All you need to know about vacations in Jamaica
Peace, harmony and unity with nature – what else does a tired body need from the constant bustle of the city? Jamaica attracts tourists with its genuine carefree attitude, here the days and weeks of vacation fly by unnoticed to the rhythms of reggae and twittering of birds. Even the main attractions in Jamaica are not the forts that saw hundreds of battles, and not ruined cities, which were once the centers of civilization, and picturesque waterfalls, endless beaches and, of course, everything associated with Bob Marley.
Jamaica is another island of happiness in the Caribbean, along with the Dominican Republic and Cuba. While the home of reggae is not so familiar to Russian tourists, but it is steadily gaining popularity. First of all, it is noticed by those who enjoy vacationing in Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and are looking for more exotic options. In addition, this island is practically a sacred place for all music lovers and rastamans. Where else to imbibe the philosophy of this original subculture, but not in Jamaica?
Now, as for the domestic issues. Going to Jamaica, pay attention to money. The country’s monetary unit is the dollar, but its own, the Jamaican dollar. One American dollar has 140 Jamaican dollars. The American equivalent is also in circulation, but you’ll still get change in the local currency and this is an extra opportunity for fraud. According to the law taking Jamaican money out of the country is forbidden, but rarely can anyone abstain from taking as a souvenir a couple of original coins with corners.
When to go to Jamaica
You can go to Jamaica at any time, even tomorrow – Russian tourists do not need a visa to visit the island.
The weather will also not let you down – the air temperature all year round is almost the same: +25. +28 C, the water is about the same. During the winter nights it can drop to +20, but, say, why go to the sea at night? It is considered that the hottest time is July and August, but the temperature figures are reflected in just a few degrees. However, in May-June and September-October there can be tropical storms, they walk all over the Caribbean region at this time.
The best season to travel to Jamaica is from late November to April. But in July and August you can relax without hurricanes and at low prices.
Where to go in Jamaica
By Russian standards, Jamaica is a small island, but the division into regions still exists.
1. Eastern part. Here is the capital of the country – Kingston. A modern city, more suitable for sightseeing trips and visits to bars and restaurants than for serenity and relaxation. Port Antonio, on the other hand, is the place for a great beach vacation. Posh mansions, beautiful beaches – the Jamaican elite and world celebrities live here. If you’ve seen “Treasure Island,” then you can imagine Port Antonio, the film was filmed here. There are some spectacular scenery in the east: the Blue Mountains are one of the most beautiful places on the island.
2. Central part. Mesmerizing nature with numerous waterfalls, charming lakes and impressive mountain valleys is here. Spanish Town deserves unconditional attention. This pretty little town was once the capital and then the crime capital of Jamaica. The government persuaded residents to turn in their guns, offering free education and good jobs in return. The atmosphere of robbery still hangs over the town, effectively complementing the colorful examples of colonial architecture. Nearby is the most popular resort area in this part of the island, Ocho Rios, a former fishing village with hotels to suit all budgets. Despite the intriguing proximity, this is one of Jamaica’s most peaceful and tranquil resorts, where the seashore blends seamlessly with the green-covered mountains. It’s only a 20-minute drive from Ocho Rios to the famous Ranaway Bay.
3. The western part. The center of tourism in the country with endless resort areas and a huge number of diverse hotels. The undisputed leader is Montego Bay. Here, as in Port Antonio, likes to rest the rich and famous, but a lot of democratic hotels. This resort is also the most famous Jamaican beach – Doctor’s Cave Beach. It has no areas for active entertainment, loud music, and most importantly – it does not allow traders. Negril attracts tourists and with endless white-sand beaches, which are among the top ten in the world. It is more partying and is famous for its busy nightlife and excellent diving. In Negril, the most popular beach is Seven Mile Beach. Lovers of the exotic will love White House Bay. Real jungle, wildlife, white sand and complete harmony with the surrounding world.
Which hotel to stay at
Riu Ocho Rios 5*.
