What to expect upon arriving in Jamaica and at your Sandals Resort
Travel tips for first timers to the Jamaican sandals resorts
When your plane touches down at Sangster International Airport in Jamaica you will have to get your bags and then clear customs. Once through customs there will be many people wanting to help you with your bags etc. I'd suggest just getting your own stuff over to the Sandals Tour desk.
Here you'll find a Sandals rep who will put stickers on your bags so they know which Sandals resort they should go to. A skycap in the red had will then load your bags and take them to the bus.
Keep in mind these are not Sandals employees and they will expect a tip. I believe $2.00 USD per bag is customary. If you don't want to tip, I'd suggest being upfront that you'll take your own bags. Being that Jamaicans are very good hosts they will likely tell you to not worry and try and carry your stuff anyway. My advice is go with it and enjoy your vacation.
Keep in mind these are not Sandals employees and they will expect a tip
Once at your bus you will likely have to wait a bit for others to board etc. I'd suggest wandering down the parking lot and getting a couple Red Stripes. Whether headed to Negril or Ocho Rios you're in for a long ride and you'll feel better if your refreshed. You can even drink your strips on the bus.
If your headed to Negril expect a total trip time of 1.5 hours. You'll stop at the Apple bar for Red Stripes and a potty break. Again just go with it, don't be that guy on the bus complaining because we stopped.
If your headed to Dunn's River or Ocho Rios you have a longer ride. Because the road is still under construction expect a two hour ride with the customary stop for drinks and jerk chicken.
Sip on a cocktail and walk around the resort
At the resort you'll be seated in the lobby. Men will be instructed to hang back to ensure all bags are accounted for. I'd suggest in advance making sure your man knows what your bags look like. (I didn't) I just expected my wife to watch hers and I'd watch mine.
When all bags are accounted for your man will join you in the lobby. Sometimes you will receive a damp towel and most times a glass of champagne.
Soon after a host will collect your travel papers and return with a bag full of aloe lotion and suntan lotion as well as you room key. From here a bell hop will take your bags and you to the room. If you have any objections to your room now is the time to voice them. In our case our bell hop called the desk and we had a new room immediately.
From here, I'd suggest a drink and a walk around the resort. If your in time for the orientation get right in there it will help you get adjusted to what happens when. If not then try to hit that the next day. I know it sounds dumb but we would have been up to speed immediately had we gone our first visit.
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Annalie Coetzer Travel Oholic and Lifestyle Blogger
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