just relax in the pools at the end.
As amazing as the photos are, they really don’t do it justice. I highly recommend putting this on your ‘to do’ list if you ever make it to Jamaica. Look for some special Montego Bay deals here or if you’re interested in another Jamaican hot spot, take a peek at these all inclusive options.
Well that’s all I have to share about our little Jamaican jaunt for now. Be sure to stop by Re:Creative to see see Renee’s recap of our trip. Then stay tuned for Part 2 which includes some more about the delish food and my all-time favourite Jamaican recipe.
Thanks again to Expedia.ca for giving us this opportunity to be Big World Explorers and check out this little part of the world. Travel is so important to keep us all refreshed and our minds open so we can think, work and relate better to the world around us every day. I can’t put into world how valuable travel is to me – big trip, small trip, resorts or roughin’ it, they all make us better. I like to say that interesting info going in makes for more interesting info coming out so no matter how busy you are and think it’s impossible to travel, it really will help you in the long run to give your mind a break, take in different types of information and experiences that will help it process everything else even better. So what I’m trying to say is I think you should go visit Expedia.ca right now. Go. Now.