Our one year anniversay trip, July 12-17 2015 -Sandals Ochi, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Why Jamaica?

As you may have read in my last post, we loved our honeymoon so much at Sandals Royal Bahamian that we decided to book another trip for out one year anniversary! Even though it was a whole year away, it was nice to have something else to look forward to as a newly married couple.

After we booked our trip, I realized that I hadn’t really even seen or researched the resort we had planned on staying at. While browsing the Sandals website, I quickly noticed that Ochi wasn’t the only Sandals resort in Jamaica. There are a total of 7 Sandals resorts on the island – more than any other. Each resort had different things to offer, and it seemed like Ochi was the one with the most.

Why Ocho Rios?

Not only did we pick off of recommendation, but the Ochi resort seemed like he most lovely of all the resorts. We are young newlyweds who love to explore and socialize while on vacation. Ochi was also noticeably less expensive than most of the other Jamaican Sandals resorts. We were able to get a butler suite for about half the cost of the one in the Bahamas!

Second of all, if you research “things to do in Jamaica” you will notice that most of the touristy, adventurous activities are located in Ocho Rios (or within close proximity to it).

What room did you stay in?

Although there are many options to choose from – “Love nests”, beachfront, villa, etc. We went with the Butler Village Honeymoon Poolside Villa-PV suite. Although, it looks like they have now changed it to a Club level room and lowered the price… Hmm I have mixed feelings on that. We loved our butlers, they did so much for us. Most of all, helped us get around easier.

Just a warning, you may be sketched out by the drive there because it is in a remote location. You have to take a windy narrow dirt road up a hill to find it. All you need to bring is a bathing suit, beach towels, cash, and a small carrying bag. They do not include this tour as an option at Sandals because technically, this tour has not been sanctioned by the goverment yet. They are working on it though! You may have also seen it featured recently on “The Bachelor”. Ben Higgins took JoJo there on one of their last dates.

Definitely buy water shoes for this tour, you’ll actually probably want them for any tour you go on. You can buy them in Jamaica, but I would recommend getting them before you go on your trip. I got some decent ones from SwimOutlets.com. I slipped and fell on one of the rocks (my mistake though because they told us not to step there because of the moss and I wasn’t paying attention). I scraped up my leg/hip pretty bad, so be careful!

#2 White Water Tubing

We did this tour right after visiting Blue Hole. Jacques was nice enough to also stop downtown and get us some coconuts to drink on the way there. The river was actually pretty calm and we just enjoyed floating through the jungle and being in nature. We saw some crabs and also made friends with a local dog who loves following you down the river.

Half way down the river, they have you stop at a resting spot where you can buy some food, drinks, and souvenirs. I got to have my first Red Stripe beer there, so we ended up buying a wooden Red Stripe carved souvenir. They also took some pictures of us and we paid about $12 for 5 pictures on a DVD. They hustled us pretty good! Haha. Overall it was an enjoyable experience and such a relaxing beautiful day.

#3 Luminous Lagoon

This was the furthest away from our resort, but it was definitely worth it to do one time. It is one of few places in the world where you can experience something like it. There are organisms in the water that light up when there is movement and it looks really cool, but you can only go at night.They take you out on a boat with a group of people into the water and let you jump off and swim. When you move the water lights up and it is a cool experience. Unfortunately it was hard to take pictures of, but if you google “Luminous Lagoon” images, you will find some cool ones.

*Make sure to wear some bug spray. I got bit up a lot before we even got on the boat. Luckily I was able to borrow some from a stranger. Only time we needed it on the trip.

#4 Horseback Riding

If we had a chance to do it over, I think we would skip out on the horseback riding next time. I think it’s because we were expecting it to mostly be on the beach, but instead we mostly rode through the neighborhoods and then only spent the last 10 minutes on the beach. The only part we liked was at the end we rode in the water with the horses. It was kind of scary at the time because a storm was coming in and the waves were getting bigger. But it was neat that we were able to ride so deep in the ocean with them. Riding through the neighborhoods was kinds sketchy… We were the only tourists there and we stuck out like a sore thumb while going through the neighborhoods. Especially if you have ridden a horse before, I would skip out on this tour.

