The picture above strikes me as capturing the odd artificiality of the place we stayed in Jamaica. I don't think we will go to an all-inclusive resort again, but we made the most of it for this year. It was a good year to do it, as it was warm and low stress, which is what my daughter most needed after her first semester in school in Massachusetts.
Our first evening there I asked about where I could run. They said around the resort, as the main road was dangerous. The place was big, but particularly as there wasn't a path that circled the resort that was going to be a lot of back and forth. So the next morning I went out to look at the main road and discovered it had an eight foot paved shoulder. And in less than a mile I got to a small town and there was a sidewalk the rest of the three miles I ran. They really didn't want anyone to leave the resort, except on bus tours. We wouldn't have known there was a town in easy walking distance if I hadn't gone that way running.
Two days later I ran in the other direction, and discovered the Green Grotto Cave we wanted to visit was less than two miles away. So I wasn't happy when I was told at the taxi stand in the hotel that it would cost $10 each way to get there. We ended up taking a taxi there and then walking back to the resort.
We snorkeled several times off the beach and enjoyed it--a good variety of non-mobile creatures and small but pretty fish. I went out sailing on a Hobie Cat three times with my kids or my husband, but it required a long wait to get a turn. I enjoyed the swimming--there was space to swim fairly far along a buoy line.
Windsurfing was less successful. The problem was that windsurfers they had were small, lightweight boards (much less stable than the windsurfers I learned to said in the late 1970s) and I had trouble balancing. I was able to sail out from the sheltered area looking like I knew what I was doing, but then when I got out in the waves I couldn't keep my balance. And then I couldn't get up again, partly because I was struggling with drifting into the buoy line but mostly because I was losing the ability to balance on the board, much less pull up the sail out of the water at the same time. A man in a kayak offered to help me and I let him tow me in.
The food was a good buffet with a very large variety of items. Some items were disappointing, some better than expected. I particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon at breakfast and the caramel bread pudding that was often available for dessert.
I had hoped to go to a local Anglican church for a Christmas day service, but when I inquired on Christmas eve about church services I was told I was the first one who had asked. The person at the desk knew an employee who was going to a 5 am service Christmas day, but I wasn't able to confirm that and didn't want to risk it. Instead we had our own family service at sunset, reading from the Bible. We went out on the breakwater in the picture below.