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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Jamaica

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Jamaica Holidays

With its balmy climate, stunning scenery and laid-back vibe, Jamaica is an enticing holiday destination. Add to this Jamaica's deliciously spicy cuisine and colourful musical tradition, and you'll soon catch the Jamaican holiday bug. Have lively times in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, or a slowed-down pace in Runaway Bay.

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Jamaica, the happiness island

From the restrained elegance of Falmouth to the party atmosphere in Montego Bay, Jamaica is an island of contrasts. It can be compared with the exhilarating pace of Usain Bolt to the laid back rhythmic vibe of Bob Marley's reggae. Both of these stars' skills highlight the very different parts of this idyllic island.

Whether you're visiting Jamaica to lie on the beach, savour jerk chicken or simply wander around and explore the more isolated parts of the island, you're certain to have plenty of fun. If you'd like to chill out or dance hard in some of the island's best nightclubs or feed your watersports passion, there are enough activities on Jamaica to satisfy all ages and tastes.

Where to stay in Jamaica

Falmouth
FalmouthView on Map

One of the most historic towns in Jamaica, Falmouth is a popular coastal holiday destination. As well as having some of the most beautiful Georgian buildings on the island, the town is within easy reach of some stunning nature reserves and a fantastic lagoon.

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Montego Bay
Montego BayView on Map

As one of the most famous destinations in Jamaica, Montego Bay won't let you down. It offers pristine beaches and a diverse interior landscape that includes dense jungles, waterfalls, and the fantastic Blue Mountains. The adventure doesn't stop there as the nightlife proves to be just as exciting.

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Negril
NegrilView on Map

Home to one of the most spectacular beaches in the world and a tip-top favourite among Jamaican resorts, Negril knows how to impress sun-thirsty holidaymakers. With beachy days and beach hut nights, not to mention a healthy dose of swimsuit weather, the relaxation levels here are always high.

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Ocho Rios
Ocho RiosView on Map

This town in north Jamaica has plenty of different places to spend the night that keep you close to the action. There's smoky jerked beef to eat, cool rum cocktails to enjoy on the shore and long stretches of beach to recline on. Nearby caves and forests are ripe for exploring.

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Runaway Bay
Runaway BayView on Map

Quite possibly Jamaica's best kept secret, Runaway bay has some of the quietest beaches on the island and a vibe so laid-back you won't want to leave. Enjoy tranquil stretches of white sand and balmy evenings tucking into freshly-caught seafood along the bay.

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Quick Tips

  • Christianity
  • Jamaican Dollar
  • English
  • 2.8 million
  • GMT +5

A naturally beautiful landscape

Explore Jamaica's natural beauty and you'll no doubt recognise some of the scenery you travel through. For decades Hollywood directors have been visiting the island and using it as a backdrop for some of their best films. Among others, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and the absurdly funny 'Cool Runnings' were both shot here.

You can experience the exuberant thrills of the waterfalls at the Reggae Style Mayfield Falls, just a four-minute drive away from Negril. Combine nature with adventure and the end result is the Mystic Mountain, a five-minute drive from Ocho Rios. Taking a chairlift that ascends some 700 feet over the rainforest, you'll get a stunning view of this part of Jamaica. The destination will definitely set your pulse racing.

Retail therapy

If your idea of holiday heaven is to open your wallet and spend, then you'll have ample opportunity to do so on Jamaica. Forget about large scale shopping mall experiences, retail therapy in Jamaica is all about sourcing the unique and the special. There are crafts stalls and markets all over the island where you'll be able to find unique wooden carvings, and take home a little bit of Jamaica's special style to remind you of your holiday.

Island Village shopping complex in Ocho Rios offers you a beautiful environment as well as a wide range of shops. You'll be able to browse to your heart's content and admire the lagoon and flowering trees that make up this intriguing centre.

Boogie nights

Jamaica knows how to host a party, and it would be almost criminal not to visit one of the island's lively nightspots. Whether you take part in an open air beach party, or head to a nightclub in bustling Montego Bay, you're definitely going to enjoy the sweet beats of reggae and other Caribbean sounds.

Jamaican nightlife also encompasses some really extraordinary venues. There's an ice bar in Montego Bay called Chillin', where even the shot glasses are made from ice. Or you can just spend time in Falmouth drinking cocktails by a luminous lagoon. Rum is usually the drink of choice, but Red Stripe beer comes a close second if you don't enjoy spirits or cocktails.

Beach life

Jamaica is renowned for its stunning long stretches of sand. With over 50 public beaches to choose from, it's easy to find your special spot and lie back and soak up the rays.

Montego Bay's Cornwall Beach is one of the longest stretches of sand on the island, where you can chill out on a lounger, snorkel to explore what's beneath the waves or enjoy a game of beach volleyball. While Waves Beach, in the southeast of the island, is the place to head if you want entertainment and family fun days.

Let there be jerk

Jamaicans love spicy food, and you'll encounter jerk seasoning on most meats and fish. Scotch bonnet peppers are a key ingredient of this seasoning, so you may find that these dishes are slightly on the fiery side. Rice and peas are also very popular here, as are yam, plantain and beef patties.

Seafood is a wise choice at Jamaican restaurants as it's invariably fresh from the sea that day. If you're prepared to be adventurous with menu items you've not encountered before, your holiday in Jamaica is the perfect time to experiment and have fun.