I know this looks familiar -- my standard first photo for all trips!
I really cannot say enough about the Couples Lounge at the airport. As soon as you cross that threshold, you are in good hands and don't need to worry about a thing (hee!) until you are deposited back at the airport at the end of your trip.
Two options at the lounge: Red Stripe and Red Stripe Light.
My first Red Stripe of the trip!
And my first Dirty Banana! It went down fast.
AND ... we had some jerk chicken. Look at that! So yummy!
I did well!
I followed up my Dirty Banana with my second favorite drink, a Miami Vice. They are just so darn refreshing and delicious, too!
If you've seen my 2011 album, you might recognize a photo similar to this. Wednesdays are tie-dye days.
We got THE best room! A corner room on the first floor in Building 2, overlooking the garden area.
It felt like we were all alone in a tropical wonderland!
Doesn't it look like a jungle out there?
The spa was nearby.
Our first sunset of the trip.
Such a golden warm glow!
There are beautiful flowers all over the resort.
The 6,000 page drink menu.
I love, love, love this pool!
Aquacize at 11 am ... pretty much our only indication of what time it was there was based on when activities started. "Oh, must be 11am."
Jacuzzis at each end of the pool.
Someone is very sad that the swim-up bar isn't open yet.
But he found other things to do.
One of my pool bags.
Another one of my pool bags.
We learned on the nature walk that the Traveler's Palm grows east to west (or was it west to east) and there is water at the base of it. The resort guide poked a small hole in it and water poured out like a fountain. Tasted so fresh!
Really love the color of the water. Just beautiful!
Beach grill area of Heliconia. Many a lunch was eaten here.
Our travelling companions' pool stuff ... and yummy drinks!
So. Much. Food.
The desserts at lunch and dinner were really amazing! We were there for 11 days and I don't think I had the same thing twice.
A short down pour sent us looking for cover.
And induced a short nap for our friends. They had a long day of travelling from the midwest the day before!
Another day, another sunset.
Amazing lighting in the bar at Heliconia.
The bar at Heliconia
A few options on the evening's menu ...
The details at CN are really fun. This lamp is in the bar outside Cassava Terrace.
A rum cream.
Thursday nights are the BEST at CN. Osmond comes and does his fire thing.
It really is quite amazing!
The bonfire afterwards is always lovely.
One of the towel art swans that awaited us every night.
Someone really liked breakfast!
The fruit is so fresh! I had papaya every day I was there. I'm ruined now.
This is my favorite juice! It is not sour -- definitely try it when you are there.
So last year we stayed on the other side of the resort and this grey heron was there by the pond every morning. We named him Bob (after Bob Marley, of course.) We were so excited to see that he is still there, livin' the life!
Some of the fish in the pond on that side of the resort.
We were so happy to see they had replaced the corn chips with cassava chips (we think that's what they were). Still totally self serve by Heliconia and still a yummy snack when you need it!
I had fish as many times as I could. This was delicious!
More of those desserts (note: these are NOT all mine. I swear.)
The Mr. came back from the bar with some shots for all of us. He thinks it was called a One Nut -- top: milk frothed with tequila (its fine, I promise), rum cream, and grenadine. It was really good!
I spent most of the time staring up at those palm trees.
Another stunning sunset!
We'd check the menu board each morning to see what the different restaurants were serving that night.
Friday is Lobster Night in all of the restaurants.
We went to Otaheite, the fancy restaurant (note: men, you really do need to bring long pants to wear. We watched a couple turned away -- he only brought shorts with him on the trip.)
These were the entrees offered every night -- lobster was the special of the evening.
Um ... that's not the kind of lobster they serve.
The waiting area outside Otaheite.
Waiting. In the waiting area.
They bring you a lovely glass of champagne to sip while you wait. And, yes, that is my sparkly clutch. (Note: Ladies, I highly recommend you bring a few clutches with you. You can carry your camera (s) around and still look stylish.)
