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Jamaica Travel Guide - Places to visit in Jamaica | Wanderlist Travel

Jamaica Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel

Jamaica offers the perfect mix of beautiful beaches surrounded by majestic mountains.

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • Former British colony and part of the Commonwealth of Nations
  • Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Tanío people from South America
  • Population includes a mix of black Jamaicans of African descent, Chinese, Indians, and Europeans among others
  • Motto: “Out of many, one people”
  • National language is Patois, a mix of English and West African dialects

USEFUL INFORMATION:

  • Best Time to Visit: Jamaica is a year round destination but November to March is the best time to visit. November to December have beautiful warm weather with cheaper rates than during the peak season from January to March. April to June tend to be a bit rainy. June to November is hurricane season though you can find good rates during the summer. Be aware of the high humidity, especially during the summer, when combined with the rising temperatures can be stifling if you are not by the coast.
  • What to Wear: The climate is warm year-round. Light, airy clothing is recommended. Casual wear is appropriate in touristy places and beach wear is appropriate on and around beaches and resorts. If you venture out into less touristy places, be sure to dress more modestly.  
  • Getting around: You will need to rent a car or hire a private car hire to get around the island. If you do not have any experience driving through super crowded streets full of cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and people, then it is best to leave the driving up to the locals who are more experienced at navigating these tricky road conditions.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Montego Bay is the most popular destination in Jamaica as Sangster International Airport is located in Mobay and therefore the most convenient city for tourists to stay.
    • Mobay’s top attractions are Rose Hall mansion, Doctor’s Cave Beach, horseback riding on the beach, zip lining, scuba driving and snorkeling, and golfing at Tryall Club.
  • Ocho Rios is about an hour and half east of Montego Bay.
    • Ochi’s attractions include the world famous Dunn’s River Falls and the Mystic Mountains.
      • Dunn’s River Falls allows you to climb the falls in a guided human chain, relax on the beach, see the falls from various outlook points, enjoy the fauna and flora, or shop at the many stands around the park.
      • You can take the ski lift to the top of the Mystic Mountain for stunning views of the island and learn about Jamaica’s first bobsled team. The Mystic Mountain also offers canopy zip lines, waterslide, infinity edge pool, and a bobsled ride.
    • Ocho Rios is also a popular cruise stop.
  • Negril is another hot tourist spot and is known for some of its (mostly private) beaches to be clothing optional.
    • Its attractions include the Seven Mile Beach, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, Bloody Bay, Kool Runnings Adventure Park, Royal Palm Reserve, Half Moon Beach, and the Negril Lighthouse.
  • Kingston is the capital of Jamaica.
    • Attractions around Kingston include the Devon House, National Gallery, National Heroes Park, and the Bob Marley Museum.
      • Devon’s House was built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, and its ice cream shop offers 27 natural ice cream flavors, a taste of Jamaica’s best.
      • The National Gallery showcases some of the island’s best artists as well as international artists and traveling exhibitions.
      • The National Heroes Park has dedicated monuments honoring national heroes and serves as the burial ground for many of the island’s past leaders.
      • The Bob Marley Museum takes you on a tour of his last home and recording studio as well as artifacts from his life.
  • Portland is not your typical tourist destination though it is definitely worth a visit if you can find a way to get out there. Portland is a parish located in northeast Jamaica.
    • It has arguably some of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica including Boston Bay, Winnifred Beach, Long Bay, Frenchman’s Cove, and Blue Lagoon.
      • When you visit Boston Bay, be sure to order some jerk chicken from the Boston Jerk Center.
      • Winnifred Beach was featured on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown when he had an episode on Jamaica. Down on the beach, you can find fresh fish and jerk dishes prepared just for you.
      • Long Bay has strong breezes that make it an ideal place for surfing.
      • You can access the private beach at Frenchman’s Cove for a small fee. The river at Frenchman’s Cove flows right into the ocean. The sand is white, the water is clear, and the beach is simply idyllic.
      • The Blue Lagoon is a natural lagoon with gorgeous blue color changes from turquoise to sapphire to deep blue as the angle of the sun changes.  The Blue Mountains are also located in Portland. You can hike to the peak, from where you can see Cuba on a clear day.

WHERE TO EAT:

  • Rick’s Café in Negril is located on a dramatic rocky seaside cliff. You can walk into the ocean via steps carved in the rocks. You can also dive into the water via diving boards set at different heights. Rick’s Café is perfect for a sunset dinner.
  • Boston Jerk Center is located in Fairy Hill in the parish of Portland in northeast Jamaica. Portland is the birthplace of jerk, originally started in the Blue Mountains by the Maroons and later brought down the mountains to Boston. The Jerk Center have 7-8 jerk pits and many of the jerkmen come from a line of jerkmen in their families. Aside from jerk dishes, you can also find fresh fruits, fresh fruit juices, and locally crafted jewelry.
  • Aunt Merl’s Fish Place is best known for its fresh fried fish served with a cassava flat bred. Located in Hellshire Beach, sit down and relax under the thatch-covered patio with your toes in the sand while you enjoy your fresh fish or lobster cooked to perfection.
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