Frequently Asked Questions
Planning for your Jamaica Vacation
- Must renters utilize the all-inclusive format?
- How does the all-inclusive format work for children?
- How is the 15% sum divided between gratuities and fees?
- Who do I contact if I have questions or I want to book?
- What methods of payment are accepted and how is the trip cost split?
- After signing the rental contract, can I reduce the size of the rental party and expect a reduction in the money paid for the trip?
- Do you offer travel insurance?
- To which airport do I fly in Jamaica?
- Which airlines fly to Jamaica?
- What do we do about airport transfers?
- How do I go about reserving a vehicle?
- Do we all have to eat the same menu?
- When do we need to schedule desired excursions?
- What if someone is a vegetarian or vegan?
- Is it possible to do community service during my vacation?
- What if our child does not appear to enjoy the assigned childcare provider?
- What resources are there for children?
- Can I still partake in religious services while on vacation?
- Does the household staff stay over in the house too?
- What is suggested, or expected, in terms of additional staff gratuities?
- How do the villas relate to one another?
- What is the weather like at Bluefields?
- Does every room have A/C?
- Is Jamaica safe, and are the properties gated?
- What is the expected condition of the Bluefields Beach?
- Are hairdryers and other personal items available, and is the current the same as in the U.S.?
- Can I use my cell phone in Bluefields Bay, Jamaica?
- Do you have WiFi?
- Will my Ipod or Iphone work for music in Bluefields?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- What is your hurricane policy?
- What if a hurricane occurs while we are in Bluefields?
- Question: Must renters utilize the all-inclusive format?Answer: Yes, Bluefields Bay Villas are only offered on this basis because of its location and lack of accessibility to provisioning/restaurants. As the area is fairly remote and lacks commercialism, there is no straightforward way to deal with purchasing food and drink. Also please realize this is a “Villa Resort”, and thus there are lots of amenities in the all-inclusive package — such as airport transfers, use of snorkeling gear and sea kayaks and staffed seaside sitting areas and tennis court, complimentary laundry services, and easy access to spa services offered on-site (charges apply).
- Question: How does the all-inclusive format work for children?Answer: Children eat, drink, and produce lots of laundry too, and so those aspects are fully-covered. For younger children, we include (upon request) nanny coverage on a 9-hour daily shift that can be contoured to your needs. If you would also like a sleepover nanny or additional daytime coverage for your child, this can be arranged at an extra charge. Our manager will meet with you upon arrival to plan what will work best for you and your children in terms of childcare.
- Question: How is the 15% sum divided between gratuities and fees?Answer: The staff get 13%, and 2% goes into Bluefields Bay Villas’s Community Fund to be used for environmental and educational projects in the local community. The most current project is the creation and installation of a Bluefields Bay Villas Computer Lab in the new Belmont Academy High School for Excellence that had no computers…
- Question: Who do I contact if I have questions or I want to book?Answer: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-877-955-8993. We want you to contact us with all questions as our office is staffed with people who intimately know these villas. Asking questions will help us to get to know you and will allow us to fully-personalize your vacation to be exactly what you want.We also work with travel agents.
- Question: What methods of payment are accepted?Answer: We accept personal checks, bank wire transfers, and also AMEX, VISA, MasterCard, Discover credit cards. Payments are normally split in two parts. The first payment (Deposit) is due with the signed contract and must be received for the booking to be confirmed. This equals 50% of the pre-service charge figure. The Final Payment (the balance) is due 6 weeks before arrival.
- Question: After signing the rental contract, can I reduce the size of the rental party and expect a reduction in the money paid for the trip?Answer: Yes, we are willing to alter your rental contract to reflect a lesser number of guests and lower remainder before the final payment is due 6 weeks prior to arrival at the villa. As of 6 weeks prior to arrival, rental arrangements specified on the rental contract will be seen as firmly in place. If you wish to add guests after that date, please be in direct touch with our Reservations staff to see if it will be possible.
- Question: Do you offer travel insurance?Answer: We offer travel insurance through Allianz Global Assistance. This is not part of your package and must be purchased through one of the links below. Insurance* through them can cover not only your villa costs but also all of your trip costs as well as unforeseen emergencies that might possibly occur. Allianz offers three different levels of coverage:
*Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Insurance benefits are underwritten by either BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company depending on insured’s state of residence. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans. Plans may not be available to residents of all states.
- Question: To which airport do I fly in Jamaica?Answer: You want to fly to Montego Bay Airport (code: MBJ) which is in Jamaica’s second largest city and this is the main tourist destination on the North Coast. There is another airport in the capital, Kingston, but that is 3+ hours from Bluefields and we only provide transfers from Montego Bay Airport.