In Ocho Rios attracts attention Riu Ocho Rios 5*, a “five” with a water park and “all-inclusive”. It has almost a thousand rooms, some of which are in a separate luxury building. For VIP-guests are offered personal service and a separate beach area. There are 5 restaurants, 7 bars, including several aqua bars, 5 swimming pools. Animators work actively all day long, and in the evenings there are colorful shows. Special attention to children – in 2019 the children’s area was updated, now a large pool with water rides, an indoor playground and three mini-clubs, which are divided by age: 4-7 years, 8-12 years and 13-17 years. The half-kilometer-long beach is literally a stone’s throw away.
There are hotels of all categories in the west of Jamaica. Of the budget is popular Merril’s beach 3*. It’s a small, but very comfortable hotel in Negril. It works on an “all inclusive” system, is not characterized by strong animation, but a couple of times a week on the beach barbecue with live music takes place. The room stock is represented by standards and superiors, each of which can accommodate a maximum of two people. Three restaurants and a sports bar are available for guests.
Quite a strong “five” by local standards – Riu Reggae 5 * in Montego Bay. It accepts guests over 18 years. The hotel has almost 500 rooms, all in the standard category. There is a spa, several pools and a gym, as well as free wireless internet in all rooms, which is a rarity in Jamaica. A variety of shows and live music concerts await guests every day, and the neighboring hotel of the same chain has a Pacha disco, where entrance and drinks are free for Riu Reggue guests.
There are some exclusive hotels here as well. The most famous of them is Hedonism 4* in Negril. This hotel is not just for adults, but for those who expect adventure and free morals. The age limit is 18+, there are absolutely no more restrictions. Here, everything is not just on the edge, but beyond the accepted norms. For example, the staff is dressed in very unambiguous clothes, and the guests can get intimate services from any of the employees. The hotel is divided into two parts – the classical and for nudists, where the pool and the passage to the nudist beach, it is forbidden to appear there in clothes. Also on the territory of 9 hectares there are 6 restaurants and as many bars. If shock shows and active animation of the erotic plan bored, you can play tennis, ping-pong, volleyball or visit the gym. “Sodom for you!” – is an eloquent slogan used by the hotel in one of its brochures, and that’s an understatement.
And, of course, there are many luxury hotels in the West, such as the Round Hill 5* in Montego Bay. The hotel opened in 1953 and has hosted dozens of international celebrities in its more than half-century history. Colonial architecture, coconut palms and tropical gardens.
Some of the villas have their own pools, while other guests have access to a huge communal pool. There are also 5 tennis courts, a free shuttle to the golf course, a gym, interesting animation, a spa located in an 18th century mansion, an underwater coral garden and even an art gallery. Breakfast is usually served on the terrace or in bed. However, there are classic restaurants and bars here too, serving exclusively haute cuisine and premium drinks.
Things to do in Jamaica
Bob Marley Museum
Luxurious beaches and reggae style vacations are in harmony with local sightseeing. There aren’t many, but they are quite colorful.
1. Bob Marley Museum . The cult of the father of reggae contributes to the fact that the main attractions of Jamaica are associated with him. The most accessible of these is the museum, located in the house where the musician lived. Those who are ready for feats can try to get to the village where Marley was born, his mausoleum is also located there.
2. Rose Hall . The luxurious mansion is located in Montego Bay and became famous because of a mystical legend. One of the owners of the estate married a girl from Haiti who was well versed in voodoo magic. She was married more than once, all her husbands died mysteriously, and then she herself went after them. Guy De Lisser wrote a novel based on this legend.
3. Falmouth . A Georgian town where plumbing was done earlier than in New York. The old buildings in its streets are well preserved.
Equally popular are the natural attractions .
1. Dunns River Park . Grandiose waterfalls, which reach a height of 180 meters and the water flows directly into the Caribbean Sea, exotic plants, beautiful orchids. There are comfortable viewing platforms for inspired contemplation and a cozy beach on the coast.
