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Journey Into The Depths of Green Grotto Caves, Jamaica

Island Life
June 9th 2023
Journey Into The Depths of Green Grotto Caves, Jamaica
Cover image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

The island of Jamaica moves to its own beat. A vacation on its shores can be spent exploring some of the Caribbean’s most exotic beaches, dancing to catchy island rhythms, and exploring natural wonders like the Green Grotto Caves. The latter of these options makes it possible to combine history and adventure in the most exciting way, making it an experience worth considering during a Jamaica getaway.

Jamaica Interior Green Grotto Caves Light Path

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Green Grotto Caves is located on Jamaica’s north coast. This attraction consists of a series of limestone caves and an underground lake that is a must-see for any nature lover. The subterranean lake at Green Grotto Caves is about 1,525 meters long and 12 meters deep. All around this lake, there are stunning rock formations and light holes that really add to the ambiance. Green Grotto Caves is so stunning as an attraction that it was used as a film location in the James Bond movie, ‘Live and Let Die’. With so much history and lots to see and discover, a Green Grotto Caves expedition is perfect for just about anyone.

Just to help get you ready for a Green Grotto Caves adventure, we’ve outlined in this guide what you can expect from a visit to this attraction!

Insider tip: Here's what to pack for a Jamaica vacation whether you’ll be staying at the all-inclusive Montego Bay resorts, all-inclusive Negril resorts, or the all-inclusive Ocho Rios resorts.


History of the Green Grotto Caves

Green Grotto Caves is so much more than just a great adventure tour. These caves are located in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, and were previously known as the Runaway Bay Caves. Dating back to the 18th century, the attraction has served many purposes, including as a hideout. The Spaniards, Jamaican Maroons, runaway spies, and the Arawak Indians are all said to have used the caves for this very purpose. Green Grotto Caves also held much significance for the Taino Indians and Spanish settlers who resided in Jamaica. In addition to being a pivotal part of the quest for freedom for many, Green Grotto Caves are also said to have been used as a storage area for arms smuggled from Cuba during World War II.

Jamaica Water Green Grotto Caves

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Despite its colorful past, Green Grotto Caves has a totally different outlook now. The caves are largely touted as a visitor attraction and draw in thousands of curious explorers on an annual basis. The Green Grotto Caves are managed by the St. Ann Development Company on behalf of its owners, the Urban Development Corporation. This site is well worth a visit in Jamaica for its historical significance, as well as the unique geological formations therein.


What to expect on a tour of the Green Grotto Caves

The Green Grotto Caves provide a one-of-a-kind experience of exploring underground caves and viewing rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. This tour is a good option for all ages and the duration is about an hour. Generally, a tour of Green Grotto Caves can range from US$20-$40 per person. This price can vary depending on the tour company that you pick and the type of tour you embark on as well. With some tour packages, transportation will be included to and from your resort. Some tour options include more than one location in the overall package.

Green Grotto Caves Jamaica Interior

Image credit: Natascha Kaukorat/Shutterstock.com

During a tour of Green Grotto Caves, you can expect to be led by a guide through the limestone underground cave system. As you navigate the various caves and tunnels, you’ll notice some stand-out features like the overhead ceiling pockets. Usually, your tour guide will share details on the history, geology, and ecology of the caves as you go along.

You’ll feel almost as though you’re in another world as you explore the innermost cavern and the hidden lake. In addition to the beautiful, crystal-clear water of this lake, there are some pretty cool rock formations in this area that will certainly catch your attention.

Good to know: Keep an eye out for the bats inside the cave, which can often be seen hanging from the ceiling. During the Green Grotto Caves tour, you may be advised not to make any loud noises that can scare these creatures.


How much to visit Green Grotto Caves

There is an admission fee attached to visiting Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica. Adults will be required to pay US$20 per person, while children aged 4-12 pay US$10 per person. Children under the age of four do not need to pay an admission fee. If you want to do a guided tour at this location, this can cost more. Most of the time, if you book a tour to this location, entrance fees will be included.

When planning a tour to Green Grotto Caves, definitely ask about what's included in your tour package before booking. Keep in mind that the price you pay to get here may vary depending on which part of Jamaica you’ll be staying in. Prices can vary based on the mode of transportation as well.

Green Grotto Tour Groups in Jamaica

You’ll have various tour options for a visit to Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica. Here’s what you can expect in terms of pricing and inclusions for these tours:

1. Green Grotto Caves tour

The Green Grotto Caves Tour can be booked through the official Green Grotto Caves website. This option is among the most popular and affordable. Most tours of the Green Grotto Caves are structured to include a guide. Guides for the Green Grotto Caves tour will take groups through the caves, point out the most significant features, and share some local history and stories as well. The Green Grotto Caves tour costs around US$20 per person. Kids 4-12 pay US$10 per person. Green Grotto Caves opens from 9 am to 4 pm daily.

2. Green Grotto Caves Excursion from Ocho Rios

If you’ll be staying in the Ocho Rios area in Jamaica, you might want to look into the Green Grotto Caves excursion from Ocho Rios. This option includes a guided tour of the caves as well as a visit to Dunn’s River Falls, which is located nearby. These two options together really do ensure that you have a fun-filled day on the island and prices start at around US$60 per person. Roundtrip transportation from Ocho Rios is included.

3. Cave Explorer Plus Waterfalls Tour From Falmouth Private Driver

Turn up the excitement with the Cave Explorer Plus Waterfalls Tour from Falmouth while in Jamaica. This is probably one of the most fun ways to experience Green Grotto Caves as this private tour also includes a visit to Dunn’s River Falls and other attractions in this vicinity. The Cave Explorer Plus Waterfalls Tour costs around US$150 per person and is a great option for couples looking for adventure.


Green Grotto Caves photos and videos




The best time to visit Green Grotto Caves

The best time to visit Green Grotto Caves is between the months of December to April, which is recognized as the dry season in Jamaica. If you visit Green Grotto Caves during the dry season, you will have a better overall experience. The weather is usually better during this time of year, and the caves tend to be less crowded. December to April is also the best time to visit Jamaica in general, as there are usually more activities and events happening on the island.

Green Grotto Caves Sign

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

As December to April is considered high season for Jamaica, you may need to make your vacation booking well in advance if you plan on traveling then. May to November is a less favorable time to visit the caves because these months fall within Jamaica's wet season. Overall, Jamaica has a tropical climate, which equates to pleasant temperatures and high humidity year-round.


Best places to stay near Green Grotto Caves

It’s a good idea to stay in a central location in Jamaica so you can easily access the most popular sites and tours. Depending on what you'd like to do, you’ll have plenty of accommodation options on this island including hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and villas. If you want to visit Green Grotto Caves while in Jamaica, Sandals in Jamaica has some great resorts located near this attraction including Sandals Dunn River, Sandals Ochi, and Sandals Royal Plantation. You can decide which of these resorts is best for you depending on what you're looking for out of your vacation.

Sandals Dunns River Aerial

For a romantic escape, couples will also love resorts like Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, and Sandals Negril. These are all adults-only resorts and each has a distinct personality. Overall, when it comes to the best place to stay for a Jamaica vacation that includes touring Green Grotto Caves, the best option will be the one that matches your travel style and budget and allows you to make the most of your time in Jamaica.


What to wear to Green Grotto Caves

The most important thing to consider when heading to Green Grotto Caves or out on any tour in Jamaica is that comfort matters. The Green Grotto Caves tour includes walking and exploring which means you'll want to wear clothing that’s comfortable, that you can easily move around in. Your choice of footwear matters as well — wear shoes that are good for both walking and climbing. As the caves are sometimes damp and slippery, closed-toe shoes with good grip are ideal.

Cave Exploring Clothes Jamaica Green Grotto

Image credit: View Apart/Shutterstock.com

Temperature-wise, Jamaica tends to be on the warmer side. As such, light-weight clothing will be best if you plan on heading out on tours. Even with that said, when heading to Green Grotto Caves some people tend to bring along a light jacket or sweater. This is because the temperature inside the caves is often slightly cooler. To make the most of a tour of these caves, you can bring your own flashlight with you or just use the one provided by your tour guide. A flashlight will help you to see the various cave formations and structures move clearly.


Other popular destinations in Jamaica

There are many amazing attractions in Jamaica near Green Grotto Caves that are worth seeing. Try to pencil in some time to experience at least one whether you’ll be on the island for a few days or a few weeks. From the stunning beaches and waterfalls to cultural and historical sites, here are a few more of the most exciting things to do in Jamaica for a memorable vacation:

Explore Dunn’s River Falls

If you're looking for an attraction that will surely take your breath away then definitely consider Dunn's River Falls. Located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica around 20 miles from the Green Grotto Caves, Dunn's River Falls is the largest and most popular waterfall on the island. When you get to this attraction expect to see a waterfall that’s over 900 feet high with a series of cascades and natural pools that visitors can dip into. This waterfall is known to be one of the few in the Caribbean that flows directly into the ocean. Dunn’s River Falls is located right next to a beach known as the Dunn’s River Falls Beach.

Dunns River Falls Jamaica

At Dunn's River Falls, you can even climb the waterfall with a guide. Water shoes are recommended for this exciting ‘wet climb’. There’s also a ‘dry climb’ option that visitors can try at this location. The views from the top are worth the effort either way.

Good to know: Other than marvelling at the waterfall and swimming in the refreshing waters, you can also dine at the restaurant nearby, buy gifts at the souvenir shop, or relax surrounded by pristine greenery at Dunn’s River Falls. Keep in mind that there are combination tours that include Dunn’s River Falls and Green Grotto Caves.


Visit the Luminous Lagoon

A trip to the Luminous Lagoon can certainly brighten up just about any Jamaica vacation. The Luminous Lagoon is located in Falmouth, Jamaica, just about 30 miles from the Green Grotto Caves. This unique attraction focuses on the microscopic bioluminescent organisms that literally light up the lagoon. The tiny creatures, called dinoflagellates, give off a blue-green light when touched or when the water moves. This can be truly spectacular to see up close.

Luminous Lagoon Jamaica

The Luminous Lagoon is sometimes referred to as Glistening Waters. Tours of this area usually happen after the sun goes down. This is the best time to see the display. Tours of the Luminous Lagoon usually involve a boat trip to a specific location that’s conducive for witnessing this natural phenomenon. Some visitors choose to immerse themselves into the water during this tour while others are content with just taking photos to capture the amazing memories.

Tour Bob Marley Museum

Fans of Bob Marley and reggae fans in general will appreciate a visit to the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica. This museum is located in Kingston, about 40 miles from the Green Grotto Caves. The appeal of the Bob Marley Museum has to do with the way it takes one down memory lane in the most vibrant, musically inclined way possible through exhibits that showcase the life and legacy of one of the greatest musicians of all time.

Jamaica Bob Marley Museum

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

The Bob Marley Museum is located in the former home of the reggae legend. Through a guided tour visitors can learn about Bob Marley’s life, his music and other contributions to the culture of Jamaica. There’s a gift shop at the museum and a café too where you’ll be able to sample some delectable Jamaican cuisine. A great option while in Jamaica for a tour filled with history and adventure is a combination tour that includes both Green Grotto Caves and the Bob Marley Museum.


Expert tip: You won't have a time finding things to do in Jamaica including exciting excursions on and off shore. There are various tourist attractions like Green Grotto Caves that shine a spotlight on Jamaica’s rich history and can help you get better acquainted with this island.




Gear up to explore the Green Grotto Caves in Jamaica

Jamaica truly is a magical destination, especially for couples! There’s so much to do on this island that couples can have a vacation that’s as active or as relaxing as they would like. If you plan on doing tours or going sightseeing in Jamaica, staying at the all-inclusive Jamaica resorts is a great idea. Sandals Resorts makes it possible for couples to have a stress-free vacation that is filled with quality inclusions such as luxury accommodation, day and night entertainment, land and water sports, and so much more! These resorts are ideal both for active travellers and those who just want to lounge poolside or soak in some blissful beach ambiance.

Sandals Dunns River Jamaica Rondoval Aerial

Once you’ve booked your Jamaica accommodations, it will be time to explore. Natural wonders abound on this island, so much so that you'll feel like you’re spending some time at the Caribbean’s best nature-based playground. From beaches and waterfalls to mountain tours and river rafting adventures, this is one island where you won’t have a dull moment!