Lobster tail shells
The Mr. and I shared this amazing banana caramel something-or-other cupcake. It was amazing!
The piano bar.
The chandelier in the Piano Bar.
Every morning I woke up early and walked around the spa area. There were so many birds! I just loved it. I even had a magical moment when I saw a swallowtail hummingbird. It was like an angel with a beautiful emerald green body. Even though the camera was in my hand, I was too stunned to take a photo!
There are places to sit all over the garden area.
And hammocks, too!
There is that papaya, again!
A big bowl of bacon!
The food was really amazing! There is something for everyone and I highly recommend trying new things. I had conch for the first time and thought it was delicious!
Again, the details are amazing!
Oh, how I wish I were there now! Isn't that just the best photo? The water is warm and usually calm. Perfect for floating about and just relaxing!
Lon is having a good time on the catamaran cruise. Wish I had more photos of it -- I mostly have video.
We went to Rick's Cafe for the first time. CN got us a cab who also picked us up at the agreed upon time.
Frozen Rum Runner
Someone wore his Red Stripe outfit to Rick's.
Despite all those warning signs, Lon still jumped. And I have it on video to prove it!
Just a "few" Red Stripes were had.
The Mr. decided to climb into the beer tub with his straw.
This is my favorite photo of the trip. He looks so content.
My usual off-kilter, slightly alarming self portrait pose.
This one is better. And I have to say I love my tortoise shell sunglasses and zebra stripe swim suit. "I'm tropical, honey!"
Lon and Jamie did this on their last day.
Kevin at the very end of the bar at Rick's. Sitting next to my sparkle tote!
I really had no idea that they had a pool at Rick's. Seemed like a fun place with a great view of the jumps.
That would be someone's entry ... I kept missing the mid-air jumps. See how far that is, though! Lon is cra-cra!
Awesome huge Jamaican flag.
We're so rich! (that's a little less than $6.00)
The lighting at Lychee, the resort's Asian restaurant.
The food at Lychee is really good. Make sure you have at least one meal there.
This jacuzzi was pretty close to our room but somehow we never made it there. Adding to next visit's list!
The treehouse where you can get a massage. They also do private dining here. Massage. Or dining.
The scuba pool. Scuba lessons and daily dives are included! Not extra. Included.
The beach before everyone got up.
Tables outside spa and near where all the birds would be in the morning.
I LOVE these. LOVE.
Syrup of the day -- banana!
This is the pond in the front of the resort -- where you arrive.
I highly recommend doing the nature walk. We've done it twice now and learned something new each time!
Bob!! From last year!
Mangoes ... I think.
A Jamaican Woodpecker ... or rather, her behind. She was busy building her nest.
The Mr. noted that the lizard looks like he is pole dancing on top of that bird feeder!
Did I mention the patties yet? I am partial to the chicken patty -- they are self-serve by Heliconia. Don't leave without having one.
The beach massage hut.
These were my favorite of the trip. So cute!
The resort offered an excursion to Push Cart at Rockhouse to watch the sunset. It was awesome!
Can I live here?
How cool must it be to grow up here? Swimming and snorkeling in that water. And jumping off the cliffs like it's nothing.
This is the catamaran that we went out on earlier in the week. One thing I learned is that I am actually quite good at sliding off the slide. Jamie said she heard a couple behind her say, "Ooo ... she has good form!" when I went off it. I now have one thing in my talent category!
It is pretty high off the water! The trick is 1) make sure you jump in the water and get wet before you go down (we saw one misfortunate dry woman who got stuck halfway down) and 2) point your toes and you won't land on your behind.
The Ice-Up Papaya and a Watermelon Cooler -- both yummy!
I loved these three "ashtrays."
My travelling companions.
That water is just amazing! Takes my breath away.
One of the buildings across from Pushcart. I think I'd paint mine aqua, too!
Just one of the awesome evening entertainment performances.
I could have taken that whole tray and ran away with it!
Every morning ... fresh coconut water.
