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    Messages in a Bottle

    One Love - Planning Your Wedding!

    One Love - Planning Your Wedding!

    ONE LOVE: PLANNING YOUR CEREMONY IN THE LAND OF SURF, SAND, AND SUN

    It may not be wedding season in the northern hemisphere, but in Jamaica, it’s always wedding planning season. With a temperate year-round climate, adventure-packed destinations, and swoon-worthy scenery, planning a destination wedding has never been easier. We’ve got the what, where, when, and why for planning your Caribbean nuptials—all you need to decide is who you’ll invite!

    WHY JAMAICA
    Beautiful scenery, stunning beaches, and the perfect spot for celebrations both large and small. There are a million reasons to say to say “I do” beside the tranquil blue of the Caribbean Sea, and thousands of islands to tie-the-knot on, but we’re of the humble opinion that the some of the best times are had in Jamaica.

    Jamaica offers a little bit of everything in one package. It’s only fitting, as this is also the birthplace of the all-inclusive resort. Each trip to this verdant island offers an authentic and dynamic experience that can have you bobsledding down a mountain one day and sunning on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach the next. Dig into some jerk BBQ, spend the day sailing, and let the pulse of reggae summon you to the dancefloor. With exceptional airline and cruise port access, grand resorts and quaint boutique hotels, the number of ways to get away and stay in the land of One Love is unlimited.

    WHERE TO SAY I DO
    Montego Bay and Ocho Rios offer electric nightlife, fantastic restaurants, and a number of all-inclusive resorts for bigger bashes and groups seeking action-packed days.

    @sunsetchelle

    Negril gives off a casual vibe. With shops and resorts that dot top-rated Seven Mile Beach and boutique hotels that cling to Negril’s craggy cliffs, it’s a tropical getaway that’s never far away from a sunset bonfire or gourmet meal. Think barefoot on the beach with your love and 50 of your closest friends and family. The sunsets here are legendary, so plan a late afternoon ceremony to fully capture the magic of Negril.

    @jamaica_hd

    On the northeast coast, Port Antonio offers a quiet retreat for nature lovers with rustic surroundings. Waterfalls, the sea, and the mountains are all within minutes reach. Spend your honeymoon in serene seclusion or skip the big show altogether and elope in this magical part of the island.

     

    WHAT TO SEE
    Inviting friends and family to travel for your nuptials can seem like a big ask, so you want to make sure the destination you choose is a stellar one. Luckily Jamaica packs a ton to see and do, so your guests are guaranteed a good time. A variable wonderland, the Caribbean’s largest English speaking Island offers sparkling sugar-sand beaches, winding rivers, captivating waterfalls, and dense jungle surrounding steep mountain peaks—all on one 164-mile-long island. So whether you’re looking to plan a group itinerary or want to recommend something for your guests to do in their downtime, here are some must-sees in Jamaica:

    @discountexcursions

    Dive into fun – Covered with a layer of lush tropical foliage, Ocho Rios offers shopping, dining, beaches, and most importantly Jamaica’s best-kept secret—the Blue Hole. Take a scenic drive to these secluded and nearly untouched falls surrounded by lush greenery and exotic flowers. Plunge into tranquil blue waters from the surrounding cliffs, explore an underwater cave, hike the trails, or enjoy a private moment under the falls with your hubby to be.

    @TAJTours1

    Step Back in Time – Montego Bay is home to one of Jamaica’s most stunning and spooky national monuments. The Great House at Rose Hall Estates is a showcase of colonial architecture that hides a dark past of murder, mystery, and magic. Grab your wedding party and learn about the home’s former governess and resident spirit Annie, the White Witch of Rose Hall, as you walk the mahogany stairs down to the coral stone dungeon. Legend has it this is where Annie tortured her slaves. Sound familiar? Johnny Cash’s “The Ballad of Annie Palmer” is about this twisted tale.

