It’s time to spend some quality time basking in surf and golden rays of the sun. You’ll find the beauty of the tropics in Ocho Rios – in Jamaica’s lush “Garden Parish.”
Elbow room: Make your reservations at Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club ( www.beaches.com/main/bo). The spacious suites are clean and well-appointed; your family will feel comfortable and have plenty of breathing space. It’s an all-inclusive retreat that offers unfettered access to a private beach. The kids will delight in any number of activities that include three swimming pools, a thrilling water park ... even an Xbox Room and Craft Center.
Free championship golf: Play a round of golf – complete with sand traps, slices, etc. – for free. Provided you bring your own clubs and shoes, golfing is complimentary, with gratis greens fees and transportation to the resort’s championship course 30 minutes away. (Only costs: mandatory caddies, optional carts.) You might even run across Wesley Brown, and pick up a few pointers from the up-and-coming Jamaican Tour pro.
Water sports: At Beaches, it’s not just the Hobie Cat, paddle board and windsurfing that are all-included. There are no additional charges for banana boat rides, snorkeling adventures and glass-bottom boat trips.
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Something different each night: Ocho Rios has some of the finest dining in Jamaica, and you can avoid a drive into town because everything you could want is at the resort. Beaches Ocho Rios operates six unique restaurants serving up the flavor of the Caribbean. (The Venetian serves up classic pasta dishes as well as Italian fine dining, all in a resort-casual atmosphere.) All restaurants even feature a gluten-free bread, a plethora of vegetarian options and full kids’ menus.
Dunn River Falls: One of Jamaica’s most picturesque waterfalls is only a few miles from the Beaches Ocho Rios Resort, and there’s nothing quite like the display and crash of falling water. Wade your way up the Dunn River as the water streams by you and over you. Set in a breathtaking landscape of remarkable rock formations and dense flora, the picturesque waterfall ( www.dunnsriverja.com) embodies Jamaica’s nature garden at its best.
Chukka horseback-riding: Saddle up to gallop along Jamaica’s picturesque northern coast. Ride along miles of sandy beaches on Papillon Cove as you and your steed wade into the refreshing waters of the Caribbean. You can hone your riding skills or simply enjoy a leisurely pace as you connect with the beautiful natural surroundings. The enchanting, revitalizing ride ( http://bit.ly/YaBXdp) is lead by an experienced guide and certainly should be considered a do-not-miss island excursion.
Leaving? An airport tip: A little-known way to cruise through jam-packed security and customs lines at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is to sign up for Club Mobay ( http://clubmobay.com). For a small fee, you gain access to a safe haven where you can relax and prepare for your flight. The fully-equipped lounge – complete with a full-service spa and Wi-Fi – lets you kick back before your scheduled departure.