Expert tip: If you're looking for an attraction that is ideal for a couple’s exploration, you can start with the Blue Hole in Jamaica. Couples will also love these cool things to do in Falmouth. While vacationing on this island, you might also want to get a taste of some of the best restaurants in Jamaica.


The Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica: A Natural Wonder Of The Caribbean!

Island Life
June 1st 2023
The Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica: A Natural Wonder Of The Caribbean!

The Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth, Jamaica is more than just a popular tourist attraction - it is a natural wonder that can be seen in very few places in the world. In Jamaica, the Luminous Lagoon can be found on the island’s north coast in an area where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea. The draw of this wondrous natural gem is the glowing effect that captivates just about everyone who pays a visit. A glowing effect like that of the waters at the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica can only be seen in four places in the world: The Bahamas, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica is said to glow the brightest out of all of these. That alone makes it one of the ‘must-see’ places in Jamaica.

Luminous Lagoon Jamaica Night

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

If you want to have a Luminous Lagoon experience in Jamaica, you’ll have to be prepared to do a night tour. This is when the glowing effect of the lagoon is most apparent. As part of this adventure, you can simply admire the views from a boat or get into the lagoon for a swim. Ahead of this mystical island exploration, we’ve detailed some of the things you should know about the Luminous Lagoon before you go.


What makes the Luminous Lagoon glow and why is it special?

Think fairy lights, but brighter … This is what you can expect to see at the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica. Historically speaking, the area is special because it was used for loading and unloading goods from large English vessels. These trade boats would transport items like sugar and rum in and out of Jamaica. Today, the Luminous Lagoon is renowned for the magical, blue-tinged glowing effect that can be observed when its waters are disturbed.

The glowing effect of the lagoon is due to microorganisms known as dinoflagellates that light up when touched. They are known to glow and thrive in shallow, warm water. This is one of the reasons this particular spot in Jamaica is one of the only places in the world where they can be found. The consistently warm climate of Jamaica is said to be the reason the waters in this area glow brighter than the three other places in the world where this natural phenomenon can be experienced.


What to expect on a tour of the Luminous Lagoon

A tour of the Luminous Lagoon includes a boat ride to the location where the light show can be experienced. These tours tend to range from US$25 to US$180 per person. The cost of the tour will depend on the type of tour you select and what is included. The boat ride to the Luminous Lagoon takes between 45 minutes to an hour and tours include a trained tour guide who can provide information on the lagoon and the bioluminescent organisms therein.

Luminous Lagoon Jamaica Night Sky

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

During the Luminous Lagoon, tour visitors have the option of swimming in the lagoon or staying on the boat. In the water, any type of splash including rainwater can result in an amplified glow. Splashing around in the water can be quite exciting as the bright, blue-green light emittance becomes more apparent. It is also possible to see fish swimming in the lagoon against a glowing backdrop at night. The Luminous Lagoon isn’t very deep, just around 3-8 feet. If you plan on getting into the water, you might want to wear water shoes as the bottom is slippery and has a jelly-like texture. Wearing water shoes during this excursion definitely makes it a whole lot easier to stand and enjoy the experience!

In terms of what to bring for your Luminous Lagoon tour in Jamaica, be sure to walk with a swimsuit, towel, water bottle, insect repellent, cash/card, and rubber-soled shoes or water shoes. You’ll also want to bring some dry clothes to change into once you get out of the water.

Luminous Lagoon tour groups in Jamaica

There are various tours that make it possible to have a Luminous Lagoon experience in Jamaica. These include the tour offered from the Glistening Waters Marina, the Horseback Ride & Swim, River Tubing and Luminous Lagoon combo day tour from Negril, and the Luminous Lagoon and Rose Hall Haunted Night Tour from Montego Bay. Each of these experiences offers something different and comes at a different price point. We’ve provided some details on what to expect (including pricing) below:

1. Glistening Waters

The Glistening Waters Marina is one of the most popular Luminous Lagoon boat tour operators in Jamaica. This tour operator is located about 30 minutes east of Montego Bay and tours depart from the Grand Palladium Resorts. The tour operators in this area have a fleet of about four tour boats which leave at different times. This means that whatever time you decide to go, you won’t be waiting for long. We recommend booking this tour in advance.

Luminous Lagoon Falmouth Jamaica

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

For the Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon tours, you’ll get into a boat that usually has a maximum of 30 people for the tour. No matter where you sit, you’ll have a great view of the flowing waters. Before or after your tour is complete, you can enjoy some of the other perks of this tour which include trying some authentic Jamaican food. Food and drinks including tasty rum punch are sold at the Glistening Waters Restaurant.

Tours of the Luminous Lagoon from the Glistening Waters Marina costs around US$25 per person. Discounts are available for children. If you plan on going on this tour, you may want to bring some money in case you want to purchase professional photos to take home as souvenirs. We recommend doing so if you do not have the right camera to capture the Luminous Lagoon at its finest.

Expert tip: The Glistening Waters Restaurant is a cool place to grab a bite during a Luminous Lagoon experience. Once your tour is complete, there will be many other interesting dining options to try in Jamaica. Take a look at our list of the best restaurants in Jamaica to get started!


2. Horseback Ride & Swim, River Tubing, and Luminous Lagoon Day Tour from Negril

One of the best ways to enjoy the natural wonders of Jamaica is by participating in some of the local tours while on the island. An all-in-one tour is a good idea if you have limited time. One of the best tour options that include the Luminous Lagoon is the Horseback Ride & Swim, River Tubing, and Luminous Lagoon Day Tour from Negril. This tour is a great idea if you’ve always wanted to try bareback horse riding and river tubing, and want to visit the Luminous Lagoon as well.

Horseback Ride Swim Jamaica

Horseback riding as part of this tour may include a dip in the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. The horses love cooling off in the ocean, and you will too. The river tubing portion of this tour will take you down the scenic Rio Bueno, which is an experience unlike any other. This tour closes off with a dip in the Luminous Lagoon. We recommend that you take lots of photos at every tour stop.

In addition to visiting some of the most popular attractions in Jamaica, this combo tour includes a chance to enjoy authentic Jamaican food as well. At lunchtime, you’ll visit a well-known jerk spot where you can enjoy your meal with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer or local fruit juice. Tickets for this tour cost around US$180 per person and include private hotel or resort pick up/drop off, all admission fees, and air-conditioned vehicles. Participants will pay for their own meals and gratuity.

Good to know: The Horseback Ride & Swim, River Tubing, and Luminous Lagoon Day Tour is not wheelchair accessible. Any children going on this tour must be accompanied by adults. This tour is not suitable for pregnant women or people with back problems. It is important to consider the fitness level and/or medical history of yourself and your traveling partner(s) before signing up for this or other tours of this nature.


3. Luminous Lagoon and Rose Hall Haunted Night Tour from Montego Bay

There’s more than one option for combination tours in Jamaica that include the Luminous Lagoon. Another such tour is the Luminous Lagoon and Rose Hall Haunted Tour from Montego Bay. This is definitely a unique way to experience the Luminous Lagoon, particularly as the Rose Hall Great House is rumored to be haunted. The glowing lights of the lagoon and the enchantment of Rose Hall certainly will make for a thrilling, if not eerie, night.

Rose Hall Great House Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The Rose Hall Great House has quite an interesting history. That history revolves around Annie Palmer who is said to have murdered three husbands in the house. You’ll get to explore the house by candlelight at night while listening to chilling stories all the way. Love, murder, and mystery are the central focus of this captivating tour, and you never know, you might just see something supernatural, like a ghost!

Things will calm down quite a bit just in time for a leisurely boat tour of the Luminous Lagoon. Any candlelight frights will be long behind you, but the mystery of the night certainly will remain. Thankfully, the beauty of the Luminous Lagoon is captivating and will steal your thoughts. All you’ll be left thinking about is how amazing this attraction is, and how wonderful Jamaica is overall as a vacation destination!

Good to know: For the Luminous Lagoon and Rose Hall Haunted Tour from Montego Bay, you’ll be picked up from your hotel lobby, and dropped off once the tour is complete. Tickets cost around US$120. This cost includes admission fees, scenic drives in air-conditioned vehicles, complimentary bottles of water, and private hotel or resort pickup/drop-off. You may want to bring some extra cash for souvenirs and for Annie’s Pub. Bring a towel as well!


When is the best time to visit the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica?

The best time to visit the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica is at night. The microorganisms responsible for the glow are nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and come alive during nighttime. In terms of the best time of year to go, you can have an exciting adventure at the Luminous Lagoon year-round. As the microorganisms responsible for the glow thrive in warm, shallow waters, Jamaica’s warm climate is quite conducive to their survival.

The best time to visit Jamaica overall is during peak season. High or peak season in Jamaica starts in mid-December and goes all the way to mid-April. During this time of year, you might find that there is less rain, more activities, and that things are busier overall. If you plan on going to Jamaica during peak season, you might want to schedule your trip there at least six months in advance. Book popular tours before you get to the island too.

Good to know: The Luminous Lagoon tour is one of the only night tours available in Jamaica. When planning a tour here, keep in mind that the brightness of a full moon can affect the visibility of the bioluminescence. It can be worth it to schedule your tour on a day when there isn’t a full moon.


Other excursions near the Luminous Lagoon

There are quite a few interesting attractions near the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica. Here are some of our favorite things to do in this area:

River tube on the Rio Bueno

Jamaica is an incredible place for river-tubing. Rio Bueno, a little community on Jamaica’s north coast, is a suitable location to try this adventure while on the island. A river passes through this village and into the Rio Bueno Harbour. The river is framed by thick greenery, providing the ideal setting for a nature tour. You can sign up for a half-day river tubing tour here while in Jamaica. As part of this excursion, you’ll float along the Rio Bueno between St. Ann’s and Trelawny Parish. Tours are usually led by guides who can share information about the history and culture of the island as you drift down the river.

River Tubing Tour Negril  Jamaica

To add to the excitement of a river tubing excursion in this part of Jamaica, some tours include opportunities to swing from ropes or jump off different ledges and piers into the cool water below. To make the most of this experience, bring your swimwear, towel, money, and a camera (waterproof preferably). Mosquito repellant is also recommended. It can cost US$50 per person and up to go river tubing on the Rio Bueno in Jamaica.

Take part in the Hampden Estate Rum Tour

Want to sample some unexpected blends while learning about the rum manufacturing process? If so, a visit to the Hampden Estate in Jamaica could be fun while in Jamaica. The Hampden Estate is a working distillery that was established in the 1750s. Rum tours to this estate in Falmouth (Trelawny Parish) in Jamaica’s northwestern region are among the popular things to do in Jamaica. Hampden Estate is one of Jamaica’s oldest sugar estates, as well as the island’s only distillery dedicated solely to the production of heavy pot still rums.

Appleton Rum Factory Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

A tour of Hampden Estate will teach you about their rum-making process, which includes wild fermentation, natural spring water, and pot stills. You can also try some of the products created here, including Hampden Estate Pure Single, the brand's flagship rum. A rum and lunch tour at Hampden Estate can cost around US$82 per adult. Tours can span around 2-3 hours. This tour is one of the most fun things to do in Falmouth.

Good to know: The Hampden Estate Rum tour is a great opportunity to explore the Jamaican countryside and have a taste of famous jerk chicken or pork while you’re at it!


Visit Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn's River Falls was originally known as “Las Chorreras” by the Spaniards which means ‘the waterfalls or springs’. It is one of the world’s only travertine waterfalls. This mammoth natural wonder near Ocho Rios, Jamaica, is one of the most exciting sites for couples to visit when in Jamaica. Climbing the falls, hiking, wading in natural pools, and even sunbathing on Dunn’s River Falls Beach can all be done in a half or full day at Dunn’s River Falls. If you choose to visit this attraction while in Jamaica, you’ll certainly be able to get acquainted with the 180-foot-high waterfall and the other natural pools in this area.

Dunns River Falls Overview

In terms of pricing, expect to pay around US$20 per adult and US$12 per child to get into Dunn’s River Falls. The entrance fee includes the cost of using most of the amenities. If you want to climb the falls, water shoes are recommended. If you don’t have any, you may be able to rent a pair on-site. Climbing the falls with a guide is recommended.

