Imagine sitting in a breeezy nighttime patio, waves crashing nearby and the aromas of hot plantains mingling with saltwater. Oh, and the love of your life is gazing out at the shadowy beach next to you.
That was my reality while honeymooning in Jamaica. We basically lived in those tropical island calendar photos for a week. Except better. Because we were welcomed with a surprise room upgrade to a private beachside veranda. (Thank you, honeymoon gods!)
We made our way to our room, taking shelter under covered walkways from the torrential downpour…I mean liquid sunshine, as our concierge so lovingly called it. And OH. MY. GOODNESS. The second we walked in, my jaw dropped.
That open-air patio got so much love while we were there. Instead of putting TVs in each room, our resort offered a library of books to borrow. I spent many hours on that veranda flipping pages to the sound of waves crashing. By the way, has anyone else read Girl on the Train?
Everything about our boutique resort was amazing! With only 54 rooms and a 700-foot stretch of beach, you’re guaranteed privacy. I think we only ever saw about 12 other people on the beach with us. Which left us no competition for the resort’s kayaks or paddle boards!
While in Jamaica, we were also able to climb a waterfall. Yep, you read that right. We climbed a waterfall!
It was by far the coolest physical challenge I’ve ever tackled. Dunn’s River Falls has terraces of rocky (sometimes slippery) ledges that lead you up an ocean-side incline. It’s basically rock climbing with water rushing past you! All while surrounded by a canopy of tropical greenery.
I wasn’t brave enough to bring my camera with me up the falls, but I did manage to snap a photo on our private boat ride back.
After we retuned, I honestly didn’t think anything could top that experience. Buuuut then we received an invite from our resort to help baby turtles that evening…
We immediately said yes and hopped in a van with about 12 other resorters to artive at a quiet beach. The guardian of this beach is a small Australian man named Mel who moved to Jamaica many years ago. Never have I met someone so passionate about their job.
Mel tracks the turtles’ nesting and hatching dates, calling on resorts like ours for volunteers to help the little Leatherbacks make it to the ocean!
The little buggers were so cute! And they had surprisingly string flippers pushing against your fingers. We held the hatchlings in the waves to wash the sand out of their eyes, then returned them to the top of the beach and set them free!
From that point, we were instructed NOT to interfere, as their “internal compass” would be thrown off if we helped them to the water. Our presence simply saved them from hungry birds.
It was so fun watching the little guys eagerly push themselves to the water. Each one disappeared into the crashing waves, begining their journey of thousands of miles. Many of them will return to that same beach, where they were hatched, to lay their own eggs one day!
We made some unforgettable memories in Jamaica and are forever grateful for the experience. Now, we are not only husband and wife. We are turtle rescuers, waterfall conquerors and island explorers! And back to being Midwesterners for now.