For many, Jamaica embodies the spirit of true paradise. Even Columbus called it “the most beautiful land” when he came upon it many years ago. The Caribbean island only has 4,244 square miles but is a popular destination for travelers seeking adventure, romance, and relaxation.
Sure, there are plenty of resorts and restaurants here, but Jamaica is much more than that. A trip here is a cultural experience that reflects the island’s many cultural influences. Jamaica has African, European, and Asian ancestry and a dramatic landscape featuring waterfalls, mountains, valleys, rivers, and mineral springs. The year-round tropical climate is always pleasing and captures the imagination of over a million visitors a year.
If this sounds like the ideal way to spend your vacation, check out our guide to the most amazing places to visit in Jamaica, in no particular order.
Port Antonio is located in a rural area on Jamaica’s northeast coast about 50 miles (80 km) from Kingston. This is a large port town famous for its production of bananas. Several scenes were filmed here, so be sure to watch the Tom Cruise movie Cocktail before you visit. Once a quiet fishing village, over the years celebrities and socialites have favored Port Antonio, making it infamous among the Hollywood elite. Other attractions to see here include Folly Ruins, Nonsuch and Fox Caves, Blue Lagoon, Frenchman’s Cove and Scatter, Reich, and Somerset Falls.
Montego Bay is one of Jamaica’s top vacation spots, and for good reason. Located on the northwest coast of the island, there are many all-inclusive resorts with spectacular views. It is also a major cruise port with a thriving nightlife. Mountains, beaches, shopping, nightclubs, golf courses – Montego Bay has it all. But if you’re more into history, be sure to visit the Greenwood Guest House, the Plantation House, and the nearby port town of Falmouth. There are plenty of accommodation options for vacationers, including cute guesthouses, sandal resorts, and chain hotels. Unless you plan to go to Kingston first, you’ll most likely get here via Sangster International Airport.
Kingston is the island’s largest city and a great place to learn about authentic Jamaican culture. As the capital of Jamaica’s government, commerce, and art scene, it is a city of history and modernity. Around the city center are local luxury hotels, spa resorts, and quaint inns. One of the main reasons to visit Kingston is to learn more about reggae music and culture. Bob Marley and other influential reggae artists started playing music here in downtown Trench his town. The Bob Marley Museum is located here and is worth a visit. This area offers a different view than the beach and resort areas, and is also more affordable in terms of accommodation, so travelers on a budget should be careful. You can visit Morant Bay, the site of a major political uprising, and Port Royal, home of the pirate Blackbeard.
Negril is a region of Jamaica known for its laid-back atmosphere and ‘anything goes’ attitude. If you want to get away from it all and get away from it all for a while, come to Negril. There are no high-rise hotels or large-scale developments here. Instead, you’ll find quaint bungalows, pubs, live reggae music, and a more intimate atmosphere.Indulge your sense of adventure with cliff jumping or relax on the beach watching a spectacular sunset. The seven miles of beach are great for a stroll, and Cool Runnings Water Park is a fun time.
Falmouth is a port town that dates back to the 18th century and is full of fascinating historic buildings. Take a walking tour and learn about the history and importance of the area to Jamaica. The area is surrounded by sugarcane fields and well-preserved Georgian towns. Attractions include Greenwood Great House, Luminous Lagoon, Half Moon Beach and Good Hope Estate.
Located in south-central Jamaica, Mandeville retains a strong British influence. It is the highest mountain town in the country. Come here to learn about coffee cultivation and enjoy the charming, slow pace that characterizes life in this region.
Portland Parish is located on the northeast coast of Jamaica and its capital is Port He Antonio. But there is much more to see and do here than just the famous city. The community is a major producer of coffee, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, breadfruit, and ackee. Top tourist facilities include Dragon Bay Villas, Fern Hill Club, and Goblin Hill Hotel. Sample traditionally spiced dishes at the Boston Jerk Center.
Another popular tourist destination in Jamaica is Ocho Rios, a popular cruise ship port on the North Shore. This is the spot for all-inclusive resorts that take the guesswork out of vacation planning. He is also one of the most scenic spots on the island. It’s a nature lover’s paradise! See one of the most beautiful waterfalls he’s ever seen, Dunns River Falls. Other attractions include Fern Gully, Shaw Park, Cranbrook Gardens, and Dover Raceway. It’s also a great place to try out your water sport or rent equipment from a local supplier and stay active in these vibrant waters. Don’t miss the local stalls to sample traditional Jamaican food in Ocho Rios.
As Jamaica’s westernmost community, the area primarily produces sugar cane and is home to the city of Negril. Other things to do here include Seaford Town, Petersfield, Roaring River His Park, Mayfield Falls, Bridgewater, and Savannah Lamar.
Jamaica’s south coast is worth a visit when planning a trip to the islands. This is the perfect place to enjoy the medicinal waters of mineral springs. With so much to do, you’ll never get bored in this rugged area. Hike around Treasure Beach to see towering cliffs overlooking the ocean below, see his seven-tiered waterfall at YS Falls, or go horseback riding along the coast. There are also golf courses and bird-watching opportunities for a relaxing day out in natural beauty. Enjoy rustic and cozy inns, plenty of fresh produce, and the world’s best rum in the Nassau Valley.
Drive north from Kingston to the towering Blue Mountains. Blue Mountains – Part of the John Crow Mountains National Park, this area is lush and uniquely remote. The mountain trails here can be intimidating for many visitors, so it’s a good idea to hire a professional guide to accompany you on this trail so you don’t get lost or stuck. The Blue Mountains region is famous for its coffee and rum production, and you can tour farms and factories to learn about local farming.
But to get off the beaten path of Jamaica, head to Acompon in western Jamaica. It was a safe, semi-independent city, with no taxes and gates closed to outsiders. Today you can visit this city and spend time with locals who open their homes and arrange home cooking. Worth a visit here is the town’s museum and the Peace Cave, where a treaty was signed by the community’s founders. If you’re looking for an authentic Jamaican experience away from the crowds and luxury resorts, this is the ideal place. However, if you visit in January, you can attend the annual Maroon Festival. The Maroon Festival attracts thousands of visitors to honor its founder. To get here, you can join a Kingston tour group, rent a car or hire an independent guide/resident to show you around the community.