Christopher Columbus described Jamaica as “the fairest island that eyes have beheld.” Sandy beaches lined with palm trees lead to fertile, low-lying coastal plains. Mountains with cooler temperatures cover most of the island, while the northwest has limestone highlands. Most Jamaicans are descendants of African slaves brought here by the Spanish and the British. Others are descended from the white Europeans, Asians, or Middle Eastern traders.
Nearly two-thirds of the islanders now live in cities, often in overcrowded slums. The economy relies heavily on agriculture and mining. Tourism is also important. Every year over 1 million tourists visit Jamaica, attracted by the warm climate and the beautiful scenery.
Discover more about these top ten not-to-be-missed places and popular destinations in Jamaica:
Rose Hall Great House
Jamaica is a good place for nature, beaches, unique culture, making friends and having fun. But if you love old architecture and legends, then this place is the perfect setting. You will find lots of antique furniture, decorations, a restored grave and the fictional story behind it as narrated by the museum guides. A wealthy American couple once owned the house. After touring the old rooms, the guide will take you to the grave of the deceased owner. Johnny Cash once wrote a song about the urban legend (The Ballad of Annie Palmer) that people have told about the place.
The legend tells of a house in an old sugar cane plantation where the owner committed a series of murders and now the house is believed to be haunted. Base on this legend, the house attracts passing visitors looking for a terrifying but fun experience — a chance to meet with the ghost of Annie Palmer. But in these modern times, the story seems less interesting as guests enjoy the peace and calm inside the colonial style mansion, which has a great view of the
. It is located in the middle of a green golf course, and group tours are often arranged in advance. The tour is a good opportunity to better understand the journey into the colonial and mysterious past of this huge house in Jamaica.
Doctor’s Cave Beach
Doctor’s Cave Beach
is one of the best beaches in Montego Bay. It pays to get up early and enjoy the beach before the guests of the cruise ships come to explore its charm. Starting in the late morning, the site is usually very crowded. The beach has crystal blue waters, fine white sand and perfect waves.
The beach is a good spot for spending a quiet day watching as planes land in Montego. There is a fee to enter this area. The umbrellas and lounge chairs come with a corresponding fee. There are many stores to shop and you can choose to stay under a tree to avoid renting umbrellas and a table. Bring your snorkeling gear to see a huge selection of tropical fishes and coral reefs. The beach is well equipped with a complete locker room (shower, toilets, and dressing room).
The bar and restaurants get busy once tourists descend from the docked cruise ships. There are lots of places to buy grilled food and freshly made fruit drinks. But most important is that the water is beautiful and the beach slopes down relatively gently — you can swim or practice water aerobics without a problem. The beach scene along the Montego Bay is ideal for taking pictures.
The Croydon Plantation
is a nice active plantation — a working farm where coffee, citrus fruits and pineapples are grown. Here you can learn about the Jamaican products. You can meet the locals and see the hard work involve in keeping a farm in this area. It is about an hour’s drive away from Montego Bay, and is a favorite stop-off point for luxury cruise ships.
Dunn’s River Falls
A visit to the
Dunn’s River Falls
is an excursion that must not be missed when in the city of
. The packaged tour starts with a boat ride from the beautiful beach at the foot of the falls; every guest must have custom non-slip shoes and be ready to go up in a single file holding hand-in-hand. Bring your own beach slippers, for if not the tour operators will insist that you buy some on the spot. These idyllic falls can only be accessed with the right shoes. Making the human chain up to the top is easy. The guides are always there to help when needed and available to take pictures along the way. The water is quite cold, but the shower under the waterfall and some diving is mandatory.
The guides will make a video of all your activity at the falls as part of the package. It is a major attraction of the island, which is crossed by many free-flowing streams and rivers. Even the name Jamaica comes from a Native American word that means “island of springs.” There are places that are designated as picnic spaces and observation points. You will pay a small fee to enter the park that has access to the beach with souvenir shops, bars and shower rooms.
definitely allows you to get closer to the dolphins and play with them. The entertainment and undeniable tenderness as you interact with and become close to these mammals will leave you a little sad because in reality they are confined in a relatively small space and are not free. Nevertheless, it is a special opportunity to meet and get close to the dolphins in the Caribbean Sea. The dolphins are in a sea area bounded by some rocks. The magic does happen in the natural environment of the dolphin and not in an artificial pool.