    @designertraveler

    Cruise the Caribbean – Weddings cans be stressful, for you, your wedding party and everyone involved. What better way to unwind than a day of fun on the water with your crew, some brews and the sweet pulse of reggae on a catamaran cruise tour. Work on your tan as you sail between destinations, stopping to snorkel, snack, and hop on the aqua park at Margaritaville Caribbean Montego Bay.  Your own private club on the water, this luxury boat tour is the ultimate Caribbean experience.

    HOW TO DRESS
    There is no offseason in sunny Jamaica, no matter the time of year, you can expect warm temperatures and plenty of beach days. That being said, you will be dressing for one of the most important days of your life in addition to packing for a week full of fun. Remember while Jamaica has a reputation for being a laidback paradise, rocking up to a fancy restaurant like Marguerites in your shorts and flip-flops is not exactly encouraged. So we’ve compiled a cheat sheet of occasions and how to pack for them:

    @luv_bridal

    Wedding Ceremony – Keep it light and breezy. Ladies, including the bride, should look for lightweight fabrics like chiffon, organza, lace, even cotton blends that flow and are not clingy. Ocean breezes are real girls, so keep dresses tea length or longer to avoid disaster. Guys should stick to the basics. Think linen and cotton, button-down with slacks and a vest or linen suit jacket to keep it a little more formal. And, guys—leave the shorts at home today. The bridal party might want to consider flat or wedge shoes should the wedding not be inside or on a solid surface like a pier or gazebo, while the groomsmen should go for a spiffy deck shoe for comfort and ease. Pro Tip: The same attire principles apply to fine dining restaurants on the island, so pack a few fancy outfits.

    @irietravelandtours

    Outdoor Excursion – Layers are your friend when heading on a day-long excursion in Jamaica. You’ll likely be traveling through the jungle, visiting beaches, diving from cliffs, and hiking mountains and waterfalls. Shorts and a t-shirt over your swimsuit are your best bet and be sure to wear comfortable sneakers or aqua shoes that can grip slippery surfaces and take you from trail to water in a pinch. Add a baseball cap, sunnies, and a backpack to hold your camera, cash, and snacks, and you’re good to go.

    @mvillecaribbean

    Clubbing – Welcome to Jamaica’s hottest nightlife—Margaritaville After Dark. Our Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios locations all feature award-winning club nights throughout the week. From beach and pool parties to all-night dancing with some of the Caribbean’s best DJs and entertainers, you’re going to need some versatile attire. Ladies, this is your chance to break out the miniskirts and body con dresses you packed, while men can don a nice pair of slacks or jeans and a fitted t-shirt or button down.  There is a dress code, so make sure to check out the link above for details.

    Thinking about your Jamaican destination wedding? Margaritaville Caribbean offers bachelor and bachelorette party group event packages, daytime fun, and the best nightlife on the Island. Our employees are locals with all the hot tips, so reach outand start planning your Caribbean getaway today.

    Cruising the Caribbean - What You Need to Know

    Cruising the Caribbean - What You Need to Know

    Cruising the Caribbean: What You Need to Know

    Setting out on a Caribbean cruise? Here’s what you need to know to make it the best vacation ever, courtesy of Margaritaville Caribbean’s Island-time experts.

    We’re just a short stumble away from your ship
    Each of our locations are in Caribbean port cities and super close to your ship. In Falmouth and Grand Turk, we’re right in the cruise port area, and at Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman, a Cheeseburger in Paradise is just a short walk away. In Montego Bay, there isn’t much to see or do as soon as you disembark, so hop in a taxi, shuttle, or catamaran tour and meet us on the Hip Strip for a margarita or two.

    Book Shore Excursions in Advance
    Whether you want to make a splash at Dunn’s River Falls, zipline in Falmouth, or snorkel with rays along a reef in Grand Cayman, make sure you can actually do it by booking shore excursions in advance. You’ve only got so much time in port, don’t waste it chasing down tour operators. Many cruise lines offer online booking for excursions or have a discovery desk onboard that can help you book your adventure on land. Make sure to inquire about the Margaritaville Sail and Snorkel Catamaran beach break tour in Falmouth to get the full Caribbean experience. Or, if you’re looking to relax with a frosty drink on the beach in Grand Turk, why not ask your cruise director about booking one of our luxurious full-service cabanas?