2. Dolphin Cove . A cove where dolphins, stingrays, crocodiles and sharks live. Visitors can watch them in their natural habitat.
3. Rio Grande River . The longest river in Jamaica – almost 100 km. It is also one of the most beautiful and safe rafting routes in the world.
4. Hummingbird Sanctuary . This little bird is a symbol of the island. Visitors can not only have a good look at the hummingbird close up, but also feed them from the hand.
Jamaica is an island kingdom in the Caribbean Sea and a member of the British Commonwealth. It is an exotic country, attracted by its unique culture and amazingly beautiful scenery. To the northwest are the territorial waters of Cuba, to the east – Haiti, to the south – Colombia. If there is any place on Earth, where no man has ever set a foot, it is on Jamaica. Solitude, union with nature, a combination of sound of waves and unobtrusive musical rhythms – all this ensures a wonderful holiday.
Save on your trip to Jamaica!
The state is 225 km long from west to east and 35 to 82 km long from north to south, with a total area of 10991 km². Jamaica is divided into three counties: Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey, which in turn are divided into parishes (counties). According to the latest figures, the population is 2.8 million.
The de facto ruler is the British monarch (currently Elizabeth II). In the absence of the Queen, the Governor-General represents the power in the country.
The main income comes from services, including tourism. It’s no wonder: the island attracts unique natural riches as well as unique Jamaican culture which is a mix of African, British and Caribbean notes. It is here that the reggae music style emerged and the religious movement of Rastafarianism and the subculture of Rasta, which emerged from it, spread more widely than anywhere else.
View of the Caribbean Sea Robins Cove
Cities of Jamaica
Jamaica has a tropical monsoon climate. Accordingly, winter and summer temperatures are almost the same – on the coast from 24 ° C to 35 ° C, and in the mountainous areas from 17 to 27 ° C. Thanks to the sea breeze, the heat is easily tolerated. The water heats up to 24 ° C … 26 ° C above zero. From May to October lasts the rainy season, during this period hurricanes are possible. The best time to visit Jamaica is in winter.
The southern coast of Jamaica is heavily indented, with good harbors, which once served as a refuge for pirates, but is fringed by reefs. The northern coast of the island is rocky, in its central part is a narrow strip of beaches – the so-called Jamaican Riviera. Much of Jamaica is occupied by a hilly limestone plateau, in the east of the island rises the Blue Mountains (Blue Mountains), a height of up to 2256 meters. Along the southern and western coasts are extensive low-lying plains. Jamaica is highly seismically active. Earthquakes are not uncommon. Two earthquakes, in 1692 and 1907, were catastrophic. In 1692 the old capital of Jamaica, Port Royal, was completely destroyed and the surviving inhabitants moved to nearby Kingston. But in 1907 the new capital, Kingston, suffered the same fate. True, the city was later rebuilt.
Jamaica has many rivers that originate on the slopes of mountains and hills. The largest of them – Rio Grande, about 100 km long, begins at Mount Denham in central Jamaica and flows into the Caribbean Sea in the south of the island, near Cape Portland. Jamaica’s rivers are used for rafting.
This is Jamaica, baby! Bananas growing on the platanation in the north Jungle in the Blue Mountains National Park
Jamaica’s greatest natural treasure is bauxite. In terms of their reserves, this small country is the fifth largest in the world. Altogether there are more than 100 deposits in Jamaica, the largest of which is Williamsfield in the central part of the island. The bauxite industry is the main branch of the national economy.
What to do in Jamaica
The opportunity to immerse yourself in the pristine world of the tropics, to set aside all worries and cares, adopting the life motto of Jamaicans “No problem” – this is what more and more holidaymakers come to the island for. So, what is worth doing once you get here?
