We always tell you that international travel is quite often a lot cheaper than you think it is. Every Tuesday in March we will put our money where our mouth is and recap how much a weeklong trip for 2 to one of our previous destinations would cost you. Maybe this year you could put some of your tax return towards a vacation. First up: Negril, Jamaica.
Looking for a boutique tropical vacation, where you can relax on a beach chair perched atop black coral cliffs overlooking the bluest of oceans? Then travel to Tensing Pen, located atop the black coral cliffs of the West End of Negril, Jamaica, where you can be the last people in Jamaica to watch the sun go down. Sip a cocktail at the poolside bar. Dive into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean. Enjoy dinner on the terrace or wander down the road for genuine Ital food at Ras Rody’s or authentic jerk chicken at Three Dives. Get away from the bustle of your everyday life, disconnect from your phone and television, and just relax. Get up early for a bit of yoga, enjoy the included breakfast, and then the day is yours. You can snorkel, dive, swim, explore the cliffs looking for fossils, wander down the road for some shopping, get a massage, visit with other guests at the bar, or just relax in a beach chair and read a good book.
Tensing Pen started out as a dream vacation home on the cliffs of Negril, Jamaica. Eventually, the British family who owns it opened it up to the public as a boutique resort. With less than 20 rooms, this is a small boutique resort, and it doesn’t disappoint. The accommodations are stunning, and each one is unique. The staff is incredibly friendly and provides amazing high end service. It quite often feels as if you are on vacation at your own private home due to the intimacy, quietness, and serenity of the location. This is not one of those huge all-inclusive party resorts like you will find further down along the beach. The West End cliffs are a more laid back, quieter locale where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy your time in paradise.
We traveled to Negril in December 2010, well before we started our big trip. But, it was still an economical and luxurious trip and the cost hasn’t gone up that much. Want to have that laid back, tropical island vacation in the midst of holiday madness back in the states? Why not stay at Tensing Pen Resort on the cliffs in Negril.
For a trip Dec 7-14, 2013: This is the shoulder season, so you are just outside of hurricane season, but still paying low season rates. Plus, it’s the perfect time for a sunny tropical break while it’s wintry and cold in the states. This is also the same week we went there and the weather was fantastic.
Cost of Flight from DFW: $506/person roundtrip on direct flights into Montego Bay (closest airport to Negril)
Roundtrip Airport Transfer: $100 (group) to $140 (private) per couple. It is a 90 minute transfer from the craziness and pollution of Montego Bay to the laid back cliffs of Negril’s West End.
Rates for 7 nights at Tensing Pen: $770 – $1680. Every room is mere steps from the water. When we went, we stayed in one of the Pillars and in Cove Cottage. All of the rooms here are unique and beautiful and you cannot choose wrong. But if we went back I’d book the cheapest garden room as you’re still mere steps away from the ocean’s edge, the garden view is beautiful, and it frees up extra money for massages and cocktails.
Sips & Bites: Breakfast is included at Tensing Pen. Tensing Pen has a restaurant on site and there are quite a few restaurants within walking distance as well as a convenience store just across the road. Average price for a cocktail or beer is $3-5. Average cost for a meal is around $5/person for street food like the fantastic Ital goodies at Ras Rody’s or jerk chicken at Three Dives. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, try out The Rockhouse, LTU, or stay in at Tensing Pen and expect to spend about $10-$20/person on food.
What to do: Tensing Pen offers yoga classes with an expert instructor twice a week at a cost of $20. And they offer a full spa menu as well, including massages and body treatments. A one hour massage will run you $65. You can also arrange to have someone take you out diving (price varies), or snorkel just off the cliffs for free. The World famous Rick’s is also just down the road, where you can watch the high cliff divers, or give it a try yourself. And don’t forget the Tensing Pen tradition of jumping off the bridge at the resort.
Airfare for 2: $1012
7 nights accommodation: $770
Food & Beverages: $560
Airport Transfer: $100
Massages for 2: $130
Grand Total for 2 people to spend a week in Caribbean Paradise: $2572
Obviously, you could spend quite a bit more or a bit less. It all depends on how you travel and what you eat and drink. But to get a week long Caribbean vacation for 2 at a boutique resort for less than $3k (including airfare) is pretty good.
Here are a few photos of our time at Tensing Pen.
For more information, visit Tensing Pen’s website at www.tensingpen.com