Only 4244 sq miles in size, Jamaica is a small island located in the Caribbean. A popular destination for tourists from all over the world, it is famous for its iconic reggae music, its athletes, its beaches, its food, culture, and a whole lot more. Bob Marley and Usain Bolt have both been at the forefront of both their disciplines and their names are easily recognizable worldwide.
As a proud Jamaican, I embarked on a journey to discover the best things to do in Jamaica. Little did I know that this beautiful tiny island I called home had so many things to do and places to see. This list contains some of the usual popular tourist attractions but I discovered some little-known gems not included elsewhere. Let’s start off with the garden parish of St. Ann.
Things to do in St Ann
Aptly called the garden parish because of its lush green hills and abundance of rivers, waterfalls, and beautiful beaches, St. Ann is home to some of Jamaica’s most famous attractions. It’s a tourist playground but locals love it here too. You’ll find it on Jamaica’s north coast, centrally located between the eastern and western points of the island and quite easily accessible from the south coast city of Kingston via highway.
Little Dunns River
Just around the bend from popular tourist attractions Mystic Mountain and Dolphin Cove, you will find Little Dunns River. A free beach, it is a popular destination for locals where they get to enjoy Dunns River and a miniature version of the iconic waterfalls for free.
Access to the beach involves descent down precarious steps built into the rocks and climbing over some tree roots but you’ll find it’s all worth it. There are three falls which are all sections of the final portion of Dunns River emptying into the Caribbean. The beach is not made up of pristine white sand but a trip to this location will provide a free enjoyable experience.
If you have ever wanted to swim and play with dolphins or stingrays then you should head over to Dolphin Cove. They’ll play with you, toss you in the air and allow you to plant a kiss on their rubbery skin.
After playing with the dolphins you can take a trek down the nature trail where you’ll get the opportunity to interact with exotic native creatures and view local plant life.
Finally, enjoy the waterslide or lounge around in the pool or by the beach after you’ve enjoyed some eats and treats at the restaurant here.
Bamboo Blu is a private beach club located just outside of Ocho Rios, the capital of St. Ann. With pristine white sands, a restaurant and a bar, and water and sand sports available, you are pampered with all the amenities of a fantastic beach day for a small entry fee. There are lounge chairs and cabanas with day beds available for rental to enhance your experience.
Dunns River Falls
At 600 ft high Dunns River Falls is a terraced waterfall that can be easily climbed alone carefully or in a chain group. This majestic iconic treasure is probably as famous as reggae music and is on the to-do list of many a visitor.
Emptying directly into the Caribbean Sea, a visit to Dunns River Falls offers you unique access to both the refreshing river and the beauty of the ocean in one spot.
Get a vigorous back massage from the rushing waters while you lounge in a lagoon or pose for fantastic photos as you explore this natural wonder.
Green Grotto Cave
Green Grotto Cave’s natural attraction’s central feature is the large labyrinthine limestone cave with unique rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites, overhead ceiling pockets, and bats, yup lots of em.
Measuring 1,525 meters long and 12 meters deep it has numerous chambers, light holes, and an underground lake in its bowels. It’s a quick but worthy tour on your journey to check out all the things to do in St. Ann.
This tropical Rainforest Located high atop the Mystic Mountains offers not only a fantastic view but a myriad of adrenaline-pumping and family-friendly activities. Take advantage of the view from the Sky Explorer and the Ragamuffin, work your way through Anancy’s Web Rope Course, Zipline, or Bobsled down the mountains. You can relax by the infinity pool, have fabulous food in the on-site restaurant, or just stroll through the gardens.
Chukka Coves attractions include a thrilling ATV safari ride through the colonial-era estate culminating along the picturesque coastline. Venture into the warm Caribbean Sea atop swimming horses with their Signature Horseback Ride and Swim, jump off into the beautiful blue waters at the Cove or explore the underwater world with a power snorkeling experience.
Blue Hole Ocho Rios
Located in the hills of Ocho Rios is Blue Hole, a relatively untouched waterfall and lagoon which is one of the few really beautiful spots that are still uncommercialized. Probably because it’s so far off the beaten path. Commercial vehicles may be reluctant to take you there but once you arrive you won’t regret it. Home to a secret falls, this spot boasts some of the cleanest, freshest water around and of course the blue hole. Brave souls may want to jump down the rabbit hole which takes some courage but is a great addition to this breathtaking adventure. A trip down the hole takes you behind the falls and into the water. Sit on a rock or find one of the hidden natural jacuzzis and enjoy.
Ocho Rios Craft Market
No trip to Jamaica is complete without a trip to the local craft market where you can find souvenirs and mementos of your trip. This craft market is in the heart of Ocho Rios where you can find ceramic sculptures, the usual T-shirts with cutesy sayings arts and crafts, as well as your rasta cap with dreadlocks attached. Most products are made by the sellers themselves while almost every item is locally produced. With the vibe and music thumping this will be an experience to remember. Be sure to bargain for the best prices.
Turtle River Falls and Gardens
Smack dab in the middle of the town of Ocho Rios, the entrance to the Turtle River Falls and Gardens belies the secrets hidden there. Unbeknownst to most, this beautiful garden is home to not only a breathtaking waterfall but an aviary with many tropical friendly birds. There is a Japanese Koi Pond that is populated by brightly colored fish and the garden is home to many beautiful exotic plants. This Garden’s hidden treasures are a must-see that provides a welcome respite from the bustling, busy town of Ocho Rios.