White water raft on a mountain river
Hearing about rafting, experienced tourists immediately imagine rapids, just looking at which the blood ran cold in the veins … In Jamaica, it is completely different: rafting on the river – a leisurely journey on a bamboo raft among the picturesque scenery. The most popular places are the Great River near Montego Bay, the Black River near Ocho Rios and the Rio Grande near Port Antonio.
Bridge over the Great River Mangroves Black River Rio Grande
Visit the Bob Marley Museum.
At 56 Hope Road in Kingston is the home of Jamaica’s most famous Rastaman, Bob Marley. Opposite the courtyard entrance is a monument to the singer, just as he is remembered by his many fans – in bright clothes and with his unchanging dreadlocks. Nearby is a house, the interior of which has been preserved as in the life of the musician: not only drawings can be seen on the walls, but also bullet holes that were left after the attempt on the King of Reggae. In the gallery, housed in a former recording studio, visitors can see a short film about Bob Marley’s life and work, examine his stage costumes and gold and platinum discs.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Sunday off. Admission costs about $20.
Bob Marley House Museum.
Conquer the Waves of the Caribbean Sea
Jamaica is famous for its waves, which although not as big as, for example, on the Pacific coast, are also great for surfing and windsurfing. You can rent all the necessary equipment in specialized companies. Most are on the northeast and southeast coasts, and Bailey’s Beach, Burwood Beach and Silver Sands are the most popular choices for sailing with their strong, even winds.
Crescent Cove at Silver Sands’ Burwood Beach
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
One of the most beautiful places in Jamaica is the Blue Lagoon. The clearest turquoise sea, the tropical thickets that come up to the very coast – all this creates a sense of fairy tale. It is worth coming here just for the spectacular views, but do not limit yourself to this: it is said that the water here has rejuvenating properties.
Port Antonio, where the Blue Lagoon is located, is best reached by car or sightseeing bus, but you can also take a regular shuttle from the station Tepple Lane in Kingston.
Blue Lagoon Dolphin Cove in Jamaica
Swim with Dolphins
There probably isn’t a person who hasn’t admired the intelligence and agility of dolphins. In Jamaica you can not only see these animals up close, but also touch them, swim beside them or hold their fins and even dive with them on the bottom. All this is offered at the three Dolphin Cove parks near Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril. In addition to dolphins you can see sharks, rays, and other marine life.
Swim in the Shining Lagoon
Near the port town of Falmouth, where the Martha Bra River flows into the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most popular spots in Jamaica, the Glow Lagoon. It gets its name from the tiny microorganisms that live in the water and emit blue-green light as they move. Their huge clusters create an amazingly beautiful spectacle. It is difficult to describe the sensations of what you see, it is necessary to experience it yourself.
The Glowing Lagoon in Jamaica
Visit the Appleton Estate rum factory in Montego Bay
This production facility is the place where the famous Jamaican rum is born. By booking a tour, you can learn the history of this truly pirate beverage, see the making process, taste several varieties, and buy a bottle or two as a gift. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To book a tour, visit http://www.appletonestate.com/en/.
Appleton Estate Rum Factory in Jamaica
Hand-feed hummingbirds at Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary
Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary near Montego Bay is a jungle area once purchased by Lisa Simon who decided to devote her life to taming birds. Her work was successful – hummingbirds are not afraid of people at all and dare to sit on their hands. There is peace and tranquility here, scents of exotic flowers are in the air, trills of feathered inhabitants of the Park sound.
Open every day from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Rocklands Rd, Wiltshire.
Watch the sunrise at the top of Blue Mountain Peak
Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point of the namesake mountains in a ridge in the east of the island. It’s a sight to see the whole island at 2,256 meters above sea level, and it’s considered the best place to see the sunrise. To see the first rays of the sun, you need to start climbing after dark. It is worth saying that the night walk through the jungle itself – an amazing adventure. Tours are organized at the Whitfield Hall Hotel, located nearby.