- Question: Which airlines fly to Jamaica?Answer: A complete listing of all flights going in and out of the Montego Bay Airport (MBJ) can be found on their website here.
- Question: What do we do about airport transfers?Answer: One airport transfer each way via vehicle per villa is included for full-week rentals. If your rental is less than a full week, airport transfers are available for an extra cost. We have our own fleet of vans that are used for these transfers.An alternative means of airport transfer is via helicopter, and we work with Island Hoppers which operates two Bell 206B3 Jet Ranger helicopters. These helicopters are U.S. registered and maintained under the regulations of both the FAA and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority. Mechanics are FAA-licensed and the helicopters are inspected and certified annually by a U.S. based inspector. Island Hoppers holds US$10,000,000 of liability insurance through Lloyds of London. Their pilots have a combined total flight experience of over 50 years.
- Question: How do I go about reserving a vehicle?Answer: Please let us know which model vehicle you prefer and we will then make the reservation for you with Liberty Car Rentals so that you can add our driver to your rental policy and we will then include a driver free-of-charge. This company goes out of their way to accommodate our reservations as they prefer the fact that we provide drivers who then keep their vehicles in the best possible condition.
- Question: Do we all have to eat the same menu?Answer: We ask the group to choose one menu for each lunch and each dinner. But, if there is someone who cannot eat or would not enjoy the selected entrée dish, the cook will make an alternative entrée dish available.
- Question: When do we need to schedule desired excursions?Answer: Since some excursions can be weather-dependent such as deep-sea fishing and visits to the YS Falls, we suggest that you schedule excursions upon arrival once you meet with our manager who will verify the best timing for your plans.
- Question: What if someone is a vegetarian or vegan?Answer: We have a list of possibilities for vegetarian and vegan guests. Because of our personalized service, you will have a team of people working to ensure that you have the best possible experience. We are expert at catering to different food tastes, and source ingredients directly from local farmers and fishermen.
- Question: Is it possible to do community service during my vacation?Answer: Absolutely. We encourage and help arrange community service via our own registered U.S. charity, Bluefields Environmental Protection Association (BEPA) www.bepajamaica.org. Please let us know what area(s) are of interest and we will do our best to help set up an experience tailored just for you.
- Question: What if our child does not appear to enjoy the assigned childcare provider?Answer: Same as with any difficulty, please ask to see our manager immediately to discuss how best to effect a change. Sometimes personalities do not jibe, and this will not cause hurt feelings. Please be forthright so that everyone ends up happy.
- Question: What resources are there for children?Answer: Our nannies will do their best to keep young guests occupied and happy. Depending upon the ages, the nannies will organize reading, swimming, kayaking, playing tennis, participating in other games, doing art projects, taking nature walks, building sand castles and even arranging cooking lessons too.
- Question: Can I still partake in religious services while on vacation?Answer: Yes. There are many types of religious services available that we are happy to help arrange for you if you send us some particulars about what you are seeking.
- Question: Does the household staff stay over in the house too?Answer: None of the staff live on the properties. However, there is a staff member on duty at each property 24 hours a day. Every villa has its own night-duty attendant who provides nighttime service from 8PM until 8AM (closes up the villa at night, treats the pool when people are not using it, sets the table for breakfast, makes tea and coffee before you arise, and basically assists with any guest needs during those particular hours).
- Question: What is suggested, or expected, in terms of additional staff gratuities?Answer: We require renters to pay an additional 15% of the rental sum of which 13% is to be given to staff who work during their visit. This covers villa staff as well as persons who help with provisioning or provide services for all visitors (juicing oranges, making Jerk Chicken, taking guests on nature walks, monitoring seafront sitting areas). Nothing else is “expected”. However, as renters frequently tip 15% or 20% at home and so often appreciate our staff, they sometimes wish to give additional funds. Please give extra funds directly to our manager or to your headman with a list of exactly how it should be shared. It will be distributed exactly as you specify – along with your thanks!! We do request that you honor our company policy of not giving money directly to the staff…
- Question: How do the villas relate to one another?Answer: Mullion Cove, The Hermitage, and Cottonwood Cottage are on 6 adjoining acres that open out to the ½ mile long Bluefields Beach. Milestone is ¼ mile west and San Michele is 1 ½ miles east on the other side of Bluefields Bay.
- Question: What is the weather like at Bluefields?Answer: The average temperature in Bluefields is 82F (27.7C), and the temperature variation is only 10 degrees year-round. There are always lovely sea breezes and the villas are designed with those in mind. In terms of rainfall, November through April are the driest months of the year. If there is rainfall, it is typically going to be afternoon showers which pass with the sun often returning afterwards.
