Hi again ladies!
So a couple of girls asked if there ws anything I wished I knew before going so I've made up a little list:
1 - There is AWESOME snorkeling just off the beach, just a short swim. Definately take your own snorkel and mask, you can rent them there for a $25 deposit, but only for 30 mins at a time. We snorkeled every day, so having our own was great
2 - There is a dive shop right on the resort: ScubaCaribe. They are PADI certified and were very professional. We got our open water certification there, and went on a couple extra dives too. They go 2x per day at 8:30 and 12:30, so if you're into scuba diving it is so super convenient and fun!
3 - Take lots of $1 US bills and $5 US bills with you for tipping - everyone wants a tip! We took a lot and still ran out and getting change is not easy. Also - the cash machine on site ran out of money several times, so getting cash was a pain. Just take lots with you and keep it locked up.
4 - We made mugs for all of our guests and it was the best thing we did - it kept everyone's drinks cold all day long and you didn't have to go for a refill every 2 sips! Everyone loved them!!
5 - The coffee in Jamaica is awesome, but expensive to buy on the resort - you can get it way cheaper in town if you barter at the shops.
6 - If you want to bring home alcohol - buy it at the airport, it's the cheapest spot I saw and probably the easiest. I bought 2 bottles of rum in town, they were originally asking $28 each, I got them for $14 each, but at the airport they were $13 each. There is lots of shopping at the airport too once you get through security - the line ups are aweful though!
7 - the RIU hotel is not directly in the city of Ocho Rios - it is about a 5 min cab ride, not really walking distance, and the only other hotel next to it is The Palace. We had friends stay at the Sandals and we thought it would be walking distance between the two hotels but they were very far apart. It was misleading when we booked.
8 - for a lot of the tours, you can hire a cab driver to take you where you want to go for cheaper, or just to explore around town or go shopping. They will drop you off where you want and then you just get the store to call them and they'll come back and get you, or they will wait for you, for about only $10 per person.
9 - lastly - the Jerk Chicken hut on the beach is AWESOME - don't wait to eat there, you'll want to eat there more than once!
It is such a beautiful place - you will all love it!! I wish I could go back.