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Bob Marley may have put reggae and Jamaica on the map, but there’s a reason people visit this jammin’ island over and over again. With its breathtaking beaches, enchanting waterfalls and a captivating musical culture, Jamaica strikes a chord, offering an array of adventures for anyone up for the experience of a lifetime. It’s Jamaica, Mon. You can’t help but relax and enjoy the festivities when you’re on the island. And there’s not a better way to savor the sounds of the island than through the Jamaican people. With their incredible friendliness, zest for creating colorful art, spicy Jamaican jerk cuisine and dance moves that will make even the reluctant hit the dance floor. You're bound to fall in love with this island!
Other Destinations in Jamaica
Start Planning Your Jamaica Vacation
Mapping Out Jamaica
When you set out to discover Jamaica, the bustling hub of Montego Bay earns its reputation for being the “tourism capital” with lively street markets, road side food vendors and action-packed water activities at the beaches. To discover some of the prettiest waterfalls and lush tropical foliage, heading to Ocho Rios will be well-worth your time. If you prefer island life with a more native flare, then vacationing in Negril will be what you want. Negril is also home to one of the prettiest beaches in all of Jamaica, Seven Mile Beach. Located on the East side of the island, Kingston is the country’s capital and its cultural and financial center. Here you’ll find Jamaican city life at its finest. And when you’ve had enough of the city life, you can explore the nearby Blue Mountains, known for their coffee beans, trails, rivers and waterfalls.
Jammin' to the Music
June marks the annual Ocho Rio Jazz Festival that hosts 30 events across the island. Sonny Bradshaw began the festival in 1991 to enrich tourism and provide a family-friendly event while promoting Jamaican music.
The music festival has grown so much that if you're visiting during the month of June, then plan to check this out. You'll hear live jazz music by top local artists as well as internationally renowned jazz musicians. And you can find events not only in Ocho Rios, but also in Montego Bay, Negril and Runaway Bay. Best of all, the event is free to the public!
Jamaica is a destination favorite largely because of the gorgeous beaches that are sprinkled all over the island. The warm sun and the turquoise blue water draw more and more visitors each year. Plus, the weather is sunny, warm and tropical. You really won't be disappointed lounging by the ocean in this Caribbean spot!
One of the most popular beaches in Jamaica is in Negril, Seven Mile Beach. Most of the activity in Negril is along this beach. At Negril is on the western tip, so the sunsets at night off the water are spectacular. But, another popular spot in Jamaica is Runaway Bay. Runaway Bay is about 10 miles from Ocho Rios. The beaches here see less traffic, so it's easy to find a quiet spot to spend the day. And if you're in Montego Bay, the beaches there are equally as beautiful! Jamaica is truly a little slice of paradise.
Culture in Motion
The Jamaican people are probably some of the friendliest you'll meet. So make sure you take time to enjoy the vibrant culture. Touring the Jamaican cities will let you mix and mingle among locals and tourists. You can weave in and out of local boutiques, sample authentic Jamaican jerk and enjoy the colorful displays of art. Strolling down "Hip Strip" in Montego Bay, you'll find unique art galleries as well as great food vendors.
If you're staying near Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, stopping off at Faith's Pen in St. Ann is worth it. Located along Mt. Diablo, you'll find stalls filled with authentic Jamaican cuisine. From roasted corn to steamed fish to honey, you'll see a little bit of everything here. And, of course, reggae music will be playing in the background. Getting out and seeing a local market is well worth your time!
Zip through the Forest
Come on - you know you want to see a rainforest up close and personal. Imagine bobsledding down the mountain or zip lining through the trees. Talk about a serious thrill!
When you're at Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios, you'll spend your day taking on all kinds of daring adventures. Not only will bobsled and zip line, but you can also take a refreshing ride down the Mystic Waterslide and splash down in an infinity pool and much more! It's completely safe, of course, because the guides are there to help you out. Mystic Mountain hosts some of the best excursions on the island and is definitely worth checking out.
Jamaica Quick Facts
English is the official language.
The official currency is the Jamaican dollar, but some places will take the US Dollar.
Jamaica does not have a standard electrical outlet. You’ll either have 110v or 220v, so packing an adapter is a good idea.
All U.S. citizens must have a valid passport when traveling to and from Jamaica.
The water in Jamaica is, for the most part, safe to drink. Check to make sure it is desalinated and if it's not, then stick to bottled water.
Central Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours)
Peak season in Jamaica is mid-December – mid-April.