Jamaica is an island kingdom in the Caribbean Sea. In its long history, the country had to endure many things: the long struggle for the island between colonizers, the period of buccaneers, and the miserable years of slavery. But the dark times are over! Modern Jamaica is happy to welcome tourists with picturesque cascades of waterfalls, emerald mountain horizons, the azure surface of the warm sea, golden sands of wide beaches, relaxing melodies of reggae, and intense taste of rum.
A country that gained its freedom less than a hundred years ago will teach you to feel and appreciate the inner sense of independence. Jamaica is an exceptional island. Once you feel its spirit, you'll want to come back here over and over again.
Places to go and things to see
Montego Bay is a large port city and a popular beach resort in Jamaica. Here you will find restaurants, hotels, bars, and loud nightclubs. At sunset, you can stroll to the sea along the half-ruined streets in the Gregorian style. Make sure you visit the Museum of St. James, where you'll discover the history of slavery. For those who love active leisure, there's plenty to do: float on the Martha Brae or Black Rivers, hike in the Blue Mountains, or dive.
If you get tired of faceless skyscrapers, dirty enterprises, and the noise of Montego Bay, head to cozy Negril. The main attraction of the resort is 10 kilometers of wide white beaches. A vacation in this paradise corner will be really carefree. Being away from the excesses of civilization, all you will have to do is to admire the colorful sunset from the rocky terrace of Rick's Café, scuba dive by the picturesque coral island Booby Cay (the best diving spot in Jamaica) and lounge in the warm sun on the beach. You can only have fun on a trip to the nearby town of Appleton, where you'll be told how the traditional Jamaican rum is produced.
Ocho Rios is a resort town that is lost among a dozen cozy bays and picturesque capes of fishing villages and ancient towns, on the shore of Discovery Bay. The main attraction in Ocho Rios is the opportunity to gaze at the huge cruise liners that stop at the city port. Otherwise, the resort is quite typical for Jamaica: it has its own reggae museum, a quiet city park, and a huge selection of hotels. For a change, you can visit Dunn's River Falls, the Valley of Fern, and coffee plantations.
The most English city in Jamaica is Mandeville. There are many old colonial buildings in the city center. The parish church and clock tower, North Caribbean University, and English pub the Manchester Arms deserve your attention. Mandeville is the only major settlement on the island with no street access to the sea or river. The lack of beaches here is more than compensated for by the eco-tourism opportunities, as in recent years, Mandeville has gained fame as a mountain climate resort. Local guides offer various options for hiking in the Blue Mountains. If you're on a coffee plantation, make sure you buy a pack of the fragrant black beverage to remember Jamaica while sipping coffee on the couch at home.
Every country has an extraordinary place of recreation for wealthy people. In Jamaica, this is Port Antonio — a cozy town on the east coast of the island. A former Spanish colony is nowadays famous for its luxurious hotels and restaurants according to local standards. The city is surrounded by jungle with exotic animals. In the surrounding areas, you will find waterfalls falling from the rocks directly into the sea, and the coastal waters are a marine reserve area. But the renowned Blue Lagoon, where the film of the same name was shot, is the most attractive place for tourists.
Another resort town, Runaway Bay, is buried in the lush greenery of the harbor. Many years ago, the sea pirates shouted "Yo-ho-ho" in the caves of Runaway and the Green Grotto and shared their loot. Nowadays, it is a tourist destination, where the sun-dammed vacationers head for a tour. Active leisure opportunities at the resort are very diverse. You can sail on a yacht, windsurf, and if you get bored, try water skiing or gain experience from diving and snorkeling. Besides, Runaway Bay is the first city that Columbus saw and where Bob Marley was born. At the same time, it is also a world-famous nudist resort. So, choose the beach carefully, especially if you're on vacation with your children.
Things to consider when visiting Jamaica
- In Jamaica, marijuana is designated as "part of the local culture" at the state level. And even though smoking and selling weed is officially forbidden here, the locals do it without hiding.
- Jamaica is not the safest country. There is nothing to be afraid of in major tourist cities as local security services operate here. But it would be best if you didn't wander into the areas where the locals live: tourists are not much welcomed and can get robbed.
- A relaxing vacation on a Jamaican beach carries with it the danger of insolation. During the first 2-3 days of the rest, make sure you apply sunscreen with a high degree of protection, try to wear light clothing all the time. And after the adaptation period, still use the sunscreen, especially from 9:00 to 15:00.
- Do not drink tap water. Use boiled water to wash fruits and vegetables.
- It is not necessary to have any vaccinations before visiting Jamaica. But remember: there is a high level of STDs and AIDS in the country. Be cautious.
- Travel insurance is one of the things you must purchase. Medicine is expensive in this country, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
Cities in Jamaica
The natural resources of Jamaica still remain to be its primary attraction: the Blue Mountains, an abundance of waterfalls, Blue Lagoon, Dolphin Cove, and the Jamaican Riviera. However, the heritage of the colonial era is also rich here, so choose a location and travel with us.