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Trip Report Silver Sands, Jamaica Trip Report

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Blue Vista Villa * Silver Sands, Jamaica
June 12 – 19, 2011

There were six of us in our group. (Husband & I: in our 50's... daughter & boyfriend: 30's ... and 2 teenage boys 14 & 17).

We arrived in Jamaica about noon and were met by our driver & mysilversands Rep. We reached Silver Sands about 2:30pm, and were greeted by Miss Lily, our cook and Miss Nadine, our housekeeper, who were busy preparing our Welcome Dinner.

After quickly putting our things away, we headed down to the beach for a few hours. Dinner was ready on our return. That evening, we went back to the beach, watched the sunset, and enjoyed the NBA finals with Sheldon at the bar until half time. Went back to the villa & watched the rest of the game. Go Mavs!!

Monday morning, my daughter & I went into Duncan shopping with Miss Lily. It was amazing to watch her in action. She is a smart woman and looks out for your best interests. We were glad we went and appreciated Miss Lily even more!

Our usual routine for the week: Swim in the villa pool, have breakfast, and head to the beach. Back in the afternoon for a snack & another swim in the pool. Some afternoons, we would lie around the pool before dinner – others we walked to Fisherman’s Beach to check out their carvings & things to sell, or returned to the beach. Dinner was about 4:30 every afternoon. More pool after dinner and about 7:00pm time we headed to the beach patio to spend a few hours. We played cards on the beach patio or at the villa in the evenings. What better way to spend your day?

Tuesday, Mikey Stewart took the six of us to Dunn’s River Falls. We drove into Ocho Rios for a quick stop at the pharmacy & ATM machine – and of course, a fast stop off at the Harley Shop - then on to the waterfall. We were not all out of the van before we were swamped with venders trying to sell their items. After we made it through the gauntlet, Mikey and the Rep from Dunn’s River Falls walked us into the park. Mikey ensured we were settled and returned to wait by the van (with our valuables safely locked inside) until our tour was over.

Our Dunn’s River tour guide was Miss “T”… the only female guide in the park. She was fantastic! (Tips are accepted at the end.) She held our cameras and took photos of us, strategically along the way. I had been hesitant to go to Dunn’s River Falls because I wanted to avoid the crowds. I will say…. I am glad we went! (Tuesdays are a good day to go - no cruise ship crows!) It was not too crowded, the guide was fantastic, and the experience was amazing! The walk out is a bit tedious. Like most tourist areas anywhere, they wind you through a maze of shops. It seemed to take forever to get out of the park! We finally managed to ‘escape’ and Mikey was patiently waiting by the van.

Wednesday was another day of pool, beach and relaxation. It started to rain just before dinner. It was the only evening it rained and we missed our night on the patio, but we really could not complain.

7:30am on Thursday, four of us headed out with Errol to snorkel. When we were there eleven years ago, he took us snorkeling… and he has not aged a bit! The rest of the day we relaxed by the pool and went to the beach. That night, our daughter & her friend went for the ride into Montego Bay (free for booking through mysilversands.com). Although, it did give them an outing and it was interesting to see… the shops were closed and the nightlife was slow. They were told, it gets busy later in the evening. They went to a few places and the driver brought them back early. They joined the rest of us for a swim in the pool!

Friday, Mikey (the fantastic driver!) took four of us on a Cockpit Country outing. (other 2 stayed back & snorkeled off the West Beach at Silver Sands) It was one of the highlights of our trip! It felt like we were on a Travel Channel show! We traveled back into the ‘back country’ of Jamaica, passing small villages, sugar can fields, yam gardens and through beautiful mountain scenery. We stopped off at his home, where he explained the plants & trees to us. He climbed trees and picked fruit for us to eat. He had guava, Jamaican apple, coconut, tangerine, and bananas - fresh off the trees! Mikey whistled and his chickens came running! We met his lovely wife and daughter (boys were in school) and they invited us the inside their home.

