For the last three years Mike and I have traveled to the Caribbean for a week. This year we stayed at Couples Tower Isle, and all-inclusive, adults-only resort in Jamaica.
After year one and my paralyzing decision fatigue, we’ve worked with my friend Heather as a travel agent for the last two and that has made the planning so much easier. We’ve already been to Mexico and the Dominican so Jamaica was the next one up, and it did not disappoint.
Couples Tower Isle
Unlike the other resorts we’ve stayed at which were very pool-centric, Couples was very beach-and-excursion-centric. The first few days there were rough for Mike who really loves the pool scene. The weather was pretty iffy; cold-ish and drizzly so no one was in the pool and therefore there was definitely no pool volleyball. Even the hot tubs were lukewarm. We ended up hanging on the beach, me in a lounger reading Game of Thrones on my Kindle, and Mike playing several rounds of beach volleyball. By the end of the week, he was a beach volleyball super star.
Beach + Activities
The beach at Tower Isle is pretty small, but it easily fit all of the guests at the resort. My favorite part of the beach scene was the nearby Veggie Bar. It’s right on the beach and features delicious sandwiches and snacks so you don’t have to leave your lounge chair for too long. I got a fresh coconut each morning to drink with a snack of plantain chips and a dip made with fish and cheese (sounds gross, taste delicious).
Down the beach you can go sailing, paddle boarding and water biking. Water biking looks ridiculous by the way, but seemed to be very popular.
The food at Couples Tower Isle was better than the Valentin Imperial Maya and on par with Breathless Punta Cana. There was less choice, which actually made things easier. My favorite food was at The Verandah which featured really delicious seafood with simple sides. It actually reminded me a lot of Firebox in Hartford. Skip the Bayside–the Asian fare was overly sauced and oddly sweet.
As for the reviled resort buffet food, Couples buffet, called The Patio, was actually decent for breakfast and lunch.
As with all all-inclusive resorts, the drinks flow freely all day long.
(My least favorite restaurant, The Bayside, looks pretty spectacular sitting over the water)
I loved our room. It overlooked a small courtyard on the water, so at the end of the day we sat out on our balcony and read while having a glass of champagne and listening to the ocean.
Couples is known for it’s included excursions and we definitively took advantage of all the offered which meant we actually got to see parts of Ocho Rios. Here are a few things to do:
- The Blue Hole which is a series of caves and blue-water pools. This excursion was not included at Couples, but other guests went and really loved the experience.
- Dunn’s River Falls which I think is a man-made waterfall that you can climb. I say “I think” because it’s talked about as if it were natural but once we got there, I was pretty sure it was man-made. This excursion was included in our resort reservation. If you’re staying at Tower Isle, you do not need to sign up ahead of time, just wait for the bus at 9am any weekday. And buy water shoes ahead of time.
- Catamaran cruise. This was the best thing we did in Jamaica and also my low point. The cruise was awesome and really showcased Jamaica’s beauty. We dropped anchor in a cove surrounded by a lush hillside and dove off the boat to swim. This is the type of experience you come to the Caribbean for. If you do the cruise: be prepared to get completely soaked and you better like rum punch and Bob Marley. I love both rum and Bob Marley, but I do not love getting severely sea sick and barfing in the Caribbean in front of 40 strangers. If you tend to get sea sick, sit in the back of the catamaran, a lesson I will not soon forget!
Ocho Rios, Saint Ann, Jamaica
Ocho Rios is on the north shore of Jamaica about a two-hour drive from the airport at Montego Bay. Once you land at Montego Bay, you drive on A1 along the coastline to Ocho Rios. On the way from the airport it’s really nice to see the sights. On the way back to the airport, it’s kind of a pain. Most resorts in the Caribbean want you to be at the airport three hours before your flight. Add in a two-hour drive, and you’re looking at a very early morning. Our flight didn’t take off until 3 p.m., but we left the resort at 9a.m. anyway and didn’t arrive back in Hartford until 11p.m. after a connection in Charlotte.
So be prepared for a long day of travel. Luckily Heather suggested we purchase a Club Mobay membership which gives you access to their airport lounge at Montego Bay. This means that we got to spend our three hours in a private lounge with free food and drink, WiFi and clean bathrooms. Definitely recommend.
This was by far the most romantic resort we stayed out and there were plenty of honeymooners and newly engaged. If you’re looking for an active vacation that’s also very relaxing, Couples Tower Isle is perfect.10