Nine Miles claim to fame is none other than the fact that it is the birth and resting place of Jamaica’s Reggae Icon and Superstar Bob Marley. This small rural village is nestled deep in the hills of St. Ann accessible through a series of scenic winding roads. A tour of this location offers access to the mausoleum in which both Bob and Mama Marley are housed as well as his home and the ability to take pictures of the stone pillow on which he laid his head for inspiration.
Konoko Falls and Park
Five minutes away from Ocho Rios in the hills is one of St. Ann’s best-kept secrets Konoko Falls and Park | Ocho Rios. You can tour the gardens on your own or hire a guide who will not only take you through the gardens while introducing you to our indigenous birds and animals. They will also give you a brief history of our original inhabitants the Taino Indians.
Things to do in Montego Bay
Busy in the day or at night Gloucester Avenue AKA The Hip Strip is a must-visit for any visitor to Montego Bay. This is the pulse of the city and you can pick up anything your heart desires. The street is lined with gift shops owned mainly by East Indians which carry similar items. Here you will also find everything you need while on vacation hotel, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and beaches.
Doctors Cave Beach
One of Jamaica’s most famous beaches is the Doctors Cave Bathing Club. Located on the notorious Montego Bay Hip strip this beach attracts both locals and tourists alike. The crystal clear water maintains a temperature from 78 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, 22 to 28 Celcius both winter and summer, and has curative powers for many ailments. This claim was made by Sir Herbert Barker, a famous British Osteopath who visited at the end of the early 1920s and visited the beach. He then went on to write and publish an article to this effect which made the beach famous overnight attracting foreigners many of whom were rich and famous.
Rose Hall Great House
The Rose Hall Great House is notably the most famous building in Jamaica, and it’s not just because of its stature and beauty. This Jamaican Georgian Plantation House is steeped in history and now operates as a historic house museum offering both day and night tours. Both tours will describe the rich history and background of the house, its many owners, and how the notorious Annie Palmer later became known as the white witch of Rose Hall.
Ahhh Ras Natango
Ahhh Ras Natango This beautiful garden carved out of the rocks on the hillside in Montego Bay is home to many exotic plants and birds. The gift shop and the gallery displays work done mainly by the owners who live on the property. Scattered all around are sculptures and paintings done by this very artistic family, many are on display in the gallery where you can cop some of the most unusual and beautiful pieces.
Montego Bay Marine Park
Established In 1991 The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust was established to conserve, protect and restore the coastal resources of Montego Bay. They are also tasked with educating the public through community outreach and effective interpretive enforcement. Several fish and bird sanctuaries have been established by the trust and tourists can take a tour of the facility or go for a snorkel or a dive. Schools often visit for educational tours.
Rastafari Indigenous Village
The Rastafari Indigenous Village was founded In 2014 as a cultural sharing center, healing ground, and sanctuary. The community is vegetarian, alcohol-free, and welcomes tourists to learn about the culture and share in their celebrations. A boutique retreat on-premises is available to tourists as well as a vegan hostel that is also alcohol-free. You could also take advantage of the culturally immersed work and stay program. With all these options you will be sure to enjoy your exclusive experience at The Rastafari Indigenous Village or you could just opt for the general tour.
Jamaica Land of Film Tour
Do you know how many movies were filmed in Jamaica? No? Well, neither did I. There were so many made that there is a whole tour dedicated to visiting the sites. This tour takes you to three cities and four locations where over 100 movies were made. I found this list on Wikipedia which lists 43 and this on Jamaica Experiences I am not sure what the others are but if you are really curious you should book the tour to learn more.
White Witch Golf Course
Located on the 4000-acre estate that houses Rose Hall Great House the White Witch Golf Course is aptly named for the residence’s most famous resident and probably its most notorious. It sits on 200 acres of lush, luxuriant greenery that was carved from the rolling countryside of the plantation. This 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril. Any avid golfer would feel quite at home on this par 71 treasure.
Things to do in Falmouth
Falmouth Swamp Safari
Falmouth Swamp Safari became famous for the dangerous crocodile-jumping scene done by James Bond in the classic movie “Live and Let Die”. The facility was first owned and operated by an American named Ross Kananga who established crocodile farming in 1968. It is rumored that he actually performed the death-defying stunt. The villain of the movie was named after him. A visit to this facility allows you to hold a baby crocodile or Boa and learn about the facility’s storied past.
Blue Waters Beach Club
Located in Falmouth Trelawny the Blue Waters Beach Club offers not only a day of fun in the sun but some of the best massages on the island. Their all-inclusive package gets you a lounge chair, unlimited buffet access, and a variety of drinks including smoothies, Pina Colada, Daiquiris, Beer, draft refreshments, and much more.
Martha Brae Rafting Village
A visit to the Martha Brae Rafting Village will introduce you to an unforgettable experience. After visiting “Miss Martha’s herb garden where you learn about Jamaican herbs and their medicinal and healing properties, you begin your journey down the river. For one hour and fifteen minutes, you glide down the river on a thirty-foot bamboo raft learning about the legend of the Martha Brae. You could also try your hand at poling the raft. At the rafters – rest, there is a bar, restaurant, gift shop, and a photoshop. You are sure to capture breathtaking pictures on the three-mile journey
As a Jamaican the Cockpit Country was just a place, I had no idea that this place had such a diverse mixture of plant life, bird and animal population, cultural heritage, and history. It is Jamaica’s most significant watershed. Globally unique it is the type locality for Cockpit Karst and is home to the Maroon Wars, endemic plants, and animals. It also supplies 40% of the island’s exploitable water resource. As the map above suggests there are many towns and villages with their own unique attractions and this makes the Cockpit Country ideal for not only tourists but also for researchers, history buffs, and geographical connoisseurs.
