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Jamaica - Negril, Ochos Rio, or MB?

Old Feb 9th, 2014, 12:01 PM
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Jamaica - Negril, Ochos Rio, or MB?

We are planning a trip this May traveling with three young adults, 21 yr olds that want plenty of nice beach time, all inclusive, shopping, great restaurants along with fun excursions such as snorkeling and water sports. We have never been to Jamaica and would like recommendations, especially regarding safety for families. Anyone have suggestions for 21 yr old girls?
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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I love Jamaica ( have been there over 30 times since 1982), but don't think it sounds like the right place for your family. First of all, May can be tricky weather-wise. We no longer go at that time because the weather can be unreliable. You could have beautiful days, or several days (especially later in the month) marred by heavy rain.

There are lots of AIs in both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, but very limited shopping outside of craft and straw markets. The beach is OK in both places, but not the best on the island.

Negril has the best beach ( nearly seven miles of white sand) on the island, but there are no AIS there that I would recommend. BEACHES is on a great stretch of beach, but quite expensive and IMHO, not worth the money.

All of the places mentioned above have plenty of water sports and some snorkeling, although the reef is not as interesting or healthy as it used to be in the early 1980's.

Anyway, I think you might want to look at another island both for weather and activity reasons. Aruba might be a good match for your family since it ticks off all the items on your vacation wish list. And it is one of the driest islands in the Caribbean.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 08:06 PM
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I agree with WWK that Jamaica might not be the best choice for your vacation based on your criteria. We have stayed at AI's in Negril and Ocho Rios. We found the locals in Ocho Rios quite aggressive. We did not leave the resorts without being accompanied by a tour operator, driver or taxi. I would not walk off a resort in Jamaica on my own. I don't have any future plans of returning to Jamaica.

Aruba is a good alternative. It's a very "safe" island with many things to see and do. However, there are so many dining/bar choices I would not recommend AI there. However, if you do choose that route, the RUI or Occidental would be good choices.

We love Mexico and go almost every year. Lots of really great AI choices and plenty of things to see and do off property. We are booked for our 13th trip in May. No issues walking off a resort there. 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen has tons of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment that would fit your criteria.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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About Jamaica: We stay at very small boutique or family-run hotels in Negril. We often go off-resort, but mostly by taxi to restaurants in the West End ( on the cliffs). The beach is very safe during the day. I would not wander around alone at night, and would use common sense wherever you go. Having said that, we have never had a problem in Jamaica.

About Aruba: I totally agree with the post above, except for one thing. We visited in November with friends who stayed at The RIU, and found the food nearly inedible. They also thought some of the rooms were sub par. It has a really nice beachfront, just next to The Westin ( which will soon become part of The Riu), but it is wall to wall people in season.

About Mexico: We love Mexico, too.And I can't believe I'm saying this, but we are now fans of Cancun! Have stayed happily at Live Aqua( an AI) many times, and would go again in a heartbeat. Great rooms, edible to very good food,nice spa/gym, and gorgeous uncrowded beachfront.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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I love love LOVE Negril. But I don't think it fits what you describe.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:22 PM
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I lovelove LOVE Negril, too, just like Suze, but I agree that it doesn't fit what you're looking for. And neither does Montego Bay which is my least favorite part of the island.
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