    Dress (or Undress) the Part
    The weather down here? It’s hot, hot, hot! The coldest it usually gets in Jamaica during the winter is 76°F (25°C), so there’s no need for heavy clothing. Leave your jeans in your cabin—shorts and sundresses are ideal. And, if your hair has a habit of looking like Monica’s from that one episode of Friends in Barbados, consider bringing a hat or some extra product for that perfect laid-back, up-do.   

    Like a Boy Scout, Be Prepared
    Don’t get caught rocking that lobster look after a day by the pool. Sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hats—bring them all to protect yourself from that shining Caribbean sun. Stay hydrated! Drink water in between rounds of margaritas so you can keep the party going and avoid getting dehydrated. When it comes to identification, you’ll be issued a passenger ID card onboard, which acts as your pass for getting on and off the ship. Most cruise lines suggest bringing an additional piece of photo ID in case your passenger card isn’t enough in some places. The drinking age is 18 on most Caribbean islands, so if you still have a sweet little baby face, we definitely recommend bringing some ID.

    Ready. Set. Cruise! We can’t wait to welcome you to our Margaritaville Caribbean locations and show you what your Best Day Ever really looks like. Explore all of our locations here. Hopefully, we’ll see you at more than one. Cheers!

    Family Friendly Fun in Jamaica

    Family Friendly Fun in Jamaica

    FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN IN JAMAICA

    Sunny beaches, swaying palms, and crystal-blue turquoise waters—Jamaica offers everything you need for a relaxing getaway for two—or more. A favorite for destination weddings, honeymooners, and cruisers, Jamaica also offers the perfect mix of escape and excitement for family vacations. With its variety of natural wonders, stellar outdoor excursions, and fantastic entertainment venues discover why Jamaica should be on the top of your family travel list.

    GETTING ADVENTUROUS

    Kingston
    The capital city of Kingston offers all the tastes and rhythms of the Island. Take the family to the Bob Marley Museum to learn the history of reggae music and explore Marley’s collection of instruments from within one of his former homes. Kingston is only a two-hour drive from most major resort locations including Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril, and tours of the museum are easily booked through your hotel. While in Kingston, be sure to stop by historic Devon House to try some exotic ice cream flavors, which have been voted among the top ten by National Geographic. Kids can try fruit flavors native to the island, like guava, mango, and soursop, while adults can also enjoy alcohol spiked flavors like rum and raisin or Devon stout beer.

    Montego Bay
    Kingston may the Island capital, but Montego Bay is definitely the tourism capital. The city’s main coastal road known as the Hip Strip offers tons of shops and restaurants to explore including our personal favorite, Margaritaville Caribbean Montego Bay. Set right on the crystal clear bay, Margaritaville Caribbean’s aqua park includes water trampolines, a 120-foot slide and hours of fun for older kids. Many tour operators like Island Routes, Dreamer Catamarans, and Scuba Caribe offer catamaran cruises to Montego Bay that include snorkeling and a stop at Margaritaville Caribbean to enjoy the venue and grab a bite to eat. From here you can also visit Coral Cliff—Montego Bay’s newest gaming and entertainment venue opening June 2018.

    Negril
    Laid-back Negril offers plenty of natural beauty to explore including the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, where you’ll find Margaritaville Caribbean Negril. Stop by with the family for a delicious Cheeseburger in Paradise, bounce on the water trampoline, and a relaxing dip in the clear Caribbean Sea. Live entertainment, VIP beach service, and showers make it easy to stay all day, but the real reason you’ll want to languish beachside is for Seven Mile Beach’s renowned Negril sunsets.  To get everyone’s heart racing, a bucket-list worthy Black River Safari down the Great Morass is a must. Kids can see exotic birds, iguanas, lush tropical mangrove forests, and hundreds of toothy crocodiles—all in their natural habitat. Negril’s rocky coast also provides plenty of breathtaking cliffs to explore. For an adventure suitable for adults and older kids, head to YS Falls to hike the area’s seven waterfalls, swing into the cascading pools from a Tarzan rope, or float downstream on an inner tube. If you’re more the theme park type family, no worries, Negril also offers the crowd-pleasing Cool Runnings Water Park where lifeguard supervised waterslides, lazy rivers, wading pools, and more await.