Bunkers Hill Cultural Experience & River Tour
If you are a true nature lover and like to get off the beaten path Bunkers Hill Cultural Experience and River Tours could be your jam. This experience takes you on a hike through luxurious rainforests and into caves used as a hideaway by runaway maroons. Learn about the Tainos, Maroons, and local heritage while enjoying local food cooked the traditional way over a slow wood fire. Immerse yourself in local cultural experiences while you enjoy a restorative river experience.
Rockwharf Luminous Lagoon
Just 20 minutes from Montego Bay off the Main Highway you’ll find the Rock Wharf Luminous Lagoon. If you have ever wondered what you would look like glowing blue then a visit to the Lagoon is a must. Go prepared with water shoes so you can jump in the water( the bottom is muddy). Once you get in the water which, is nice and warm, the bioorganisms light up giving you a lovely blue glow. The more people in the water the bluer it gets so go prepared to hop in.
A sleepy seaside village that lies on the border of Trelawny and St. Ann, Rio Bueno is ideal for tourists who want to escape the hustle and bustle of busy tourist areas. Its proximity to both Trelawny and Montego Bay affords easy access to entertainment. Many famous artists have been associated with the village and it is known to be a center for the arts. A favorite of renowned painters, poets, and musicians. Joseph Kidd visited in the 1800s, followed by Alex Haley, James Morrison, and many others. If you are an art buff, you may want to check out the Gallery Joe James which is owned and operated by the world acclaimed artist and sculptor of the same name. He is the owner of the adjoining Rio Bueno Hotel.
Horse lovers will be thrilled when they take a ride at the Braco Stables. With experienced and friendly guides you’ll ride for two and a half hours exploring the forests and wildlife. The tour ends with a swim with your horse taking you through the waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Things to do in Negril
Benta River Falls
Benta River Falls is another of Jamaica’s well-kept secrets. A family-owned property it is located in the heart of Westmoreland just nine miles from Negril. It is off the beaten track but worth the effort to get there. Featuring seven beautiful waterfalls and a pristine blue lagoon it is surrounded by well-kept flora and vegetation. A campsite is available for groups and individuals.
Located in Glenbrook Westmoreland you will find Mayfield Falls. It is set in ajungle-like and surrounded by lush greenery and foliage. It claims to have 52 different types of ferns and you are sure to see lots of exotic flowers, plant species, and wildlife native to Jamaica alongside birds and butterflies. With two waterfalls and 21 small cascades ending in pools widely spaced along the Mayfield River, this waterfall is a must-see. Its uppermost cascade is the tallest of the twenty-one at a little under ten feet and is large enough for an adult to enter. The stones are slippery and footwear is recommended. The grounds are well kept and there is a restaurant on location. Guides are also present for your convenience.
Seven Mile Beach
No trip to Negril is complete without a visit to Seven Mile Beach. Once inhabited by pirates is famous worldwide for its shallow depths. powdery white sand, amenities, and endless activities. Go snorkeling, scuba diva, take a boat trip. ride in a glass-bottom boat the list of activities goes on and on. Of course, you can just lay in the sun or swim through the surf the choice is yours. Restaurants, bars, and music is scattered along the length of the beach and you can pick up souvenirs from the local craft vendors. The numerous activities extend way into the night with the beach offering many parties and music for your entertainment. You could go from one party to another along the length of the beach.
Roaring River Cave and Nature Park
One hour outside of Negril, the Roaring River Cave and Nature Park has an intoxicating verdant river, waterfalls, and caves. The first thing you’ll experience on the tour is the blue hole and yes there is more than one in Jamaica and yes it is actually blue. Engage in a hike that starts in the community and takes you along the nature trail to the mouth of the river from which all three springs emerge. The water is touted as having healing properties. The cave tour takes you deep underground into enormous caverns. Several rock formations that look like animals are scattered about the river which runs deep underground in the belly of the cave. The river consists of pure healing waters and has a section that is said to be bottomless.
Built in 1894 at the west end, The Negril Lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the Caribbean Sea in the daytime. At sunset ascending all 103 steps will reward you with a birdseye view of the spectacular sunsets for which Negril is famous. Incorporating a visit to the lighthouse is a must for all visitors to Negril.
Kool Runnings Water Park
The largest and best water park in Jamaica Kool Runnings Adventure Park has water slides, adventure Rides, go-kart racing, paintball, an astronaut experience, dining, and shopping. This adrenaline-pumping park is sure to bring lots of thrills and an awesome unforgettable adventure for you and the whole family. Come prepared to spend the day.
Famous for being the best spot to view the majestic sunsets typical to Negril and cliff jumping, Ricks Cafe has been voted one of the ten best bars in the world. Founded in 1974 by Richard ” Rick” Hershman it became one of the first bars of its kind in the then sleepy fishing village. Its vulnerable position high atop a cliff caused it to be destroyed by two of the major hurricanes to hit Jamaica, Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004 but this was not the end. Ricks Cafe’s resilience saw it coming back bigger and better after both events as its reputation worldwide continued to increase. At Ricks, you are treated to not only the spectacular sunsets for which it is famous but also the fantastic food and drinks provided by the restaurant and bar. Adrenaline junkies can get their rush by jumping from the cliffs themselves or by watching the expert and seasoned jumpers.