Dawn on Blue Mountain Peak Flowers on the summit of Blue Mountain Way to the summit Abandoned house on the summit
Take a boat ride on the Black River
Extreme enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the opportunity to ride the Black River near Negril. The highlight of the trip is the opportunity to see Jamaican crocodiles in their natural habitat. Chickens serve as bait for the animals, and even the most inveterate skeptics are silent at the sight of how the jaws of the reptiles close on the carcass. Tourists will also be offered a swim in the upstream river, where predators do not swim…usually.
Black River in Jamaica
Explore the underwater riches of the Caribbean Sea
The area is famous for its diverse underwater world, so it’s no surprise that divers from around the world come here. For diving they usually choose the most picturesque objects on the coral reef and the neighborhood of the sunken Port Royal.
The underwater world of Jamaica
One of the most interesting attractions on the south coast is the Cashoo Ostrich Park in Lakowia. Here you can not only feed these amazing birds, but also ride them. The best way to get here is by car – 1.1km from Crane Road in a southeasterly direction at Slipe. The park is open daily and admission is chargeable.
History of the country
Civilized society learned about the existence of the island with rich nature, inhabited by the Arawako Indians in 1494, thanks to Christopher Columbus. Jamaica was originally planned to be named after the royal couple Ferdinand and Isabella, but the idea did not take hold, and everyone quietly returned to the indigenous version, Haimaka, which means “land of springs.
British ships off the coast of Jamaica Montego Bay in 1922
As a result of the aggressive policies of the colonizers, almost the entire native population, used as cheap labor, became extinct. The cause was disease brought in by the Spaniards and hard labor. In order not to reduce the rate of sugar cane production, slaves from Africa began to be brought to the island.
In 1655, the British seized control of the island. Soon Jamaica became the main center of piracy, and Port Royale became its harbor as Tortuga’s flibusters moved here. In 1692 the city, by then infamous for being the most depraved place on the planet, was destroyed in an earthquake.
Bob Marley at a concert in the ’70s
In the 17th and 18th centuries. Jamaica was a major sugar producer, but harsh working conditions forced slaves to revolt. As a result, a large community of runaway slaves, the Maroons, formed on the island and were the first to achieve autonomy. In the 19th century rebellions became more frequent and widespread, resulting in the abolition of slavery in 1838. Jamaica’s economy faltered, but American investment corrected the situation.
In the early 20th century, the first trade unions and then parties began to appear in Jamaica. During World War II, the U.S. was based on the island. After its end there was a wave of strikes, which led the British government to grant the island internal self-government in 1959 and independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962.
The population of Jamaica is nearly 3 million people, 78 percent of whom live in cities. The coastal areas of the island are the most populated. Negros among Jamaicans constitute more than 75 per cent; the remainder are mulattoes of varying degrees of mixture. During slave times the mixed Jamaican population was divided into several groups according to the proportion of Negro blood: mulattoes – descendants of a white father and a Negro mother, quarters – with 1/4 of Negro blood, musties – with 1/8, musties – with 1/16 (descendants of the latter by marriage or connection with whites were already considered white by law). Jamaicans are employed predominantly in agriculture, mining, commerce, and service industries, with most of those employed in service and commerce being involved to some degree in the tourist business. The welfare of Jamaicans depends largely on the influx of tourists.
People on the Streets of Kingston
In addition to Jamaicans, a significant number of Indians and Chinese also live on the island. The Indians and Chinese are the descendants of laborers who were contracted to work on the plantations in the mid-19th century, after the abolition of slavery. At present most of the Indians are engaged in agriculture and live in villages in the west of the island; there are also many natives of India in the capital. The Chinese are largely engaged in petty trade, almost all of them living in the larger towns of Kingston and its merger with St. Andrew. A small number of Englishmen, Cubans, Americans, and Germans also live in the cities.
Jamaican schoolgirls go home Music is everywhere in Jamaica!
