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Day Six

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Our last day.

We took a tour of Sandles Dunns River. This property was so beautiful. Everything overlooked the water, and we could view some of the rooms. With the view and service, you definitely get a well-paid experience. There are multiple restaurants to dine from, all beside each other. We talked a lot about their internship program during this trip, and this is where I would love to shadow departments. Sandles is the true definition of luxury. From their spa to personalized care, I would recommend this resort to many people. We had an amazing lunch here and met with the general manager.

After our return, we had our farewell dinner. Students were selected to give speeches on their experience during this study abroad. I tried more authentic Jamaican food, such as pumpkin rice.

I am genuinely grateful to have experienced this trip and met with such great people. Although I am not a hospitality major, I have gained much interest in the career field. I hope to go on a trip like this next year. I made such amazing friends with whom I hope to keep in connection. I plan to apply for the internship and gain more experience in the departments I shadowed. I recommend this study abroad for anyone interested in business operations. This is also the perfect trip for someone to gain experience in study abroad. Now that I have experienced this week-long study abroad, I feel more comfortable trying more extended opportunities.

Day Five – Six

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

Day Five:

In preparation for our study abroad, many students and others were able to donate school supplies to Boscobel Primary School. My expectations were very different from what I saw at this school. Not many teachers are available, so some students must stay home. It was a very small school that had many students. The class of four and I were able to complete the worksheets together. We surprised the kids with new bookbags and other supplies. You could tell the teachers and students were very grateful. This was my most meaningful experience on this trip.

We ended the day at the Luminous Lagoon. This experience was exciting, and I enjoyed myself. Every movement we made in the water glowed. I wish I had stayed in the water longer!

Day Three – Four

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Day Three:

Excursion Day!!

We had a very early start, but it was made up on the ride to the first excursion, Blue Hole. Blue Hole was very fun, even though I didn’t feel comfortable jumping in the water. There were many opportunities to sit in the water while I watched my classmates jump from such heights. The guides were very alert and wanted to ensure everyone’s safety. Afterward, we went river tubing, which I fully participated in. The guide contributed significantly to our fun. He spun us while we were going down the tough waters. This was my favorite excursion. Finally, my classmates went zip lining. We returned to the bus and picked up authentic Jamaican food on the way back to the resort.

In the evening, we had a tour and dinner at Sandles Ochi. Everyone was dressed in white for the white night. The tour included three properties in one and the central laundry room. There is a chapel at the end of the pier that has a clear aisle.

Day Four:

My favorite day on the whole trip. After breakfast, as a team, we meet with the following departments. I was able to shadow Cost Control. In Cost Control, there is a “grocery store” that the restaurants and bars have to buy from. The weights and costs are double-checked to ensure everything is correct. The bars have a “one in, one out” type of program. Bars must send empty bottles to be checked off and then replenished with the same bottles. Cost Control is essentially innovatory. I learned so much from this department experience; everyone was very inviting.

Next, I was able to shadow Weddings. I learned about the packages offered and how someone books a wedding at Beaches or Sandles. The team was very friendly and informative. I would definitely be interested in working in all these departments long term.

Day One – Two

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

Day One:

Landing in the beautiful Jamaica began the start of an amazing spring break and study abroad. After Immigration, we were guided to a lounge for those waiting to go to Beaches and Sandals. We even had our own bus for the long ride to the resorts. We were greeted with drinks and cold towels. I finally met my roommates in person and explored the resort after we were shown to our room. While having lunch, I witnessed a Jamaican take on Sesame Street characters at their afternoon show while children in the audience joined them in dance. I ended the day by joining my classmates at the fire/circus show.

Day Two:

We started the day early for a meet-and-greet with Raven, the head of the department of sales. Raven took us on a tour of Beaches Ocho Rios, where we learned that the hotel offered 222 rooms in 16 different types. There is a total of seven different restaurants that feature different cuisines. After our tour, my favorite part was meeting with the department heads of those we could not shadow. I loved hearing from HR and accounting. My first department orientation was environmental health and safety. Jardin, the department head, informed us about every aspect of her job and why it was necessary. This department handles licenses and safety measures. Randomly, she has to audit the different departments to ensure they are updated with information and regulations. Did you know they have to have a license for every kayak they have? She even goes to court on behalf of the resort to update licensing.

