Ocho Rios Jamaica with Kids

‘Ya mon.’

It sounds so cliche, we’ve all heard about the culture of Jamaica – no worries mon, Bob Marley, rum drinks.

But I was actually surprised to arrive here and discover that this culture is true, authentic! When I decided to travel to Ocho Rios Jamaica with kids (and on my own!) I wasn’t sure what to expect. I booked a driver and a long weekend at Goldeneye Resort and hoped for the best.

From the moment we arrived at Goldeneye in Ocho Rios, I have felt easy, breezy, stress free and the kids have been in absolute heaven. Here’s why Goldeneye Resort is the best way to do Ocho Rios Jamaica with kids.

The Beach Villas are, well, right on the beach!

When staying at larger resorts in the Caribbean it’s not typical to find rooms directly on the beach, just steps from the ocean. Here, the nine Beach Villas are ideally located directly on the beach. Much to the joy of my kids!

Take a few steps one direction and you’re at the restaurant and 2 pools (one salt water and one fresh) and in the other direction is the water ports center. Of course, being the property of Chris Blackwell founder of Island Records, there is also good music everywhere!

The lagoon villas are also lovely. Located directly on the lagoon that circles the back of the property, each one comes with a kayak and paddle board. While you may not be directly on the beach, diving into the calm, turquoise water as soon as you wake up is a thrill for everyone in the family.

And speaking of the villas, the one bedroom villas are plenty large enough for a family of 4 and the 3-bedroom villas offer even more space for families to spread out. The king size beds are incredibly comfortable, and separated from the main living area by a heavy curtain. The children happily slept on the large Queen size sofa, made up into a bed for them each evening.

And perhaps most importantly, the villas have a small, well-equipped kitchen. On your way in, have your driver stop into the grocery store in Ocho Rios on your way in and pick up food for snacks and lunch.

Breakfast is included at Goldeneye (as long as you book with me! just one of the special perks I can offer here) and the dinner restaurants are delicious but it’s nice to have some flexibility for the children for mid-day dining.

SO much to do.

Many of my clients are concerned about keeping older kids busy and happy during a beach vacation. And I get it. While a good book and a rum drink will keep adults happy for hours, kids need to stay busy. Here a Goldeneye, between the pools, beach and lagoon for swimming, there are plenty of watersports included in the stay.

There is one area on the lagoon side and other watersports area near “James Bond Beach.” Here you can do standup paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, find inflatable toys for the pool and ocean and try your hand at hobie cat sailing.

There also is a glass bottom boat that will take you out into the ocean a few minutes for snorkeling, where the reef is healthy and thriving, and you simply let the current bring you back in. Our guide found white sea urchins and conch for the kids, and we spotted a ton of colorful fish, including plenty of the beautiful lion fish.

It’s perfectly safe for kids to run all over the property. While I was preparing lunch one afternoon, I found my daughter locked into an intense game of fooseball with one of the restaurant staff while my son was making friends in the pool.

Jamaica Love Kids.

The lifeguards and other staff all go well out of their way to have fun with the kids. From searching for hermet crabs to kayaking over to a local celebration (more about that on Instagram here), there was always an exciting adventure to be had.

Once of the lifeguards took our crew out sailing one afternoon. Heading out of the lagoon into the open sea was a highlight for everyone. The Hobie Cat is a great, safe intro to sailing and fun way to get out into the warm Caribbean waters, flying fish getting out of the way, kids squealing with joy.

At Goldeneye, you really feel as if you’re living in a private beach paradise, though connected to the local community and experiencing a uniquely Jamaican getaway. When we arrived, I was thrilled to discover there is literally NO sign on the road. As I’ve traveled the world, I’ve discovered that indeed the best places don’t have a sign. If you know, you know.  The Goldeneye website only included a few photos, and while it tells the story and the history of this magical place (from Ian Flemming to Chris Blackwell), it certainly does not build up the experience. Come here with no expectations, and write your own story. Discover how this hidden gem can become one of your best family beach vacations ever for yourself!

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