From there, we went up the hill to the home where Mikey grew up. There is an old brick works and kiln where his father made bricks for a living. Mikey walked us through the property where there were bananas, ginger, jackfruit, ackee, nutmeg, coffee, pineapple and several other plants.

Next, we stopped to buy some jerk from a roadside stand and headed off to Dorknock River head. Chicken wasn't ready yet, so we had pork jerk. We got 2 orders (w/bread) for 500 Jamaican... about $6 U.S.

After pulling off the side of the road & parking the car, locking everything safely inside, we started out walk. The road is washed out from there on (at the turn off to go down to the river head) and nothing would be able to make it other than some type of jeep/4-wheeler. No problem. It took a good 15 minutes to walk down the hill but it was worth every moment! Simply breath taking. There is a waterfall that spills into a lagoon with a cliff directly across, and a beautiful sandy beach! The water was clear & very cool. To the right, the lagoon area ends & river begins. At this spot, there is a monstrous cotton wood tree! My husband and two grandsons climbed inside and Mikey took their picture. We all decided to take a swim in the lagoon. It was surprisingly chilly… cold as a matter of fact… but refreshing! It took a while longer to walk back up the hill, but we took our time. Back in the van, we made our way ‘home’ to Silver Sands for another swim in the pool and dinner soon after. It was a perfect experience, we felt safe, and would recommend it highly!!

That night there were Crab Races on the patio. It was the only night we did not take our camera with us, so we did not get photos. It was a quiet night with only a few of us, but the Manager of the Race still indulged us and had three races. It was one of the most entertaining things to see! He did a great job, calling the race – just as if it was the Kentucky Derby! All had a good time!

Saturday was the last day. We spent part of the day doing our usual; rest, pool beach, etc., but did go to Fisherman’s Beach & Villa Mart for some final purchases to take home. Miss Lily cooked pink snapper for diner and it was delicious! After packing & relaxing, we headed to the Patio on the Beach for the last time. On the other side of the Beach Grill was a Wedding. You could see the paper lanterns hanging from the trees, the tall chef hats of the servers, and hear the music playing. It was a beautiful sight.

Walking back that night left us feeling satisfied, yet sad. We could not help but reflect on our trip and the wonderful time we had. The next morning, Miss Lily & Nadine were there to fix our breakfast and see us off. We were sad to leave. All through the week, Miss Lily cooked delicious meals, gave good advice and was truly an asset. Miss Nadine, our housekeeper, kept the house and our clothes clean. She is a bit shy but very sweet.

Our week had just the right balance between activities and relaxation. Blue Vista is beautifully decorated, is in a good location, has a great view of the sea and the pool is perfect! Miss Lily and Miss Nadine help make your vacation a “real” vacation… no worries! The Silver Sands beach is unbeatable – soft white sand, blue skies, and clear Caribbean blue water. The Beach Patio is laid back, a nice place to sit, and Sheldon the bartender takes good care of you. Villa Mart is handy, and the Mysilversands staff is helpful and friendly. We cannot say enough good things about our snorkeling guide Errol and our drivers Mikey and Barry.

Would we recommend Silver Sands, Blue Vista Villa and mysilversands? Will we return…. and soon? The answers are: yes, yes, yes, yes… and YES!

If you go to mysilversands.com it will show you all the villas available and their prices. They range from really inexpensive to high end. Some have pools... some don't. Some have hot tubs.. .some don't. Some are right on the beach or have ocean views... others don't... BUT it is the same awesome beach and small community feel for all the homes.

There was a group of college age kids there with their professor but they didn't go crazy on the beach or patio. They seemed to stay at their own villa to party at night & we didn't see much of them in the day. Usually, the patio was pretty laid back & quiet. More of a family or small 'community' feel. Not that there's not music & entertainment if you want it, but it is nothing like the mega resorts we've been to with crowds of people bumping into each other. Things settle down fairly early.

There were also, a few groups who had gone for a family reunion and rented several houses. They were from all over the US and seemed to really enjoy themselves - all age ranges.

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