We ended our day at the welcome dinner with the department heads. The food was amazing, and I learned so much. Jolon, the department head of entertainment, did a fantastic job hosting us.


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


On our last day in Jamaica, we attended the newest resort on the island which is Sandals Dunns River Resort. Extremely beautiful and luxurious property that offers anything you can imagine not only is this resort with a high occupancy expected for the next three years but its facilities are structured for the best experience you could ever imagine. We were immediately greeted by the general manager and his entire team showing us that Sandals is determined to take care of us on any resort we go. This trip has been an opportunity and an experience of a lifetime it is no secret that it was an extremely fun trip, but I could definitely say that we have learned so much while attending this study abroad. Sandals Resorts offers amazing opportunities for all hospitality students. Their business model is based on what the founder Butch Steward said: “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life”. I agree with what he was saying and, in our industry, whether it’s long hours or weekends you have to do what you love. I extremely enjoy my trip to Jamaica and if I had to do it again I would do it exactly the way that I did it.


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024

This day was a day that I believe nobody will forget, we began the day by going to an elementary school not only to just give a donation but to have the experience of actually going to the school and meeting the children was just amazing. It is very sad that some of these schools in Jamaica have to think about supplies as something that can be uncertain and in some cases a luxury. So, by being able to make a donation on behalf of FIU and the Sandal Foundation was a moment none of us will forget. Each one of the students got to spend time with the kids and doing small tasks with them was extremely touching. Afterwards, this same night we went to the luminous lagoon where I was able to experience for the first time a lagoon, when you’re in the water it automatically changes to a bright neon color. Amazing!


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


On day four we got to have the day to work on the department we chose. I had the opportunity of working with food and beverage for half the day and the second half of the day I was working with entertainment. It was also a special day for the resort because they have their annual celebration for their employees and the way that Sandals Resort does this is that they have awards for their best employees of the year. Not only does this include gifts like a free week at any sandal’s property, but I feel that it’s even more important that they recognize their employees for their hard work. Working on food and beverage I got to assist one of the restaurants at the property learning their logistics of how to handle both the front and back of the house. A typical restaurant at the resort would have one hundred people dine in during the night. I got to speak to the waiters and personally, I wanted to see what their main goal was while doing their job. I could genuinely say that they all said that it’s about the guests and everything they do is for the guests. I love that because it shows how much they care for the industry of hospitality. Afterward, I went to work for entertainment and in this department, we got to learn about everything that keeps the guests at the reserve for the entire day. Logistically speaking they must have events morning afternoon and night to make sure the guests are not bored and are enjoying their stay at a maximum.


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


At the beginning of our third day in Jamaica, we had excursions. I was extremely nervous and scared of doing all of these excursions I’ve never done them before, but I have to say that they were all fun.  We started by jumping into a river which I was excited to do and I was one of the last ones to do this. But I have to say that once you jump in you’re in the water it is a beautiful natural experience of the beauties of what Jamaica has to offer as a country we did this a couple of times when their first excursion and each time was extremely nice you feel connected to the nature of the country. Secondly, we went tubing which was my favorite out of all the excursions not only because you get to see the nature of Jamaica but also because it’s an extremely interactive activity with your colleagues. Lastly, we had zip line, this is the one I was most afraid of, but I have to say that it was extremely nice to do it. After the excursions we had time for ourselves at the hotel until 4:30 where we had to prepare a tour for the Sandals Ochi Resort. We had the opportunity to visit this resort and have an entire tour. I love the concept of this property it is a couples-only resort, and you have to be 21 or more just to stay in it was extremely luxurious and nice. The resort is divided into two they have one side of the resort on one side of the street and the other right across. The entire property was so beautifully done that it was just great to be in. Even by the beach, they have a pier with a small Chapel where couples get married almost every day at this hotel. It was certainly a property I would love to work on.