The Blue Hole

The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica is not your average swimming hole. This is a natural pool high up in the mountains with waterfalls that pour into it in the most amazing way. When you first encounter this natural wonder, chances are you’ll be so struck with its beauty that you won’t hesitate to jump off the cliff right into the mesmerizing turquoise waters below. Proceed with caution, and follow the instructions of a tour guide if you’re unsure about how to go about this.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole

Image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole Jamaica was appropriately named because the waters here are extremely blue and enticing. This location draws cliff divers, nature lovers, and thrill seekers of all kinds. The Blue Hole experience is made even more appealing by the fact that visitors can find another waterfall, additional natural pools, and more rope swings just a short hike away from the main area. To access the Blue Hole and enjoy all it has to offer, visitors will need to pay US$20 per adult. The hike to the Blue Hole can take some time, but it’s definitely worth it to visit this attraction, especially on days when it is less crowded. Visiting the Blue Hole is one of the more romantic activities for couples to do during the daytime in Jamaica.

Bob Marley’s Nine Mile

Nine Mile Village is located in Jamaica’s St. Ann Parish about 1.5 hours away from Falmouth, Jamaica. This community has an interesting history and is well worth visiting when in Jamaica. Nine Mile Village is most known as the birthplace of reggae music sensation Bob Marley. Many travelers make a point of visiting this location during their Jamaica trip. Nine Mile Village is also home to Bob Marley’s mausoleum.

Bob Marley Museum Jamaica Mausoleum

Image credit: AlexDreamliner/Shutterstock.com

Sometimes Nine Mile Village is simply referred to as “Nine Mile.” This village is located just south of Brown’s Town. If you go for the Bob Marley connection, you can become fully absorbed in the experience by doing a guided tour of the village where Bob Marley was raised and learning about his daily life. The major goal of this tour is for guests to understand more about this well-known musician, his music, and his background. There are numerous tour operators in Jamaica who can organize a trip to the Nine Mile Millage.

Expert tip: The best Jamaica points of interest include Rick’s Cafe in Negril, which has stunning views and is also known for great entertainment. You can include this spot on your vacation agenda right along with a tour of the Luminous Lagoon!


Where to stay in Jamaica?

If you’re going to Jamaica as a couple, you should consider staying at an all-inclusive resort. This is a fantastic choice because resorts like Sandals Resorts offer quality inclusions and make it easy to book tours and excursions to explore the island. In Jamaica, Sandals has six resorts: Montego Bay, Royal Caribbean, Negril, Ochi, South Coast, and Royal Plantation. Any of these resorts will be an excellent choice for your Jamaica trip.

Sandals Montego Bay Beach Cabanas SMB Jamaica

The wide range of dining options available to you during your stay at Sandals Resort will be just one of the advantages of your vacation. There's something for everyone at Sandals, as each resort has its own distinct feel. Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Ochi for instance are lively and perfect for social couples. Sandals Royal Plantation, on the other hand, is laid back, sophisticated, and ideal for couples looking for an intimate boutique experience. No matter which Sandals Resort you choose to stay at, you’ll be close to some of the best attractions and tours in Jamaica.

Good to know: Sandals Jamaica has a lot to offer for couples who want to enjoy some romantic time together and even rekindle that spark! Once you find the right Sandals Resort for you, you can be well on your way to rewriting your love story.


Luminous Lagoon FAQs:

Can you swim in the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica?

Swimming is allowed but not required during a visit to the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica. If you want to swim, put on a life jacket and plunge into the bioluminescent waters. This can be an unforgettable and romantic experience! Even if you do not intend to swim, you can still have a fantastic time at the Luminous Lagoon. Just sit back and allow the relaxing ambiance of the lagoon to wash over you while taking in the famous glow from the boat!

Can you take a photo of the Luminous Lagoon?

You can capture your amazing experience by taking photos of the Luminous Lagoon. The type of camera you intend to use for these photos matters as some cameras may not produce the best images of the lagoon and the associated glow. Take a high-quality, high-resolution DSLR camera if you want the best photos of the experience. Put your flash off when taking photos, otherwise, you won’t be able to see anything. Photos are part of the package with some tours, so you can ask about this during the booking process.

Is the Luminous Lagoon worth it?

A visit to the Luminous Lagoon is absolutely worth it during a Jamaica vacation. Don’t miss out on this tour as it is one of the most exciting experiences in Jamaica. This tour is ideal if you’re looking for a unique and stunning attraction that will quite simply blow you away. As there are very few places in the world where you can witness bioluminescent waters, definitely take advantage of an opportunity to do so in Jamaica.

Good to know: Viewing the famous blue waters of the Luminous Lagoon can be a treat with just the right company. As this tour happens at night, you’ll have a chance to get a different perspective of the island with a noticeably more romantic ambiance.


Is the Luminous Lagoon safe?

It is safe to visit the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica via a tour. If you go on a tour, you’ll be well-informed about the ins and outs of the experience and what you should and should not do as well. Keep in mind that most tours to the Luminous Lagoon on this island are not wheelchair accessible. Additionally, if you have any serious medical conditions including those that are heart-related, you might need to consult with your doctor and your tour operator before going on this tour.

In terms of water safety, during the Luminous Lagoon tour, you will have access to life jackets. You can put one of them on if you plan on going swimming. This can come in handy for less experienced swimmers and even for guests who just want to relax. If you need a life jacket, you can request one through your tour guide.


Experience the mesmerizing magic of Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica: A nighttime wonder awaits!

Exploring Jamaica’s luminous lagoon is a great reason to visit Jamaica for a couple’s vacation. Of course, once you get to this sunny isle, you’ll find that there’s a whole lot more to explore as you trade business in for a laid-back way of life. If you’re planning to visit Jamaica for vacation, keep in mind that the best time to go is between mid-December to mid-April, which is the high season. During this time, there tends to be less rain, which bodes well for endless days on the beach. If you want a lower-traffic experience, November might be perfect.

Sandals Negril Jamaica Beach Overview

Vacationing all-inclusive style in Jamaica is a good idea if you want to take in the best of this island without much effort. Sandals all-inclusive resorts are a great choice for couples who overall want an amazing experience on this island complete with quality inclusions and a world of romance!

Expert tip: Once you’ve decided on the best time to visit Jamaica, the next step will be figuring out what to pack. Here’s what to pack for a vacation in Jamaica — this list will help ensure you don’t leave anything important behind!


Escape To Paradise: Experience Adventure And Relaxation At Good Hope Estate

Island Life
April 28th 2023
Escape To Paradise: Experience Adventure And Relaxation At Good Hope Estate
Cover image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, make sure to add Good Hope Estate to your itinerary for an unforgettable island adventure. This nature-based attraction is a favorite among travelers who enjoy the great outdoors and breathtaking Jamaican scenery. Filled with unique history, a guided tour of this estate in Jamaica offers both scenic views and thrilling adventures.

You might wonder ahead of this experience about some of the things you can look forward to at Good Hope Estate. For some real vacation excitement, river tubing, river rafting, and zip lining can be at the top of your list. These activities can be done in addition to the usual guided tours. You can also enjoy the restaurant at Good Hope Estate and even stay the night at this location if you just want a taste of something different. As there’s just so much to do and see at Good Hope Estate, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide which includes expert tips on making the most of this experience.


Aerial-view-of-sandals-dunns-river

Just an hour away from the many attractions at Good Hope Estate, Sandals Dunn's River is worth exploring as well! Located in the beautiful Ocho Rios region of Jamaica, this luxurious all-inclusive resort offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, a white-sand beach, two meandering river pools, and a wide range of activities and amenities, including gourmet dining, watersports, and entertainment. With Sandals' signature service, Sandals Dunn's River is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Jamaica's North Coast.



The complete guide to the Good Hope Estate

As with most tours, a visit to Good Hope Estate is best enjoyed when you know what to expect. Here are some of the things you can look forward to at Good Hope starting with a bit of its history!

History of the Good Hope Estate:

Good Hope Estate is a 2000-acre property that dates back to the 18th century and is one of Jamaica’s most well-known historical sites. This property was one of Jamaica’s largest sugar plantations, and it is said to have grown over time into a village that included a hospital, a school, and a church. The transition of Good Hope Estate to a village is believed to have been a way to support workers post-emancipation.

Good-Hope-Estate-Overview

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Good Hope Estate was owned by John Tharpe who also owned other plantations in areas like St. Ann, Trelawny, and St. James. In addition to being known to own the most land in Jamaica, Tharpe is also credited for having owned the most slaves on the island.

Centuries after its darker slave history, Good Hope Estate has become a popular attraction for visitors by offering tours. This Jamaican landmark can be found around Jamaica’s Cockpit Country and it is an interesting place to visit if you’re looking to experience the Jamaican countryside and also engage in some exciting outdoor activities. Among the things guests love most about the Good Hope Estate tour are the views of the Martha Brae River from this location, the serenity that comes with a visit, and the precious bird songs you’ll hear at dawn.

Insider tip: If you want an island vacation that’s filled with adventure and lots of relaxation time, the all-inclusive Montego Bay resorts, all-inclusive Negril resorts, and all-inclusive Ocho Rios resorts in Jamaica are all great options to have the best of both worlds!


Where is Good Hope in Jamaica?



Good Hope Estate is located in Trelawny to the northwest of Jamaica. The area where the park is located is known as Cockpit Country which is known for its scenic views, lush plant life, and peaceful ambiance. In recent times, this estate has become something of an adventure park and it is located around 45 minutes from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Alternatively, it can take about 20 minutes to get to Good Hope Estate from Falmouth, and 90 minutes from Ocho Rios.

What to do at Good Hope Estate

A visit to Good Hope Estate in Jamaica can be arranged easily with just a little planning. You can book a tour of this estate through your resort, particularly if you’ll be staying at a Sandals all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. When booking your tour to Good Hope, you can indicate which activities you’re interested in, after which you’ll receive guidance on the best tour package for you.

Just in case you’re wondering what to do at Good Hope Estate, we’ve detailed some of the most popular activities available below:

Good to know: For Sandals Resorts guests, most tours include transportation to the tour site and back to the resort. The price for transportation and admission will usually be included in your tour package.


Exploring the Good Hope Estate

Exploring Good Hope Estate is most enjoyable with a guided tour. A knowledgeable guide can introduce you to the available attractions and help you choose the activities that best suit your interests. While you’re unlikely to be able to explore the entire property in one day, you will be able to do a Great House tour and see some of the stand-out attractions, including the waterfall.

As part of a tour at Good Hope Estate, you’ll get a firsthand look at the colonial village and see the Water Wheel, which was once used in sugarcane production. The tour includes a food stop where you’ll get to experience authentic Jamaican cuisine including jerk chicken. The dishes here are usually flavorful and you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy. Rum tasting is an option as well if you’re looking to try something new — samples of the best Jamaican rum will be available here! After lunch, check out David Pinto’s studio to admire the work of this master potter. The workshop of this artist was previously a sugar plantation house.

Expert tip: A tour of Good Hope Estate is ideal for vacationers who want a taste of Jamaican village life, and also want to experience some fun water and land activities.


The Adventure Park at Good Hope Estate

The Good Hope Estate’s adventure park is one of the most popular in Jamaica. It is known as the Chukka Adventure Park and offers various activities including horseback riding, ATV tours, and river tubing. There are also pools, water slides, and an adult challenge course that includes a zipline on this property that guests can enjoy. A ziplining adventure here can be the perfect way to explore the lush surrounding rainforest from an aerial perspective.

Good Hope Estate Sign

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

River tubing is incredibly popular at Chukka Adventure Park. This experience will take you down the winding Martha Brae River, all the way to a bird aviary where you can interact with over 20 different species of birds. River tubing is usually done with a local guide who will often share interesting tidbits about Jamaica along the way. Before or after your river tubing adventure, you might also want to check out the 50ft waterfall on site. You can hike in this area or dip into the natural pools around the waterfall’s base for a refreshing experience.

