Things to do in Jamaica
Jamaica’s attractions always find a way back to the country’s magnificent beach life. Whether you’re dolphin-spotting in Montego Bay, dining in the waterfront restaurants of Ocho Rios, or scuba-diving off the coast of Negril, Jamaica will let you realise your Caribbean dream. But there are more than just beachy things to do in Jamaica, the island is a natural wonder offering lush nature reserves and stunning hilltop views to match anywhere in the Caribbean. The capital, Kingston, is a bustling hotspot of culture, alive with music, food and history. From swashbuckling pirates to pounding Reggae rhythms, Jamaica’s rich heritage makes it a must-visit destination for travellers of all kinds.
Wine and Dine
The unique cuisine is among the most relished of Jamaica’s attractions, and is one of the most distinctive in the world. The most famous dish is, of course, jerk chicken, which is marinated in a hot sauce and smoked over an outdoor fire. You can find it everywhere, but for the very best you must head to Kingston, the hub of the island’s food scene. Here you can sample such local delights as ackee and saltfish, curry goat, stew fish, breadfruit and sweet potatoes, along with countless other dishes. You’ll never go thirsty in Jamaica – try a glass of ice-cold fruit cocktail, a cup of world-famous Blue Mountain coffee, or a drop of the best rum in the Caribbean.
Action and Adventure
If you love the outdoors, then you’ll find plenty of things to do in Jamaica. Try snorkelling or scuba-diving in one of the island’s gorgeous blue bays, exploring coral reefs and coming face-to-face with exotic sea creatures. If you’re into hiking, there’s a wide range of trails which criss-cross the island, with the epic trail to the Blue Mountain Peak being the most revered in the country. You can take a raft down the Great River in the north-west of Jamaica, where Errol Flynn used to sail along on his bamboo craft. If this still doesn’t satisfy your urge for the adventurous outdoors, try a spot of caving in one of the island’s many limestone caverns.
Jamaica’s attractions provide a perfect escape for families and couples alike. The all-year-round sunshine continues to draw families in high and low season, and there are always plenty of activities to keep you occupied. The beach resorts of Negril and Port Antonio are well-developed and packed with great hotels, bars and restaurants – not to mention miles of golden sands. Visitors can snorkel with dolphins and dive for exotic fish, or simply while away the hours in a deckchair. Kids will love the tales of swashbuckling pirates that landed in Jamaica centuries ago, with names such as Bloody Bay and Treasure Beach sure to set their imaginations racing.
There’s plenty of cultural things to do in Jamaica. In Kingston, pay your respects to Jamaica’s most famous son by visiting the Bob Marley Museum, set in the singer’s old house and studio. Painted in the Rastafarian colours of green, red and gold, the museum is the city’s most visited and talked-about site. Another famous ex-resident of the island, Noel Coward, owned a colonial-era estate overlooking Maria Bay, and you can visit his opulent villa where he entertained a number of famous guests. Many visitors to Kingston spend a few hours in the National Gallery of Jamaica, which houses a huge collection of Jamaican art from across the ages.
Festivals and Parties
As the home of Reggae, there’s no better place to let your dreads down and party than in Jamaica. Reggae Sumfest, a Reggae music festival, is the biggest of its kind in the world – it takes place in Montego Bay each July, and there’s no better time to soak up the throbbing bass sounds and African-inspired drums of Reggae. Jamaica’s attractions include quieter events such as the Calabash International Literary festival, which draws writers, poets and performers from across Jamaica and beyond each May. The biggest national party is on August 6, when Jamaica celebrates its independence with fireworks, music and speeches.