Here are some pictures anyways 🙂

How did this trip compare to your Bahamas Trip?

We loved this trip – it was definitely worth doing once. It was less expensive and we did a lot more fun adventurous activities this time around. If I were choosing between the two trips, I would say definitely go to the Bahamas.We liked the beaches and the resort better there vs the Ocho Rios resort.

More photos from our trip!

What Others Say

“Sometimes, if you are very very lucky, you find a diamond in the rough, Jacques Tours Jamaica is that and much more:)”

It was 3am and I was searching for alternatives to the hum drum ridiculously expensive tour options offered by our resort in Ocho Rios. My family of five was set to leave on vacation in a few weeks and the excursion was my last "to do" on my list. I stumbled upon Jacques Tours Jamaica, read the great reviews and sent Jacques an email to get more information on the spot. To my surprise, Jacques responded within 15 minutes, at 3AM! The professionalism with which he responded would have been impressive for a major corporation in the US, much less a small tour company in a tiny foreign country like Jamaica. After several emails back and forth, we set a day and itinerary and my "to do's" were complete:) I can tell you that I had no idea what to expect from the tour and crossed my fingers I had made the best choice for my family (teenagers, you know what I mean...). We just got back home a few days ago and every single one of us would pick our day with Jacques as the highlight of the entire vacation. He drove us safely from place to place, giving us awesome local history lessons along the way and did it with such an easy going, friendliness that was simply priceless. He went by our schedule and was open to anything we wanted to do. We visited some of the local attractions, did some shopping and ate lunch at one of the local favorites he recommended (OMG! soooo good). Here is a quote from one of my teens that kind of sums it all up. "How do you describe someone so perfect for their job. So interesting to talk to, so knowledgeable about the local terrain. I can with one name...Jacques. From his disarming smile, to his trustworthy manner, a ride with Jacques is not one I would ever pass up." If you are reading this looking for the best of the best for you and your family, STOP HERE and book Jacques Tours Jamaica. I guarantee you won't be disappointed and might be the hero for finding this diamond in the rough. Safe travels, you can thank me later 🙂
- Karen H
Melbourne, Florida

“Amazing tour to Kingston”

We arrived by cruise ship to be met by our guide Dalton just outside the port entrance. After looking at all the tours on offer across many companies we decided we wanted to spend the say seeing as much of Jamaica as possible and head to Kingston to see the "real Jamaica" instead of going to see the tourist spots. I contacted a few companies and Jacque came back to me straight away with the best price and itinerary. Our transport was an air conditioned mini van with WiFi, very comfortable and Dalton was just simply fantastic, a very safe driver and he knew the answers to all our questions. We started by driving through the fern gully rainforest and headed out to the highway, (Jacque includes the cost of the highway toll within the tour price, other companies wanted to charge and extra $40 on top). The highway provides some fantastic views. Our first stop was in Spanish Town where we could get out and have a quick look around, and take some photos. We then continued onto Kingston, where we visited Usain Bolts Tracks and Records Bar, Devon House, Jamaica Tech University, drove around an affluent part of the city then headed for the Ghetto. This was the best part of the tour, we stayed in the van but it was so interesting to see the everyday life, the birthplace of Reggae and the cemetary! We were back to our port in plenty of time and even had time for some shopping and food before we went back to the ship. The tour was from around 08.30am to around 3pm. Absolutely fantastic day and can't rate Jacques tours enough! What ever you want to do just pop him an email and your tour can be tailored to you.
- Meghan T

“Anniversary Celebration - group of 54"

We can't say enough about Jacques Tours. From the momemt I contacted him to request various quotes he was always prompt in responding and accommodated all my changes. We celebrated our 10th anniversary with a group of 54 friends and family members on a Carnival Cruise last month and Jacques picked us up from the dock on time in a very nice air conditioned bus and took us on a sightseeing tour of Ochos Rios. We were able to see and enjoy the sights like the locals do and enjoyed a lunch stop at Scotchies. I would highly recommend using Jaques for any tours or excursions on Ochos Rios.
- Darlene P

“Great Tour and Great Experience!"