Cost to visit Good Hope Estate

The cost to visit Good Hope Estate will depend on the type of tour you sign up for. There are quite a few tour options to consider including the Good Hope Estate Tour Pass from Chukka Caribbean which starts from $69 USD. Another option is the Adventure Park package which costs $99 USD. There are a variety of packages available including more up-market options like the luxurious, full VIP Riverside Cabana for $450 USD.

A tour to Good Hope Estate can cost more depending on your mode of transportation to and from the site, and the area you are staying in. Chukka Caribbean Adventures Limited does hotel pick-ups starting from $189 USD in the Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril areas of Jamaica. Thelga's Jamaica Tours also does pick-ups starting from $430.78 USD in the same areas. The latter also includes a tour of the Secret Falls, which is located near Dunn’s River Falls.

Expert tip: If you’re not sure about which tours to book, you can wait until you arrive and then book through your resort. Some tours do sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to book the popular ones well in advance.


Other nearby, must-see spots in Jamaica

If you’re planning a visit to Good Hope Estate and also want to check out nearby attractions, you’re in luck! Places like the Luminous Lagoon, Rose Hall Great House, Green Grotto Caves, and more are relatively close to Good Hope Estate. We’ve included some of the details for these nearby attractions below:

Dive into the Luminous Lagoon

Ever been to a glowing lake? If not, then Jamaica is a fantastic place to tick this activity off your bucket list! On this island, you can find the world-famous Luminous Lagoon which is quite literally a body of water that glows at night. The glowing effect of this popular lagoon in Falmouth is caused by microorganisms that light up when touched. These micro-organisms are a type of plankton known as dinoflagellates.

Luminous Lagoon Jamaica

The Luminous Lagoon tour is one of the most highly-rated things to do in Falmouth. As part of this guided tour, you’ll hop aboard a boat with the rest of your tour group and head out to the intersection of the Martha Brae River. Once the boat captain finds a spot that is conducive for viewing, you’ll have the option to watch the action from the boat or take a dip into the glowing water. Whatever you choose, this will certainly be a memorable experience!

Good to know: The Luminous Lagoon is located 20 minutes away from Good Hope Estate. The glowing effect of this lagoon can best be seen at night.


Dine at Scotchies

One of the best parts of a Jamaica getaway is the food. There are so many great restaurants in Jamaica that you can try that you might have a hard time choosing the best one. Scotchies is one eatery that won’t disappoint! This restaurant is well-known for offering delicious and hearty Jamaican food made with fresh local ingredients. Some of the popular menu items at this restaurant include rum ribs, jerk chicken, and grilled pork. Brown stew chicken, curry goat, and fish meals are also available here paired with rice and peas, steamed vegetables, festival, roast breadfruit, and other local delicacies. If you go to Scotchies you can either take your meal to go or dine in one of their tiki huts. If you’re dining in, definitely try one of their cocktails or an ice-cold Jamaican Red Stripe beer!

Pork Grill Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: petaloudal/Shutterstock.com


Good to know: Scotchies is open for lunch and dinner and has a relaxed atmosphere. Prices are also quite reasonable. This restaurant is about 35 minutes from Good Hope Estate.


Tour Rose Hall

Rose Hall Great House has a history that some might consider quite eerie, but nonetheless, it is a well-liked tourist attraction in Jamaica. This Caribbean-style mansion is thought to be haunted by the famed 'White Witch' Annee Palmer. During the tour, visitors to Rose Hall get a rundown of the property’s history, and along the way, trained actors pop out of nowhere, hoping to scare everyone. These actors are highly skilled, and even though you might be expecting them, you might just find yourself caught unaware!

Rose-Hall-Great-House-Montego-Bay-Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

During your visit to Rose Hall, in addition to learning about its spooky history, you’ll also get insights into Jamaica’s British connections and the lifestyles of the elites of past eras. Rose Hall Great House is about 35 minutes from Good Hope Estate.

Explore the Green Grotto Caves

Going to Green Grotto Caves can be well worth it during a Jamaica vacation. This attraction in the parish of St. Ann appeals to adventurous travelers who want to explore a cave system with a history that dates back to the earliest inhabitants of Jamaica. This cave is exciting to explore and there's even a crystal-clear underground lake located further in. Added to that, some parts of this cave have been featured on the big screen, particularly in the 1973 James Bond film, ‘Live and Let Die’.

Green Grotto Caves Jmaica

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Green Grotto Caves is about 50 minutes from Good Hope Estate. This tour can take around one hour to 1.5 hours. The duration can vary based on your tour package and the tour company that you choose to go with. During a tour of Green Grotto Caves, you can expect that the tour guide will share some of the history of the cave as well as information on how it got its name (spoiler: it’s because of the green algae that cover the cave walls!).

Expert tip: Want less adventure and more shopping? Here are some of the best places to go shopping in Jamaica. Staying at one of the all-inclusive Jamaica resorts can be a convenient way to enjoy a vacation that includes lots of shopping starting with the gift shops located at these resorts.


Climb the Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls is without a doubt the most popular waterfall in Jamaica. This attraction in Ocho Rios is loved by both locals and visitors because of its beauty and the fact that tours here tend to be quite social, interactive, and filled with adventure. If you plan on going to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, you can either sign up for a half-day trip or a full-day experience. Combination tours are also popular for Dunn's River Falls. For a combination tour, you can combine a visit to Dunn’s River Falls with that of another nearby attraction and split your time between the two.

Dunns River Falls Jamaica

In terms of its location, you can find Dunn’s River Falls about an hour from Falmouth. The waterfall here is quite breathtaking at 180 feet high. It is possible to climb the falls with a guide or hike up the side of the falls where you'll find refreshing natural pools. Dunn's River Falls Park is a convenient place to spend a few hours or the whole day as there’s a restaurant, souvenir shop, and even a beach.

Dunn’s River Falls is around 90 minutes from Good Hope Estate. A short 5-10 minute hike is required to get to the summit of Dunn’s River Falls. If you choose to climb the falls by way of the terraced steps, water shoes are recommended.

Expert tip: Want more adventure? There are lots of exciting things to do in Jamaica including experiencing the Ocho Rios Blue Hole and going to places like Devon House, the former home of the first black Jamaican millionaire.


When is the best time to visit Jamaica?

The best time to visit Jamaica is between the months of mid-December and April. This is the peak season for not only this island but many other islands in the Caribbean as well. These months tend to be high traffic as there are fewer chances of rain interruptions. This means you can have more beach time and definitely more snorkeling!

Jamaica Speedboat Aerial

Even though the high season tends to be quite busy, it is not the only time you can enjoy a Jamaica vacation. The weather is usually warm and wonderful on this island year-round, so it is possible to have a great vacation at any time of year. To avoid crowds and still stay close to peak season, you can consider booking your trip to Jamaica in November. November tends to have great resort and flight deals!


Where to stay in Jamaica?

Jamaica is one of those islands where you won’t have a hard time coming up with options for places to stay. For a vacation that includes tours, delectable dining, and lots of relaxation time, you might want to look in the direction of an all-inclusive resort. Sandals’ Jamaica resorts include Sandals Montego Bay, Negril, Ochi, Royal Plantation, South Coast, and Royal Caribbean. All of these resorts are located in popular visitor areas of Jamaica, so you’ll be well-positioned to enjoy some of Jamaica’s best attractions.

Sandals South Coast Rondaval Overall Drone

Each Sandals Resort has its own personality so even if you’ve been to one you’ll have more than enough reason to explore the others. In addition to the luxurious inclusions at Sandals Resorts, staff always go the extra mile to ensure you have the best local tips for an incredible vacation. Add in tons of time on Jamaica’s best beaches, multiple amazing on-property restaurants, and loads of day and night activities, and you’re bound to end up with an unforgettable Jamaica vacation!

Good to know: Airport transfers are included for Sandals Resorts guests so you won’t need to worry about setting this up when you arrive!


Good Hope Estate FAQs:

Who owns Good Hope Estate Jamaica?

Good Hope Estate in Jamaica is a property owned and operated by Chukka Good Hope, which manages its various attractions. Over the years, there have been changes in the ownership of this estate.

What is the name of the house at Good Hope?

The house which is located at Good Hope Estate is known as the Coach House. This Great House is located at the heart of the property.


Good Hope Estate: A must-see destination for adventure seekers and history buffs alike

Stress and Jamaica don’t even belong in the same sentence. On this island, things move at a leisurely place that will be more than welcome to travelers looking for a peaceful escape. Attractions like Good Hope Estate capture that sense of tranquility effortlessly while making it possible to take in some intriguing Jamaican history as well. The beauty of this space and the adventures available here are certainly highly recommended for any Jamaica vacation.

Falmouth Port Jamaica

Image credit: Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock.com

If you want to explore the Good Hope Estate while in Jamaica, or any popular attractions for that matter, you’re best off doing this from the comfort of a Sandals all-inclusive resort. Not only do these resorts make it easy to plan excursions but the inclusions they offer can help ensure that you have everything you need for the perfect vacation. Sandals Resorts offer guests inclusions like day and night entertainment, access to multiple restaurants (including gourmet options), land and water sports, bars including swim-up bars, and so much more!

Expert tip: Still trying to decide which island would be best for your all-inclusive vacation? Check out our post on Barbados vs Jamaica for a comprehensive comparison of these two islands!


A Wealth Of History To Be Discovered At Devon House Jamaica

Island Life
April 20th 2023
A Wealth Of History To Be Discovered At Devon House Jamaica
Cover image credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com

Devon House is a famous mansion in Kingston, Jamaica that dates back to 1881. This property was once the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Steibel. Over the years Devon House has been transformed into an interactive tour experience that includes restaurants, shopping, and even an ice cream shop. The tour attracts dozens of visitors daily, with the main draw being the house itself. Many elements of the original home have been preserved while some additional recreations have been added to the mix.

Devon-House-Kingston-Jamaica

Image credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com

Devon House exudes a tropical vibe, beginning with the towering palm trees and expansive grounds and continuing throughout the property, which features a blend of French and uniquely Jamaican antiques. The Devon House tour is a good choice for couples looking for a more low-key experience that is both peaceful and enjoyable. If you’re thinking about visiting Devon House while in Jamaica, don’t put it off because it’s one of the more informative attractions in Jamaica. If you want to know more about what to expect during a Devon House tour, read on because we’ve got everything you need to know including the cost, history, and activities!


Everything you need to know about the Devon House

As one of the most popular vacation stops in Jamaica, there’s a lot to learn about Devon House and how it came to be. Here’s what you should know:

About Devon House in Jamaica

Quite a lot of fascination still exists regarding the 19th-century mansion that is Devon House, as well as George Stiebel, the man who created it. Stiebel worked as a carpenter and trader and is said to have acquired his wealth from gold mining in Venezuela. Devon House, located in Kingston, Jamaica, was first called Devon Penn before Stiebel purchased it from the St. Andrew Parish Church upon his return from Venezuela. The house was redone to suit his tastes and features a striking Georgian architectural style.

Devon House Kingston Jamaica Overview

Image credit: Godfrey Smith/Shutterstock.com

One of the things that stands out about Devon House is the way various cultural elements were incorporated into its final design. This house went from being a ‘simple’ home to one of the most notable historical landmarks in Jamaica. Devon House’s eventual fate was much unlike that of the other millionaire homes in this area (two others are known to have existed), which were demolished and rebuilt in a more modern style.

In 1960, George Stiebel’s widow Agnes moved to New York. The house she had once shared with Stiebel was left vacant until it was opened in 1968. In 1990, it became an official National Monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. The Minister of Welfare and Development at the time, Edward Seaga (the former Prime Minister of Jamaica), was partly responsible for this pronouncement.

Today, Devon House is a national heritage site and it is owned by the Government of Jamaica. Despite its tagline and history, no one has lived in this house for years. Rather, the Devon House property is now home to a variety of shops (20 in all), restaurants, a spa, and a delicious ice cream shop all of which visitors to Jamaica can enjoy!

Expert tip: Visiting Devon House in Jamaica is certainly exciting and there are lots more activities available on this island as well. Check out our list of amazing things to do in Jamaica which includes visiting breathtaking beaches and unforgettable historical sites. We’ve got some details on the best restaurants in Jamaica too!


