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Few know about this special gem of a resort in Negril, Jamaica, but now you can experience Couples Swept Away resort. It should be on your bucket list.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: LILA REED - If youre feeling energetic on your trip to Couples Swept Away in Jamaica, you could spend a little time in the resorts lap pool.For 20 years I've kept the secret. Few know about this special gem of a resort in Negril, Jamaica, but now I'll spill the beans and share why Couples Swept Away resort should be on your bucket list.

As we all know, winters in Western Oregon are gray, rainy, cold, and seem to last forever.

Solution? Get away to a resort with warm weather, sun and fitness — Couples Swept Away.

Upon arriving at the Montego Bay International Airport, you'll be whisked away to the Couples "lounge" to wait in luxury with snacks, drinks and comfy chairs while the porters arrange for your travel bus to the resort.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: LILA REED - Lila ReedNot a bad way to start a vacation.

When you arrive, a porter will deal with your bags while you head to a receiving room to check in. Smiles abound as you're served champagne, and you're thinking, "This is going to be good!."

Yes, my friend, it is.

You have arrived, warm breezes caress your face as you look up at the sky, taking in the sun, and squeeze your toes into the powdery, white sand.

Are you feeling it yet?

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: LILA REED - If youd  rather have some down time on the white sandy beach, then put up your feet and the red flag. The beauty of this place is that you can do as little, or as much as you could ever desire. There is waterskiing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, diving, catamaran sailing, stand-up paddle-boarding and kayaking to keep you busy, or you could simply plop down on a beach chair, put up what I call, "the magical red flag," and wait for a smiling Jamaican to come take your drink order and serve it to you right there on the beach.

All this, and you've only just arrived.

Have your customized breakfast delivered to your veranda when you specify. If you're feeling motivated, you can add any number of fun options to your day. You can take a yoga class on the beach, join a shopping tour or simply skim above the waves on a glass-bottom boat.

Feel adventurous? Try your hand at windsurfing or sailing a catamaran. Feel like getting pampered? Go to the spa on-site (extra) and get a massage or pedicure. Feel like a bum? No worries, simply plop down with your favorite book on the white sand beach and put up that magical red flag.

Land activities are fine, but the magic of the Caribbean is the snorkeling and diving. The water is a balmy 81 degrees and crystal clear. The nearby reef is healthy and filled with all manner of fish, coral, eels and starfish. You can snorkel or dive daily, and its all included.

The watersports staff get in the water with you and safely bring up creatures you can touch and feel, from spiny starfish and gooey feeling sea cucumbers to delicate sea spiders.

Have you decided you need to put this trip on your bucket list? So, when you've had enough of bone chilling cold rain and gray skies of Clackamas County in winter, head to Jamaica for both the sunshine and your fitness resolutions.

All I ask is please don't hog all the soft serve at the ice cream bar, because that will be my first stop upon returning, now that the secret is out!

This is the first installment of quarterly travel articles by Lila Reed, co-owner of Mt. Hood Athletic Club in Sandy. Reed is an explorer having visited nine countries and 33 U.S. states. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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