Booby Cay Negril was named for the booby birds that return there each year to breed and lay their eggs. A tiny island just off the shore of Negril its claim to fame lies in the fact that many scenes from the Jules Verne film 20,000 leagues under the sea were filmed there. An ideal place for a picnic and surrounded by many coral reefs a boating trip to the island will provide a superb opportunity not only to picnic, sunbathe and swim but also to snorkel and scuba dive. The large amount of coral reefs present brings with it a vibrant culture of marine life which elevates the scuba and snorkeling experience. The island is inhabited by seals and they are so accustomed to visitors you may be able to get up close and personal with some of them. Many tourists go there to swim nude so be prepared for that eventuality.
Deep Sea Sport Fishing
For the avid fisherman, the newbie or anyone in between going Deep Sea Sport Fishing while you are in Negril will be an awesome adventure. Located not very far from shore (6-8 miles) are the deep waters in which you may land your blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, or wahoo. While the marlin may take a lot longer to land the others give up just as much fight and you will experience a serious adrenaline rush when you hook and land your superb catch.
Margaritaville Negril is the place to be if you are looking for an exciting night out on the town when visiting Negril. The restaurant’s icon is a pair of yellow flip-flops representing the casual atmosphere that you will find there. Enjoy amazing food served to you by friendly waiters as you sip margaritas and enjoy the amazing sunset. Private cabanas are available for lounging beachside or you could cozy up to the tiki bar for some island-inspired refreshing beverages.
Things to do in Portland
Blue Lagoon was formerly known as The Blue Hole. Its name was changed in 1980 after the movie starring Brooke Sheilds. Although the movie was not filmed there the similarities were unmistakable. Surround by lush green foliage and forestry. The water’s colors are an awe-inspiring shade of blues and greens varying from emerald to turquoise and royal blue depending on whether the moon or sun is in play. Reputed to be bottomless the water is an incredible 52 m (170.6 ft) deep. Boat tours are available or if you prefer you could go rafting down the river on a bamboo raft
No visit to Portland is complete without spending time at Frenchmans Cove . This majestic beach is surrounded by lush tropical forests. The soft golden sandy beach and amazingly blue water are shaded by a canopy of magnificent trees. The river from the blue mountain empties into the sea creating a tropical paradise. Restrooms, a grill, and a beach bar are available to make your time at the beach more pleasant.
Rafting on The Rio Grande
Rafting was a method used to transport farm produce to the market from the Rio Grande Valley. In the 1950s, this method of transportation became a tourist attraction under the influence of the famous film actor Errol Flynn. Rafting on the Rio Grande evolved into a much sought-after activity by travelers visiting Port Antonio. Glide lazily down the river on a bamboo raft expertly guided by a seasoned tour operator.
Winnifred Beach’s powdery white sand and beautiful waters make this beach a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Vendors selling tasty Jamaican food and crafts line the beach and you can enjoy a game of cricket and dominos while listening to music. A great beach for swimming, the presence of beautiful coral reefs also offers snorkeling adventures for those who love to snorkel.
Featured in both Tom Cruise’s Cocktails and the remake of Lord of the Flies, Reach Falls’s astonishing beauty will take your breath away. Reach Falls is a luxurious eco attraction hidden in the Montane Forrest on the John Crow Mountain Range. Fed by Drivers River this jewel features a natural heart-shaped jacuzzi offering an invigorating massage. Home to 23 different types of ferns and a variety of birds you may be fortunate enough to spot a black or yellowed billed parrot. Venture up the river on a guided tour and take a swim in the pool fed by the water from the cascading waterfalls.
If you are looking for some solitude, time away from the sun, and crowded beaches you may want to head over to Pellew Island AKA Monkey Island. Hiram Bingham owner of Folly Ruins and son-in-law of Alfred Mitchell once owned a colony of monkeys that took over the island because he would not keep them in his home. The Island welcomes you at a swinging landing strip and is perfect for some alone time, a family outing, or a romantic picnic.
Cascade falls or One Drop Falls is one of Jamaica’s little-known gems. This awe-inspiring breathtakingly beautiful fall is located a little over a mile from Holywell and is accessible only via a half-hour hike. The fall cascades down the mountainside for over 100 ft into a shallow pool and is surrounded by lush greenery and foliage. If you a true nature buff this hidden gem is well worth a visit.
Named for its only female national hero Nanny Falls is another of Jamaica’s lesser-known waterfalls. Considered a sacred site and protected by the maroons that live close by this hidden gem is accessible only after a 20 to 30minute hike. But if you like to really commune with nature and trod off the beaten path a trip to these falls is certainly worth the hike.
Somerset Falls in Port Antonio Is another of Jamaica’s splendid waterfalls. Smaller than the famed Dunn’s River Falls it is surrounded by lush tropical forests verdant greenery. Fed by the Daniels River the falls empty into a pool ideal for swimming. There is a man-made pool available as well as water rides which make this location ideal for a family outing.
Jerk Pork and chicken are as synonymous to Portland as the jerk style of cooking is to Jamaica. This delicious meat is prepared by being placed on green pimento wood that is set on top of a metal grill that has hot coals under it. A sheet of zinc is then placed over the meat to seal in the flavorful juices. The spicy sauce served with the meat will have various ingredients added to the base of it, which includes scotch bonnet peppers, pimento, thyme garlic, and other fresh seasonings. No visit to Portland would be complete without a stop at one of the many jerk centers that abound the town.
