From Ben & Sarah
Let’s get right to it: our time at the Moon San Villa, nestled just above the iconic Blue Lagoon east of Port Antonio – was the highlight of our 10 day vacation to Jamaica.
I must admit, I’m one to be skeptical of online reviews… and before visiting this magical house, I had my doubts.
Those were almost instantly dispelled upon our arrival.
My girlfriend and I traveled to Jamaica in January of 2014 for a wedding for a good high school friend of mine. The wedding was in Ocho Rios at one of the big all-inclusive resorts. As with most all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, you pretty much know what you’re going to get: lots of overweight Americans, rambunctious, booze guzzling Canadians and Europeans, and a banal, standardized vacation experience that is not just underwhelming, but also disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong – seeing the wedding of my good pal and his lovely wife was a once in a lifetime experience. We had an amazing time, full of good friends and good laughs.
But I’m talking about the hotel itself. There’s just nothing special about an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica UNLESS you spending top dollar. Top dollar is not something we have. So we were looking for something else… an experience that was unique to Jamaica. “Authentic” is a bit cliché, but we wanted to enjoy the people and culture of Jamaica, while feeling safe. We were not satisfied by the fears echoed by friends and relatives about traveling around this island, who considered it to be “too dangerous” and urged us to say bottled up in our McHotel.
While I had never been to the Caribbean until earlier this year, I do have extensive travel experience. I’ve found that if you’re respectful and approach everyone you meet with a smile (and a measured amount of initial skepticism) you’ll be surprised how kind the locals are.
With this in mind, we made the trek to the Moon San Villa. And man was it a trek!
A brief overview of our trip:
We took an epic, EPIC drive in the pouring rain from Ocho Rios to the Moon San Villa. The Villa itself is about 20 minutes from the city of Port Antonio, and while we did not rent a car on our trip, it’s something that I would recommend. Like I said, we got a lot of misinformation before we went to Jamaica, one tidbit being that it was difficult to drive in the country. My girlfriend and I live in Los Angeles and, while the steering wheel was on the other side of the car, if you are a confident driver used to driving in a big city, you’ll be just fine. We ended up renting a car for a day in Port Antonio, and had a great time with it. While the road north of Port Antonio is bumpy and needs paving, the drive from Montego Bay to the city was recently repaved.
Upon arriving at the Moon San Villa, thoughts of our uncomfortable drive – four of us packed in the backseat of a small SUV – dissipated.
It’s tough to really summarize all the things we did… it really doesn’t do it justice. But I’ll do my best.
Let’s start with the BEST feature of this little home: The People.
Marley is the man of the house, your trip manager, and your friend.
He took us everywhere we wanted to go, and above all made myself and my girlfriend feel safe and confident. Whether it was helping us rent a car in town to drive to the Reach Falls (which is a MUST see, by the way… we essentially had a waterfall that you can jump off to ourselves), going out on the house boat for a spearfishing trip, where Marley caught fresh lobster that he made us the next evening for dinner (he also caught crawfish at the waterfall… yeah. Awesome), or just pulling over at an ocean-side jerk restaurant for the best food I had on the island (which cost, with a beer, $3 per person), Marley was there for us. He’s a true professional and an incredible soul. We also met his 4-year-old daughter! Very cute.
Can’t say enough good stuff about Marleyman.
Mrs. Donna is the house matron and you’re mother away from home. And I think this anecdote summarizes her perfectly… The first night we were there, there was a torrential downpour. Unlike Marley, Donna does not stay with you at the Villa. So after she cooked us an amazing dinner of fresh caught fish, rice and peas, and veggies, she said goodbye and went to the street to catch a local route taxi to go home. She waited in the rain for the cab, but it didn’t come for a long time because of the weather. She got drenched and eventually became a bit ill.
In spite of her not feeling 100 %, she still returned to the house every morning to cook us a hearty breakfast – eggs and bacon with toast and jam. And every morning, the coffee was waiting for us when we woke up. Just like Marley, Donna bent over backwards to take care of us… and I have no doubt she’d do the same for you if you decide to stay here.
Also, because we didn’t have a car, Marley and Donna also arranged for us to get picked up in Buff Bay by the Blue Mountain Bike Tour bus (BTW – this bike tour comes free with staying at the Villa, and is well worth the trip) after we took a cab there. The bus then took us all the way back to Ocho Rios for free! Just tipped the driver.
Again, this is just a snapshot of our time at Moon San Villa. Of course, you’ll make your own decision on where you want to stay, and I don’t know if your experience will be the same as ours.
But we both had an experience we’ll never forget, and I wouldn’t change any of it.
Ya mon… ‘am crying.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Moon San Villa has all of the charm of an older Jamaican villa that overlooks the Caribbean Sea and is 300 feet from the Blue Lagoon. This villa offers daily COMPLIMENTARY BREAKFAST FOR 2, FREE USE OF BOAT WITH CAPTAIN for snorkeling and sightseeing to San San Beach, Monkey Island and Blue Lagoon. (If you stay 3 days or longer), you also receive COMPLIMENTARY PASSES TO THE BLUE MOUNTAIN BICYCLE TOUR, #1 tour in Portland. Moon San Villa can be rented per bedroom or take all 5 bedrooms. Moon San Villa offers the perfect blend of peace and tranquility, while enjoying the magnificent natural beauty of the Port Antonio area. Many of the special services offered are private photography tours, in-room massage, beach and mountain horseback riding and private waterfall tours. There is COMPLIMENTARY WI-FI in the whole villa. Buy your groceries or have our staff buy your groceries for you and they will COMPLIMENTARY COOK YOUR LUNCH OR DINNER.Each room has cable-TV and coffee makers with Blue Mountain Coffee. Staff includes manager/housekeeper/cook/boat with captain/tour guide/full-time security.Just 300 ft. from the villa is the entrance to the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is both fresh and salt water, and water temperatures are warm and cold, which makes swimming a whole new experience. Entrance to the Blue Lagoon is included • On some days you might be the only couple. Three other white sand beaches nearby •Must do while at Moon San: Blue Lagoon, San San Beach, Frenchman's Cove, Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours, Reach Falls, Rafting on the Rio Grande. Our staff can schedule all of your excursions. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Moon San Villa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Moon San Villa Hotel Port Antonio
- Moon San Villa Jamaica/Port Antonio