Activities at Devon House

An exploration of Devon House will start with a tour of the property. Though the actual walk-through can take between 20-30 minutes, there’s still more to explore once the main tour is over. From shopping to eating, a tour of Devon House can wind up being a whole-day affair. Before getting to that part though, you'll need to book your tour. There are various ways to set up a Devon House tour including making arrangements through your resort. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy at Devon House in Jamaica:

Take a leisurely tour and stroll

The purpose of visiting Devon House is to experience its historic ambiance and learn what makes it stand out. For this reason, once you get there, you should be open to exploring. During a guided tour of Devon House, you’ll be led through the various rooms (nine in all) which include the Ballroom, Games Room, Dining Room, Palm Hall, Drawing Room, Sewing Room, Young Girl’s Room, and Master Bedroom. Inside the various rooms, you’ll notice that there's a mix of Jamaican and French antiques and some reproductions throughout the space. Take lots of pictures and ask questions along the way as your guide shares insightful tidbits about the house, as well as interesting facts about Jamaica.

Visit the ice cream shop

Devon House and ice cream go hand in hand. That’s why we recommend taking a minute or two to try the homemade ice cream at this location. The flavors here are part of the reason some say Devon House has the best ice cream on the island. The ice cream shop here is known as Devon House I-Scream and features 27 different ice cream flavors. Local flavors are in the spotlight here including Rum Raisin, Bordeaux Cherry, Devon Stout, Coffee Coconut, Pistachio, Soursop, Rocky River, and more. Take as much time as you’d like to try the different island-inspired flavors!

Dine at the restaurants

You won’t have to worry about going hungry at Devon House as there are a couple of restaurants on the property that you can choose from. This includes the Mahogany Tree Bar or Grog Shoppe. The restaurants here range from casual to fine dining. You can also visit the Devon House Bakery for a Jamaican patty if you just want a quick bite!

Shop around for souvenirs

It can be fun to shop around for a cool souvenir once you’re done touring an attraction like Devon House. You can find a gift shop on the Devon House property and a boutique as well. At the shops located on this property (chocolate shop included!), you’re sure to find something unique to take home with you that’ll remind you of your visit to this historic attraction.

Jamaica-Kingston-Devon-House-Bakery-

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Expert tip: As there’s quite a bit to do at Devon House, it is a good idea to ensure you give yourself enough time to explore the property without feeling rushed. Consider it a half or whole-day affair depending on what you plan on doing while there.


How much does it cost to visit Devon House?

The price you’ll pay for a tour of Devon House can vary based on your starting point and the tour operator that you choose to take you there. There are a variety of tour options available which can influence the price you pay as well. A starting point for Devon House tours can be about $25 USD per adult— this is the price you'll pay to tour the Great House with the choice of three things: a scoop of ice cream, chocolate from Chocolate Dreams, a fresh bottle of coconut water from Coco Raw, or a gourmet patty from Devon House Bakery.

If you plan on staying outside of Kingston or won’t be renting a car while in Jamaica, then a full-day tour can be a good option. You can book a full-day tour through a tour operator like El Sol Vida. Tour packages with this company cost around $131.25 USD starting from Montego Bay and $100 USD starting from Ocho Rios. The tour with El Sol Vida includes travel in an air-conditioned car, admissions, and hotel pickup/drop off. If you’re not sure which tour of Devon House will be best you can ask resort staff for advice as they can help you find the best local tour guides in your area.

Expert tip: In addition to your admission costs, you may want to bring some extra money for shopping at Devon House as well. After shopping and exploring Devon House, it will be possible to explore some other great options for shopping in Jamaica. Our list includes the best craft markets, malls, and other places where visitors can find good shopping in Jamaica.


Other attractions near Devon House, Jamaica

Aside from Devon House, there are several popular attractions that you might want to try in Jamaica. Some of our favorite activities are listed below:

Tour the Bob Marley Museum

The Bob Marley Museum is located in Kingston, Jamaica. The popularity of this museum has to do with just how well this space captures the life and memorializes the music of the late Jamaican reggae music icon. This museum is certainly worth a visit in Jamaica if you’re a Marley or reggae music fan and want to find out more about his life, music, and inspirations. The museum is located in the artist’s former home which was converted by his wife Rita Marley.

Bob Marley Museum Kingston Jamaica

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

While in Jamaica, you’ll have options on the type of Bob Marley tour you want to embark on including the ‘Combo “One Love”’ tour, the ‘Bob Marley Home’ tour, and the ‘Making of the Music’ tour. All of these tours explore various aspects of Marley’s life with the latter focusing on the work and influences of the reggae star.

Good to know: Though tours are not included in the all-inclusive package offered by Sandals all-inclusive resorts you can easily book your tours or excursions through the resort tour desk or during the booking process.


Drive through the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains is a notable landmark in Jamaica being that it is the tallest peak on the island (1,500 ft)! It is possible to get up close to these mountains while in Jamaica and you can do so by simply taking a drive in this area or going on a hiking or biking tour. Either option is bound to be a good experience as the Blue Mountains are incredibly scenic. In the Blue Mountains, you’re likely to see intriguing wildlife such as wild hogs, small chipmunks like the coney, and a variety of fauna and flora including trees like pine, tangerine, and soursop. The Blue Mountains also offer the opportunity to explore the forest via the longest zip line in Jamaica, see waterfalls, and do coffee tours as well.

Blue Mountains Coffee Jamaica


The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios

The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s most spectacular attractions. This natural site is located in the mountains and just a glimpse of it feels like coming face to face with a true paradise. At Blue Hole, Jamaica, you’ll find freshwater pools, refreshing waterfalls, and rugged nature trails. It might take some walking before you get to the attractions here, but it’ll all be worth it if you’re looking for a nature-oriented experience. Visiting the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios can be a romantic couple’s activity, particularly if you pack a picnic to take along. There are numerous tour operators through which you’ll be able to book this tour.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole

Image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com


See the Luminous Lagoon

The Luminous Lagoon is a natural wonder in Jamaica that can be witnessed in only a few places in the world. This lagoon glows at night due to microorganisms known as dinoflagellates that live in the water and emit a blue light when touched. Of all the places where this bioluminescent glow can be seen in the world, the glowing lake in Falmouth known as the Luminous Lagoon is said to glow the brightest.

Luminous Lagoon

The Luminous Lagoon experience is highly-rated and worth experiencing. This is one of the only tours available at night on this island and for this reason, you may find that the whole experience has a unique feel. As part of this tour, you’ll hop on a boat to the intersection of the Martha Brae River and the ocean. Some people choose to get into the glowing waters to experience this phenomenon from a closer perspective while others are perfectly satisfied taking things in from their comfy seat as part of a guided boat tour.

Good to know: Jamaica has a fairly consistent climate which is part of the reason the Luminous Lagoon here glows the brightest in the world. This means that you can visit this attraction pretty much any time of year. The best time to visit the Luminous Lagoon is at night as the effect can mostly be seen when the sun goes down.


When is the best time to visit Jamaica?

The best time of year to visit Jamaica is between the months of mid-December to mid-April. This time of year is considered peak-season for travel to this destination and can be quite a busy time to go. Many visitors prefer traveling during the peak season as the weather tends to be more consistently sunny (hello, beach time!) and there can be more activities to do on the island as well. During peak season, it is not uncommon to find resort and flight deals. Many other islands in the Caribbean consider mid-December to mid-April to be the high season as well.

Kingston Jamaica Culture

Image credit: 279photo Studio/Shutterstock.com

Although these months tend to be the most popular time to travel to Jamaica, there are other good times to visit Jamaica outside of peak season. Your decision on when to go should take into account the type of experience you're hoping to have. If you’d prefer to avoid crowds, November can be a great time to visit this island. You can sometimes find worthwhile resort and flight deals for travel between November and mid-December. Ultimately, there isn’t really a bad time to visit Jamaica as there's always sunshine and plenty to do!


Where to stay in Jamaica

There are loads of options for places to stay in Jamaica but by far the most popular choice tends to be the all-inclusive resorts. Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts have several properties located in Jamaica. Sandals Jamaica includes six resort locations including Montego Bay, Royal Caribbean, Negril, Ochi, South Coast, and Royal Plantation, while Beaches Resorts has two properties in Ocho Rios and Negril.

Sandals Montego Bay SMB Jamaica Beach Overview

Sandals Resorts in Jamaica are located near some of the best visitor attractions in Jamaica and guests can benefit from complimentary transfers to their resort and back to the airport once their vacation is over. There are tons of perks that come with staying at all-inclusive Jamaica resorts and this includes the extensive list of quality inclusions that guests love. These inclusions range from gourmet dining at multiple restaurants to day and night entertainment, luxury accommodations and so much more!

Insider tip: Another perk of staying at a Sandals all-inclusive resort is how friendly and helpful the staff tends to be. Resort staff often share knowledge and local tips to point you in the right direction in terms of tours, restaurants, and other local attractions. This can be key to not missing out on some of the amazing things Jamaica has to offer!


Devon House FAQs:

When is the best time to visit the Devon House?

Devon House is open for tours daily from Monday to Saturday. Tours can be arranged between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Outside of this time, you can call the property’s management office to book special tour packages. Tours of Devon House range between 20-30 minutes in duration.

How far is Devon House from other Jamaican cities?

Devon House is around 30 minutes from Montego Bay. It can take a little more time to get between this attraction and Ocho Rios or Dunn’s River — around an hour and a half each way. From areas like Negril and Whitehouse, Jamaica, it can take around three to four hours to get to Devon House. Though you will be able to arrange tours to Devon House from any of these locations, the most convenient place to stay if you want easy access to Devon House are Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

Where is the Devon House located in Kingston?



Devon House is located in the center of Kingston (the capital of Jamaica). This popular landmark can be found on the corner of Hope Road and Trafalgar Road. In times past, this area was known as the Millionaire’s Corner as two other millionaires resided on this street next to Devon House. These other houses have since been demolished to make way for other development projects. George Stiebel’s Devon House is the only one left standing.

Insider tip: If you want to explore more attractions in Jamaica including historic sites, then staying at Sandals’ all-inclusive resort can be a great option. Most tours booked through this resort include transportation to the site and back to your resort which takes away the hassle of having to plan this!


Discovering Devon House: A cultural and historical gem of Jamaica

There’s no doubt about it, Jamaica is an exciting destination! It's hard to set foot on these sunny shores and not break out in smiles and just a feeling of pure joy. These feel-good vibes can be amplified if you plan the right tours on the island and visit places like Devon House. Attractions like this are not only beautiful to see but they can also help provide some insight into the history of Jamaica and its people.

Sandals Ochi Ocho Rios Jamaica Overview

If you’re planning on visiting Devon House while in Jamaica, you might want to stay at the all-inclusive Montego Bay resorts or all-inclusive Ocho Rios resorts. These couple-oriented resorts are ideal for lovebirds looking for a mix of luxury and fun with lots of quality inclusions. Sandals Resorts offer luxurious accommodation, day and night entertainment, land and water sports, multiple restaurants including gourmet options and so much more. In the lap of luxury with your sweetheart, it will be hard not to fall in love all over again!

Expert tip: Still not sure where to vacation? Read our post on Barbados vs Jamaica to weigh the pros and cons of a vacation on these beautiful islands!


The Best Restaurants In Jamaica To Try During Your Caribbean Getaway

Island Life
January 11th 2023
The Best Restaurants In Jamaica To Try During Your Caribbean Getaway
Cover image credit: from my point of view/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica is the fourth-largest country in the Caribbean. This island is well-known for its music and culture, stunning natural features, and, most notably, its cuisine. Jamaican cuisine draws from a wide range of global influences, including that of Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. A trip to this island is perfect for the gastronomic traveler as there are a variety of restaurants to choose from.

You'll need to be willing to travel across the island if you want to find the best eateries in Jamaica. The best way to experience the island's diverse cuisine is by staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. You can't go wrong with any of the great eateries in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, or Whitehouse in the southern part of Jamaica.

Here are a few of our favorite restaurants that you’re sure to enjoy while vacationing on the island:

The 11 best restaurants in Jamaica

1. Ivan’s Bar & Restaurant (Negril)

Jamaican-Jerk-Chicken

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Ivan’s Restaurant and Bar is located at the Catcha Falling Star Resort in Jamaica. For fine dining, this restaurant is in the top 10 in the Negril area. Set by the ocean, this restaurant is a must for dinner and sunset while in Jamaica. At Ivan’s, you can enjoy candle-lit dining out on the patio near the cliff’s edge for amazing views.

