Monday, August 27, 2012

Honeymoon!! Coyaba Beach Resort & Club, Montego Bay Jamaica

I know I haven't posted about the wedding yet, believe me that's coming (it was perfect), and I'm doing things backwards but I wanted to talk about our Honeymoon first.  It was amazing and I want to share.

We had our Honeymoon location picked pretty early in our wedding planning process.  Once we were engaged, and to be totally honest, a little bit before, we were looking at online deal websites like Groupon and Living Social to find vacation deals.  It didn't take too long before a deal for Montego Bay, Jamaica came up on Living Social and we jumped on it.  For less than $1000 we had 5 nights at an all-inclusive resort, Coyaba Beach Resort & Club.

We knew going into the trip that it was a small resort with amazing staff and a quiet, private beach.  We upgraded to a Junior Suite so we would have a larger room with a sitting area.  We knew there were 3 restaurants, two for dinner and one for lunch, and that's about it.  The reviews on TripAdvisor are for the most part very positive and we were excited.  When we got there, the resort blew away our expectations.

Panoramic view of the beach at Coyaba
As soon as we walked into the resort we were met with smiles and friendly staff.  Check-in was a breeze and we were taken to our room by Richard who showed us around the property and explained how things worked.  We had paid for the trip up front, so we knew all we would have to pay at checkout would be tips and anything else we chose to add, taxes were even paid for.  It was a really nice feeling checking in that way!

We got to the hotel around 5:00pm so we had missed the good sun for laying out and we were a bit early for dinner so we explored the room and the beach before dinner started at 7:00.  Our room was on the third floor in the 200 building.  Each building has 17 or 18 rooms, I honestly can't remember if they went to 18, but we were in 217 so I know it went that high.  We had a giant king size bed, it was hard, but comfy, a sofa area, large TV and a great balcony looking out over the pool and then to the beach.

View of our room from the entry.  The fan and AC were great - we woke up freezing our first morning.  No worries about being hot!

The view from our balcony.  We didn't spend much time on the balcony because we were really only in our rooms at night and there were mosquitoes!  But look at what we saw every morning!!!
You can see from our view that the pool was pretty small.  No swim-up bar at this resort.  For a hot minute I wanted to pick a resort with a large pool and then I thought about it.  Did I really want a resort that was big enough for a swim up bar???  NO.  We wanted something small and intimate.  You can also see in the picture above the dock on property.  We spent a lot of time out there and loved every minute.

View of the room from the balcony.  The bathroom is behind the bed, with the light on.

Look how high our ceiling was!  There was definitely room for a second story or loft.  

When we arrived we had banana bread - it was delicious and we finished it almost immediately.  
After we checked out the room and hung up our nice clothes we took a walk out to the beach and the dock.

The beach from the dock.  Because it was almost dinner time, the beach was pretty empty - just the way we liked it!

The water was that calm every day until the afternoon breeze kicked in.
Dinner was served either in the main restaurant or upstairs at the bar.  You could get standard bar food at the bar or the menu from the dining room.  We ate 4 nights downstairs and one night upstairs with our favorite bartender on Stephen's birthday.

The Polo Lounge Bar. 
We were surprised that Jamaican TV is essentially American TV.  Every night we were able to watch American sports - NFL preseason games and MLB games.  The food was delicious.  It wasn't 5 star restaurant food, but it was delicious and the menu for dinner switched up every night so we weren't eating the same thing over and over again.

The rest of the trip was basically spent like this:
Wake up at 7am (I know it sounds early, but it never felt early and we never had trouble getting out of bed)
Eat breakfast
Head to the beach
Have lunch around noon
Back to the beach chairs until 3:00 or 4:00
Back to the room for a nap or a snack
Dinner at 7:00
Bar after dinner
Bed time

We had a lot of plans for excursions 3 or the 4 days of our trip and we decided that we enjoyed laying on the beach much, much more.  We did take a boat out to the reef that was about 200 yards off the beach for some snorkeling. We saw an eel, a few stingray a puffer fish and Stephen found his wedding band on the bottom of the ocean floor, too.  Yes, it had fallen off and he found it again.  God Bless America.

Sunsets were gorgeous from the dock

We decided to have a little fun with the sun as it was setting one evening

This is how I spent most of my time at the beach.  The other time I was in the shade or swimming in the ocean.  I love my Kindle!

Stephen took this picture from one of the paths that led out to the beach.
 Day one we spent some time in the hammock above, it was shaded and lovely.

Sleepy Stephen

Check out that sunset.  The island in the picture is owned by the Sandals Resort about a mile from our resort.

This basically sums up how I felt the entire trip.

The staff at the hotel was A.Maz.Ing.  Everyone knew our names by the second day, especially the bartenders, and they were all so happy to help us with anything we needed.  There wasn't a request that they denied us.  Shout out to Gladstone, the best bartender at the resort.

Something that we didn't expect to happen while we were on our honeymoon was to meet other couples.  Because the resort was so small and you ate every meal at the same time as the other guests by the third day we were friendly with a few couples around our age.  We learned that there was one other American couple and the rest of the resort was filled with couples and families from Europe.  And most of those couples were from either Holland or Belgium.  Getting to know the other couples was fascinating, we learned so much about other cultures, vacation schedules and languages - our time at the bars was like a learning experience, with alcohol.  Did you know that while we each have 10 vacation days total for the year, other countries have 30 days!!!??!?!  Most of the people we met were at the resort for 16 days.  I'm not sure I've EVER been on vacation for 16 days.  We're doing it wrong, America.

Stephen's birthday was the Thursday we were in Jamaica, our last full day on the island.  For his birthday I bought us a trip to go deep sea fishing for 2 hours and then an hour snorkeling out in the deeper waters.  Sadly, we didn't catch anything besides a GIANT log being used as a trap marker for another fisherman.  However, the snorkeling was more than I could have every imagined.
Heading out to sea to try to find some fishes!!  HEEEERRRREEEE Fishy fishy fishy
Some serious hooks
I don't have any pictures because we didn't bring any underwater gear, but it was far better than what we had seen around the hotel.  The water had to have been over 100 feet deep and it was coral and fish as far as you could see.

Leaving Jamaica was pretty sad.  We had 5 days of relaxation, no phones or computers and just each other. Coming back to the real world was awful.  While we aren't living on a Caribbean island in paradise, we have each other.  This is the happiest I've ever been in my entire life.  I'm married to the man of my dreams, we have an adorable home and the two sweetest dogs in the entire world.  

Just for fun - check out Goose the day after we got home.  I think he was happy to have Stephen back.

Goose fell asleep with Stephen.  He was snoring like a man, 100% content.  Look how big he is!!

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