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


On our second day of the trip, we started the day by meeting with all the managers although the resort for obvious reasons wouldn’t share the financials however were able to meet the financial controller and the revenue management team and how they seek their investments in management was good to know. We also had an entire tour of the Beaches Ochi Rios Resort. Not only is this resort a palace to stay in but it accounts for so many restaurants, bars, and entertainments that it is made for you that you don’t have the necessity of leaving the property. I also had the opportunity of being designated to the housekeeping department where I learned the logistics on how to operate housekeeping when you have a 220-room hotel with 100 occupancy year all year. Also to make sure that all guests receive their daily service but also as a priority, the incoming guests don’t have to wait for rooms to start their vacation. I was also assigned directly with a housekeeper to learn the standards of there are rooms and the small details behind the cleanliness on which the housekeeper takes the time to make sure the guests have a wonderful room to stay in. We concluded that day with a welcome dinner hosted by the general manager and the corporate operations director of Sandals Beaches. We got to try the local cuisines of Jamaica which I was extremely excited to have. I got to eat jerk chicken, rice and peas, Jamaican patties, and my favorite oxtail. We also had members of the Sandals corporate university and one of the graduates as well who is currently an assistant food and beverage manager.


By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


On my first day to Jamaica, I was extremely excited but also nervous about my first study abroad. I hadn’t been to the Caribbean in four years so I decided to stop by the mall and buy everything that I would need to prepare for my trip. I decided to be at the airport by 8:00 AM, just to make sure I wouldn’t have any problems checking in. Once I was checked in, I noticed another student had also just finished checking in I introduced myself and immediately started talking and getting to know each other while we were going through TSA and waiting at the gate for our flight. Once we arrived in Jamaica, I was surprised by the level of hospitality just by arriving at the airport all the staff members were extremely friendly even the immigration officer was nice. After grabbing my bag immediately noticed that by the exit there were members of the sandals resort waiting for me and they immediately greeted me took my bags for me and escorted me to the lounge which is so convenient. They had a variety of snacks and drinks for us with a seating area. The first glance of the resort was beautiful, and it immediately opened up on the hospitality level as they greeted you by saying “Welcome home” which I thought was very heartfelt, and it really enthusiasts me at the beginning of an amazing trip. #jamaica

Island Farewell Turns Island Fiasco: My Epic Journey (Not the Good Kind) Back to Miami via FLL

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Alright folks, buckle up! After an incredible eco-tourism adventure in Jamaica, my time at Beaches Resort was coming to a bittersweet end. Farewells were exchanged, promises of “I’ll see you soon, Jamaica!” were shouted into the sunset, and we boarded the shuttle for the airport, hearts full of memories and bellies full of jerk chicken.

Everything was running smoothly, or so I naively thought. It all went downhill the moment we stepped into the Montego Bay Airport. A document issue with my trusty US passport threw a wrench into the well-oiled departure machine. Thankfully, after a tense period of verification and manual check-in, things were back on track (or so I thought!).

Determined to have a smooth sailing (or should I say flying?) back to Fort Lauderdale, we stocked up on Jamaican patties and other goodies – the perfect sustenance for a peaceful journey home. Little did we know, the travel gods had other plans.

Turns out, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was mysteriously closed. Confusion reigned as we were rerouted to… Tampa?! We sat on the plane for a good hour, simmering in a stew of disappointment and hunger. A pilot change later, we finally disembarked and were herded through the entire check-in process again. This meant squeezing all those duty-free treasures (rum, anyone?) back into our already-packed suitcases – a feat of Tetris mastery, I might add. Thankfully, the airline gods took pity on our overflowing luggage and spared us the overweight baggage fees.

But the misery wasn’t over yet. Our flight was delayed – not by an hour, not by two, but by a whopping seven hours! Seven excruciating hours spent in a crowded airport terminal, dreams of a hot Miami shower slowly fading away.

