Riu Tropical Bay..more questions

Jan 23rd, 2005, 03:34 AM
  #1  
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Riu Tropical Bay..more questions

I've read the listings on this but no one talked about the beach. We love the beach and are looking for flat surf and no coral/rocks in the water.....how does this resort rate with that. We're thinking Punta Cana, Mayan Riveria (we've been to both and were pleased...we've never have been to Jamaica. How does the food compare to other resorts in this price range..sounds like it's alot of trouble getting seating....can't just walk in..even at the buffet(s)? Friendly workers? cleanliness of resort? Any info would be appreciated. Thank you
vac_summer is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:40 AM
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Hello vac_summer,

To answer your questions...

My husband and I have been to both Punta Cana and the Mayan Riveria numerous times (we actually got married in the Mayan Riviera), and found the beach at the Tropical Bay to be wonderful. The beach was beautiful, and the water was clear and calm (I was able to lay on my air mattress in the water without being tipped over by the surf....in Mexico the waves would never let me do that).

We found the food to be great (especially the chicken shack on the beach - great jerk chicken). There is a wide selection of food available at the buffet (comparible to the Mayan Riviera, better than Punta Cana). Although, the resort assigns a specific time in which you can eat at the buffet, we never had a problem switching times if needed. We also never had a problem reserving at the a la carte restaurant.

Overall, the resort is beautiful (and very clean), the staff are helpful, friendly, and couldn't do enough for us. We found our room to be clean (no bugs) and comfortable. Like I previously mentioned we have been to Punta Cana, and the Mayan Riviera, and Jamaica is our favourite. We are returning to the Tropical Bay to celebrate our first year anniversary.
Minya is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 05:41 AM
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Hi Minya,
Are kids allowed at the a la carte restaurants- we would probably like a change from the buffets. I know that AI means unlimited food/drinks, but are snacks available all the time - incase the kids get hungry beore our alloted buffet time.

Also, any suggestions for sightseeing with a 2 and 5 yr. old would be helpful.
Thanks
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 07:08 AM
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Hi,

I can't recall any children in the restaurant when we where there, but I don't see why they wouldn't allow them.

Between the chicken shack on the beach, the buffet, the pool restaurant (buffet), and the pizzeria, food is always available from early in the morning to late at night. If the pool restaurant is closed, you can always get food at the pizzeria.

I'm not to sure about suggestions for sightseeing with a 2 and 5 yr. old. But numerous tours are available at the resort including snorkelling tours, boat/catamaran cruises, tours to various falls, and shopping trips to Negril.

I hope this helps.

Minya is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Thank you for your advice. On another note, do you think we could take the kids to the Mayfield falls? Have you visited them? My husband is reluctant to do so since he is not a strong swimmer. I just wondered if the water was deep and if you really needed to know how to swim.
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Hi,

Yes, we have visited Mayfield Falls, and it was a wonderfull tour.

The tour involves a long walk to/from the river, a long walk in the river, and approximately 20 small waterfalls to climb. Your husband has nothing to worry about as you can touch the bottom of the river most of the time, but with all of the climbing over rocks/falls (some of which are slippery) it may not be appropriate for young children.

If you do decide to go, remember to bring water shoes (you'll need them).
Minya is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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We took our kids to Mayfield when my daughter was only 3, my son 6. My son was absolutely fine but I was glad to have a guide (you'll have one too) to help with my daughter, he often lifted her to the next pool or whatever....and we tipped him extra for all his help
liza is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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Do you think that it is worthwhile to rent car to check the sights out or should we go with a private driver? I dont think we want a group tour- it may get too much with the kids. Also, if we end up getting a driver, do you think that they would get offended if i want to say, "change my son's diaper" or something ?
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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I meant "changing a diaper in his car"
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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If this is your first trip to Jamaica I would hire a driver rather than rent a car.

Once you've been there and seen what driving is like, then you can make the decision next time. Driving is on the left, there are potholes and animals, roads are narrow, drivers are quite aggressive. And renting has a very high deposit - usually $1,000 and there's a good reason for that.

If you'd like recommendations for safe, friendly and knowledgeable drivers I (and others here) would be glad to give them. I agree a large tour could be nightmarish with kids - you need to be able to stay as long as you want and leave when you need to with little ones, and stop on the way if necessary, etc.

I have changed a diaper in a van in Jamaica....obviously we were careful with the upholstery and all that but it was not an issue at all.

Poor Sala (driver), when we went to Treasure Beach from Negril last year my little niece got carsick right as we got there...we had a towel and used it but felt awful - he was wonderful about it.
liza is offline  
Jan 24th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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You will love Negril's beach. The water is a gorgeous color & the sand is soft & white. We saw some coral further out when snorkeling but close to shore was just what you would want.

