A guide to things to do in Jamaica
This fascinating island has held onto its strong African identity, more so than its Caribbean neighbours. Jamaica holidays are bursting with opportunities to explore the island’s culture and history, with far more to discover than white sand beaches and All Inclusive resorts. Discover hidden waterfalls amid rainforests, climb to the top of mountain peaks surrounded by clouds or dive into gritty Kingston and experience a dancehall street party.
Make like Tarzan in the White River Valley
Nestled in the rainforest adorned hills, just outside Ocho Rios, explore one of the island’s most stunning natural attractions. The famous River Gully Falls attract herds of tourists enjoying cheap holidays to Jamaica, but as you hike up limestone rocks amid a series of breathtaking pools and cascading waterfalls, the lush greenery and tropical flowers will have you suitably distracted from the crowds.
If that’s not enough, you can dive into the famous Blue Hole and bathe in the refreshingly cool water, shaded by the tall rainforest. Spend an afternoon exploring caves carved into the cliff-side and swinging across the natural mineral pools on a rope swing, or for the more adventurous, there are opportunities to cliff jump and discover some of the underwater caves.
Discover and dance in Kingston
From the street markets and ghettoes of the less affluent areas to the cosmopolitan vibes you’ll experience uptown, a trip to Kingston is essential for a taste of the contrasts of modern Jamaica.
Take a stroll around the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road, where Bob Marley lived and recorded in his final years. Downtown you’ll find William Grant Park, locally known as ‘Parade’, packed with street vendors and reggae music blasting out of boom boxes.
Kingston is a town that likes to party, and you’ll find live music and dance halls open every night of the week. Check out Usain Bolt’s bar Tracks & Records, an upbeat venue offering karaoke and live music. For a more authentic experience, join in with one of the sound system street parties held throughout the week.
Explore the majestic Blue Mountains
Get off the beaten track and enjoy a much cooler, more laid-back side to the island as you immerse yourself in the scenic Blue Mountain range. With the highest peak reaching 2256 metres above sea level, no visit to the area should neglect a hike to its summit to experience the stunning views.
Eat fresh fruit from the trees as your guide takes delight in teaching you about the surrounding fauna and flora, or take a dip in one of the natural pools to cool down. Whatever your preference, be sure to finish the day off with some curried goat and rice and peas from a local vendor.
Soak up the Jamaican sun
Beach vibes vary up and down the coast, from the soft sounds of reggae to beachside clubs that pump out beats until the small hours. You’ll find bays boasting great conditions for watersports next to coral filled coves that offer great snorkelling opportunities.
Up in Montego Bay you’ll find an arc of white sand at Doctor’s Cave Beach, a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Floating dive platforms sit in the sparkling blue sea, and vendors offer everything from sunloungers to refreshments and watersports.
The water at Boston Bay Beach is such a fluorescent blue it has to be seen to be believed. Surrounded by tree covered rocks, surfers flock here for the swell while foodies arrive to check out Jamaica’s best jerk stands and devour spicy food on the silky sand.