April 13, 2024

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Jammin’ Jamaica – the family friendly paradise isle | Beach Holidays | Travel

5 min read

Joy in Jamaica

From adrenaline thrills to peaceful relaxation, there’s something for everyone in Jamaica (Image: Beaches)

Where to stay

On a budget: Hotel RIU Ocho Rios

At first glance, the Hotel RIU Ocho Rios is mind-blowingly ginormous. And indeed it is big – 900 rooms big to be exact, with space for up to 2300 guests. 

But its size means there are great prices to be had, which slash the cost of your tropical holiday. Rooms start from just £125 per night per person, making it one of the more affordable five star options on the island. Decor is slightly dated in some, but an ongoing refurb aims to modernise. 

As you roam around the hotel, it feels well spaced, staffed and stocked – never jam packed. There are four a la carte restaurants, a large main buffet, and plenty of bars for your pina coladas. 

Of all its facilities, its natural wonder – the beach – is its highlight, a beautiful stretch of pristine white sand, with visiting sandpiper birds and calm, warm waters. Dotted about the complex are five good-sized pools, with some adult-only areas too. 

With an extensive water park, kids pools and tailored entertainment, RIU is extremely family friendly. Kids are welcomed and well looked after. 

If you’re on a budget and looking for a five star all inclusive in Jamaica – this could be just the ticket. 

*Prices at Hotel RIU Ocho Rios start from US $159.00 per person per night, based on double occupancy

RIU Ocho Rios

RIU Ocho Rios (Image: RIU Ocho Rios / TUI)

A little slice of luxury: Beaches Negril 

For families looking for a truly luxurious experience, Beaches Negril is unbeatable. From the moment you arrive you and your little ones are well taken care of, with attentive and personalised service. Staff remember faces and names, making the experience really special. With a little water park on site, a great Elmo-themed kids club, and a soft play for the over-4s, there’s plenty to do, even on rainy days. Elsewhere there are activities like bingo to keep you entertained during the day, and a changing schedule of nightly entertainment. The weekly Elmo carnival – with dancing and games for the kids – was brilliant. 

Each of the 197 rooms are spacious, modern and comfortable – varying in size and price bracket. Some room packages, including the new Eventide Penthouse Suite, come with a butler service and daily pagoda use, for the ultimate in relaxation. 

The beach, paradisiacal and quiet, is gorgeous, with little yellow floating pods on which to wile away the hours. Water sports and snorkelling equipment are included for you to explore the gently lapping sea. 

Completely all inclusive, there is a great selection of a la carte restaurants to choose from, with a teppanyaki and a Mexican topping the highlights. There’s a buffet too, with top notch food. Drinks are premium brands and ever-plenty. 

A little slice of Jamaican luxury for the whole family. 

*Prices at Beaches Negril start from £2,025 per adult and £299 per child (aged 2-11) for seven-nights’ all-inclusive accommodation, based on two adults and one child sharing a lead in room.

*Seven-nights in a Grande Luxe King room starts from £2,025 per adult and £299 per child (aged 2-11). Price includes Luxury-Included (all-inclusive) accommodation, daily and nightly entertainment, land and water sports, resort transfers and includes £125 discount with promocode ‘JAN125’ when booked by 31st January 2024. 

*Seven-nights for 12 adults sharing an Eventide Penthouse Three Bedroom Balcony & Roof Terrace Butler Suite starts from £2,185 per person, which includes Butler Elite service, 24-hour room service and more.

Beaches Negril

Beaches Negril (Image: Beaches)

Things to do

Walk up a waterfall 

I must admit, when we arrived at the bottom of the Dunn’s River Falls waterfall and looked up, all three of us almost backed out of climbing up it. But what an experience it was. So how does it work? Led by an experienced guide, in groups you are taken on a safe route up the waterfall, walking against the water as it descends. It’s as exhilarating as it is beautiful, with stops along the way to take pictures and slide into pools. 

Water shoes are required, as is a waterproof phone case, as getting soaked is unavoidable. 

To book, visit Tripadvisor

Dunn's Falls

Dunn’s Falls (Image: Jamaica Tourist Board)

Jump into the Blue Hole 

Nearby to the Dunn’s River Falls, the water play continues with the Blue Hole. As the name suggests, it’s a selection of deep natural water pools into which you jump from platforms and ropes. The location is gorgeous, set inside the jungle with a powerful waterfall providing the natural soundtrack to proceedings. 

There’s a small waterfall too to climb, if your fix at Dunn’s wasn’t enough. 

With big jumps and steep drops, the Blue Hole isn’t suitable for really little ones, although lifejackets are provided to keep them safe as they watch their parents dive in. 

To book, visit Tripadvisor

Blue Hole

Blue Hole (Image: Jamaica Tourist Board)

Pay homage to Bob Marley 

From the paintings in the airport, to the songs played on the soundsystem of every taxi on the island, you’re never far away from a reminder that Bob Marley, one of history’s greatest musicians, hailed from Jamaica. And there are plenty of places to pay homage to the great man. First up, The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston is a must, situated on the site of his home and turned into a gallery by his wife Rita in 1987. A total treasure trove of memorabilia, it features countless possessions along with photographs and information about his life and work. 

Elsewhere, in Nine Mile, towards the north of the island, lies a smaller museum marking Bob Marley’s birthplace. A more intimate affair awaits visitors, with a potted history, his former house and mausoleum where the reggae star and his mother were laid to rest. A fascinating, moving and important experience. 

Bob Marley Museum

The Bob Marley Museum (Image: Sandals)

Eat at Rick’s Cafe 

Rick’s Cafe tends to top most ‘what to do’ lists in Jamaica when it comes to food and drink – but why? Well, it’s family friendly for a start and authentic – with delicious local food, cooked fresh with local ingredients. And then there are the sunset views, unbeatable on the island. Finally, for thrill seekers, cliff jumping provides hours of adrenaline-fueled fun. 

Rick's Cafe

Rick’s Cafe at sunset (Image: Rick’s Cafe)

How to get there

Direct flights from the UK take around nine to 10 hours. For those travelling with kids, TUI is a great choice with return flights starting from around £650 per person from London Gatwick to Montego Bay. We flew in economy class, which was more than spacious enough. Kids get their own special in-flight meals with their names on them, are greeted with warmth and smiles by the crew and welcomed on board. Of course, the in-built screens do the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping little ones entertained throughout the flight, and there was a good selection of U and PG films on there. 


Paradise beach in Jamaica (Image: Beaches)

Music in Jamaica

Jammin’ Jamaica (Image: Jamaica Tourist Board)


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