I'm...just back from Jamaica (it was awesome!)

How was Jamaica, you ask? Awesome.



How about a recap? I’ll share the good and not-so-good ups and downs, so you feel like you know the ropes for traveling outside the country these days. I’ll give you info specific for Jamaica and the Moon Palace Resort where I stayed, but actually many locations have similar requirements, and are very much the same when traveling.


Pre-Travel


For travel to Jamaica, as well as many other destinations these days, I was required to have a negative Covid-19 test. Luckily, I had 10 days prior to my travel to get that done. Many destinations require test results within 72 hours of traveling. I found that it wouldn’t have mattered much, though; once tested I had my results within about 20 minutes.


With that done, I went online and filled out the required forms. I was ready to go.




Flights


I flew on Delta, my airline of choice. I love that they are still blocking middle seats through the end of 2020. All airlines require masks, all airlines are filtering the air flow, and all are sanitizing between passengers. Delta handed me a sanitizing wipe as I boarded each flight, so that I could wipe down the high-touch areas around my seat.


Flights were uneventful. On longer flights, Delta provided a package which included a small bottle of water and two snacks. Of course, you’re able to bring your own food or nonalcoholic beverages on board with you.



Arrival in Jamaica


Upon arrival in Jamaica, we had to go through customs, like normal. However, before exiting the airport, the process now includes a thorough health screening for all those who enter the country. It’s quite a lengthy wait, although if you have prepaid for the VIP Club MoBay, it’s quicker. Each party approaches their medical professional as a group. He or she takes their temperature, asks the relevant medical questions about symptoms and being in contact with someone with Covid, and checks all of their documents and makes sure they have a valid negative Covid test.



Transportation to the Resort


By the time our plane landed, I was about 12 hours into my journey, including the time I had spent at the Salt Lake airport before boarding my flight (it takes a long time to get to Jamaica from Salt Lake!). I was SOOO ready to take off my mask! But it wasn’t going to happen for awhile. It was about a 2-hour trip to the resort. The driver required hand sanitizing prior to boarding, and since we were masked, it felt safe.


The Moon Palace Jamaica


When you step out of your bus (or car, or van) into the Moon Palace Jamaica, the first thing you hear is, “Welcome to the Moon Palace Jamaica!” If the workers didn’t have masks, I’m sure you’d see huge grins on their faces. You can hear the welcome in their warm, friendly voices. You step on a wet mat and then onto a dry one, so your feet are sanitized. The porter takes your bags and sanitizes them before taking them to your room, and you are given your first squirt of hand sanitizer as you enter the property.


At the check-in desk, they have a tray for clean pens and one for used pens. They advise guests to wear their masks at all times. I have to admit, I was surprised when I was told to wear my mask even outdoors at the pools or beach, unless I was in the water.


On the 15th floor of the second of three buildings, I broke the taped door indicating my sanitized room and entered. The thing I was most excited about wasn’t to unpack, or change into tropical wear, or go find a snack. I was seriously SO excited to take off my mask! The porter is not allowed to deliver bags unless the guest is there to receive them, during this time of Covid.



The Moon Palace Jamaica is a beautiful all-inclusive beachfront resort. It’s on the tip of a point, surrounded on three sides by the Caribbean Sea, and has two white sand beach areas, one for relaxing, and the other for nonmotorized watersports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and a sea trike. It has five pools, including a FlowRider wave simulator, a kids’ pool, a waterslide, plunge pools, two jacuzzi hot tubs, and waterfalls. Motorized watersports are available for an extra fee. With two tennis courts, a huge spa, fitness center, nightly and daytime entertainment, there are many activities going on, or you can relax and enjoy not doing anything.


There are three a la carte restaurants and a huge buffet restaurant. The a la carte restaurants include an Italian, an Asian (teppanyaki style, or sushi and other Japanese fare), and a steakhouse. Additionally, they offer a jerk shack, a coffee/crepes/sandwiches/sushi/ice cream area, and pool bars and snack areas. For breakfast, I enjoyed the huge buffet restaurant, although others in my group of travel advisors opted for the included room service. The buffet is fully operational and very impressive! It is set up with all choices available, but served by the friendly wait staff.



Breakfast was delicious and varied every day. The jerk shack was excellent, and my favorite of the a la carte dinner restaurants was the Asian one, Momo’s. On our last evening there, my husband and I were going to try the Italian restaurant, but it was unexpectedly closed. There was no signage or warning, even on the Palace app, so I’m not sure if it’s normally closed on Sunday nights, or if that was a Covid-related occurrence.


The superior deluxe ocean view room, where I stayed, has a balcony and beautiful views, 24-hour room service, and nightly turndown service. Other room types include resort view rooms, junior suites, honeymoon suites, 1-bedroom suites, family deluxe suites, and 2-bedroom suites. They have a few handicapped accessible rooms as well.



My activities

At the resort, I did the following, besides enjoy the pools, hot tubs, and beaches:

- Stand-up Paddleboarding: I sat, I knelt, and I stood up while paddle boarding. The bay is pretty secluded, and unless you get further out with bigger waves and wind, you can get good balance!

- FlowRider: I absolutely loved trying the FlowRider during this time of year, when the resort wasn’t crowded. There was plenty of time for a first-time FlowRider novice (me) to get instruction and practice as much as I wanted, without long lines waiting and watching. It was super fun! I would totally recommend trying a FlowRider if you get the chance. I did both the body board and the stand-up surfing experience.

- A spa treatment. My husband & I did a couples massage. A definite must!


Off the resort, we did a Dunn’s River Falls excursion. If you head to Jamaica, you’ve got to try this! These falls, 180 feet high and 600 feet long, empty into the ocean, which is where our guided tour began. Essentially, you are climbing up the boulder-strewn falls to the top, through pools, running water, and—of course—waterfalls. Our trip was videotaped, a super fun way to relive the experience.



My takeaways


Glad I went? Absolutely. Would I travel to other international destinations right now? Yeah, mon! Best part: Getting away, feeling the adventure of traveling again, having new experiences. Worst part: Masking the entire time. Safe? I sanitized and washed and masked so many times, there’s no way I could have returned with anything except chapped hands and maybe some “mask-ne” (mask acne).


If you have the inclination and the health, go. E-mail or give me a call. Start planning.


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