We stayed at Beaches in May & the food was so-so for the most part. Sort of like a tropical Shoney's in the buffet area but still plenty of choice & clean. We really enjoyed eating off resort at 3 Dives & watching the incredible sunset from the cliffs. The food was really inexpensive & a very casual place.

Get a driver to go around. It is crazy to try & drive like a Jamaican! Sala is the best. We used him & his van is clean & has a/c which is a plus. He is very agreeable & you will feel safe at all times. He took us to 3 different ice cream places so my daughter could get her favorite banana ice cream. I doubt there would be a diaper problem- his wife, Sienna, told us not to worry about anything, the seats are vinyl & they clean up fine.
benj is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 10:05 AM
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Thanks everyone. I will have to check "Sala" out. We are staying at Riu which is an AI, but is tipping expected? What is the customary amount?
What about tipping the driver for the trip to the falls or something?
Also, has anyone tried to get a sitter for a couple of hours? We would be on the hotel property, but thought we may like to do one late night to watch a show or something.
One more thing- has anyone used the safe in the room? Is it ok to put your rings, passport etc. while you are at the beach or visiting the sights?
Thanks again!
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Liza, do you recall if your kids needed any specific shots when you visited Jamaica ?
Thanks
vacation24 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Nope they didn't, just the regular immunizations.

They've been to JA 4 times now, no trouble, they drink tap water there, eat all over the place.

They do need passports or birth certs.
liza is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Thanks for the info on my original posting. Unfortunately my topic was tossed aside with other people's questions. I'm reading that people approach you on the beach to sell you various items...is that really a problem? Any other recommended tours for a couple in their 40's? Thanks again...
vac_summer is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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Hi vac_summer,

RIU Tropical Bay is located in Bloody Bay, with only a handful of resorts. We never had anyone trying to sell something on the beach.

I have heard that there is much more activity on 7-mile beach from the numerous restaurants, bars, shops, hotels located on the beach.

Regarding tours...as mentioned we did take the Mayfield Falls tour, and we went to Rick's Cafe to watch the sunset. I can't recall the other tours that are available, but I believe that there are a few snorkelling tours, shopping tours to Negril, catamaran sunset cruises, and tours to YS Falls, Dunns River (although it is pretty far), Whitehouse Great House, and Rhodes Hall Plantation (I think this included horseback riding). I hope this helps.

Minya is offline  
Jan 25th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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Negril was voted #3 in the Travel Channel's Top 10 Caribbean Beaches.
Don't worry about beach vendors. Usually the resort security will keep them moving. We stayed at Beaches & very rarely were bothered. Mainly it was people walking at the water's edge & calling out offers of hairbraiding or massage. That was not a non-stop thing. Most of the stall vendors are on the more public part of 7 mile beach. But all are pleasant & a "no thanks" usually does the trick.

We asked Sala to take us on a tour of Negril & help us shop for souvenirs. We also wanted to eat lobster & see the sunset. He took us around Negril & stopped at the craft market, Rick's, Pirate's Cave, the grocery (Hi-Lo) & 3 ice cream places. It was funny to see Burger king in Jamaica.We stopped & saw piles of coral that locals use to build fences & ate a sweet sop from a tree at the craft market. We walked along the public part of the beach & saw several of the places to stay & eat that people had mentioned here. The trip to the lighthouse was nice. We saw people fishing in the boats & he told us that we were about 90 miles from Cuba. If you tell him your interests & time you want to spend then he can design a tour that works for you. We emailed him several times before going & he was a great help on advice about all aspects of our visit.

The people of Jamaica were great. Everything was "no problem". The tropical plants are amazing & you will want to take tons of pictures. Try the Blue Mountain coffee & rum cream. We brought both back as gifts.
benj is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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I must say, there are times when I am happy to see vendors approach.

In Negril they are often selling things like patties, fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, lobsters, coconuts and aloe. (Some sell drugs, those I wave off).

Laying in my beach chaise, it is sometimes nice to have these things delivered right to me with no effort on my part other than a price inquiry, perhaps a little bargaining, nad reaching for my $.

Just another perspective on the vendors on the beach thing....
liza is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Liza,

The last time I was in Negril at Coco La Palm, I saw a young man on the beach selling those scarves with a brim that tie on your head. They are perfect for braids and I wanted one. He walked down almost within earshot and then turned around to head back the other way. I had to run after him - I remember thinking that I may have been the only person who ever had to chase down one of the vendors.
cartera is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 02:26 PM
  #20  
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Thanks again for your info..I'm now leaning towards Jamaica!! I've noticed that there are numerous websites for Mexico and Dominican Republic but haven't really found too many for Jamaica...any recommendations??
vac_summer is offline  

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