Jamaica resorts or villas...which is right for you?

Sometimes it can be difficult deciding if you would like to stay at an all-inclusive Jamaica resort or a vacation home for your next trip to Jamaica. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.

If you aren't familiar with all-inclusive Jamaica resorts they are usually large resorts and major chains such as Sandals, Beaches, Couples and Super Clubs, just to name a few. All-inclusive resorts usually include all your meals, drinks (including local alcoholic beverages), water sports and airport transfers. Keep in mind that quite a few all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica are "couples" only, meaning no kids under the age of 18 (or 16 depending on the resort) are allowed. The most popular all-inclusive for families is the Beaches Resort.

A villa in Jamaica (or vacation home/rental) is a privately owned home that you rent out for the duration of your stay for you and your guests only. Most of the villas in Jamaica come with a full staff (with at least a cook and housekeeper) who will pamper you and cater to your every need. They will take care of the cooking (serving all your meals and drinks), house cleaning, your laundry and more. The price of your stay in a villa includes the accommodations, the full staff, and all Jamaican Government Consumption taxes (8.25%).

Some things to consider when deciding whether your next Jamaica vacation will be in a villa or all-inclusive resort:

Is privacy a requirement?

* Villas are private homes rented exclusively to you and your group.

* Resorts can have as many as a few thousand people staying there at once, especially during peak season (December - April).

Do you want your entire party to stay in one room? Or have individual rooms?

* You can rent a 4 bedroom villa for a family of 5 and all have your own rooms.

* For a family of 5 at a resort you have 1 room with 2 beds and probably a roll-a-way. Or you need to pay more to get 1 or 2 bedroom suites or even separate rooms.

Do you want the privacy of having your own pool and beach?

* Most villas come with a pool and there are quite a few that are beachfront.

* Most resorts are beachfront and have pools they just aren't private.

Do you want the price of your vacation to include meals and drinks?

* Villas don't usually include meals and drinks in the total price paid up front. A few may include an all-inclusive option.

* All-inclusive resorts in Jamaica are just that; inclusive of the room, meals and drinks and some water activities.

Do you have children (or adults for that matter) who take naps?

* With a villa, children can sleep in their room (I suggest using a monitor to hear them if you are outside or not close by) and the adults can be in the pool relaxing and still enjoying the day, without being tied to the room.

* At a resort the adults are usually restricted to staying in the room with the children while they nap.

Do you have special dietary needs or just prefer certain types of foods?

* When you are staying at a villa you sit down and talk one-on-one with the cook and you let them know exactly what types of food you like/dislike or can/cannot have. You can have the cook do the shopping for you, or if you like, you can do the shopping yourself.

* At an all-inclusive resort a lot of your meals are buffet style. This makes it a lot harder to eat exactly what you want. Your choices become very limited. This becomes a little easier when you have your meals at a sit down restaurant, and may be able to order items from the menu as you like them.

It really comes down to a personal preference. Villas are more private and with the ability to work closely with the cook, they can be more accommodating for meals. All-inclusive resorts are a one stop shop of sorts and can be nice for the more active person.

Whichever you choose Jamaica is an island that is full of life and happiness and your vacation will be truly special.

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