Ivan’s serves up classic Caribbean cuisine with a modern twist. The menu at this restaurant includes favorites like jerk chicken and grilled lobster. Locals and visitors alike love Ivan’s for its vibrant atmosphere, free-flowing reggae music, and good service. If you're wondering what to order here, some diner favorites include jerk chicken penne pasta, crab cakes, and mango chicken.

2. Rockhouse Restaurant (Negril)

Jamaican-Grilled-Snapper

Photo credit: Lekeshia Wilson/Shutterstock.com

The Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril sits on a clifftop right above the stunning Pristine Cove. If you want to enjoy traditional Caribbean cuisine made with fresh local ingredients, this restaurant is a fantastic choice. Rockhouse is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This restaurant is well-known for its delectable cuisine, extensive beverage menu, and breathtaking ocean views.

The service at Rockhouse is part of the reason diners love this Jamaican locale. On the menu, some of the most popular selections include grilled snapper, jerk chicken, Jamaican rancheros, and the smoked marlin sandwich. You can pair your meal with a range of freshly squeezed juices, as well as cocktails and wine. Rockhouse has an incredibly romantic atmosphere and it is a great place to spend an intimate afternoon that ends with an amazing sunset.

3. Sugar Mill (Montego Bay)

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Photo credit: Rohit Seth/Shutterstock.com

The Sugar Mill restaurant is located at the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay. At this restaurant, the chefs combine international classics with Jamaican ingredients for a flavor-packed finish. With an elegant, open-air design. It also has a bit of a rustic feel, mostly due to its location at an old sugar mill. The Sugar Mill restaurant is known for its superb food and service, as well as its cozy, romantic setting.

Sugar Mill is only open for dinner from 6 pm to 10 pm. Once you're seated either out on the lawn or on a patio next to the centuries-old stone walls, you can scan through the menu to make a selection. Some of the popular options include oxtail ravioli, snapper poached in coconut and saffron, short ribs, spiked lobster, and beef tenderloin. Vegetarian options are available, including the cannoli entree. There’s also an extensive drinks menu at this restaurant. Before going, be sure to make a reservation!

4. Scotchie’s (Montego Bay)

Red-Stripe-Beer-Jamaica

Photo credit: darksoul72/Shutterstock.com

If you enjoy casual dining, Scotchie’s restaurant in Montego Bay, Jamaica, may be precisely what you're searching for. This is one of those restaurants where you’re sure to enjoy great cuisine and leave satisfied. Scotchie's has friendly, fast service and a casual, welcoming vibe. Diner favorites include jerk chicken and pork, which are typically served with side dishes that are just as tasty. You can also try the jerk chicken or jerk pork wraps that have many foodies raving.

If you order anything spicy at Scotchie’s, pair it with coconut water, local juice, or even the local Jamaican beer, Red Stripe, for the best experience. Keep in mind as well that when you order fish, this item is prepared to order. While you wait, try the soup of the day for a more diverse dining experience. Other customer favorites at Scotchie’s are conch soup, festival corn, pork sausage, chicken sausage, and more. Enjoy your meal and drinks in one of the adorable tiki huts at this location.

Insider tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay or an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios can position you near some of the best restaurants, bars, and entertainment in Jamaica. These resorts each offer multiple themed restaurants and day and night entertainment so if you don’t want to venture out too far during your holiday, you won’t have to!



5. The Houseboat Grill (Montego Bay)

The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay is a floating restaurant located within the Montego Bay Marine Park Sanctuary. The restaurant is repositioned periodically, sometimes based on sea conditions. Most of the time, things are calm but you will notice the boat drifting a bit from time to time. As you’ll be dining out on the ocean, you can expect pretty stunning views, especially at night.

Inside this dining establishment, you’ll appreciate the cozy and intimate interior, particularly the charming views of the lagoon. The staff here might share a bit of history on the boat and the names of a few famous artists who have stayed there, such as Aretha Franklin, the Beach Boys, and The Grateful Dead. The Houseboat Grill is open for lunch and dinner. During a dining experience here you might want to try the snapper fillet, lobster, or lemon caper pasta. The fruit punch here is amazing!

To get to Houseboat Grill, you’ll take a short ferry ride from the shore to the boat. When it’s time to leave, you can ring a bell for the ferry service. This is a great date spot as it really takes you away from it all.

6. Miss T’s Kitchen (Ocho Rios)

Jamaican-Curry-Goat

Photo credit: MagicBones/Shutterstock.com

You’ll feel the warmth of Miss T's Kitchen just as soon as you step into this Ocho Rios eatery. This is the place to go if you want to experience true Jamaican cuisine. Menu items that are popular at Miss T’s Kitchen include curried goat, fried chicken, and jerk chicken wrap. You'll be biting into something delectable in no time thanks to the quick service here!

Miss T's Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. If you're searching for vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free meals, Miss T has some great selections. Customers of this establishment frequently leave reviews about how delicious the cuisine is and how friendly the staff here always seems to be. When it comes to drinks, try the rum punch, which goes well with almost anything!

7. Miss Sonia’s (Negril)

Jamaican-Beef-Patties

Photo credit: Paul_Brighton/Shutterstock.com

People who eat home-cooked meals on a regular basis are often happier and healthier. At Miss Sonia’s in Negril, you'll definitely have a chance to try a meal like this - Jamaican style. This restaurant is located near Seven Mile Beach and it is a great place to go for lunch and dinner. Prices at Miss Sonia’s are also quite reasonable.

At Miss Sonia’s, you can expect a hearty meal that’ll probably have you coming back at least once more during your vacation. With plenty of dishes on offer including stews (chicken, seafood, beef, pork), pasta, and grilled seafood, as well as vegetarian and vegan options, you’ll be best off taking your time deciding what to order. Even with that said, many guests have expressed that the Jamaican Pattie keeps bringing them back to Miss Sonia’s.

Miss Sonia has been making patties for over 40 years. Working alongside her grandson, Chef Harry, the patties here are usually filled with beef, vegetables, lobster, or shrimp. While you might have tried a Jamaican Pattie before, having one of Miss Sonia’s will be a completely different experience. After having a meal here, don’t forget to ask about purchasing a bottle of the delicious (and super spicy!) jerk sauce. Pizza and local juices are also available here.

8. Bushbar (Port Antonio)

Jamaican-Red-Peas-Soup

Photo credit: Shanique Rainford/Shutterstock.com

The Bushbar is part of the Geejam Hotel in Port Antonio. This is an upscale location that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Bushbar is known for its Jamaican fusion dishes, expertly made cocktails, and also its amazing views — you’ll be able to admire an ocean outlook while you dine, as well as soak in the serenity of the lush surrounding rainforest.

The Bushbar offers fine dining at its best and the menu here focuses on Jamaican and international cuisine. For breakfast, you can try the buttermilk pancakes, three-egg omelets, and tropical fruit plates. Lunch can include some fresh and tasty grilled mahi-mahi, spicy shrimp, or even a jerk chicken wrap. The pea soup is delicious as well! For dinner, try the curry shrimp, snapper fillet, or Mento stew. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available.

In terms of the ambiance here, expect intimacy mixed in with luxury — there’s an infinity pool, live entertainment, an outdoor pool table, and much more. With the combination of amazing views, great food, and upbeat music, you’ll feel ready to mix and mingle while enjoying a few options off the wine and cocktail menu.

9. Murphy’s West End Restaurant (Negril)

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Photo credit: Alchemist Chronicles 876/Shutterstock.com

If you’re on the hunt for the best restaurants in Jamaica, don’t skip out on Murphy’s West End Restaurant in Negril. This is a locally owned restaurant that serves cooked-to-order Jamaican food that is worth waiting for. The ingredients here are fresh and the food is expertly seasoned which means you can enjoy quite the flavor parade as you eat.

Murphy’s West End Restaurant is laid-back but the service is super attentive. You’ll be able to relax here as you try some of the guests’ favorite dishes that include grilled, curried, or jerked lobster, garlic shrimp, curry fish, and oxtail. Pasta is also available (fish, shrimp, lobster, and chicken). Enjoy your meal with refreshing juice, an ice-cold beer, or whatever appeals to you from the bar. When dining at Murphy’s, be sure to walk with cash as this establishment does not accept credit cards.

Insider tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Negril is a good idea if you want quick access to some of the best restaurants in this area. Negril also has some of the best beaches in Jamaica and lots of fun things that couples can enjoy together.



10. Strawberry Hill (Kingston)

Jamaican-Bammy

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The restaurant at the Strawberry Hill Hotel and Spa is a good option if you’re looking for fresh and flavourful Jamaican cuisine. This hotel is set on 26 acres in the Blue Mountains in Kingston, Jamaica. Having dinner here on any night of the week or even Sunday brunch is especially appealing if you appreciate stunning mountain views.

The breakfast menu includes options like 'Jamaican Style Eggs Benny’ and the ‘Jamaican Traditional’ which includes ackee and saltfish, sautéed callaloo, bammy, Johnny cakes, and more. For lunch, you can choose from a selection of wraps, salads, sandwiches, soups, and full meals. On the dinner menu, the Jamaica oxtail Shepherd’s pie, rosemary rack of lamb, potato-wrapped snapper, quinoa, and plantain salad, fish stew, and coconut curry prawn linguini are pretty tasty. For dessert, homemade ice cream (we love the coffee flavor!), cheesecake, fritters, and rum cakes are available.

After dinner, you can relax at Strawberry Hill’s bar. Take your pick from a range of tropical mixed drinks and other rum options. The wood-paneled walls in this space are adorned with photographs of past guests including some famous ones. There’s a vintage piano here as well that you can have a go at before or after your meal.

11. Far Out Fish Hut (Montego Bay)

The Far Out Fish Hut in Montego Bay is considered a gem in Jamaica. On the outside, you might not know what to expect from the casual outlook of this establishment but once you step inside, you’ll be greeted with the reality — the Far Out Fish Hut has some of the most delicious seafood in Jamaica.

At this establishment, you can take your pick of which seafood you’d like to be cooked up by the chef. Options include parrot fish, lobster, snapper, shrimp, conch, and more. If you’re not sure about what to try here, popular menu items include grilled lobster, grilled conch, and grilled or fried fish. The snapper is prepared in foil and steamed with spices, onions, and okra. If you ask the chef to spice up your meal a bit, they’ll throw in some Scotch bonnet peppers, which will add all the fire you need.

The Fish Hut is a seaside open-air establishment and the menu changes often based on market availability. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and there’s also a TV that’s normally tuned to the latest sports match. You can alternate between keeping score and admiring the pristine ocean views. Lots of drink options are available here too.

Expert Tip: If you are in the mood for French food, you have to visit Bayside Restaurant. This open-air eatery specializes in French cuisine and has a beautiful outdoor seating area. The charming character and breathtaking views make this restaurant a must-do on your next Jamaican vacation. Our favorite dishes from Bayside include Escargots Gratinés, Poulet Cordon Bleu, and Canard à L’Orange.

This restaurant is located at Sandals Montego Bay and is only available for guests of that and other Sandals resorts on the island (such as Sandals Royal Caribbean, which is 5 minutes away). The best part? Bayside’s exceptional food and drinks are included (and unlimited) as part of Sandals' all-inclusive vacation package.
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Sandals Montego Bay



Must-try Jamaican cuisine

Jamaica has a lot going for it in terms of its cuisine. There is something to love for just about anyone on the menu at most eateries on this island. If you're not familiar with the food, you might not know what to order. To help out a bit, we've provided some details on a few of our favorite signature Jamaican dishes!

Jerk chicken - Jerk chicken is made by cooking chicken over pimento wood, which adds to its flavor — this is a Jamaican staple. Jerk pork, fish, and lobster are also available. Jerk sauces are usually quite spicy but sometimes you can let the restaurant know that you’d prefer less sauce for a milder experience.

Red Stripe Beer - Red Stripe is a popular Caribbean beer that is brewed and packaged in Kingston, Jamaica. This beer has a sweet flavor with a hint of apples - it has just about 4.7 percent alcohol. Red Stripe Beer is available in many destinations outside of the U.S.