    Ocho Rios
    The North Coast is go-go-go—and for good reason. There’s so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder Ocho Rios is a popular hotspot. Spend an afternoon climbing the famed Dunn’s River Falls and take in the outstanding views for the top of this 600-foot climb. The falls are multi-tiered and offer many places to stop, picnic, and exit along the way, so don’t be afraid to bring younger kids on this excursion. To see more of Ocho Rios while touring the Falls, take a Chukka catamaran combo tour with a stop at Margaritaville Caribbean Ocho Rios and refuel with filling lunch feature American favorites with a Caribbean-twist. Your little animal lovers will be blown away with a one-on-one marine encounter at Dolphin Cove. Older kids can swim with dolphins in a natural lagoon, participate in the swim with sharks and stingray programs, or kayak the surrounding waters. Daredevils young and old can see Jamaica from new heights at Mystic Mountain. Take in stunning views of waterfalls, the Caribbean Sea, and lush tropical rainforest as you ride up the mountain on a ski lift before taking a harrowing ride back down by zipline or bobsled.

    Falmouth
    Tucked between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios on the Gold Coast is one of Jamaica’s oldest and most stunning ports, Falmouth. A popular cruise spot, it’s the perfect place to stroll the streets to take in the colorful Georgian architecture and learn more about Jamaica’s history. Visit Columbus Park Museum and stand on the exact spot where Christopher Columbus first landed on the Island in the 16th century. Walk the grounds to read informative placards and see ruins, gardens, beaches, waterfalls, and historical artifacts—all set over stunning Discovery Bay. Just outside of Falmouth there are plenty of attractions and tours worthy of the drive. Sign up for a Chukka tour of Good Hope Plantation where you can wander its historic grounds, feed birds at the aviary, and splash around at Adventure Falls. Or, take a relaxing ride down the majestic Martha Brae River on a 30-foot bamboo raft, where your guide and raft captain will tell you about “The Legend of Martha Brae.” And, the adventure doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Treat the whole family to a nighttime tour of famed Luminous Lagoon’s mesmerizing bioluminescent waters. Watch as the bright blue waters glow and shimmer with each little disturbance, throwing a spotlight on fish and other organism living in the lagoon. With room for up to 30 people, everyone will enjoy a front row seat to this rare phenomenon.

    GETTING THERE
    Despite being an island, Jamaica couldn’t be easier to get to. The Island features two airports—Sangster International and Norman Manley International Airport—and three major cruise ports in Montego Bay, Falmouth, and Ocho Rios, offering you and yours a variety of ways to arrive in style.

    GETTING AROUND
    Regardless of the vacation you choose, you’ll have no trouble getting around. Most tour operators offer pick-ups from major hotels and resorts and many entertainment venues like Margaritaville Caribbean offer shuttles from select resorts.

    GETTING COMFY
    When it comes to finding a place to stay, there’s no shortage of choices on the island. Choose from pre-packaged, all-inclusive stays at one of the many family-friendly resorts on Jamaica’s west coast in cosmopolitan Montego Bay or laidback Negril, or choose an immersive and authentic experience at one of the Island’s smaller hotels near in Ocho Rios or Port Antonio.

    Not all family vacations have to involve mouse ears! Take a peek at our locations to discover family-friendly fun and bites for even the pickiest of eaters, and follow along with our blog for more tips, tricks, and Caribbean vacation inspiration.

    The Anatomy of a Margarita

    The Anatomy of a Margarita

    THE ANATOMY OF A MARGARITA
    Be adventurous and order the blue drink off the menu. Tropical drinks may be the butt of snobbish jokes, but any cocktail connoisseur worth their salt knows the history and tradition behind our favorite Caribbean-blue libations. The refreshing taste of a classic margarita, with the exciting addition of blue curacao, our License to Chill Margarita is classic with an island-twist. Follow along to make your own colorful creation, or better yet, join us at Margaritaville Caribbean to get a real taste of island life.