My husband and I are thrilled to be going to Jamaica and are happy we choose the couples resorts. We are both is our late 20's and have needed a vacation for sometime now. We switched our trip last minute (last week) from Cabo to Jamaica and a I haven't had much time to research. We leave in 24 days. When we booked, all that was available were the Garden Views. I am a sucker for views and would have preferred something with just a little ocean view, are there any suggestions as to what building we can try and check in for? Are upgrades possible when arriving? Also, what is the weather like during end of May beginning of June? I want to make sure to pack appropriately. Lastly, I am really looking forward to doing absolutely nothing and laying around the beach or pool however we wanted to make sure to at least hit a few spots outside the resort that were recommended as "Do NOT miss", especially since it is our first trip to the Island. We have been to Hawaii several times and loved it so much we got married there almost three years ago. We go every year, but I felt it was time to try something new. I know I won't be disappointed. I would love any recommendations on the "Do NOT miss" or "Don't forget to bring" or "You have to try this drink/food" suggestions.
First you need to read everything on the two links above...again and again and again. All the important stuff is there. If you've read that you will have all the information you need to get you off on the right foot and have a great vacation. There is also a thread called I Wish I Would Have Thought Of That...it's pages and pages of ideas people have listed for packing or not packing. You can find it by doing a search...it was a couple pages back last time I looked for it. Have a pen and paper ready for notes...it's THAT long!
Now, I've never been to Hawaii but several friends have and so has my sister...DO NOT compare the two. Leave all images of Hawaii at home when you board the plane! Jamaica is a foreign country, Jamaica is a poor country. The people are the warmest and friendliest you will ever meet but this is a totally different culture so go with an open mind and no preconceived ideas. If you do this you will love it, likely you'll never go back to Hawaii again.
All the buildings at CN are set at a bit of an angle so none really have a direct view of the sea. However, people absolutely LOVE CN and I suspect you will too. When you check-in you can always ask about upgrades but this time of year I suspect it will be difficult...never hurts to ask. Do realize though that most of the rooms are the same on the inside and since none have that full on view of the sea upgrading may not make a difference to you...read the room descriptions on the CN web page.
Weather in Jamaica is essentially the same all year round...warm and sunny. You can expect a potential for some short afternoon rain any time of year but it stays warm and many people stay outside anyway. If you don't want to do that you can head to a beach bar or go relax on your verandah. It never seems to put a damper on the mood and the showers really are generally short and often a welcome relief from the heat and sun.
As far as packing, note the dress codes in the FAQ section and also for the restaurants at CN. Bring cool clothes...leave the jeans at home! Pack light...take out half of what you put in your suitcase. You'll spend all day in your swim wear so you are only in your evening clothes for a couple hours, they can easily be worn again. Dresses take up little space, capris/tops that can be mix and matched, a couple pair of shoes that go with everything you are bringing and you are packed. For hubby a couple pair of shorts with some hawaiian style or golf type shirts he can also mix and match. If you want to eat at the nicer restaurant be sure he has a pair of lightweight pants and appropriate shoes. Swimsuits don't dry very quickly in the humidity even in your room with the AC so most people find that several are best unless you like that wet suit feeling. A couple cover-ups for you, shirts for him to wear to lunch. Voila...packed!
Activities to try...sit on the beach and don't move for as long as possible. I'm an advocate for not filling your days with activities, most of us get enough of that at home. If you really want to get out and do an excursion pick one day but schedule plenty of do nothing time. You can always add stuff in once you get there if you want but if you decide you "just have to see ___" before you even leave then you'll soon find the trip is full and just as hectic as your life at home.
Read the reviews of CN between now and your departure...you can even search for older ones. Lots of good info that way.
Congrats on your decision! You are going to love Jamaica and CN!
I can't thank you enough! Your post was extremely informative and I appreciate the time you took (and the detail!). I'm definitely excited about Jamaica. I'm a huge fan for tropical climates but to be honest, although Hawaii is beautiful, there are certain spots that remind me of home (LA). I call it the concrete jungle. Although life is still laid back, it feels like I never get away from it all. I am with you!!! I want to sit on that beach for as long as possible!!! My life at home is hectic and fast, seems I'm always on the go. This is where I want to stop. My husband's job, luckily, isn't as demanding as mine therefore he's always on the hunt to try new things and experience cultural hot spots. I'm all for excursions but that may be more for him. Sounds like this is definitely what I am looking for AND need and I CANNOT wait...
Too funny. We also live in LA and refer to it as the concrete jungle! Not only that, but we also were married in Hawaii! Only difference is we haven't been back to Hawaii since, but have been to Jamaica twice and are toying with a third trip in August. We tend to favor Jamaica over Hawaii for a few reasons. The water in Jamaica is warmer. Much warmer. It's like bathwater and so lovely - esp at CN, where you can take a floatie out just relax on the smooth ocean. The people are also much more friendly. Being a poor country, Jamaicans actually want you to visit and spend your money. We don't get that vibe in Hawaii. For being so poor, Jamaicans are some of the happiest people around and I think a lot of folks could learn a thing or two from their attitude. We also love the relaxation provided by an all-inclusive. The minute you arrive at the resort your cares disappear. You don't have to drive anywhere or go out and forage for meals. Getting up from the table without having to wait for the bill is priceless! We still will go back to Hawaii some day, but it's always a tough choice when we start comparing it to Jamaica...the ease of this type of vacation is just the ultimate for relaxation.
That being said, we've only gone off property once and it was a trip to Mayfield Falls. It was worth it as the falls were so beautiful and it was a great way to see more of the country. However, we don't feel the need to do it again, and since the whole point of this type of vacation for us is relaxation, we like to stay on property.
I would also recommend going on the catamaran cruise and taking the hobie cats out in the bay. So much fun! Also be sure to try out the continental breakfast. We are early morning people and love having the fresh coffee, pastries and fruit delivered, then we sit on our lanai and watch the resort wake up.
We always stay in the garden view rooms, as we spend all day at the beach and rarely get to enjoy tropical gardens. It's the best of both worlds, especially since we're only in our rooms a little bit.
You'll have a great time. There are tons of activities to do if you chose to and it's easy to avoid them you're not interested. Otherwise, enjoy the beach, enjoy the pool, and feel the love!
No worries about a concrete jungle appearance in Negril. There's a local bylaw or something that doesn't allow for any building to be taller the average palm tree... that's right, average palm tree... so nothing is taller than 3 stories. so the trees tend to dominate the view more than the buildings, and we LOVE that.
We really embrace the garden view rooms. We spend all day on the incredible beach at CN so in the mornings and at night the gardens with the singing birds and chirping tree frogs are a beautiful, peaceful, natural change from where we spend our days at CN.
The people in Jamaica are wonderful. If you really want to get a flavor of Jamaica, check out the "Meet the People" program. Just type "Meet the people Jamaica" into your favorite search engine and read about it.
Have a fabulous trip and don't forget to wrtie a review when you return.
One thing I was concerned with was what kind of view we had. I was worried we were paying all this money and we'd get stuck with a crappy room, far away from everything except the noisy road and staff entrances, etc. Well, have no fear...there are no bad rooms at CN. We transferred from an "S" resort in Montego Bay where we had the room closest to the main driveway (i.e. furthest from the beach) and we heard delivery trucks all night long. Thankfully no matter where you are at CN, you are just steps from the beach.