So, my friend Sandy Fardie is back and this time she is telling about her amazing trip to Sandals Montego Bay, Jamaica - it is so worth the read - so much so it takes two blogs to read through!!!!
It’s the end of March 2021. COVID cases are on the downward trend, my husband and I are both fully vaccinated, and we are personally feeling that it is safe to travel as long as we pick the right destination and remain careful. Like most of you, we were more than anxious to get away after the past 15 months of isolation and cancelled vacations. We wanted to do an All-Inclusive resort vacation, so we chose to take a trip to Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica!
Why Jamaica and why Sandals you ask? Sandals and her sister brand Beaches Resorts are 5-star, All-inclusive luxury resorts with various levels of accommodations and tons of included amenities. Sandals and Beaches COVID safety protocols are above and beyond the basic recommended safety requirements.
Jamaica has opened its doors to tourism and is a short flight from Florida. The weather is a perfect 85 degrees and oh – those beckoning turquoise Caribbean ocean waters! Sounded like just what we needed!
Sandals Resorts are adults-only while Beaches Resorts are family friendly. Both are All-inclusive resorts. There are 6 Sandals properties and 2 Beaches properties in Jamaica. Since it was just my husband and I, we opted to choose an adults-only Sandals Resort. I was able to find availability at Sandals Montego Bay, so we scheduled our trip for the end of April, 2021.
Travel requirements to Jamaica were straightforward and easy to complete. Passports (that do not expire within 6 months of your arrival date) are required. All travelers ages 12 and up are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR, NAA, RNA) or Antigen test based on a sample taken within 3 days of arrival.
A Travel Authorization Application for each traveler must be completed on-line through Jamaica’s government travel website within 7 days of arrival. Jamaica also requires approved medical insurance (not to be confused with your typical travel protection insurance) that covers any potential COVID-19 related medical and quarantine expenses incurred while on the island. This additional insurance was included in our Sandals package at no additional cost. Proof of vaccination was not required and played no factor in the entry requirements – at the time we traveled it did not replace the need for a negative COVID test.
The airline will validate that all your travel documents are in order before you will be issued a boarding pass. I advise that you carry a printout for each traveler of your COVID test results; the approved Travel Authorization Form; and proof of the required medical insurance. Boarding will be denied if any of these documents are not in order – there are no exceptions.
For travel to Montego Bay there is a service bundle you can purchase called Club Mobay. This provides VIP personalized passage through customs upon arrival and departure and a lounge to wait in for your transfer to the resort or your departing flight. It was well worth the cost.
Sandals also has a lounge at the airport complete with snacks and beverages while you await your complimentary shuttle to take you and your luggage to the resort. Sandals Montego Bay is about a 10 minute ride from the airport, which is a good thing because in Jamaica they drive on the left side of the road and the roads are narrow! It takes some getting used to and its hairy watching the driver skillfully navigate a rotary in the opposite direction!
Safety protocols are prominent as we were asked to sanitize our hands prior to boarding the shuttle and to wear our masks.
Part 2 will take you on our resort stay!!!
Sandy Fardie is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters and Castles Travel. She loves planning vacations for her clients as much as she loves planning her own. She specializes in all Disney Destinations as well as Caribbean Destinations via a variety of cruise lines and all-inclusive resorts. She has experience planning honeymoons; single family and multi-generational family vacations; and group travel.
You can learn more about Sandy at https://www.travelcnc.com/sandy