Jamaica is an island gem in the middle of sparkling Caribbean seas, about 90 miles south of Cuba. Most of its resorts are clustered along the magnificent beaches of Montego Bay in the northwest.
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The renowned birthplace of reggae’s favorite son, Bob Marley, its capital of Kingston in the south houses a museum in his honor. Surrounded by the lush Blue and John Crow Mountains, Jamaica’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kingston, offers ample opportunities to stop and smell the coffee at some of the local coffee farms dotting the Blue Mountain’s lush slopes.
Stroll along miles of white sandy beaches in Negril to the west. Snorkel or scuba-dive in the area’s tranquil turquoise seas before catching a bite at one of their famous restaurants or bars.
Visit resplendent Dunn’s River Falls in the island’s shopping capital of Ocho Rios to the north. Take a piece of the Caribbean’s third-largest isle home with you, as Jamaica’s warm tropical breezes and lively reggae beat seep into your soul.
What To Do
Explore the magical Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios or the cascading seven-tiered YS Falls fed by natural streams in the south. Take an enlivening Dunn’s River Catamaran Cruise and explore one of the region’s breathtaking national treasures.
Coast on a bamboo raft amidst the tropical splendor of Montego Bay’s soothing Martha Brae River and let all your cares fade away. Bobsled, skyride or zipline in Negril. Enjoy a taste of Jamaica with some authentic jerk chicken before catching a multi-hued Jamaican sunset and calling it a day.
What To See
There are plenty of festivals on the island, including an annual Bob Marley Birthday Bash in Negril the first week in February and Reggae Sunsplash in July/August. Summer nights heat up with cool jazz at the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival in June.
Learn about Jamaican history at the stately Devon House mansion, the original home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, in Kingston.
Step back into the island’s long plantation history with a visit to Rose Hall, a Georgian-style mansion in Montego Bay. Discover legendary tales of ghosts and slavery that still haunt the island.
And, of course, no visit to Jamaica would be complete without a dip in the Dunn’s River Falls in lovely Ocho Rios.
Visit Pleasant Activities for help in planning your excursions in Jamaica.
From eclectic marketplaces to art galleries and quirky shops with colorful island trinkets, Jamaica offers a something to satisfy any curious shopper. If you’re not arriving via ship, try to shop on non-cruise days in Ocho Rios, Falmouth or Montego Bay to avoid the crowds.
The U.S. dollar is widely accepted, along with other foreign currencies and credit cards. You’ll find duty-free shopping at the family-owned Casa de Oro in Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay.
Harbor Street Craft Market in Montego Bay offers one of the island’s best selection of arts and crafts. Head to Kingston's 'Cooyah' market, meaning 'look here' in Patois, the region’s main dialect, for authentic Rasta clothing and local crafts.
Don’t worry, be happy! When the sun sets, Jamaica comes alive with a reggae beat. Celebrate the island’s roots, a fusion of African and European heritage, through its music and dance the night away.
Jamaica with Kids
Impress the kids with a Dolphin Encounter in Ocho Rios. Take a Reggae Family Catamaran Cruise that includes a stop at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in exotic Montego Bay. Or cool off riding river tubes through the Great River in Negril.
Off the Beaten Path
You can swim in Jamaica’s Blue Lagoon, one of the sites of the Brooke Shield’s coming-of-age movie of the same title.
Feel like James Bond for a day when you visit Firefly, the former home of writer Ian Fleming. Here, you’ll not only uncover a juicy piece of literary history but one of the island’s most stunning views.
Visit the nearby rocky fortress that was once used as a hideout by Captain Morgan and other notorious pirates of the Caribbean.
Food and Drink
Jamaican cuisine offers a holiday for the senses. Soak in the island vibes as you satisfy your cravings with some authentic jerk chicken, herb-crusted fish fillet surround by coconut saffron cream, or sweet Jamaican rum cake.
Savor some of the island’s famous Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, harvested in the cool, misty climate of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains since the 19th century.
Experience delicious farm-to-table cuisine, as acclaimed chefs prepare tantalizing feasts incorporating the island’s fresh local produce.
Whether you choose to dine overlooking endless tropical seas, or while feeling the cool vibes of a lush hillside, you’ll discover a world of flavor each day on your idyllic Jamaica vacation.