Jamaica: Beyond the Resort

Hello Vacationers,

Hopefully, you are staying healthy and as happy as possible during this time. Need a break from your busy schedule? Take a minute to escape with us to explore the beautiful country of Jamaica.

We all know that Jamaica is known for its great beaches and tropical sunsets, but there is a lot more to do than go to the beach. Although this is a great way to spend a vacation, some people want to be able to do a little more and see Jamaica and all the things that it has to offer. Here is a list of some of the most amazing things to do in Jamaica that don’t involve sitting on the beach and catching some rays.

Water Other Than the Beach

Blue Hole– This beautiful “cenote” type body of water is rumored to be bottomless, according to locals. The turquoise blue water is surrounded by some of the tremendous tropical greenery that makes Jamaica beautiful. It is the perfect place for some snorkeling, swimming, and many people love to jump in from the vines in the trees that surround the Blue Hole.

See the source image

Figure 1 https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/1*Wj8VVPmqkaq9gd-AJ8V_zQ.jpeg

Swimming with Horses– This is an attraction that is offered at some of the resorts across Jamaica, such as Half Moon Resort. These resort train thoroughbred horses to swim with visitors on their backs. Many people say that riding a horse is a spiritual experience, imagine getting into the water with these majestic creatures who, by the way, are great swimmers.

Into the Mountains

Mystic Mountain Nature Park– There are vast mountainous areas to see in Jamaica as well, including the mountains of Ocho Rios. Whether it is on their “bobsled”-like rollercoaster or zip line, visitors can explore the 700-foot-high peak of Mystic Mountain. It is splendid fun that is a great way to see Jamaica in a way that most people don’t consider.

See the source image

Figure 4 https://cdn.projectexpedition.com/photos/56f893fa850e8_sized.jpg

The Blue Mountains– The Blue Mountain range is the longest mountain range on the island of Jamaica. These mountains are lush with tropical forests, and they are the perfect setting for camping, hiking, and biking. Who considers camping when they are in Jamaica?

See the source image

Figure 5 https://www.tripsavvy.com/thmb/CecNYylVYRgfU1-amIa3e9a9WHw=/960×0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/jamaica-blue-mountains-574370583-58fdf0283df78ca159ac533e.jpg

Great Places to Eat

Rick’s Café– Rick’s Café in Negril, Jamaica, sits atop beautiful 35-foot tall cliffs overlooking the ocean. Aside from the great food and drinks, visitors can go to cliff jump off these cliffs. Some daredevils even jump from the trees and other buildings that line these cliffs. Then some want to enjoy the Jamaican sunset from these cliffs.

See the source image

Figure 6 https://img.locationscout.net/images/2017-09/ricks-cafe-in-negril-jamaica-jamaica_l.jpeg

Most think of the beaches of Jamaica when they are looking for things to do, but take the time to look into what is around, and you may find some memorable experiences. Jamaica has a beautiful culture and a landscape that is just as diverse as anywhere else. There are great people, tropical wildlife, and things to do inland and on the coast. Just expand your horizons and see all the things that Jamaica has to offer.

Whether you are looking for travel inspiration or are looking to book your next adventure. Contact us 833-481-8222 or info@genuinevacation.com

Planning a Vacation? 4 Reasons Why You Need a Travel Agent

Whether it’s a family trip, group travel, or spring break, the average American spends 17 days a year on vacation. How can you ensure you make the most of those precious vacation days?

The key to a fun, safe, and affordable vacation lies in using the right travel agent. But don’t just Google “travel agent near me.”

Here are 4 reasons why you should entrust your next vacation to a local, experienced travel agency.

1. Better Budgeting

The average summer vacation costs just under $2,000. Depending on your budget, this could be a drop in the bucket—or it could completely break the bank.

Chances are you’re interested in having a great time on vacation without emptying your savings account. Unless you have unlimited income, you want to make sure your hard-earned dollars are well-spent.

Part of your travel agent’s job is making sure you have an awesome trip on a budget that works for you. Together you can select accommodation and activities you can enjoy and afford.

