"Sandals Ocho Rios" Jamaica by DJMist

Jamaica Travel Guide: 2,546 reviews and 5,122 photos

All-inclusive resort-style travel isn?t really my preferred method of seeing the world. Honestly I guessed it would be a nice retreat fashioned and tailored for tourists but devoid of any cultural experiences one could truly call Jamaican. However, when my father announced that he had a nice bonus and wanted to take everyone, how could I refuse?

Ten of us flew from various airports around the U.S. to Montego Bay and then boarded a bus to Ocho Rios. The trip is only 40 miles but took over 2 hours - road conditions are abysmal almost everywhere in Jamaica.

The staff at Sandals was fantastic as were the resort grounds. As I suspected, the resort was Disney-esque - ultra manicured with massive shade trees and exotic flowering shrubs, hammocks in secluded corners, a pool and hot tub around every corner ? and man was it nice. While Sandals was an oasis retreat, it was in stark contrast to the world outside the walls. The first thing that is apparent is the widespread poverty. There are people that do live well but many do not. There are a large number of homes that are an accumulation of cinderblocks but not enough to complete a full room. They work on construction piecemeal, as funds are saved, because construction loans carry over 30% interest rates. Many others live in shanties made of discarded fiberglass sheeting and strung up fabric without running water. What is similar, both inside and out, is the natural beauty of the island and the carefree attitude of the people.

  • Last visit to Jamaica: Feb 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the Sun every year.”

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