- Question: Does every room have A/C?Answer: Every master bedroom has A/C. Of the 22 bedrooms, we have only one downstairs bedroom at Mullion Cove which does not have A/C.
- Question: Is Jamaica safe, and are the properties gated?Answer: Our area is safe and secure because we brought a much better lifestyle for residents through our tourist business. We employ 50+ workers and they support hundreds of other family members. Thus the entire community becomes heavily-invested in making sure that our visitors remain happy and healthy. It is quickly noticed if a new face appears, since there is such a strong community network.
- Question: What is the expected condition of the Bluefields Beach?Answer: This is hard to answer, because the condition of the beach so depends upon natural forces. Usually the sea moves in a direction that enlarges our end of that beach from the spring through the fall. Sometimes the beach can be rocky on our end during the winter, although it was ideal during most of Winter 2010. In any case, you can always find a sandy stretch of beach quite easily and quickly with the help of our seafront attendants. You may want to bring AquaSocks (or similar) in case the beach has less sand while you are there.
- Question: Are hairdryers and other personal items available, and is the current the same as in the U.S.?Answer: We supply bath towels, beach towels, and natural Jamaican soaps, shampoos, and conditioners made especially for Bluefields Bay Villas. Each house is stocked with one hairdryer. If you wish to bring a hairdryer the current is 110 volts, but is 50 cycles (rather than 60 cycles as in the U.S.). This simply means that equipment will run a little slower, but it does not create problems other than for refrigeration equipment.
- Question: Can I use my cell phone in Bluefields Bay, Jamaica?Answer: In most cases, you can use your cell phone or Blackberry in Bluefields Bay. There are two factors to consider however. One is: Does your carrier cover Jamaica? Second: On what frequencies does your phone work? While almost every carrier has a “roaming” agreement with both of the Jamaican cell providers, they usually require you to call their Customer Support line to activate “roaming” outside of your home service area. Links to the international roaming pages for the largest carriers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada can be found below.USA
T-Mobile USA (As of Nov 2013 T-mobile eliminated roaming fees for data and texts. Calls are 20 cents a minute.)
- Question: Do you have WiFi?Answer: Our villas and their surrounding areas are wrapped in a blanket of WiFi. The SSID (network name) is “bluefields” and requires no password for use. Please note that we have a very good relationship with Cable & Wireless (our ISP) and we all work hard to monitor and maintain connectivity. However there can be issues that come up to occasionally interrupt service. Normally we will know if there is a problem, but we ask that you inform your headman immediately if you have an issue so that we can get it resolved quickly. The status of our WiFi can be checked by clicking on the link below.Bluefields Wifi Network Status
- Question: Will my Ipod or Iphone work for music in Bluefields?Answer: Yes, all of our villas are outfitted to be Ipod and Iphone compatible. There is also another option: We are in the beginning phase of testing our own solution for music. Every house now has Radio Bluefields installed in it. Radio Bluefields is our in-house radio station that streams over the internet to the stereo in your house. This is now a classic reggae format, and we are open to all comments, suggestions and feedback about how well it worked, which you can do by clicking here.
- Question: What is your cancellation policy?Answer: We recommend that you buy cancellation insurance (see above) if you have concerns about not being able to travel. That will enable you to cover your airplane ticket costs in addition to the cost of the villa. If you alert us that you cannot travel, we will do our best to re-book the villa for those dates. If we can do so for the same sum, we will hold a $500 administrative fee and refund to you the remainder.
- Question: What is your hurricane policy?Answer: Our rental contract states that we will refund (or reschedule) visits that are unable to proceed because of a hurricane. If we deem that the villa premises are not suitable and available for your holiday, we will contact you to plan how to make you “whole”. As we do not cover airline costs, we recommend that you consider buying travel insurance at certain times of the year. Some airlines servicing the Caribbean have their own policies for hurricanes, with many being similar to ours.
- Question: What if a hurricane occurs while we are in Bluefields?Answer: We have a tested recovery plan in case of potential hurricanes. Guests have the option of leaving the island if flights are still available, and we help to work that out. The other option is to ride out the storm. Guests are all moved to Mullion Cove which was built in 1949 and has easily survived hurricanes. Our storeroom with all food and supplies is adjacent to Mullion Cove, is similar in design to a bunker, and is power-independent from the grid for weeks if necessary. A team of staff will remain with guests to make sure that everyone is as comfortable as possible and our staff stay with guests to help keep the party going. Even if roads are blocked, guests can be taken to the airport by helicopter as long as the company still has availability.