Did you know that Canadian travellers are Jamaica's second-biggest market? That's right, we can't resist this alluring beach destination!
Montego Bay is the hot spot for Jamaican travel. This lively city offers an escape for every type of adventurer, from thrill-seekers to history lovers. And for those who prefer luxury, Montego Bay is a treasure trove of high-class retreats.
For an all-inclusive adults-only experience, explore Sandals Royal Caribbean. Here's everything you need to know about this magical paradise.
Sandals Royal Caribbean is a secluded, intimate resort near Montego Bay. Guest can choose among 197 rooms, many with ocean views. Each space has a British-colonial design, with breezy linens and mahogany wood.
Book one of the 15 over-the-water bungalows on Sandals Cay for perfect sunset views. You heard that right! Sandals Royal Caribbean has a private island. The bungalows and buildings on Sandals Cay feature a South Asian flair for a unique adventure.
When we think of Jamaica, long sandy beaches and calm turquoise waters come to mind. But the island actually boasts an expanse of thick forests and two mountains. Mangroves and marshes are abundant throughout.
Jamaica has a rich variety of biodiversity. Endemic plants blanket the island, and local and migratory birds fill the skies. Visitors might have a chance encounter with a few reptiles and amphibians. Head to the beach to get up close and personal with manatees and turtles.
While you're in the water, explore the 763 km2 range of coral reefs that follow the coastline. Tropical fish and other aquatic life are easy to spot when snorkelling and swimming.
Getting to Sandals Royal Caribbean
Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is your starting point in Jamaica. Once you land, the drive to Sandals Royal Caribbean is a mere seven minutes.
This intimate retreat sits on a strip of man-made sandy beach near Mahee Bay. It's situated close to the centre of town where guests can enjoy shops, cafes, and restaurants. Several golf courses surrounded the area, making tee time a breeze!
Getting to the resort is easy, and getting there in style is even easier. Sandals Royal Caribbean provides complimentary airport transfers for all guests. Club Elite and Butler Elite members enjoy transfers in luxurious BMWs.
Local Language and Culture
The official language in Jamaica is English, but the dialect spoken by locals is Jamaican Patois. It blends elements of Jamaica's heritage to create a fast-paced, animated way of speech. You'll hear African, Spanish, French, and English influences if you listen closely.
Reggae music, dance, art, and food play a big part in Jamaican culture. You'll find many cultural centres, events, and activities around the island. The National Gallery of Jamaica is a must-see if you're an art lover.
As for food, jerk chicken is a culinary experience! Pair it with a Red Stripe and some bammies (cassava flatbreads) for the full flavour profile. Wherever you go in Jamaica, you'll feel the spice and tastes of this wonderful island.
Is It Beneficial to Know a Little Jamaican Patois?
You'll get by without any knowledge of Patois just fine. But if you want to explore the island and meet locals, learning a few phrases would be helpful. Jamaicans find it endearing when visitors speak their dialect, so you'll likely get a few smiles!
The Atmosphere at Sandals Royal Caribbean
Jamaica may have a slight reputation as a party destination, but you won't find that at the resort. Sandals Royal Caribbean caters to an upscale, older clientele who value luxury.
Romantic settings, world-class dining, and decadence will transport you to another world. Regardless, the dress code is casual because it's a beach resort, after all. And the drinks flow freely in this all-inclusive destination.
Sandals Royal Caribbean blends island hospitality with colonial traditions. Guests can enjoy afternoon tea and croquet on the lawns and lounge by the tranquil water. All in a perfect day's work!
How Do People Rate the Service?
The resort has a 4.5-star rating with over 7,000 reviews on TripAdvisor. Guests love the butler service included with Sandals Cay bungalows. The butlers are professionally trained to handle every request with grace and diligence.
Staff are friendly and customer-oriented, always willing to help in any way. Guests loved the restaurant servers for their quick delivery and pleasant manner.
This all-inclusive destination lives up to its description. Sandals Royal Caribbean is chock full of amenities and services. There's so much to do that you don't even have to leave the resort.
Sandals Royal Caribbean boasts nine gourmet restaurants with international flair. But for a true Caribbean experience, we recommend The Jerk Shack. With terraces right on the beach, you can enjoy traditional jerk-style cooking with a view.
Spices, a Pan-Caribbean fusion restaurant with sea views, is your go-to buffet service. Head there for breakfast or the lunch buffet to sample a wide variety of dishes.
International tastes will be satisfied with La Tavola, Bella Napoli, and Bombay Club. For haute cuisine, Le Jardinier is a must-try. We recommend the delectable grilled Caribbean lobster. Finish off with a cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a French pastry!
Be sure to book a reservation at Royal Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant on Sandals Cay. A fun bonus? You'll take a dragon boat to get there from the mainland!
For a lively good time and strong drinks, explore Cricketer's Pub. Most Sandals resorts include some version of a traditional British pub. Order a few pints of beer and some good, old pub food.
For a laid-back island atmosphere, don't miss The Mariner. This beachside bar and grill is the perfect location for fruity cocktails and light food. We love it for late lunches and mid-day snack runs!
If you find yourself in the pool and craving a drink, swim up to one of the pool bars and order an ice-cold margarita. When the sun goes down, head to the lobby piano bar for some music and refreshments. And don't leave without trying Jamaica's specialty, Appleton Estates rum!
Exclusive Off-Shore Private Island
Sandals Cay is truly the jewel of the complex. This tiny private island is a quick two-minute trip from the mainland. Boats travel to and fro all day, based on guests' needs. You can also opt to snorkel or kayak over.
