Take me back!
Earlier this week I shared Part 1 of our Jamaican vacation recap
. Today I’m going to be sharing the last of our photos. My entire family spent a week at Secrets Saint James in Montego Bay
A week later, I still feel energized from the trip. I think these vacations should be mandatory every 6 months. What do you think?
Our family always takes a yearly summer vacation, usually to a beach house in North Carolina. My brother and his wife live in North Carolina, and sadly we usually only see each other twice a year, once on our beach vacation and once at Christmas.
Our vacations are true family vacations. Every one, including Pop-Pop, camp out on the beach for the entire day. We catch up on the past year, tell nostalgic stories, swim and play on the beach, read and take naps, and enjoy a few beach drinks. In the evening we all pitch in to cook dinner and end the night with board games and drinks and laughter.
Our 89-year-old Pop-Pop wanted to do a big trip with everyone before he got a little too old to fly. After some research we chose Jamaica, an easy flight for him, and booked our trip in the dark of winter.
We were a little nervous that Pop-Pop would miss the routine and familiarity of a beach house. He’s legally blind and was very nervous about not knowing the grounds of the resort, not knowing what he will eat, or if we will all be off doing our separate things.
After a few days, and after a couple of beach vodka tonics, Pop-Pop was sitting in the pool and exclaiming that this place was “beautiful” and he would love to come back. We were doing all the same things we’d do on a beach vacation, but in a much prettier environment with absolutely no worries. No need to run out to the grocery store for the third time that week. No need to cook or clean up. Pop-Pop didn’t have to make his own morning bloody mary or “flimosa” (what he calls mimosas).
It was a great family vacation. I’ll walk you through a basic day in my life in Jamaica. Please don’t hate me. Trust me, by the end, it will be hard for you not to book a vacation to Jamaica.
8:00 a.m.: Wake up with the bright sun shining through our window. Roll over in bed to peer out the window and see the Caribbean Sea
8:30 a.m.: Have a buffet breakfast with the family. Mimosa, coffee, all you can eat omelettes, french toast, or sausages, or whatever your heart desires. I usually stuck to the fresh fruit, yummy croissants, and a variety of cheese.
9:30 a.m.: Get lathered up in sunscreen and hit the beach. Our family would secure a group of lounge chairs on the beach as our “home base”.
9:40 a.m.: Hop in the sea to cool off. Admire the clear turquoise water. Check out the fish, one day we saw a sting ray and another day a barracuda!
10: a.m.: Secure a beach drink, I liked the Bob Marley, a frozen layered drink in the Jamaican Flag colors. First layer a strawberry daiquiri, second layer mango daiquiri, top layer a green mango daiquiri.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Read and talk on the beach
11:00 a.m.: Hop in the pool to cool off. With another drink of course
11:30 a.m. Take out a kayak or a sail boat, see the resort from the Sea.
12:30 p.m. Grab lunch at the all you can eat buffet, a seaside restaurant, or a veggie burger at the grill. My favorite was the Jerk Chicken cart.
1:30 p.m. Head back to the beach for an after lunch nap
2:00 p.m. Hit up the swim up bar, spend the afternoon in the pool, lounging on a raft, chatting and sipping cool drinks. The only way to beat the heat.
4:00 p.m. Head up to the room to shower and take a quick power nap before dinner
6:00 p.m. Meet up in Pop-Pop’s room for a before dinner drink. Walk outside and enjoy the heavenly sunset.
7:00 p.m. Choose a restaurant to eat. You can choose between Asian, Italian, Mexican, French, Seafood, or Jamaican.
7:15 – 9:00 p.m.: Have a very leisurely dinner with 3 courses. Service is slow, but hey, you’re on Jamaican time!
9:30 p.m.: Walk Pop-Pop back to his room. He was falling asleep at dessert and needs his beauty rest.
9:45 p.m. Check out the evening entertainment. One night we watched a guest dance off competition. (think tipsy newlywed men shaking their booties. Hilarity ensued).
Another night we were entertained by a local band with bamboo dancers and a fire breather. Cheesy yes. But also fun.
Another night they recruited volunteers for a newlywed game. Eric and Ryan both wanted us girls to play. Thank goodness our French dinner went late and we missed the sign up time. Questions included, “Who in her family would you wish to just disappear” and “where is the craziest place that you’ve had sex”. Thank goodness we escaped those questions in front of our mom and dad!
Another night we hit up a beach party, where we learned a new line dance on the beach and did some amazing people watching.
10:30 p.m. We enjoyed joining the sing a long at the Piano Bar. Just don’t request Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”.
11:30 p.m. After enjoying some cocktails outside, get ready to head into the cheesily named “club” Desires. Us kids enjoyed a night dancing to a good mix of 90’s music and current hip hop. #turneddownforwhat became our to go phrase for the rest of the week. Another night we were entertained by karaoke night.
If the night doesn’t lead you to “Desires” enjoy a romantic night-cap overlooking the sea or take a late night dip in the pool.
12:30 p.m. Promptly fall asleep, ready to do it all again the next day!
On our last day we made sure to really soak up every minute. We lingered on the beach for as long as possible and then captured our last sunset and minutes of daylight seaside before enjoying a seafood dinner.
I’d highly recommend Secrets Saint James to any traveler looking to book either a romantic vacation or a family trip.
We returned home exhausted but with a refreshed perspective and with a desire to find ways to relax more at home and bring the Jamaican lifestyle into our everyday lives as much as possible. A good reminder before Ryan starts his jam-packed final year of law school.