Ackee & saltfish - This is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a fruit that is similar to lychee, and, for this dish, it is served alongside saltfish (any type of salted fish but most often codfish). Ackee & saltfish is a popular breakfast or brunch combination in Jamaica.

Fried plantains - These are a favorite side dish of Caribbean, South American, and West African people worldwide. If you order this dish, you’ll find your plate full of caramelized, thinly sliced plantains. Fried plantains can be served with meals including stewed chicken and oxtail, fried fish, curried meats, and more.

Breadfruit - Originally from Micronesia, breadfruit can be boiled, fried, or roasted. Breadfruit is closely related to jackfruit. In Jamaica, you might be served breadfruit with steamed callaloo or ackee and saltfish for breakfast.

Curried goat - This is a type of stew that is often served with rice and peas. Curried goat (or curry goat, as it’s typically called) is hearty with a distinct taste and it is often made with carrots, potatoes, coconut milk, and other ingredients. Aside from curried goat, other types of curried meats and fish are available in Jamaica including curried shrimp and curried chicken.

Dumplings - These are made with flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and water. In Jamaica, dumplings can be boiled or fried and incorporated into a variety of meals. Jamaican dumplings are also called Johnny cakes and they are a popular breakfast food.

Jamaican patties - This is a popular snack food available with a variety of meat fillings like ground beef, lobster, and shrimp. There are quite a few places to find Jamaican patties on this island — Miss Sonia’s in Negril is one of the best options.

Oxtail - Consisting quite literally of meat from an ox’s tail, oxtail is amazingly delicious when cooked just right. This meat is usually slow-cooked in a stew and served with beans and rice.

Jamaican bammy - This dish is also known as cassava bread. It is a thick, flat bread usually eaten with fish and stews.

Conch - Popular in many Caribbean islands such as The Bahamas and Turks &Caicos, conch is usually served as part of a soup, curry, or stew in Jamaica. This dish is typically very fresh and most of the time it is cooked with a range of vegetables.


Restaurants in Jamaica: Experience the best Jamaican food

There you have it, the best restaurants in Jamaica, and everything you need to know about the most popular signature dishes on this island. One thing’s for certain, Jamaican cuisine is not boring. Whether you want to try some authentic Jamaican seafood dishes, spice things up with some jerked meals, or enjoy some international favorites, you’ll be able to find a restaurant in Jamaica that suits you.

For a vacation that includes multiple gourmet restaurants and cuisines from around the world, you’ll want to look in the direction of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. Sandals has multiple Jamaica resorts in areas such as Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Whitehouse. Any of these resorts will be perfect for a couples' vacation that is stress-free and filled with plenty of delicious meals.

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Sandals South Coast. Whitehouse, Jamaica



Expert tip: Jamaican food has influences from many cultures including African, Asian, Indian, and many others. Here are a few of the best Jamaica-inspired recipes foodies will love:

Sandals Secret Jerk Marinade Recipe From The Jerk Shack
Authentic Jamaican Oxtails Recipe
Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish
Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken

Barbados vs. Jamaica: Which Island Is Best For You?

The Islands
June 28th 2022
Barbados vs. Jamaica: Which Island Is Best For You?

Jamaica and Barbados are two incredibly beautiful islands that are ideal for a tropical getaway. While Barbados is known and loved for sites like Harrison’s Cave, the island’s botanical gardens, and its charming capital city of Bridgetown, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jamaica stands out for its stunning Blue Mountains, and mesmerizing waterfalls. There are also world-class golf courses in Jamaica. Both island nations have beautiful white sand beaches with crystal-clear water and lots of opportunities for adventure everywhere you look!

Choosing between Jamaica and Barbados for a vacation starts with comparing and contrasting these destinations to see which suits you best. One of the first things you might notice is that these islands are very different in size — Jamaica is 4,244 square miles while Barbados measures just 169.5 square miles. Barbados is located in the southeastern Caribbean Sea next to Saint Lucia while Jamaica is in the northwestern Caribbean Sea near Cuba. Both of these islands are part of the West Indies with Jamaica belonging to a subgroup known as the Greater Antilles, and Barbados, the Lesser Antilles.

If you're still undecided about which of these islands will be right for your vacation, read on as we discuss all the things that set these two incredible destinations apart!


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Beaches: Barbados vs. Jamaica

The beaches are where the competition begins with Barbados and Jamaica. Both of these islands have really great beaches where you can do as much or as little as you please. Jamaica is much bigger than Barbados, so there are naturally more beaches. Even with that said, there are quite a few beaches in Barbados, about 80 in all. Some of these beaches are quite extensive as well!


Barbados

As Barbados is a coral island, the sand on the beaches is also made of finely ground coral. You’ll see gleaming white sand leading to perfectly clear waters on beaches like Crane Beach, Bottom Bay Beach, and Carlisle Bay in Barbados. This would seem postcard-worthy to any onlooker, and that's because it absolutely is!

Good to know: Barbados is sometimes called the ‘Platinum Coast’ because of how white the sand is on its beautiful beaches!


Some of our favorite beaches in Barbados include:

Bottom-Bay

Photo credit: Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com

Oistins & Miami Beach - If you’re lured in just by the name of this beach, we don't blame you. This spot is perfect for a casual beach day complete with swimming, relaxing, and watching an amazing sunset later in the day.

Bottom Bay - Secluded and absolutely beautiful, Bottom Bay can be ideal for a quiet beach day as it won't be hard to find a spot just for you.

Crane Beach - This beach experience features stunning cliffs that greet you once you arrive. A day on this crescent beach can include sunbeds for relaxing and food and drinks, which can also be found in this area.

Dover Beach - Perfect for a lively beach day that includes lunch and perhaps some shopping before or after a relaxing swim. The clear waters of Dover Beach are part of the appeal, as well as the lifeguards on duty.


Jamaica

A vacation in Jamaica can include relaxing on any of the island’s 50 public beaches. Most of these beaches have lots of amenities and room to roam. Jamaica is one of those islands where you can truly have a romantic beach day that includes staying on the beach all day without running out of things to do.

Some of our favorite beaches in Jamaica include:

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Photo credit: VIG-Vam/Shutterstock.com

Seven Mile Beach - Located on the west coast, Seven Mile Beach is one of the best beaches in Jamaica. This strand is extensive and filled with things to do - from water sports to enjoying reggae music and dancing.

Doctor's Cave Beach - Beautiful, calm, and quite possibly therapeutic, Doctor’s Cave Beach in Ocho Rios has lots of amenities that’ll come in handy on a beach day.

Bloody Bay - Seven Mile Beach runs right into Bloody Bay Beach in Jamaica. This is a gorgeous beach with calm waters and a few bars and restaurants close by. Great for drinks around sunset!

Treasure Beach - Truly a gem, this quiet beach on the south coast of Jamaica is ideal for a private beach day. There are hidden coves on Treasure Beach that’ll be fun to explore while there.

Expert tip: Aside from relaxing on picture-perfect beaches, there are lots of fun things to do in Jamaica during a couples’ vacation.




Activities: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Barbados and Jamaica are both amazing islands where you can find many opportunities for adventure and exploration. Some of the activities you can enjoy during a vacation on either of these islands include snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and going on adventure tours. Let’s begin with the world of diving:


Snorkeling & scuba diving

scuba-diving

The Caribbean is known for great diving. On islands like Barbados and Jamaica, you’ll definitely be able to put on some dive gear and explore beneath the waves. Barbados stands out more in terms of what you can see when snorkeling or diving, but there's lots of diving fun to be had in Jamaica as well.


Our favorite snorkeling spots in Barbados

Bell Buoy Reef (Accra Beach) - This reef is quite extensive and spreads across five acres. The reef depth ranges from 2 to 20 meters underwater, making it ideal for both snorkeling and scuba diving. This is one of the best places to go scuba diving in Barbados.

Carlisle Bay Marine Park - During a diving expedition at the Carlisle Bay Marine Park you can see six shipwrecks, thriving marine life including turtles (lots of them!), parrotfish, seahorses, octopus, moray eels, and stingrays.

Folkestone Marine Park - There are protected snorkeling areas within this marine park. Lifeguards are usually on duty here as well. There are quite a few inshore reefs at this park where you can find lots of tropical fish, corals, sponges, and more.

Paynes Bay - This is a shallow reef that is known for being a great place to spot sea turtles. There are also lots of palm trees in the area, making this a truly tropical paradise.



Our favorite snorkeling spots in Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach (Negril) - Seven Mile Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in Jamaica because of the Negril Coral Reef, which is about two miles offshore. If you’re a beginner though, feel free to start off a bit closer to shore.

Doctor's Cave Beach (Ocho Rios) - The waters of Doctor’s Cave Beach are said to have healing properties. Whether or not this is the case, you can definitely have a cool snorkeling experience here. Sightings can include blue tangs, butterflyfish, and stingrays.

Treasure Beach/Frenchman's Bay (White House) - There are some interesting reefs to explore in the Treasure Beach area in Jamaica. This beach can sometimes be a little rougher than the beaches on the north coast, but you just might spot some dolphins while you’re there!

Booby Cay (Negril) - Booby Cay is a small island off the west coast of Jamaica. It is north of Seven Mile Beach and can make for a great snorkeling location. There are tours to this island that include a fresh lobster lunch, beer, and snorkeling.



Fishing

The Caribbean is a pretty awesome destination for game fishing in general, but Barbados and Jamaica stand out in that regard. There are a variety of fishing tours you can choose from on these islands including fly fishing, reef fishing, and deep-sea fishing. Here’s what you can expect from a fishing experience on each of these islands:


Fishing in Barbados

Fishing-in-Barbados

Barbados is an excellent fishing destination. There are many fishing charters and tours on this island (including private and shared charters) that you can book. The best time to go fishing in Barbados is during the peak fishing season from December to April. You're more likely to make big catches during this time, but you can go fishing in Barbados throughout the year.

There are many different types of fishing that you can try in Barbados including deep-sea fishing. Anglers can make deep-sea catches not too far out from shore, which adds to the appeal of fishing in Barbados. During the months of December through April, common catches include blue marlin, white marlin, mahi-mahi, sailfish, and barracuda.

In Barbados, you can also make some good catches in the shallows. Inshore fishing is preferred for bonefish, tarpon, permit, and sometimes barracuda. Aside from the peak months for fishing, you can catch lots of barracuda in Barbados from May to June, and lots of wahoos from September to November.

Expert tip: If you go with an experienced crew on a fishing charter in Barbados you're likely to be taken to some of the prime spots which are important for big game fishing.


Fishing in Jamaica

Fishing

Like most Caribbean islands, Jamaica is a great fishing destination. The peak season for fishing in Jamaica is from February to June annually. Some of the popular catches around Jamaica include jackfish, blue marlin, snapper, mahi-mahi, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and barracuda.

Towns like Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Negril are known for deep-sea fishing. Near some of the coral reefs around the island, you can make catches of grouper, kingfish, yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, mackerel, and more. You can also choose to fish in the shallows in Jamaica where you’ll find bonefish.

There are quite a few tours and fishing charters available in Jamaica. The Island Routes Deep-sea sport fishing in Montego Bay, for example, includes transfers and an experienced crew that’ll take you to some of the best fishing spots in Jamaica. Cold drinks and snacks are also included with this tour.




Adventure tours

The Caribbean is great for adventure tours and nature-oriented excursions. Islands like Barbados and Jamaica are top-rated for these types of experiences. In Jamaica, you can explore lots of different beaches, and waterfalls, and go on river rafting tours, while in Barbados, you can explore caves, take walks in wildlife reserves, and spend time on amazing beaches as well!


Tours and excursions in Barbados

Barbados might be a small island but it offers lots of unique and exciting experiences visitors can enjoy. If you're looking to have a memorable vacation, you’ll definitely want to check out our list of 56 adventurous & fun things to do in Barbados. You might also want to look into the all-inclusive resorts in Barbados!


Here are some of our favorite tours in Barbados:
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Harrison’s Cave - This is an underground cave system that you can explore while in Barbados. A tram will take you underground for this tour, and once you get to a certain spot, you’ll be able to walk around and explore.