By the time we finally touched down at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, exhaustion had replaced any lingering frustration. This travel day was a masterclass in everything that could go wrong on the way home. It served as a stark reminder that even the most meticulously planned trips can be subject to the whims of fate (and airport closures).

However, amidst the chaos, there were some silver linings. The airline staff were surprisingly patient, considering the collective meltdown happening around them. And those Jamaican patties? They held up surprisingly well throughout the ordeal, providing much-needed sustenance for our weary souls.

So, here’s to unexpected travel adventures, the importance of packing light (duty-free temptations aside), and the enduring power of Jamaican cuisine. Although this wasn’t the homecoming I envisioned, it certainly provided a story – and a lesson – to share.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find the nearest shower and vow never to take a smooth flight for granted again. Until next time, travelers!

Island Farewell: So Long, Jamaica, Until We Meet Again!

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


As I write this final blog post, a bittersweet feeling washes over me. Today marks the end of my incredible eco-tourism adventure in Jamaica, but the memories I’ve made will stay with me forever.

Our last official day kicked off with a tour of Sandals Dunn’s River, and let me tell you, it instantly became my favorite Sandals/Beaches location so far. The architecture was simply stunning, a beautiful blend of Jamaican charm and modern elegance. But what really stole the show was the sheer variety of restaurants. From Asian fusion to Italian specialties, it was a foodie paradise waiting to be explored.

Before indulging in all that culinary goodness, though, we had a truly Jamaican experience. We sipped on refreshing coconut water straight from the source, followed by a taste of the local delicacy – coconut jelly. To top it all off, we enjoyed some Appleton estate rum-infused sugarcane, a sweet and fiery treat that perfectly captured the island’s spirit, thanks to Henisa.

The afternoon brought us to a delightful Tapas lunch heavily influenced by Jamaican cuisine. The vibrant flavors, the lively music, and the overall good vibes were the perfect way to celebrate an unforgettable trip. It was a beautiful fusion of Jamaican culture and international culinary influences, a testament to the island’s diverse culinary scene.

As the sun began to set, we returned to Beaches Resort for our farewell dinner. And let me tell you, it was a true Jamaican foodie send-off! Jerk chicken, curry goat, fried plantains – all the island’s culinary stars were present, a fitting finale to this delicious journey.

While I’m sad to say goodbye to Jamaica, I leave with a heart full of gratitude and a renewed passion for eco-tourism. This trip has been an eye-opening experience, showcasing the importance of sustainable practices and responsible tourism. I’ve learned so much about the hospitality industry, from the meticulous work of housekeepers to the joy of giving back to the community.

However, a tiny part of me can’t help but yearn for one last taste of Jamaica – the legendary Jamaican KFC. Guess that’ll have to wait for my next visit!

Until then, Jamaica, farewell! Thank you for the breathtaking landscapes, the warm hospitality, and the delicious food. You’ve left an indelible mark on my heart, and I know I’ll be back one day to explore more of your magic.

This is where my eco-tourism blog ends, but my journey continues. Stay tuned for future adventures where I’ll share insights and experiences from the world of hospitality and sustainable tourism. Until then, safe travels and happy exploring!

Island Impact: Giving Back at Boscobel Primary School

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Today’s experience was truly special. It wasn’t just about learning the ropes of hospitality; it was about making a difference in the lives of young Jamaicans. FIU, in collaboration with the Sandals Foundation, organized a phenomenal community service project at the Boscobel Primary School.

We arrived at the school, a vibrant building buzzing with energy, armed with school supplies and a passion for sharing our knowledge. Jordyn and I were paired up to teach a preschool class. The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a sea of curious faces – Naima, Britney, Davonte, Abigale – names that will forever be etched in my memory.

Their boundless enthusiasm and thirst for learning were infectious. Even with the language barrier, we managed to connect through songs, games, and simple activities. Their smiles and eagerness to participate warmed my heart. It brought back cherished memories of my own time as a Brownie, Girl Guide, and Ranger. Giving back to the community was always a highlight of those experiences, and today, that feeling came rushing back, stronger than ever.

