Jordan and I spent six days in Jamaica for our honeymoon. In terms of deciding where we wanted to jet away to for our honeymoon, we both wanted to go somewhere warm with a beach and an ocean, and we felt excited (and anxious) about going abroad. It was the first time being outside of America for the both of us, which truly was an experience in itself. We’ve never before been herded like cattle through customs (which, apparently, is an all-too-common experience in other countries), and that was a bit of a disarming experience.
In terms of actually booking our vacation, we utilized the expertise of a family friend who has been in the travel agency for quite some time. We booked our six-day stay at Breezes Rio Bueno in Rio Bueno, Jamaica. While we had a good time overall and made the best of our vacation stay there, it wasn’t the ideal honeymoon locale for either of us, for the following reasons below:
1. Our first time overseas was completely overwhelming; looking back, for our honeymoon, we would have rather stayed stateside.
After finally arriving at our resort after a full day of flights and sitting around in airports, we were exhausted, and I (Sara) was completely overwhelmed by the airport experience of going through customs in Jamaica, and also by the car ride from the airport to the resort. (Note: I (Sara) felt like the car was going to run off of the road countless times; plus, we were offered illegal drugs not only in the airport, but also when we were driving – passengers in another car shouted to us and (I’m not kidding) dangled a little baggie of “goodies” outside the window.)
2. Our room was underwhelming, to say the least (despite the fact that Jordan looks super comfy above!).
We stayed in a total of two different rooms during our stay at Breezes; our first room was, to put it lightly, not comfortable. We found ants in our room crawling on the floor, and our bedsheets were stained. There was barely any furniture in the room, and we were quite unsatisfied. So, we asked to move to a different room, which the resort staff granted us on the second day of our stay. While this room had more furniture, no bugs and clean bedsheets, it still was not what we were expecting. We were hoping for a cushy bed with many, many pillows and soft linens, but the bed linens made us feel more like we were staying at a motel than a resort that we shelled out many pennies for. Also – no bathtub. Boo.
3. We couldn’t get room service.
If we had known this prior to booking, we probably wouldn’t have booked at all. Who wants to go somewhere where you can’t order food to your room on your honeymoon?!
4. The atmosphere of the resort was geared more toward families and young single people than to couples on their honeymoon.
From the games and activities (think: wet t-shirt contests, dance contests, and the like, along with your regular water volleyball games, which Jordan enjoyed) to the other people staying at our resort, we came to realize that the beach getaway we had wanted originally was what we received (and, to the credit of Breezes, the beach and the ocean were fantastic), but wasn’t what we wanted. Now we know that if we ever embark on a trip overseas to an all-inclusive resort again, we want a couples-only resort with cushy linens, room service and a bunch of yummy food.
5. Jamaica is, well, a third-world country, which made it scary (for us) to leave the resort.
Despite the fact that Jordan and I were well aware of this before leaving, the disparate divide between poverty and wealth is so obvious when you’re driving beside shanties, and just down the road, you see a mansion. It was certainly eye-opening. But, in light of the fact that our surroundings were so unfamiliar (and, to us, rather scary), we never left the resort, which probably was a detriment to the fun we had on our trip. But, we just didn’t feel comfortable leaving the resort.
What We Liked
What we will say, however, is that we really appreciated the staff of this resort. They were always kind and accommodating. We also liked the food, too! We ate at a French restaurant one evening, and at a Japanese hibachi restaurant another evening, both of which were quite delicious! The other restaurants, however, left quite a bit to be desired, although Jordan sure enjoyed his omelette every morning, and we both still crave the fresh orange juice! Lastly, the beach was seriously insanely beautiful. The weather was a bit rainy when we were there, but the sun always came out eventually, and it was wonderful to lay by the beach and read, drink in hand. We also took a glass-bottom boat tour (the bottom of the boat was glass, which allowed us to see the sea life swimming around below us) that was fun, too.
So, here’s a recap of what we learned:
– We aren’t really all-inclusive resort people. We love nothing more than to make our own experience together by choosing to go to this shop or that restaurant to eat, and we found the all-inclusive environment rather limiting.
– We like a comfy room, complete with cushy soft linens and room service. And a bathtub instead of a shower!
– If we ever do an all-inclusive resort vacation again, we’ll stay at a couples-only resort. And, we would probably be open to going to an all-inclusive resort with friends (though, not Breezes) – that actually might be a good time!
– If we do go to a third-world country again, we will know what to expect in terms of the poverty level, among other things.
*Interesting fact: when I went to the Breezes Rio Bueno home page today to link to their site, I found the following disclosure:
“Please note: Breezes Resort & Spa – Rio Bueno will be closed as of April 30, 2011 indefinitely. For reservations after April 30, please see our other Breezes Resorts & Spas in Jamaica and in other destinations.”
Quite interesting, since we certainly felt that the resort was lacking the comforts that we wished for and expected.
In looking back on our honeymoon, we feel grateful for this experience, because it taught us what we want (and what we don’t) in a vacation. In fact, this summer, Jordan and I are embarking on a bit of a honeymoon-redo to…SEATTLE! That’s the best part about a honeymoon; you learn what you really want to do together on vacation! We’re so excited to experience a part of the United States that we’ve never been before, and we’re especially excited to enjoy all that Seattle has to offer.
Where are you headed on your honeymoon? Are you staying stateside or going abroad? What’s on your must-have list for your honeymoon destination?
[All photos by Jordan and I]