The Caribbean’s most famous island, Jamaica is a world heavyweight tourist destination, offering visitors a heady cocktail of sublime weather, pristine beaches, fun cities and interesting cultural attractions. Although Jamaica is an incredibly popular place to visit – and retains very few ‘off the beaten track’ areas to explore – mass tourism has not spoiled the island’s considerable charms, and it remains a great bet for a relaxing, fun-filled beach holiday.
Jamaica’s northern and western shores – and particularly, the areas around Montego Bay – are lined with upmarket beach resorts, offering ‘all-inclusive’ holiday packages in the very lap of luxury. Jamaica is also a (predictably) popular cruise destination, and offers a wealth of excellent watersport activities, such as diving, snorkelling, surfing, jet-skiing and kite-surfing.
However, even though some of the island’s beaches are legendary (such as Negril’s Seven-Mile Beach), it would be a mistake to assume that warm, clear waters and golden sands are all that Jamaica has to offer. The cities of Kingston and Montego Bay are dynamic, exciting, and full of interesting cultural sights such as the National Gallery and an array of plantation-era mansions known as Great Houses. Furthermore, Jamaica’s Blue Mountains do not only produce some of the world’s best coffee, but offer plenty of excellent hiking trails for adventure-seekers.
Jamaica has a fascinating history and culture and apart from its beautiful beaches and lush jungle landscapes it is riveting to learn about the slave culture which developed here; the island’s holiday attractions extend far beyond the stretches of Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach. Among the many great things to see and do in Jamaica, there are destinations such as Kingston’s Bob Marley Museum and Spanish Town, or the Montego Bay Marine Park and Rose Hall (said to be haunted by beautiful Annie Palmer, the ‘White Witch of Rose Hall’).
In Ocho Rios, visit Dolphin Cove and Dunn’s River Falls, or explore the Green Grotto Caves. Fans of the movie Blue Lagoon will find the actual site near Port Antonio, while rum enthusiasts will enjoy the Appleton Rum Estate on Jamaica’s South Coast. Jamaica’s Blue Mountains boast some exciting hiking trails for the adventurous, and there are caves and waterfalls to explore as well.
All this sightseeing is made more enjoyable by year-round good weather and visitors should prepare for the glorious tropical heat by bringing plenty of sunblock. Jamaica is subject to storms and hurricanes between July and November but hurricanes rarely hit the island.