The afternoon flew by in a whirlwind of laughter and learning. Seeing the impact we were making, even if just for a day, was truly fulfilling. Witnessing the dedication of the teachers and the joy of the students solidified my belief in the power of education and the importance of supporting local communities.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, we embarked on a magical journey to the Luminous Lagoon. Gliding through the bioluminescent waters, watching them shimmer like a million tiny stars, was an unforgettable experience. It was the perfect end to a day filled with heartwarming connections and the joy of giving back.

This experience served as a powerful reminder that hospitality isn’t just about luxury and service. It’s about creating positive experiences, fostering connections, and making a positive impact on the communities we interact with. The time spent at Boscobel Primary will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on me. The love and light in those young eyes will continue to inspire me as I navigate the world of hospitality and tourism.

So, here’s to Naima, Britney, Davonte, Abigale, and all the amazing students and teachers at Boscobel Primary. Thank you for making this an unforgettable day. Stay tuned for more adventures as my eco-tourism exploration continues!

Island Learnings: From Housekeeping Heroes to Entertainment Extravaganza

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Day 3 at Beaches Resort has been a whirlwind of learning experiences, showcasing the diverse tapestry of roles that make a resort function flawlessly. This morning, I embarked on a journey into a department that holds a special place in my heart (or maybe not?): housekeeping.

Now, full disclosure, I’ve dabbled in housekeeping during a past internship. Let’s just say cleaning up after…well, let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite experience. However, today’s experience completely transformed my perspective. My amazing trainer, Christena, showed me housekeeping the Beaches Resorts way. It wasn’t just about cleaning; it was about creating a pristine and comfortable haven for guests. Christena’s dedication and meticulous attention to detail were truly inspiring. I gained a newfound respect for the hard work and dedication of the housekeeping staff, the invisible heroes who ensure a flawless guest experience.

The afternoon brought a shift in gears as I delved into the world of resort entertainment. I toured the vibrant Teens Korner, a haven for young guests, and the pulsating Gaming Center, guaranteed to ignite friendly competition. But the real highlight was the dance side of entertainment. With the help of some patient instructors Teddy and Panda, I finally perfected my “Drift” moves – a victory dance that will surely impress back home!

The learning didn’t stop there. I even picked up the art of bracelet making, a skill that’s sure to come in handy for future gift-giving occasions. The energy and creativity of the entertainment team were contagious, and it was clear they were passionate about creating unforgettable memories for guests of all ages.

Today’s experience was a potent reminder that a successful resort is more than just luxurious accommodations and stunning scenery. It’s about the dedication of its staff, from the meticulous housekeepers to the energetic entertainers. Each department plays a vital role in creating that unique sense of place that keeps guests coming back for more.

So, here’s to Christena and the entire Beaches Resort team for showing me the magic behind the scenes! Stay tuned for more insights as my eco-tourism adventure unfolds.

Day 2 – Island Adventures: Chukka Thrills and Resort Realities

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Greetings from Jamaica! Today’s post is a tale of two experiences – one exhilarating, the other a bit frustrating, but both offer valuable lessons in eco-tourism and hospitality.

The morning kicked off with an epic adventure with Chukka tour operators. They whisked us away to the breathtaking Blue Hole, a natural wonder featuring cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Jumping into those cool waters after a heart-pounding climb was pure joy.

After conquering the waterfalls, we mellowed out with a relaxing float down the river on inner tubes. It was a perfect way to soak in the lush Jamaican scenery and unwind after the morning’s excitement. The final act of the Chukka adventure was a thrilling zipline course that soared through the rainforest canopy. The views were phenomenal, and the feeling of flying through the air was exhilarating.

Now, for the flip side of the coin. The afternoon was supposed to include a tour of Sandals Ochi, another beautiful resort property. Unfortunately, the tour ran long, pushing back our dinner reservation significantly. As someone with dietary allergies, this presented a real challenge. Finding a restaurant with no wait time that could accommodate my needs on short notice proved to be a scramble.

