River Lodge Robin's Bay, Jamaica
Trip report by Cheryl Thomas
In the 70's Robins Bay was known as Strawberry Fields and was frequented by the Rolling Stones and others. When I went, I stayed at River Lodge which is the perfect location for a couple who wants total rest, relaxation, and privacy. It is built around the ruins of a 17th century restored Spanish Fort. It's a very pretty and unspoiled area.
It takes some doing to get there, though. If I had a death wish, I might be tempted to rent a car and go there again. I'm not famous for being a cautious driver myself, but those drivers have me beat all to hell! As it was, I hired a private taxi and that was quite expensive, so this is a consideration when traveling here.
Strawberry Fields is a very small community, but there are a couple of little restaurants and bars and a neat craft stand owned by a man named Donovan. He makes some wonderful things from calabash and bamboo.
The Lodge itself is pretty cool, although rustic, and the two cottages are very cute. The owner, Brigitta was very nice and accommodating. However, the cottages are roughly a half-mile from the Lodge so for the single traveller who would like a bit of socializing, they're not so good.
Be prepared for a certain level of self-catering. You should bring snacks and drinks (especially coffee!) and dish soap. The water pressure in the Saphira Cottage is poor, so I ended up using an outdoor shower. That really didn't bother me too much - it was actually kind of an interesting experience, although there was cold water only and it was totally out in the open (!). I hoped that what few neighbors there were didn't pay me any mind...
Breakfast and dinner are included in the price, and the outdoor dining area is very pleasant. The food, however, is just O.K. I hoped Blue Mountain coffee, or at least Jamaican coffee of some kind, would be served but the coffee tasted like American instant.
I heard you can take an ATV tour and see some lovely sights or take a boat trip out to the reef for snorkeling. Snorkeling from the beach is not so good. One day I went for a long walk and really enjoyed that. I'm told that if I had only walked 10 more minutes, I would have seen a black sand beach, *%^$@!
There are three beaches nearby, and the two free ones aren't much. There's a nicer one at Strawberry Fields Together resort - it's small, but pleasant. Guests of the (adorable!) cottages use the beach for free, of course; non-guests must pay to use it, but the cost is only about $3.00 US. The on-site restaurant looks lovely, although it's in the midst of being repaired from the damage wrought by Hurricane Dean. One of the staff members showed me around, and he was very nice and helpful.
I was very impressed with the friendliness of the people in the area. More than anything else, they stand out as making the area worth visiting.
I found Jamaica to be a wonderland of photo opportunities! I found myself wishing I were an artist so I could paint some of the images I saw.