The tourists are divided into groups of ten that will fall in line for the meet-and-greet session with the dolphins. Each one is given a life jacket, which just makes floating effortless. The guides give commands to make the dolphins interact with their visitors. The guides will bring you to a water level deck to kiss, hug, get pulled around by, or stroke the dolphins. It is a nice and fun experience to meet Toto, Shakira, and Misty, the three dolphins with whom every guest (and especially kids) can have a treasured and rare experience.
Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach
is the center of all the activities that take place in
city. It has entertainment of all sorts: Jet-skiing, paragliding, sailing, canoeing, snorkeling, pedal boats, parties, tours, weddings, bonfire, bar, live music, lobster — everything you could wish for, you’ll find it here at Seven Miles, and no problem as you are in Jamaica. The sea is wonderful especially in the early hours of the morning. The pristine beach is full of hotels, small resorts, restaurants, and pubs of every kind with guaranteed relaxation and fun.
The temperature of the sea is always warm and you can swim anytime. It is located near the airport in the
. At night the beach area becomes more colorful, lively and interesting with reggae concerts and live band performance by local artists. It is a picture- postcard beach with no seaweed, no rocks, and clear waters. There are vendors that invite you to view and buy their products; it is true that they press a little but it is enough to tell them “no thanks” and they will leave you alone. It is a heavenly place to go if you like beaches.
Bob Marley Museum
This magical place is a must-visit for lovers of Bob. His life is traced in different parts of the mansion. The price is a bit expensive but it is very interesting to discover or rediscover Bob Marley. The museum is located in the house where he lived and is full of his memories. The tour lasts 60 minutes including 20 minutes of a film about him at the end. The house is located on the busy
. From the outside the museum looks simple but once inside, the view changes. The house and outbuildings (purchased by the singer) are a typical bourgeois property with a lot of original features including the marble staircase façade and his old jeep in the yard. A visit can be done in an hour and a musical atmosphere is guaranteed.
Everyone will feel the incredible impact of his short life and musical impact inside the
Bob Marley Museum
. There are lots of videos and pictures especially about the young Bob and his family. There is a plethora of gold and platinum record awards and all of his recognitions. A great display of his personal items in his bedroom is also highlighted. The main contribution of the museum is to show the plurality of his character: his brand of island music as well as his social and political views shine through in every corner of his home. The murals and statue of Bob in the garden are equally impressive. This place is a must when visiting Jamaica.
Green Grotto Caves
Green Grotto Cave
in Discovery Bay, (
St. Ann Parish Region
) is not part of most tours but it is well worth seeing. The caves are about 130 feet below the surface; at the bottom there is a small lake in the darkness where the blindfish live. The cave system is about 6 miles long, with only a small part that is accessible.
With the help of a knowledgeable guide you can walk through different caves, past stalactites and stalagmites — and between the caves, on narrow trails through the rainforest. In the caves you can also see bats and a termite mound. The tourist site is a near ground-level cave in the rising side of the mountain situated near the beach. In two places the caves have a special appeal: first, there is the section with a few openings to the surface.
Through these openings you can see roots growing far down into the cave. Second, there is the underground lake — with a connection to the sea, thus it is filled with salt water and very colorful shimmers. For the tour, you should allow about 1-1.5 hours. The trip is very suitable for families.
Discover the greenest and most beautiful isle of the
. It is one of the natural jewels of Jamaica. It is famous for hosting numerous film shoots although it is not really a lagoon but a deep creek of volcanic origin. Mineral water springs emerge and mingle with the water of the sea creating a wonderful color mix of blue and green. The lagoon is surrounded by a tropical garden and has been declared by the Government of Jamaica as a national nature reserve attraction. You can take a boat trip (bamboo rafts) around the lagoon to admire nature and head out towards the reef and cliffs that surround this incredibly beautiful place.
There is lots of time to take a bath in the waters of the lagoon that is frequented by tourists for its natural charm. The 55-square-yard Blue Lagoon is very idyllic but you will not have the most-romantic-place-on-earth feeling of the movie because of the many vendors that follow every couple and push their wares. The deep color of the lagoon is specifically due to its depth. The site is a real blast from the past with the water villas of famous Hollywood celebrities. Nearby is the island of the monkeys.
The YS Falls is a delightful and unspoiled natural area that boasts a full seven major falls. The rich balance of the flora and fauna is almost overpowering with the huge presence of flowers, trees and plants of every sort — and water, lots of waterfalls that seem endless. In this place you can have fun or relax in a paradise made of natural streams, vines, caves and waterfalls. The route includes several areas for swimming in natural pools, in addition to the places for swinging in style on the zip lines, like Tarzan and Jane. Bring your camera, swimsuit, towel, and great sense of adventure.