Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Surprise 40th Birthday - Sarah Goff Photography - Travel Photographer



"No problem, mon."

It's not just an Americanized cliché phrase. It's a phrase to live by. And as you drive town-to-town, you'll find heavy influences and remnants of Bob Marley in the culture.

Jamaica truly is unique and beautiful. With its soft beaches, lush rainforests, and care-free attitude it was the perfect place to celebrate the turning of another decade.

Here's the low-down. Last August, I got a bur under my belt to surprise my husband, Brian, with a trip for his 40th birthday. I started looking into options for a week-long trip over his Thanksgiving break from school and settled on an all-inclusive vacay to the Ocho Rios region of Jamaica. I booked the entire trip through our travel agent without Brian knowing a single thing, and kept the secret from him for almost four months. To be honest, it's wasn't hard to do - until I had finished my busy wedding season in early November and reality hit me. We'd be headed to Jamaica in a few weeks!

I had decided how I wanted to reveal his gift, re-decided, second guessed myself, and re-decided again. I knew I wanted to wait until THE DAY BEFORE our trip to surprise him, and finally chose to put together a small gift basket of "Jamaica" related goodies: Jamaican rum, faux airline tickets, a brochure about our resort, a book to read on the beach, and waterproof phone pouches.

The evening before his birthday, I surprised him with tickets to enjoy an evening at the Colorado Symphony. We got dressed up and had a wonderful dinner out and evening of music. Then November 18 arrived. I had butterflies LIKE NONE OTHER. Brian hopped in the shower, which gave me the break I needed to get his Jamaican gift basket (and my phone) ready. He came down the stairs, gave a perplexed look at the gift, and looked at me. I said, "the only rule is you can't swear" (hello, public video on Facebook!). He gave me another perplexed look and began opening his gift basket of goodies. I was shaking so bad, I'm surprised the video turned out at all!

The rest is better viewed than described.


And for those who know Brian, this may be the only time in his life he was SPEECHLESS.

With that, we packed our bags and headed to the airport early the next morning for our Jamaican adventure! Unfortunately, on top of a layover in Houston, the drive from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios is almost two hours, so we didn't arrive to our resort until it was dark. However, the rumors are mostly true - when you step off the airplane in Jamaica, they greet you with a beer. Well, okay. No quite. When you arrive to your resort's lounge area, you can enjoy a Red Stripe on tap while waiting for the shuttle. It's a pretty sweet deal.

We stayed at the COUPLES Tower Isle all-inclusive resort. It's adults only and UNBELIEVEABLE. We had a "garden view" room which faced opposite the beach, but the jungle view and incredible frog calls at night were amazing!


















After enjoying a late-night buffet dinner, we enjoyed a walk along the beach and crashed out to sleep. The next day, we joined the group headed to climb Duns River Falls! It was a short shuttle ride and soon we were walking down the falls path to the start point on the beach.








That afternoon was filled with some much-needed poolside R&R.









The following 5 days were filled with beach, booze, and bathing (in the sun). We went out of a "sunset catamaran" cruise, which was a blast! We toured up and down the coast of Jamaica jamming to reggae and drinking as many cheap "punch" drinks as we could.








The COUPLES Resorts includes all water activities and sports in the price, so we went kayaking and paddleboarding (I suck at this haha!) in the private bay. Sooo fun!






And of course, afternoons were spent on the beach, dodging rain storms! NOTE TO SELF: November is the tail-end of RAINY season for Jamaica.










Can we just talk about the food for a moment?! We consider ourselves FOODIES, and lemme just say - the food here was UNREAL. We tried 4 of the 5 restaurants and ended up going back to Bayside (over the water, a Caribbean fusion restaurant) twice.



On Day 5, we had a little day of pampering! We reserved a Couple's spa treatment session; I enjoyed a deep facial while Brian had a Swedish massage. It was the perfect way to completely unwind.













Later, we got dolled up again for photos on the beach.





That evening we had a booked private dinner on the island. OH MY GOSH, you guys. If you ever have a chance to have a privately prepared dinner on a private island, DO IT.






And sadly, all amazing things must come to an end. The next morning, we were shuttled back to the airport and it was time to fly home. No worries, mon. Every little ting i' gonna be alright.



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© 2019 by Sarah Goff Photography

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