This was pretty yummy! I think the label said coconut palm but I think it is what the Sour sop juice is made from. Tasted similar.
These birds are all over the place. I really do like the blue around their eyes and this one in particular got a bit carried away with the food that was left on the plate.
Someday I will try this. Not ready yet.
And this. Next time, we learn to sail.
At the end of the beach there were tons of little hermit crabs.
On my birthday, we went for a walk towards the other end of the beach. And then had lobster at the Office of Nature!
Mr. Party. Enough said.
My birthday lunch at Office of Nature!
It was super rustic. And super chill.
My lobster, fresh from the sea and fresh from the slaughter.
And grilled over the fire with a stick of butter for my absolute delight!
Yep, that's delight! (and that's Johnny Be Good in the background. I'm sure he'll be there whenever you go. He's got a good gig talking to tourists from all over the world who buy him beer. He helped me crack open the long pointy things to get more meat out of them. Respect, JBG.
Seriously. It is freaking awesome!
And made all the better by the $3 Red Stripes to wash it all down.
Back to Otaheite for my birthday dinner.
I am OBSESSED with these lamps.
The caesar salad is the best! I could just eat a bunch of these and be super happy.
They serve it in this little bowl. Made of CHEESE. And sprinkled with crispy proscuitto bits.
We went snorkelling! However ... no photos. I decided to leave the camera in the boat so I could focus on breathing. Seemed important. Kevin took some photos of me in the water with my gear but they didn't turn out.
We also both got stung by jellyfish. Someone had a nasty thing on his arm and we ended up in the nurse's station.
I mean, really, the desserts!
One day's lunch theme seemed to be comfort food items. The Mr. had a hot dog.
The Mr. took me on a private sunset cruise to celebrate my birthday! If you have an opportunity to do this, you must! It was just the two of us and Shrek who was the captain and Anglan, who was an awesome tour guide and made sure we had everything we needed.
Rick's in the background
They made us do this.
Aww. We're cute.
I love this one because it's totally us. We're always laughing!
And they made sure we got to see the sunset. They really know how to take care of people!
Gorgeous sunset as we returned!
We went on the tree frog hunt. We were certain they'd be hard to spot. They didn't move at all when we flashed our lights on them, though. We couldn't believe this tiny little thing made all that noise!
I got to see the turtle in the pond by the spa! He came by during one of my morning walks!
This was our favorite spot by the pool. We love the sun and it was just perfect for us for most of the day.
Chicken Balls Soup
Really, now, these desserts were just killing me!
Here's the self-serve patties.
Soaking up the last bit of rays of the day.
Our eviction notice ... :(!
The pool and sky in the evening are absolutely beautiful!
Photo taken from the second floor where the poor swings are, overlooking the pool and beach beyond.
I'm not sure what these are but they were PURPLE!
I found this shell all the way at the other end of the beach.
Sea grape tree.
The self-serve bar on the beach.
It's fruit kebab time ... he's across the pool from me, not sure you can see the tray of fruit.
Bob came to visit the swim-up bar.
Cassava Terrace -- we ate most of our meals here.
Our last night -- lobster night at Heliconia.
These are all over the place -- crab holes. Luckily it wasn't crab season. Although, I would like to see how big they are!
Our last morning. :(
Happy St. Patrick's Day, Jermaine!
The Mr. celebrates.
And continues to celebrate.
My travel shoes. After wearing sandals for 11 days, my feet did NOT want to go back into an enclosed shoe.
Last views of the pool before we leave.
Checking out ... :(!!
A little snack at the airport.
And a little rum to take home.
We paid the extra money to use Club Mobay while we were at the airport. Positives: quick and easy express through immigration and security. Free food, snacks, and drinks. Clean bathroom. Comfortable seating. Negatives: SUPER crowded on Saturday afternoon when we arrived. Also really loud. We would definitely do this again for the expedited check-in but maybe go wait at Margaritaville instead of the lounge.
Not sure if he's sad to leave Jamaica or annoyed at the lounge. Either way, he's tan. :)