By Gina Guerra Burgos, Taking the Kids correspondent
Day 1 — May 16 — We were so excited to have been invited to the Beaches Resort in Ocho Rios! Having just been to Jamaica for the day most recently in March, my husband Rob, our four year-old daughter Jude and I were all looking forward to spending a few more days in this warm, beautiful country. After a very long flight and an even longer car ride we finally made it! Before I get into the trip, I have some very important travel tips to share with you.
It’s about a two hour ride from the airport in Montego Bay to Ocho Rios so if you can afford it, fly direct. Any layover will make the trip seem extremely long. All together we were traveling for a total of 12 hours from NYC. Our transport van from the airport was stocked with sandwiches, chocolate and drinks to make the ride as comfortable as possible and traveling with a small child you need all the help you can get.
When we arrived at Beaches Ochos Rios, the welcome staff immediately swept Jude up to get ready for the carnival parade with the Sesame Street characters. She was given a glittery crown and had her face painted right off the van. She instantly forgot about the long day of travel and was immersed in the fun and activities.
Rob and I were given some Rum Punches and we all joined in the parade. There were people in grand vegas-style costumes, a full marching band with dancers, stilt walkers and every Sesame Street character you could think of: Elmo, Abbey, Zoe, Bert, Ernie, Oscar, Cookie Monster, The Count, Super Grover and Big Bird! Once you see these Sesame Street characters dance here in Jamaica I’m sure you’ll agree that the personality and the dance moves were bar none the best and most entertaining I’ve ever seen!
Check out the resort’s webpage for the full list of Sesame Street activities and the special upgrade packages, like a character tuck-in and the character breakfast, and a schedule of all the weekly Sesame Street activities. There is also information about the Kid’s Camp, where a whole host of Sesame and non-Sesame activities take place. And for the bigger kids, a huge Xbox room filled with consoles and a craft room with more Martha Stewart punches than a craft store is just the beginning of amenities and activities.
It had only been a few hours since our arrival and already it is clear what a wonderful hotel Beaches Ocho Rios is and the staff could not have be nicer, more attentive or more accommodating. After a delicious dinner at Neptune’s Restaurant where we sat at a table on the pier over the ocean, we were shown to our room. If a suite is in your budget, you will not be disappointed. Separate bedroom and living room areas, two TVs (which impressed Jude the most) and a double balcony overlooking the ocean – it was spectacular.
A little Grover doll waiting on the bed invited Jude to a happy slumber after such a long and exciting day.