The mass emigration of Jamaicans as a result of landlessness of peasants began at the end of the last century. Jamaican blacks made up a large part of the labor force in the construction of the Panama Canal, in the banana plantations of Central America, and in the sugar plantations of Cuba and the United States. The flow of emigrants increased even more after World War II. During this period they went mainly to Great Britain, and after 1962 (when Great Britain passed strict immigration laws) – to Canada and the USA. Today almost a third of all Jamaicans live abroad, mostly in Great Britain, the United States, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
The official language of Jamaica is English. However, the spoken dialect of Jamaicans bears little resemblance to literary English. It contains many words from various African languages and the pronunciation is very far from English. Therefore, the Jamaican dialect is sometimes considered a special Creole language. The Chinese and Indians also widely use the Jamaican dialect of English, but use their own languages in everyday life.
Religiously, most of Jamaica’s population is Protestant, but there are also a small number of Catholics. Some African cults, such as the obia cult, are also prevalent among part of the population.
Jamaican art and architecture blend European, mainly English, influences with African traditions. Remained from the 17th-18th centuries are single-storey stone and brick buildings (mainly in the former capital, Spanish Town). Since the mid-19th century dominated the two-storey wooden houses with verandas and iron ornaments – the so-called architecture of the colonial style. In the 20th century modern-style buildings were built (University of the West Indies near Kingston, hotels).
Spanish Town Baba Marley’s face carved out of wood
Traditional Jamaican folk crafts have retained much of the spirit of African culture. Jamaicans do mostly wood carving and metalworking, and make jewelry as well. African folk traditions are particularly strong in Jamaican carved wooden figures.
Jamaica is often called the best resort in the Caribbean. This is due in no small part to the sheer number of attractions.
History buffs and just admirers of the beautiful will admire the Belvedere Estate. Here everything is stylized under the 17th century – in those times the slave system reigned on the island. In Belvedere you can see the dam, built by the hands of slaves more than 300 years ago. Tourists can also access the sugar cane plantations where slaves once toiled for the British crown. A tour of the estate includes a traditional Jamaican lunch and live musical entertainment.
Spanish Town Parade Ground
Spanish Town is also noteworthy. The town’s architecture is in the 17th century style. Even the new buildings here are built in the old manner, so they do not stand out. Spanish Town is home to the Rodney Memorial, which has a fascinating history associated with it. In 1792, a joint French-Spanish invasion of Jamaica was planned. But the British army, led by Admiral Sir George Bridges Rodney, was able to defend the colony in a lengthy naval battle. In 1801 an Italian marble memorial was carved in honor of Rodney’s victory. On the sides of the memorial are cannons, from which a salvo is fired each year to commemorate the victory. Legend has it that these guns were taken from the French as a trophy in that very battle.
St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Kingston
St. Catherine’s Cathedral, one of the oldest architectural monuments in Jamaica, is very popular with visitors. The cathedral has been preserved since the Spanish domination of the 17th century. Despite the building’s considerable age, it has perfectly preserved wooden carvings as well as clay moldings.
Rose Hall Mansion
The Rose Hall Mansion beckons with its mystique. It’s known as the home of the legendary Anya Palmer, often referred to as the White Witch of Jamaica. By the way, the epithet “white” is associated exclusively with the color of the woman’s skin. Legend has it that Palmer, who wielded voodoo magic, murdered her husband to become the sole owner of a huge estate. She then began seducing her slaves, whom she killed immediately after passionate nights of lovemaking. It is said that she also killed the housekeeper, whom one of her slaves had fallen in love with. This girl’s grandfather strangled the White Witch. Anya Palmer’s body is buried in the east side of the mansion. In 1965, a married couple bought the house and turned it into a museum. Museum officials say that at night the ghost of a white woman wanders through the house and screams and slamming doors are heard.
Entrance to Fort Charles A house built on stilts at a 45° angle A ship aground near Port Royal
Adventurers can visit the old town of Port Royal, known as a pirate base. Here you’ll find the Maritime Museum, the defensive Fort Charles, and a unique building – a house standing on stilts at a 45° angle.