2. Expert Knowledge

Is it your first time traveling to Europe, Southeast Asia, or New York City? Are you basing your travel planning on random blogs or comments from travel sites?

Doesn’t it make more sense to have a travel expert guide you through the process? Travel agents have been there and done that (in a good way). 

They know the best time of year to visit Rome. They know how to find affordable hotels in Manhattan. They know the best beaches in Florida for spring break. Take advantage of that wealth of knowledge!

3. Peace of Mind

Do you have all the travel documents you need for your vacation? What if something goes awry before or during your trip?

Using a travel agency ensures every scenario is covered. Your agent will ensure you have everything you need before you depart, like visas or travel insurance.

That way, if you get sick or the airline loses your luggage, someone will be there to help you out. A travel agent wants to make sure you have the best trip possible, so they’ll be there for ongoing support during every phase of your vacation.

4. Insider Resources

If you try to book everything yourself, how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal? What if you miss out on that great new restaurant that just opened or that seat upgrade you weren’t aware of?

Travel agents have the inside scoop on everything travel-related. They’re aware of the latest and greatest hotels, restaurants, and activities at your chosen destination.

Best of all, they have special access to vacation planning that allows them to find the best prices in the best places. Your agent can get you that upgraded room or dinner reservation you may not be able to get on your own.

Need Help Planning a Vacation?

Sure, you could sit on the computer for endless hours researching your next trip. But doesn’t it make more sense to leave the vacation planning to a travel expert?

The sooner your travel arrangements are in place, the sooner you can sit back, relax, and enjoy them. 

Do you live in Michigan? Are you seeking an expert travel agent in Grand Rapids MI? Click here to contact our full-service travel agency.

Together we can plan the vacation of your dreams!

How to Plan the Perfect Destination Wedding

Have you always dreamed of exchanging vows in a tropical paradise? What about on a mountainside oasis, surrounded by your closest family and friends?

If so, a destination wedding is ideal!

Combining the best elements of a vacation with the biggest celebration of your life, this is the perfect way to begin your new journey together. The only issue?

Planning a wedding at home can be challenging enough. Throw in the logistics of doing it all from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, and it doesn’t take much for the stress to snowball.

Feeling a little anxious about how you’ll juggle it all? That’s why we’re here.

Today, we’re sharing our go-to guide to help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams. We’ve taken care of the legwork for you, so all you have to do is make a checklist and start marking it off!

1. Choose Your Spot

If there’s an opportunity to really let your imagination run wild, an extravagant wedding is it. When dreaming of your big day, go with your heart. If you love sipping drinks with tiny umbrellas on a white sandy shore, a coastal wedding it is! If you’re more of a city slicker, why not set your sights on an urban getaway?

Begin this experience by thinking of your ultimate, tip-top dream locale. Is it Paris? Venice? Bora Bora?

Now, perform what experts in the industry call “The Grandma Test.”

Is the spot easy to get to and affordable enough that your grandmother or another beloved family member could make the trip? If so, you can start nailing down the details. If you want these special guests in attendance but you find that it’s simply too cost-prohibitive or far away, try to scale it back a little.

Perhaps this means choosing a beach that’s a little closer to your hometown, or a city that’s only a few states away versus halfway across the country. Take your time with this step and find a location that allows for everything your heart desires, including the people you hold closest to it.

2. Set Your Date

Once you’ve found your perfect locale, it’s time to set the date!

If you’re planning to get married without guests in attendance, this next part is up to you and your fiancé. Try to find a date that works with both of your schedules and doesn’t conflict with personal or professional obligations. In most cases, you’ll book your wedding as part of a greater honeymoon package, so be sure to schedule plenty of time off work!

Another factor to consider? The weather!

Even the most gorgeous locations can turn gray with storm clouds during certain parts of the year. You also don’t want to schedule your special day right in the middle of a hurricane or a record-setting snowstorm. You can reference historical weather data with this tool to learn what the weather was like on any given day, anywhere around the world!