What to do in St Mary
James Bond Beach
Named for the fictional character in Ian Flemings’s exciting spy thriller books and movies James Bond Beach is home to many Jazz, Blues, Soca, and Reggae concerts. Also known as laughing waters and Roaring River it has hosted the performance of many famous artists. The crystal clear inviting waters are perfect for swimming and have changing rooms, a water sports center a bar, and restaurants. The bar which is called Moonraker holds up to 200 persons and has two stories.
Previously called Reggae Beach, Bamboo Beach Club offers great entertainment and an awesome cultural experience. Dotted with regal Palm trees the has three bars that offer daytime entertainment of a variety of popular music and exquisite local Jamaican and seafood dishes. You could also go kayaking, hiking along the nature trails, or enjoy a seaside massage. Of course, you could choose to do all three. At night the beach comes alive with entertainment featuring dancers live drummers, acrobats, and singers in colorful costumes.
If you are a fan of the famous and legendary Sir Noel Pierce Coward English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer then a visit to Firefly Estate in St. Mary is sure to delight you. His former vacation home which was first owned by Sir Henry Morgan, Firefly Estate, has now been transformed into a writer’s house museum. and is now listed as a national heritage site by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Rio Nuevo Beach
Rio Nuevo River is a river located in the Rio Nuevo Village in St. Mary. The whole Village has been developed into a tourist attraction and the area is steeped in history as this is the site of the final battle between the Spanish and British forces as they fought to retain control of the island. Apart from the river and beach, it is home to a Greathouse Museum that houses priceless artifacts dating over 1000 years.
Castleton Botanical Gardens
Situated on both sides of the junction road in St. Mary lies Castleton Botanical Gardens which is dedicated to the preservation, research, and dispensation of plants throughout Jamaica. It has the reputation of being the greatest and oldest gardens in the Western Hemisphere. It gained this status when the previous site in Bath St, Thoms became unsatisfactory because of poor soil and flooding. It is home to over 180 species of palm and 400 specimens of other flora.
Wag Water River
Wag Water river was named by our Taino ancestors and is reputed to be the success of the Castleton Gardens through which it runs. Even though it is strewn with boulders and rushes rapidly along it is perfect for a cool dip after you have explored the gardens and had lunch.
Another of Jamaica’s hidden gems, Tacky Falls is accessible only after a 2km hike through a very slippery trail. This breathtaking waterfall is off the beaten path and a well-deserved treat for serious hikers, nature-buffs, and waterfall chasers. It is best to go with an experienced knowledgeable guide and wear no-slip footwear. The journey will be well worth it.
Yet another of Jamaica’s hidden gems is Kwame Falls. Like many of these hidden waterfalls, it is accessible only after a hike and with the assistance of a local guide. For those serious waterfall chasers and nature lovers, this journey is well worth the trip while in St. Mary.
Things to do in Kingston & St Andrew
Usain Bolt Tracks and Records
If you are like the rest of the world and a big fan and admirer of the great Usain Bolt Then you wouldn’t want to miss out on a visit to Tracks and Record his flagship restaurant. The stadium setting with the bar at midfield, plus the sport-related memorabilia and decoration is sure to take you back in time. Take a sip on his 9.58 drink named for his record and enjoy some Jamaican favorites from the menu. Be sure to pick up a signed tee before you go.
This iconic statue sparked much debate upon its erection at Emancipation Park. At the root of the debate was the nudity and exposure of the private parts. Good sense prevailed and the statue was allowed to remain, attracting many visitors tourists, and locals alike for a photo opportunity. It’s a beautiful park with gorgeous gardens, a jogging trail with outdoor gym equipment, and an entertainment area where outdoor concerts and movies are occasionally held.
For a really in-depth peek into the life, culture, and experiences of the average Jamaican and the most amazing market adventure, a trip to Coronation Market is a must. This is truly one-stop shopping at its best and you will find everything from fruits and vegetables to ground provisions, meat, fish, groceries clothing, car parts, and sidewalk salons. It’s best not to wear expensive jewelry you should however wear sensible shoes, carry shopping bags, and secure your money properly. Come prepared for long walks, a hectic crowded experience, and the freshest organic produce. Things are also a lot cheaper but don’t be afraid to bargain or shop around.
Downtown Kingston was the musical hotspot in the 1950s and the studios in the area saw the influx of many budding artists who developed new careers with the advent of ska, reggae, dancehall, and rocksteady. The political trauma and ensuing crime and violence of the ’70s and ’80s heralded the decline of the area when businessmen and investors packed up and left. Victoria Pier fondly called Kingston Waterfront by the locals has recently developed into a hotbed of entertainment and many established eateries have set up shops welcoming a new surge of patronage to the area.
Relax, unwind, enjoy the view, partake of world-class dining or luxuriate with a day at the spa. Whatever your hearts desire you can do it here at the Strawberry Hills Resort. The 26-acre mountain top retreat set in Irish Town is listed in The New York Times #1 bestselling book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. With breathtaking views of both the mountains and Kingston City, you will feel like you are in another world entirely.
Go Surfing and skateboarding
Lovers of surfing and or skateboarding will be happy to discover Jamnesia Surf Camp. Situated in Eight Mile Bull bay, a short 10-minute drive away from the airport, surfers or wannabe surfers are welcome to learn, hone, or practice their craft. A skateboarding bowl onsite welcomes skateboarders. We offer economical cabins, bunkbed camp rooms, and tent options for the surfer on the go or on a shoestring budget. Airport Pickup, meals, and tours are also available.
