Friday, May 20, 2016

One Love - Sandals Negril Part 3

Henry the peacock


I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep so I went out on the balcony to read. I could hear Henry the peacock making his morning cat sounds over at Bayside. It was even breezier that day and the red flags were up. That meant there wouldn’t be any watersports, so when Ron got up we decided it would be a good day to go to Beaches Negril to check out their pools.

It was a quick $5 cab ride to Beaches where we settled in by the main pool. Beaches was a larger property than Sandals and had a Polynesian feel, with dark wood balconies and window shutters. There was a pretty courtyard, a large main pool and a water park with a lazy river and water slides. Of course, my favorite part of the resort was Café de Paris, the French pastry shop. Too bad Sandals Negril didn’t have one of those. :-)

Beaches Negril
Beaches Negril

Cafe de Paris

Beaches water park

Beaches water park

We had a quiet day, mostly floating around in the main pool, although we did take a walk down to Margaritaville so I could buy a hat I’d seen there on our catamaran cruise. Next to Beaches was Couples Swept Away, our first Negril love. It was neat seeing the building where we’d stayed and our favorite beach bar. Great memories!

Couples Swept Away

In the afternoon, we walked over to the water park so I could play on the slides. One of the boys at the pool challenged me to a race so we took a run down the slides. It wasn’t a very fair race since one of the slides was much shorter and faster than the others. But we switched off a couple of times so we’d each have a turn to win. On one of our races, I took a video with my waterproof camera but when I splashed down at the bottom, the lifeguard yelled at me that I wasn’t supposed to have a camera on the slide. He wasn’t really mad.  He just laughed that it was the first time he’d seen anyone take a picture on the slides. Oh well, someone had to do it. :-)  It wouldn’t be vacation if I didn’t get into trouble at least once.

We got back to Sandals just in time for the rain to start again. Uh oh, that wasn’t good. We had dinner reservations at Ivan’s that night. I really wanted to have one extra special dinner for our 25th anniversary. We’d thought about doing Sandals’ private dinner on the beach but decided instead to get off the resort and experience the cliffs. A lot of people on Trip Advisor had recommended Ivan’s for the great food and gorgeous setting. I checked the radar and saw a large band of bad weather making its way down from Cuba. It was going to be raining for a while. So I called Ivan’s and they changed our reservation to the following night. No problem, Mon.

We had dinner at Sundowner instead, one of the only two indoor restaurants at Sandals. Sundowner specialized in Jamaican dishes so I ordered jerk chicken with rice and peas and the restaurant’s signature cocktail, a pineapple ginger martini. When we walked back to our room, the rain had slackened off but there was lightning flashing off shore.


By the next morning, the storm had passed, the skies were clearing, and the green flags were back up. Yay! I’d really missed “our” palapa on the beach. I went wakeboarding again, but this time I asked the driver not to go quite as far. :-)  I didn’t fall down once and it was great! One of the paparazzi photographers was on the boat and said I was smiling the whole time.

Snapshots by Sandals photo

We went snorkeling again too. We went to the same reef as before but somehow Ron and I ended up swimming with a group of snorkelers from a different boat. One of their guides offered to use my camera to take some pictures. I was a little nervous about handing over the camera and but I shouldn’t have worried. He got right down there near the fish and took some wonderful photos and even a video. The people in Jamaica are so nice!

French grunts

squirrel fish


That night, we had just enough time for another quick photo shoot (with Dale this time) before our driver picked us up for our dinner at Ivan’s. The driver’s name was P.T. so people called him P.T. Cruiser. But he was definitely not a cruiser, unless you counted cruising right on the bumper for other cars! Funny how “Island Time” in Jamaica never seems to apply to driving. :-)

Ivan’s was amazing. When I’d emailed them to make the reservation, I’d asked for a table near the cliffs. They put us on our own private outcropping right over the water. I was glad we’d waited another day because the weather was perfect – clear and not too hot because of the breeze. While we ate, we watched the catamarans returning from their cruises to Rick’s, the beautiful sunset and the twinkling stars. We shared a fish cake appetizer and I had the jerk chicken pasta. Then for dessert we had banana flambé. Ivan’s used overproof rum for their flambé and we didn’t think the flames were ever going to go out. But that was the best banana flambé I’ve ever had! What a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary.

lobby photo shoot
Snapshots by Sandals photo

lobby photo shoot
Snapshots by Sandals photo



Ivan's menu

lighthouse and boats at Rick's Cafe

fish cakes

jerk chicken pasta

a toast

dusk at Ivan's


The last day. Ugh, I hate the last day! It seems like I’m never ready to get back to “real life”, although this time I did want to get home to see Cedric and give him some cuddling.

We spent the day trying out the paddle boards and going sailing one more time. The wind was blowing north to south, which made both a little challenging. That is to say, it was easy to leave the resort and not so easy to get back. :-)  It was the first time Ron had tried stand-up paddle boarding but he picked it up right away and paddled circles around me. Probably it didn’t help that I kept stopping to take pictures. Every time I’d stop, the wind would blow me backwards so it took me a little while to paddle back to the watersports area.  But that was OK, I wasn’t in a hurry. We did see one lady get swept so far down the beach that the rescue boat had to go get her.

on the beach

on the beach
Snapshots by Sandals photo


Finally, we had to face the inevitable – vacation was coming to an end. We went to the photo shop to sort through the pictures the photographers had taken all week. That took a little while since there were so many good ones. We ended up buying a package of 30 pictures on a CD. And then it was back to the room to pack. Boo!

For our last dinner we decided to go to Barefoot by the Sea so we could really enjoy it this time. We ate with our toes in the sand and watched another beautiful sunset. Afterwards, we sat by one of the fire pits on the beach and listened to the sounds of the waves and the tree frogs. While we played footsie by the fire, I realized that I’d gotten so relaxed that I’d left my shoes back at the restaurant! Now that is what vacation is all about.

towel swan
a goodbye gift from the housekeeping staff

fire pit

Barefoot by the Sea

Negril sunset


Happy Anniversary, Ron!  I'm looking forward to the next 25.


  1. Enjoyed your post! Happy Anniversary!

  2. Wonderful post!! I love Negril!

  3. Love your post. Traveling to Negril next month for our 1st trip, 3rd Sandals. Looking forward to it.

  4. Wonderful review and awesome pictures. Great camera's~! We will be returning to Sandals Negril next month. I think we will go to Ivan's for our anniversary thanks to your review. It looks amazing there.
    Happy Anniversary!

    1. You'll love Ivan's. The cliffs are so beautiful and so different than the beach.