Finally, don’t forget to keep your guests in before you make reservations and cement your timeline. Do you plan on inviting close friends and family? If so, it’s important that they weigh in on the dates that work best for them.

While you might not be able to accommodate everyone’s requests, try to find a date that works for the majority.

3. Research Local Marriage Laws

You’re in love! You can get married anywhere, right?

Not so fast.

Did you know there are some locations, including in the United States, where you cannot get married in a state if you are not a local resident? It would be a shame to plan all of the details only to find out that your destination wedding won’t be valid and you’ll have to have a civil ceremony either before you leave or when you return back home.

Not sure where to check? Ask the management team at your prospective venue. Chances are, they’ve dealt with many brides who are in your exact same shoes, and they’ll be able to advise you on local regulations. 

4. Create and Mail Invites

This isn’t the time to wait until the last minute. If you’re inviting guests to a destination wedding, it’s critical to send invites as soon as possible, with three months’ notice as a bare minimum.

In fact, it’s best to send out Save the Date cards up to a year or more in advance, especially if you’re planning an all inclusive wedding that they’ll need to save up for in advance!

5. Plan a Visit, Find a Planner 

There are many ways to cut costs and plan your wedding yourself. However, if you don’t live near the destination, this step becomes infinitely more difficult. That’s why it pays to partner with a wedding planner you trust.

Try to visit the location at least once, and seek out your planner while you’re there. This should be someone local to the area you want to marry in, who has access to all of the best vendors including florists, caterers, musicians, stylists and more.

Again, check with your venue. They might have someone on staff who’s dedicated to this exact service, especially for brides who book destination wedding packages.

Before signing on the dotted line, ask to see some examples of past weddings that the planner has orchestrated. Also, check online reviews and feedback from other couples who have used this professional in the past. 

6. Vet the Venue and Vendors

Try to knock out all of the wedding details you can while you’re on-site. This means getting a good look at the venue, including any backup options in case of inclement weather. While in town, also visit the suggested vendors to see in person if they meet your expectations.

You could trust your local wedding planner entirely, but you don’t want to show up a day before your wedding and find that the venue is much smaller than you anticipated, or that the caterer doesn’t accommodate vegan-friendly requests. Of course, you can always bring vendors that you already know and love along with you! 

The only catch? You’ll be responsible for footing their plane tickets and hotel bill. Still, if you’re willing to cover those travel expenses, you can have your familiar favorites on hand when you need them the most!

7. Find Ways to Save

Finally, don’t forget to set a budget when planning your destination wedding. Research shows that the average destination wedding cost is around $32,000. It can vary by location, time of year, party size, vendor selection, and other factors. Whether or not you choose to cover all of the costs for your guests to attend can also make a major difference.

In addition, remember to factor in any pre-wedding trips you’ll need to make!

A few ways to save include:

  • Book as early as possible
  • Inquire about promotions
  • Narrow your guest list
  • Choose a local destination
  • Pre-book resort excursions and similar “extras”
  • Choose an off-day (e.g. weekday)
  • Skip favors and gifts
  • Book an all-inclusive package

Book Your Dream Destination Wedding With Us

Hosting a destination wedding can be one of the most memorable and magical events you’ll ever experience! When you want to celebrate and kick-off your new union in style, there’s nothing like whisking everyone away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life into a passionate paradise.

Feeling a little overwhelmed as you try to navigate all of these steps? That’s where we come in.

We offer all-inclusive resort packages in some of the most luxurious locations around the world. Contact us today and let us help turn your dream wedding into a dazzling reality. We’ll handle all of the behind-the-scenes details so the only thing you have to worry about is preparing for a moment you’ll never forget.

About Us

Genuine Vacation is a travel agency that focuses on simplifying your vacation planning process.  Do you have an idea, but do not know where to start? Start with us!

We are a full-service travel agency, meaning we help book anything, from hotels, car rentals, and flights to vacation packages, and excursions. Genuine Vacation offers an innovative and useful online experience so that you can find your perfect destination in just a couple of clicks!