Go Karters will be interested to know that there are two spots that offer go-kart racing for thrilling weekend excitement, Palisadoes Go-Kart Track, and Rocket GoKarting Experience. Pump your adrenaline and take your buddies with you for the best time of their life.
Trench Town Culture Yard
Bob Marley and Reggae Music Lovers will enjoy a trip down memory lane where it all began. Trench Town Culture Yard. Trench Town is where Bob Marley lived, learned, and honed his craft. He was first taught to play the guitar by Vincent “Tata” Ford a community leader and co-resident. No Woman No cry was co-written by both Bob and Tat there and it was here in the community that the Wailers was formed and their first album Catch a fire recorded. The Culture Yard is a small museum that celebrates the story of Trench Town and contains articles, instruments, and furnishing used by Tata Ford, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer.
Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum is situated at the former home of Bob Marley in which he resided from 1975 until his transition in 1981. The museum has on display Marley’s personal treasures. There is an 80-seat theatre, as well as a photo gallery, a record shop, and a gift shop filled with a wide array of Bob Marley memorabilia.
Institute Of Jamaica
The National Gallery of Jamaica is an excellent place to peek into the history and culture of Jamaica. There are roaming exhibitions as well as resident exhibits for you to enjoy here. You’ll get a look into the life of the Tainos, the first inhabitants of Jamaica, the history of our music with instruments used many years ago on display, and relics from colonial times long gone.
National Heroes Park
If you’re into history and getting to know the real culture of where you’re visiting, then a stop at a museum is a must. At the National Heroes Park, monuments have been erected to honor Jamaica’s seven national heroes, some of whom are buried here in the park. One most famous heroes buried here is Marcus Garvey, making this visit essential. Other Jamaican leaders and cultural icons are also laid to rest here and the park is a beautiful oasis in the surrounding concrete jungle. Try to get here for midday to see the changing of the guards, Jamaican style. A real treat if you’re visiting with kids.
Devon House Tour
Devon House is an oasis in a stony city with lush gardens, beautiful ponds alive with tropical golden fish, delightful epicurean eateries, and the best ice cream in the world. I may be biased but I encourage you to go and judge for yourself. Try the rum ‘n’ raisin, the stout or any of the tropical fruit flavors then tell me you’re not hooked. It’s the best. Apart from delicious ice cream, you may want to take the opportunity of the tour. The home was owned by George Stiebel Jamaicas first Black millionaire. He was among three wealthy men who constructed elaborate homes at what was later to become known as the millionaire’s corner. The house tour offers a peek into what was like for millionaires in that era
You will need to head out to Europe In The Summer (EITS) Cafe for the best organic vegetables served from farm to plate. With all vegetables grown onsite, you are sure to enjoy the best salads you have ever eaten. The foods are all sourced from their farm or from local butchers and farmers. After your meal, enjoy a tour of the farm and the breathtaking views. You can also order your vegetables and products made fresh from the farm delivered to your door.
Blue Mountain Peak
Hikers will love the 7-hour trek to the Blue Mountain Peak but I must warn you this hike is not for the faint of heart and you must come physically and mentally prepared. In an effort to capitalize on the awesome sunrise, most hikers set off at night and the absence of the sun’s warming rays will make an already cold experience colder. Be sure to dress warmly in mittens. a warm jacket and thick socks. A poncho could prove beneficial and you may want to take along a walking stick to help navigate the narrow sometimes slippery trails especially Jacobs Ladder. The climb will afford you spectacular views along the way. If you are fortunate enough to have a clear view once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise, a panoramic view of the island and possibly a glimpse of Cuba and Haiti in the distance
Though geographically located in St. Andrew, Holywell Park Is located smack dab on the border of Portland and St. Andrew so for the purposes of this blog it is in Portland. A popular hiking destination this beautiful location offers different tours at a reasonable price. You could choose to participate in either the Hollywell nature walk, the Holywell coffee tour, or go bird watching. Picnic areas are plentiful and should you want to stay overnight there are various cabin options and tents are available for rental. The awesome views are to die for and will make the trip to Holywell totally worth your time whether you hiked up or chose to drive.
Fort Charles was the first fort to be erected in Port Royal at its peak it housed a garrison of 500 men and 104 guns. The Royal Artillery house which housed its weapons partially sunk after the massive earthquake which hit and destroyed the city on June 7, 1692. It was renamed the Giddy house for the experience one has while trying to stand upright in the structure.
Port Royal was once known as Jamaica’s wickedest city and the richest city in the new world. Before it gained fame and fortune, the city was a fishing port for the original inhabitants the Tainos. By the 17th century, it became home to the real pirates of the Caribbean and became a Buccanneers paradise. Reputed to have had one in every four homes being a bar or brothel, the city became a den of debauchery and enormous wealth. Religious people have been known to dub the earthquake and tsunami that hit “God’s Wrath. Port Royal houses many attractions such as Fort Charles, the Old Gaol House, the Naval Cemetery, Naval Hospital, St Peters Church, and Plumb Point Lighthouse. Divers could experience the city which lays below the sea as a result of the devastating Earthquake and Tsunami.
A fifteen-minute boat ride from Port Royal will take you to Lime Cay a tiny island with the whitest sand and surrounded by the bluest water. Snorkeling is a popular sport there and is reputed to give you one of the best snorkeling experiences. The Island attracts many party boats and can be quite crowded on the weekends during the week however you can enjoy solitude and nude bathing if you desire.