The island includes 15 over-the-water bungalows with spectacular views. We enjoyed the secluded beaches and private Tahitian-style pool. At night, the beach comes alive with a bonfire, tiki torches, and reggae music.
Red Lane Spa
For an unparalleled relaxing experience, book a spa day at Red Lane Spa. Located on Sandals Cay, this tranquil retreat offers massages on the beach. Couples massage therapy is very popular, but the Himalayan salt stone massage is a standout option.
Natural, fruity body treatments and coffee scrubs leave your skin feeling silky smooth. And manicure and pedicure services will have you polished to perfection.
Sports and Recreation
Outdoor enthusiasts won't get bored with the sports and recreation offerings. Try your hand at croquet, bocce ball, or lawn chess. For something more intensive, join a game of beach volleyball or basketball.
If you're looking for a bit of peace, pick up a board game or deck of cards. Or spend your time playing pool and becoming a darts master!
To keep up with your workout goals, explore the fitness centre. You can also book private training sessions or make use of a variety of equipment.
Complimentary classes are available every day. They range from relaxing Aqua fitness classes to competitive tennis lessons. For something high energy, we love Jammin - a fun class that blends cardio and dance!
Imagine taking unlimited dives into the beautiful Caribbean waters with a certified instructor. At Sandals Royal Caribbean, you can! Scuba diving is included in your stay at the resort.
Whether you're brand new or a certified diver, you'll enjoy exploring the area. Montego Bay features ten dive sites, each with distinct charms and unique habitats. You'll be able to choose which site you want to explore based on your diving level.
For novices, we loved Stingray City. This easy dive leads the way to families of stingrays! These friendly sea creatures will allow you to swim with them and take pictures.
For those who love a little rush, the resort offers wakeboarding and waterskiing. Tubing and bodyboarding are two other exciting options to get you in the water. Guests can also enjoy kayaks, hobie cats, windsurfing, and snorkelling.
And we couldn't get enough of the Aquatrikes! These giant tricycles allow you to pedal through the waves and on the sand. Glide across the surface of the sea, and you might catch a few glimpses of tropical fish.
Day and Night Entertainment
As nighttime rolls around, the grounds transform into a magic fantasy. Sandals Royal Caribbean hosts theme nights each day of the week. Enjoy an All White Party on Monday night or a Reggae Fest on Saturday.
Beach parties, acrobats, dancers, and fire-eaters are some of the entertainment you should expect! Games and festivities usually start around 8 p.m and continue into the early morning.
The next day, enjoy leisurely activities by the pool or at the beach. Entertainment staff organize rousing games, offer dance lessons, and host classes.
If you need a short break from the beach and rum, sign up for an excursion. There's something for everyone with over 40 different options available!
Swim with dolphins, zipline in Montego Bay, or meet sharks in Ochos Rios. Enjoy a leisurely bamboo river raft on the Martha Brae River. Or take a cooking class so you can bring the taste of Jamaica back with you.
You cannot miss this extraordinary opportunity! Take a night cruise to the Luminous Lagoon and jump into the inky water. In the dark, surrounded by mangroves, you'll spot millions of tiny dinoflagellates.
These tiny creatures produce a phosphorescent blue light, creating a glowing effect. This magical spot is a short 30 minutes away from the resort.
Dunn's River Falls
Near Ocho Rios, you'll find the famous Dunn's River Falls. This breathtaking waterfall is 55 metres high and 180 metres long. But this activity isn't for the faint of heart. Climbing to the top takes about one to one a half hours, but the views are worth it.
On the west side of the island lies Negril, a small resort town. Explore the historic town centre on your trip or try cliff jumping and diving. Lounge on Seven Mile Beach or discover the shops, restaurants, and hotels found along the coast.
Is the Sandals Royal Caribbean Kid-Friendly or Adults Only?
The tranquility and quiet that come with your stay mean it's an adults-only resort. Children under 18 are not allowed on the Sandals Royal Caribbean property.
Is It Safe to Travel off the Resort Alone?
The Government of Canada travel advisory suggests using a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to violent crime. They specify that violence against tourists is fairly uncommon, but it's vital to be wary. As long as you use common sense and purchase travel insurance, leaving the resort will be safe. Always let the front desk know where you intend on going for safety, but other travellers have found that Jamaica is reasonably safe when travelling alone.
Are There Extra Costs to be Aware Of?
The Sandals Royal Caribbean is all-inclusive, so there are no extra costs. The only budget you have to factor in is your independent exploring.
Best Time to Visit Sandals Royal Caribbean
November and early December are the ideal months for your Jamaican vacation. This pre-peak season means fewer crowds, better deals, and fine weather. Peak season runs from mid-December to April when the weather is excellent.
We recommend Sandals Royal Caribbean for couples or solo travellers looking for flawless service. If you're seeking that quintessential, luxurious Caribbean vacation, this is the spot!
World-class dining options, casual beach vibes, and colonial history are the key features here. The rooms are private, airy, and immaculately decorated. And the grounds are stunning and offer little nooks and crannies for exploring.
We love the over-the-water bungalows on Sandals Cay. It feels like a private retreat in the middle of the sea. In this sense, it's like having access to two very different resorts for the price of one.
Is it kid-friendly?
Is it safe to travel off the resort alone?
Best time to visit
November - mid-December
What Are You Waiting For? Book Your Trip Today!
Jamaica is the land of sunny beaches, reggae music, and mouth-watering food. Using Sandals Royal Caribbean as your home base will allow you to explore the island as you please!
Whether you plan to stay at the resort or venture out, travel insurance is essential. Getting caught in an international emergency without a plan will ruin an incredible trip.