Created: July 2014
Written by Trish Hinds
After vacationing with my husband in Jamaica, I took my two kids (ages 7 & 10) to the Riviera Maya south of Cancun in Mexico. We visited two resorts, the first of which was the NOW Jade Riviera Cancun. Located outside of Puerto Morales, this resort has something for everyone! Part of the AM Resorts Brand, NOW resorts cater to singles, doubles and families. The resort is split into two halves, one side of regular junior suites and a Preferred Club side. We were booked into a Junior Suite Preferred Club which had a separate living area and a gorgeous bedroom and bathroom. We enjoyed a beautiful ocean view overlooking the adults only pool area and the best part of the beach is on the this side of the resort as well. The pool is just for adults, but the beach is open to all guests.
We enjoyed the family pool located on the other side of the resort with a great swim up bar, pool activities and lots of seating. The fruit "smoothies" from the swim up bar were my kids favorite part of each day! The beach on the family side is rocky (water shoes are highly recommended) but we made our way down to the other side of the resort and the beach there was spectacular. There is a Kids Club with great activities for ages 4-12 and also a teens club with video games and other activities.
On our day of arrival we enjoyed a la carte lunch at a wonderful restaurant "Castaways" next to the family pool. We ate at the international buffet, "Carnival" most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner but we did have a delightful Italian Dinner at "Capers" one evening. My favorite part of the resort was the evening atmosphere. The lobby is surrounded by shops, restaurants, bars, a theater and there is live entertainment each evening. Movies under the stars are shown each evening for the kids outside the kids club and two nights a week they set up a beautiful open air market for all the local vendors to sell their wares.
We enjoyed a couple of great excursions while in Riviera Maya, the first being "Selvatica" which was an amazing zipline tour that my kids absolutely loved. The staff and team at "Selvatica" are amazing to work with and really helped make it a safe and fun experience for my kids. Their favorite part was the Water Zipline at the end of the tour that shot them out over a beautiful cenote and a thrilling drop of 20 feet! They must have done this 30 times each!
On our last day, we took a cab into Puerto Morales with another family we had met and did a snorkeling tour with a local Diving Company that specializes in tours for kids. "Aquanauts" (http://aquanautsdiveadventures.com/home.html) is a first rate dive company on the beach in Puerto Morales and they did a great job making my kids comfortable with all the equipment and helping them see some amazing underwater sealife. Amazing trip!
Created: June 2014
Written by Trish Hinds
Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away have always been two of my top selling resorts in Jamaica, especially for honeymooners. I had toured these properties on two separate trips, but I was so happy to finally be visiting for a week with my husband in July. We first stayed at Couples Negril for 4 nights, and quickly fell in love with this resort. I have never been to such a laid back, relaxing, amazing property in my 20 years of travel!
Although small in size, there were 4 specialty restaurants offering a wonderful variety of dining experiences. The food was delicious and even the buffet offered great variety each day. Service was impeccable, with everyone making sure that we had everything we needed at all times. The bartenders at the swim up bar were very fun and made sure we were never without a drink. My favorite part of the hotel is that they have foam pool mattresses on every chair around the pool AND on the beach. What a relaxing way to while away the days, floating in the pool or ocean. The beach is one of the best I’ve ever experienced, with calm, clear blue water and soft sand without rocks and seaweed.
The best part about Couples is they offer some amazing watersports and excursions in their all inclusive package. You can snorkel twice a day, take a glass bottom boat tour, scuba dive and experience all kinds of water sports. Plus you can take a trip into town for shopping, visit Margaritaville and a fun Cliffside Bar to watch the divers. They even offer night snorkeling (there is an extra charge for that) to see some of the sea creatures that only come out at night. We saw lobster, an octopus, sting rays and more. What a unique experience!
We headed over to Couples Swept Away next for 3 nights and checked into the new section of Garden Verandah Suites. This resort was expanded a few years ago, so it is about twice as big as Couples Negril and a bit more spread out. The rooms are more modern here and they have some amazing suites located right on the beach. Food and service were great here as well and we enjoyed an amazing meal each night at a different restaurant.
The beach here is even more amazing (if that's possible) and we enjoyed the water sports and swim up bar there as well. I can't say enough wonderful things about both of these resorts, there location, beach, staff and everything they offer is top notch and provides you with an unforgettable vacation experience.