Cinchona Botanical Gardens
Cinchona Botanical Gardens is located high in the hills of St. Andrew and is reputed to be the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. The memorable views of Strawberry Hill, the Liguanea Plains, Kingston, and the Blue Mountains will leave a lasting impression. Forty acres of Asian teas and a European garden are features of this majestic garden.
Cane River Waterfall
Located in Bull Bay, St Andrew Cane River Waterfalls is a secret not many outside the community are aware of. Access to the falls is provided by a steep winding staircase through the mountain that has been cut from the rock. The waterfall is very powerful and provides a heavy beating that is only for the brave of heart. It ends in a nice pool suitable for a chilling swim as the water is quite cold. The riverbed has some really sharp stones therefore footwear is advised.
Things to do in St. Thomas
Roselle Falls, a magnificent waterfall located in St. Thomas is sometimes subject to drought and often dries up. If you are fortunate enough to visit when it is at it’s prime you will be treated to a spectacular display of nature at its finest. No waterfall chaser would want to miss this beautiful fall.
Lyssons beach is a property owned and maintained by the University of the West Indies. It has benches, tables, and a barbecue grill plus an entertainment center with changing rooms. The beach is supervised by a caretaker who also serves as the lifeguard.
Morant Point Lighthouse
Morant Point Lighthouse was built in 1841 and is the oldest lighthouse on the island. Built by Kru men from Africa who were brought over as the first free Africans after emancipation, it is the first cast-iron lighthouse in the western hemisphere. The cast-iron tube from which it was constructed was cast in London and stands 100 ft tall with a diameter of 5 ft at its base and three feet at its cap. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust has designated it a National Monument.
Although Reggae Falls is manmade it is just as majestic as any naturally formed waterfall. Named for the Reggae Boyz when they first gained entry to the world cup the falls have gained some fame and attract crowds especially on the weekends. The road to access the falls is very windy and littered with potholes making it dangerous, but the falls make the journey worth it. You will need to drive across the river at some point so be sure your vehicle is high enough. Walking to the falls entails traversing some stony path so be sure to walk with protective gear for your feet for both in and out of the water.
Bath Fountain was discovered by a runaway slave in the 17th century. This spring was credited with healing powers after the slave noticed that ulcers on his legs had healed considerably after being washed in the water. News of the miraculous healing powers of the spring spread rapidly attracting visitors from all over the island Many wealthy merchants soon built homes there and guest houses sprang up creating a thriving spa community. In 1699 Colonel Stanton, who was the owner of the estate on which the spring, stood sold the land to the government who developed the springs, and built a hospital there. The water is claimed to heal many ailments including gout rheumatism and skin conditions. There are two springs that flow through bamboo pipes in the rock one cold and one piping hot and the active ingredients are lime, sulfur, and magnesium. The Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa has many packages available for day or overnight stay
Things to do in St. Catherine
Caymanas Golf and Country Club / St. Catherine
Over its almost 65 years of existence, the Caymanas Golf Course has been home to the Jamaica open and many other championship tournaments. It has 18 holes and its 72 par course offers elevated tees allowing you to see obstacles ahead. One of the most scenic courses in the Caribbean, it has hosted enthusiastic golfers from all over the globe and is rated as one of the top championship courses in the Caribbean.
If you are fond of the races and love the excitement of the track then you must take a trip to Caymanas Park owned by the Jamaican Government this track was formerly a sugarcane plantation and is the olny racetrack in Jamaica.
Hellshire Beach has long been a popular source of beach entertainment and good food for residents of Portmore and the surrounding areas. Supported mostly by locals this spot sees few tourists, but it will still be crowded on the weekends as its seafood is to die for, and looked forward to by many. Sadly the erosion of the beach has impacted the livelihood and enjoyment of many. but the beach still retains its lure as a popular beach, food, and party location.
Fort Clarence Beach
Fort Clarence lies adjacent to Hellshire beach and is managed by the Urban Development Corporation. There is a small fee for entry which is worth every penny. Parking is organized, the beach, the restrooms are clean and well maintained. There is always music playing and food vendors are all in one spot giving you easy access and different choices of foods.
Dacosta Farms and Attractions
Located in Hill Run St Catherine, Dacosta Farms and Attractions is the place to head to for a day of family fun and adventure. They offer fishing, paintball, as well as a waterpark, and a children’s play area. Right next to the play area stands a restaurant and bar where you can relax and have a drink while keeping an eye on the kids.
Buzzers Gaming Lounge
Buzzers Gaming Lounge has just added laser tag to its enormous array of games and fun activities for the whole family. Jamaica’s ultimate family entertainment facility, it features the latest in arcade games, console games and is home to the Caribbean’s first 5D Simulator, as well as the island’s first Lasertag Arena.
Peoples Museum of Craft and Technology
History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Peoples Museum of Craft and Technology. Facing unbearable odds after being emancipated, Jamaicans had to create new lives for themselves in this new era. The museum pays tribute to the struggles and methods used by the people as they devised new ways to exist and survive in a meaningful manner using creativity and technology. In 1961 it was created as a Folk Museum on the grounds of the old Kings House but was moved to Spanish Town and renamed in 1979.
Things to do in St. Elizabeth
Of the 120 known falls scattered throughout Jamaica, seven of them can be found in one location at the splendid YS Falls located on the YS Estate. This estate is specifically designed for your entertainment and relaxation with expansive grounds, tasteful ecological structures, service areas, play areas, and a natural wading pool. A garden pool with cabanas and a canopy for ziplining completes the adventure you embarked upon when you visited the YS Estates.
Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience
Named for the first woman in history to hold the title of master blender in the spirits industry the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience takes you to an observation tower that offers panoramic views of the beautiful valley. One step of the tour introduces you to the history of the Appleton Journey via a documentary shown in the onsite theatre. Next, a stop-in at the distillery, aging house, and tasting rooms gives you hands-on insight into the history and route from cane to cocktail in the rum-making process. Here you get to see, taste and touch the technique and finesse used in the making of the finished product you see on your supermarket and bar shelves.
Milk River Hotel and Spa
The waters of the Milk River are said to be more radioactive than any other spa in the world coming in at nine times more than Bath in England and three times more Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. It has been owned by the government of Jamaica since its opening in 1794 and has six public baths and a hotel with 20 bedrooms. A cocktail bar and a restaurant is on-site and the restaurant has food available throughout the day.
Like lovers leap across the globe the one located in St. Elizabeth is the site where a pair of anguished lovers thought that a leap to death was their only recourse to preserving their love. Our ill-fated lovers were said to be a couple of slaves. The owner of the female slave wanted her and made the decision to sell her lover off to another owner. In the face of this decision, the lovers’ response was to take the plunge from the 1700 foot cliff. The site now houses a restaurant and Jamaicas newest lighthouse.
Black River Safari
If you want to hang with and feed some crocs then the Black River Safari is just the thing for you. Ride up the river surrounded by crocs where you will enjoy not only the scenic view but also have an opportunity to feed the crocs. You will be very safe as the crocs have become accustomed to the canoes that traverse the river regularly.
Floyds Pelican Bar
Floyds Pelican Bar is a quaint thatch and bamboo structure perched over the Caribbean Sea. Birthed from a dream the owner had while sleeping it has become somewhat of a dream place to visit. This rustic establishment is 3/4 of a mile out to sea and can be reached by boat. The water is shallow enough for swimming and you can actually sunbathe on areas of the structure. If you are going to need to eat you will need to order in advance You will notice mementos from across the world decorating the place and you are encouraged to leave one of your own.
Not many people in Jamaica are aware that there exists another zoo in Jamaica other than the Hope Zoo. Jamaica Zoo is located in Lacovia St. Elizabeth. The owner, Paul Fearon developed a fascination with animals while assisting his father who was a veterinarian. At the age of twelve years old, he started collecting and raising animals such as cattle, dogs, mongoose, rats, bees, scorpions, and pigeons. These he kept at his place of residence in Santa Cruz. Eventually, he realized that a bigger space was needed to house his ever-growing collection, and in 2004 he acquired a bigger property. He soon decided to share his collection of over 30 different animals and birds and Jamaica Zoo was born with the move. It was also the first zoo on the island to import a pair of zebras, camels, kangaroos, and more. It currently houses at least 25 different kinds of animals and birds, including lions, llama, zebras, monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, toucans, and more. A petting area, to take pictures with the animals, a picnic area, and a playground for children that offers donkey rides are all available.
Famous for its peppered shrimp Middle Quarters in St Elizabeth is a must-stop for people traveling along the coast who have a yearning for the best-peppered shrimp you’ll ever eat.
Breadnut Valley Falls
With three separate pools to enjoy Breadnut Valley Falls is firmly entrenched on any must-see waterfall bucket list. This breathtaking waterfall will be sure to bring great pleasure when added to your things to do while in St. Elizabeth.
Treasure Beach black sand beach is as its name suggests a treasure. The beauty of the Black sand combined with irie vibes and freshly caught fish being prepared coast side is a whole mood.
Holland Bamboo or Bamboo avenue as it’s fondly called by Jamaicans stretches for approximately 2.5miles. For the extent of the journey, you will be shaded by interlocking bamboo plants that meet overhead forming a shaded canopy. This bamboo phenomenon was created in the19th century by the then owners of Holland Estate and has attracted visitors from all over the world.
Things to do in Manchester
The best freshest fish is fried and served to you at Little Ochie in Alligator Pond. Once you have chosen your fish it is prepared to your tastes and served with any side you choose from the menu. What started out as rum talk between friends has developed into a thriving business with a reputation to match.
Manchester Golf Club
Located in the cool hills of Mandeville the Manchester Golf Club is the oldest in the Caribbean and the most scenic in Jamaica. Dating back to1865 this course undulates over 55 acres and is perched at an astonishing 2000 feet above sea levels. A par 35 golf course it has 9 holes and 18 tee locations with many slopes, sand traps, bunkers, and bamboo traps. This historic beautiful site is not an easy course and provides a unique golfing experience with a spectacular view afforded by its elevation.
If you want the best tasting Jerk and the homey roadside feel then you must visit Tims Jerk Pork Center when you are in Mandeville. The food is to die for and the atmosphere is full of the Jamaican spirit and vibes.
Cecil Charlton Park
The Cecil Charlton Park in Cool Cool Mandeville is ideal for a family picnic, a romantic stroll, a chill-out and read, or a bit of solitude. Named for Mandeville’s longest-serving Mayor this picturesque park is set in the square and provides a cool relaxing oasis.
Marshalls Pen Great House
Marshall’s Pen Estate was first a cattle farm which was then converted to a coffee farm. The great house is a sturdy building featuring Spanish walls, louvered windows, and a gabled red roof. Outbuildings made of cut stone are on the property and one even has a chimney fashioned from cut stones. The coffee mill has been converted into a guest house where visitors interested in participating in eco-tours and birdwatching are often housed. It has archaeological significance as it was once a Taino site.