If you are traveling to Ocho Rios, you should definitely give Jacques a call or email for one of his personal tours. He is a local with a lot of knowledge of the area and created a wonderful, seamless experience for our group of 15. He was very accommodating, even when plans changed and was able to recommend the best places for us to see with our limited time., He went above and beyond to make sure we had a fun adventure with him as our guide. Our whole group was extremely impressed by him and was by far one of the highlights of our trip. This is the way to see Jamaica, instead of one of those pre planned tours that we had considered. Jacques also gave us a lot of local information about the area and took us to an AMAZING local restaurant that would have never found without him. He really made our adventure fun and low stress, not an easy thing to do with a group of 15 and a 1 year old in tow! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!
- Erin B
Tallahassee, Florida

"A reliable tour operator in Jamaica"

Quality services: clean car (minivan), obliging the driver in the cost of services includes access to the beach (paid), the driver stops at any place where you ask, he offers a good survey site. In the trunk - water and beer at the expense of the company. There were six of us in our group, Transfer from Falmouth to Ocho Rios, delivery of the falls (the driver himself has agreed with local, we had a queue of the falls).
- Alnaumov
Moscow, Russia

“Fantastic day away from crowds. So welcoming and fun! ”

We found Jacques through Trip Advisor. We were coming in on a cruise, but the excursions seemed so expensive. We hired Jacques to give us a private group experience and it was so perfect. Woody was our driver and he made sure we were all set for the day. First Blue Hole, which wasn't even offered by the cruise excursions and was the best part of the day. Then tubing with just the seven of us and a guide. I thought a guide for tubing was silly, but it was actually very nice. The only thing that seemed even remotely off was the lunch. We went to Scotchies, which was good, but really crowded and a long line. I think every group goes there and I wish I had done some restaurant research before we got there. ​ Definitely much less expensive than the cruise offerings and a wonderful day all around!
- COSpringSkier
Colorado Springs, Colorado

 “What a Wonderful Tour!"

I booked a tour with Jacques at the last minute before departing on our cruise vacation. Jacques very promptly replied to my email, explained how far various places were from Falmouth and how much each place was to visit. We decided to just wing it and decide what to do when we landed in Falmouth. Jacques was waiting for us at the port and took a group of 4 of us to Rose Hall Plantation. He waited right there while we toured and then took us to a grocery store near Montego Bay to stock up on inexpensive rum and sodas. He even went into the store with us to make sure that we would be ok with the transactions. He then drove us to Montego Bay for some shopping, stopping along the way to have lunch at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. All through the day Jacques would educate us on local customs and language, as well as pointing out all the sites that were along the way. It was so nice to come to a port and have someone actually show up and be so helpful and courteous right from the start. Thank you Jacques for a memorable visit. We will be back to visit again. Al
​- Allen
Lewes, Delaware

“Not Disappointed At All!!”

We booked Jacque for our cruise excursion to Jamaica. We were not disappointed at all. The communication was great. From the first initial email to inquire about different excursions to the pricing, Jacque was on top of it. Due to Tropical Storm Bill, our schedule was rearranged but it was not a problem at all with Jacque. He met us at the port with his assistant Terry Ann and our day began. Service was outstanding and the personal information and attention they gave to us was awesome. I would highly recommend Jacques Tours. We found out so much about Jamaica and their culture. On our way back to the ship, Jacque even pulled over to a little roadside stand and we drank fresh coconut water from the coconut and tried fresh sugar juice from sugar cane. NOTE: We went to Dunn's Falls and it was quite a drive. It was really all we were able to do because of where we docked (MONTEGO BAY). If you want to do more, Jacque can still help you decide on what's best. I would definitely use Jacque Tours again.
- glw66
Siloam Springs, Arkansas

Talk To Your Travel Expert Now

Don’t let the stress of planning a trip hold you back from experiencing the Jamaica. Talk to one of our travel experts now.

Thanks for sending Email!