Thankfully, the staff at Sandals Ochi were incredibly accommodating. They managed to squeeze us in at Vista Gourmet/Sky Terrace, a lovely rooftop restaurant with stunning views. While the late dinner wasn’t ideal, the staff’s attentiveness and the restaurant’s willingness to adapt their menu to my allergies were truly appreciated. The meal itself, once it arrived, was delicious – a perfect end to a day filled with unexpected twists and turns.

This experience highlighted the importance of flexibility and clear communication in the tourism industry. While unexpected delays can happen, resorts that prioritize guest needs and go the extra mile to ensure everyone has a positive experience truly stand out.

On a personal note, it also underscored the importance of advocating for my dietary needs. Even in a beautiful setting like Jamaica, navigating unfamiliar food options can be a challenge. This experience reaffirmed the need for clear communication and a proactive approach when traveling with allergies.

So, here’s to learning from both the good and not-so-good experiences in eco-tourism. Stay tuned for more adventures as I delve deeper into the world of Jamaican hospitality!

Island Eats: A Taste of Jamaica at Beaches Resort #WelcomeDinner

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Last night’s welcome dinner at Beaches Resort was a true explosion of flavor and Jamaican culture! As a self-proclaimed foodie, I couldn’t wait to dive into the island’s culinary scene, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

The buffet was a vibrant display of Jamaican favorites. The star of the show, for me, was the oxtail. Fall-off-the-bone tender and simmered in a rich, peppery sauce, it was pure comfort food heaven. And of course, no Jamaican meal is complete without coco bread, that pillowy soft bread that’s the perfect accompaniment to everything. Can’t forget the mannish waters that opened my tastebuds from the start.

But the deliciousness didn’t stop there. I savored flavorful jerk chicken, and perfectly seasoned rice and peas. For a taste of the sea, there was succulent steamed fish and spicy shrimp curry. Every bite was an adventure in taste and texture.

The real fun began after dinner when the resort staff surprised us with an impromptu dance lesson! The energy in the room was electric as we learned some basic reggae moves. The highlight for me? Mastering the “Willie Bounce,” a move I remember fondly from Jamaican dance parties back home. It was a beautiful moment of cultural exchange and pure joy, a perfect way to end the first day of this incredible trip.

I can’t wait to see what other culinary delights Jamaica has in store for me. Stay tuned for more foodie & dancer adventures!

Island Life Begins: Day 1 at Beaches Resort Ocho Rios

By Hospitality in the Caribbean 2024


Greetings from sunny Jamaica! Today marks the official start of my eco-tourism adventure, and what a start it’s been! My home for the next few days is the sprawling Beaches Resort in Ocho Rios, a picture-perfect beachfront property that seems to blend seamlessly with the lush Jamaican landscape.

This morning, I had the incredible opportunity to explore the resort alongside the ever-enthusiastic Sales Director. Their passion for Beaches and Jamaican hospitality was infectious, giving me a great introduction to the resort’s extensive offerings and its commitment to creating unforgettable guest experiences.

While I couldn’t delve into every department today, I did get some fascinating insights from the folks in Human Resources, Accounting, Finance, and Revenue Management. It was amazing to see the complex behind-the-scenes workings that ensure a smooth operation for guests.

But the real highlight of my day was an in-depth visit with the resort’s Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) department. Here’s where my focus on eco-tourism truly came alive. We had a fantastic conversation about the importance of proper licensing for all resort operations. The EHS head of department explained the various audits they conduct regularly to guarantee the safety of both guests and employees. It was fascinating to learn about the meticulous protocols they have in place to ensure everything from food safety to water quality meets the highest standards. Their dedication to creating a safe and healthy environment resonated deeply with me.

This is just the first glimpse into the multifaceted world of Beaches Resort. I’m eager to explore more departments in the coming days and learn how sustainability is woven into the fabric of their operations. Can’t wait to share more about my discoveries as this eco-adventure unfolds!

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