Barbados Wildlife Reserve - This wildlife reserve spans four acres and is home to a range of animals including monkeys, peacocks, iguanas, flamingoes, parrots, and turtles.

Learn to Surf - Barbados is one of the best surfing destinations in the Caribbean. You can sign up for surfing lessons at one of several surf schools that offer classes for beginners and more experienced surfers.


Tours and excursions in Jamaica

Jamaica has a mostly mountainous landscape, but the topography of this island is still quite diverse. This diversity influences the range of tours you can do on the island. You can visit many different waterfalls in Jamaica including Dunn’s River Falls, Konoko Falls, YS Falls, Mayfield Falls, and others. You can also explore lush rainforests and incredible beaches.


Here are some of the best adventure tours in Jamaica:
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Dunn’s River Falls - This is the largest and most popular waterfall in Jamaica. At Dunn’s River Falls, you can climb the falls, bathe in the surrounding natural swimming pools, or even spend time on Dunn’s River Falls Beach.

Bamboo River Rafting tours - A bamboo rafting tour can be truly romantic in Jamaica. The most popular bamboo rafting tour in Jamaica will take you along the Martha Brae with a guide. Surrounded by greenery, you’ll be in a space of pure bliss!

ATV Safari Tour - Get off the beaten path in Jamaica and explore undiscovered terrain on an ATV. There are ATV tours available in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, and Sandy Bay in Jamaica.

Good to know: The adventurous will find tons of things to do in Jamaica, including hiking. Check out our expert guide to hiking in Jamaica which includes info on the best places to stay as well.



Shopping

Jamaica and Barbados are both Caribbean destinations with good shopping. While exploring the towns in these islands, you’re bound to find unique items in different price ranges that you’ll want to take home. Here’s what you need to know about shopping in Barbados and Jamaica.


Shopping in Barbados

Shopping-in-Barbados

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Shopping is definitely one of the things that Barbados is known for. No matter your budget, chances are you’ll find something that appeals to you on this island. Some of the shopping options in Barbados include the Limegrove Lifestyle Center and the Sheraton Mall. The Limegrove Lifestyle Center in Holetown (on the west coast) has lots of luxury shops including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breitling, Ralph Lauren, and more.

For more traditional items, you’ll want to look around the city of Bridgetown where there are shops and markets selling things like Bajan crafts. On Saturdays, the Brighton Farm Market in St. George, Hotel Chattel Village, or Pelican Craft Center are great spots to purchase traditional Bajan souvenirs. Barbados is great for duty-free shopping as well.


Shopping in Jamaica

Shopping-in-Jamaica

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A shopping trip in Jamaica will likely lead you to areas like Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Montego Bay, and Kingston. Some of the popular places to shop in these areas include Main Street Jamaica, the Kingston Craft Market, and the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio. Main Street, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Shoppes at Rose Hall’, is a great spot to buy items like Jamaican spices, jewelry, and art. This is more or less an open-air mall.

The oceanfront Kingston Craft Market also has open-air appeal. At this location, you can find clothing, handmade paintings, jewelry, and lots of other cool items to take home as souvenirs. Musgrave Market is the place to go in Jamaica if you want fresh produce, crafts, and local Jamaican street food.


Nightlife

If you’ll be visiting Jamaica or Barbados for a vacation, it's safe to say you’ll be in good hands where entertainment is concerned. Both of these islands are known for their exciting nightlife, and here’s what you need to know before you go:


Barbados nightlife

Like many other Caribbean islands, there is a nightlife epicenter in Barbados. This tends to be around the St. Lawrence Gap area, which is along the southern coast. In this area, you can find many different bars and clubs to really get into the island rhythm. Some of the spots you might want to check out in this area include McBride's Music Pub, Hal’s Car Park Bar, and The Cove.

Harbor Lights in Carlisle Bay is also a great option for a night out in Barbados. This establishment offers dinner, drinks, and a show. You might even get to see some fire eaters and limbo dancers and enjoy live music.


Jamaica nightlife

Rick-s-Cafe

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Vibrant, dynamic, and exciting are some of the words commonly used to describe Jamaica’s nightlife. That assessment is largely correct considering Jamaica is known for its exceptional entertainment and nightlife, particularly when compared to other Caribbean islands. In Jamaica, whether you stay in Negril, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, or another popular town, you’re bound to find something to do when the sun goes down.

On this island, reggae, dancehall, and dancing are a large part of the fun, but there are also more mellow ways to spend an evening, like going out for dinner and drinks. Some of the best places to enjoy the night hours in Jamaica are Rick's Cafe in Negril, Colette’s, which is also in Negril, Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records restaurant in Kingston and Montego Bay, and the floating Floyd's Pelican Bar off the coast of Treasure Beach.

Good to know: If you want lively nights and some of the best entertainment in Jamaica during your vacation, Montego Bay won't disappoint. Some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica are in Montego Bay too.




Landmarks & architecture: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Taking in the famous national landmarks, architecture and other stand-out features of an island can really add something special to a sightseeing tour. Jamaica and Barbados both have interesting landmarks that you must see while there. It is worth noting that Jamaica, because of its size, has a few more landmarks, and in some cases more color vibrancy in its architecture. Here’s what to expect in each of these islands:


Popular landmarks in Barbados

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In Barbados, you’ll find architecture that has both British Georgian and traditional Caribbean touches. There are many historical buildings and landmarks across this island that you can visit to see these designs up close. Here are some of the ones worth visiting while in Barbados:

Nidhe Israel Synagogue Museum and British Jewish Synagogue - This synagogue in Bridgetown Barbados is quite likely the oldest in the Americas. It was built in 1654 and you can explore it during a guided tour.

St. Nicholas Abbey - This Jacobean mansion is about 350 years old and it is one of only three still in existence in the Western Hemisphere. The mansion sits on about 400 acres of property. Guided tours are offered.

Clifton Hall Great House - A plantation mansion that dates back to 1656, the Clifton Hall Great House is open for tours. Rum tasting is also a possibility here!


Popular landmarks in Jamaica

Bob-Marley-Museum

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Similar to Barbados, Georgian and traditional Caribbean architecture is common in Jamaica. One difference in Jamaica is that the buildings constructed in this style tend to be more vibrant in terms of color when compared to those in Barbados. Here are some of the buildings and historical landmarks that you might want to check out while in Jamaica:

Rose Hall Great House - A Georgian-style mansion in Montego Bay that's rumored to be haunted. You can enjoy some golfing in Jamaica at this estate and take a tour of the mansion.

Bob Marley Museum - Bob Marley is an icon in Jamaica and throughout the world. There's a museum that celebrates him set up in his former home. Tours of the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica include viewing some pretty awesome murals.

Devon House - The first black millionaire of Jamaica lived at Devon House. Tours of this property, which was built in 1881, are available. There’s also a popular ice cream shop there.




Climate: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Climate

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Jamaica and Barbados are both sunny weather destinations in the Caribbean with peak seasons around mid-December to mid-April. There are many similarities in the climates of these destinations, such as weather that’s slightly cooler during peak season compared to the summer months. In peak season, the chances of rain also tend to be much lower.

The average temperatures in Jamaica and Barbados are similar also. Between the months of December and April, the average temperature in Jamaica is usually around 75°F. In the summertime on this island, the temperature tends to be closer to 78°F. Barbados has a moderate tropical climate and temperatures of 76°F are common from December through April. Typically, the summer months in Barbados are warmer, recording temperatures of around 80°F.

Good to know: Even though Jamaica is sunny most of the year, it has been known to snow on the Blue Mountains on this island. The Blue Mountains are 7,402ft tall and snow has been a reported sighting near the summit. Even in this instance, the flurries do not tend to settle or build up.



Culture: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Falmouth-Performers

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There are similarities between the cultures of most Caribbean islands, but each island has things that set them apart. With Barbados and Jamaica, for example, the cultures of the islands vary greatly.

Barbados has a culture with distinct West African and European influences. These influences can be seen in some of the traditions on the island, such as cricket, afternoon tea, tuk bands, and pottery. Jamaican culture also has African and European influences, and these elements come out in dynamic and outgoing ways through the island's music, dancing, nightlife, and other traditions. Both of these islands have their own Caribbean festivals packed with historical and cultural significance, which can help visitors get a true sense of what the islands are about.



Food: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Food

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If you bring up island food in any conversation that involves Caribbean nationals, you will have set yourself up for some real rivalry. Much like the other islands of this region, Barbados and Jamaica both have signature dishes that are worth trying during a visit.

Barbadian food has both West African and European influences. Some of the popular foods & drinks you must try when in Barbados include cou-cou (cornmeal, okra, flying fish), pudding and souse (sweet potato and pickled pork), and the popular macaroni pie (mac and cheese casserole). In Jamaica, there are loads of interesting food options to try including ackee and saltfish, steamed fish and okra, and Jamaican jerk chicken (or pork), which is spicy and quite delicious!




Transportation: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Transportation

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It won’t be hard to get around in Jamaica or Barbados as long as you do some research before you get there. It is worth noting that since Barbados is much smaller than Jamaica, it can be easier to find your way around the island. Barbados has some of the best infrastructure in the Caribbean, so things tend to be a little more organized when compared to some of the other islands. This makes it a whole lot easier to get around. In fact, you can explore the entire island of Barbados in a week or less.

In terms of topography, Jamaica is quite diverse. This can make it a little challenging to get from one part of the island to another. The Blue Mountains are set pretty much in the center of the island, so you’ll typically have to travel along the perimeter when commuting. Naturally, this increases travel time to and from various areas. Luckily, there are multiple airports in Jamaica offering domestic flights and international flights. This means you can plan to land in or near to the area where you’ll be staying while on this island.

There are lots of buses and taxis on both of these islands, as well as car rental options.

Expert tip: Before hopping on a cab in Jamaica it is important to check that it is one of the licensed red plate taxis.



Economy & currency: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Barbados and Jamaica are two of the Caribbean islands that have their own currencies. Barbados uses the Barbadian Dollar (BBD), while Jamaica uses the Jamaican Dollar (JMD). These islands both accept US dollars (USD) as legal tender.

Currency conversions make Jamaica a relatively low-cost island to visit as $1 USD amounts to about $152.86 JMD. In Barbados, $1 USD is about the equivalent of $2.01613 BBD. Generally, Barbados tends to be more expensive than Jamaica in terms of food, transportation (can be twice as expensive as Jamaica in this area), events, and entertainment (as much as 70% more expensive). If you're on a budget, Jamaica might be the better destination for you because your money can go a bit further there.


Safety: Barbados vs. Jamaica

Safety

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Barbados is largely considered to be one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, but it is still important to be aware of your surroundings there as you would at home, especially at night.

Jamaica tends to get some bad press when it comes to safety, but it can still be a safe destination if you stay alert and follow the same safety guidelines you would in any other destination. If you'll be visiting Jamaica, some of the safest areas to stay in and explore include Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, and Whitehouse. These areas are also known to be resort towns, so you'll find lots to do there as well.

Expert tip: Ask resort staff for guidance if you want more information about a particular place before you go.



Where to stay: Sandals Jamaica vs. Sandals Barbados

Resort-vs-Resort

In both Barbados and Jamaica, there are Sandals all-inclusive resorts that can be perfect for a couple's vacation. Each resort has its own personality, so it is important to find out as much as you can before deciding on a resort.

In Barbados, there are two Sandals Resorts to choose from - Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados. These resorts are in St. Lawrence Gap on the south coast of Barbados. St. Lawrence Gap is known for its amazing beaches, restaurants, and nightlife, so you can be assured that if you stay in this area you’ll be kept well entertained.

The choice of where to stay is a bit more difficult in Jamaica because you’ll have six Sandals Resorts to choose from - two in Montego Bay, two in Ocho Rios, one in Negril, and one in Whitehouse. You can read our posts on what guests love about each property starting with what guests love about Sandals Montego Bay and what guests love about Sandals South Coast to see which one might be right for you!

Good to know: Sandals resorts in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are ideal for couples who want to be at the center of the action, while Sandals Negril is more serene. Sandals South Coast is more rural and secluded.



Final verdict: Barbados or Jamaica?

Barbados

Barbados and Jamaica are both amazing islands. The choice you’ll make on which of these islands is best for your vacation will depend entirely on the sort of experience you want to have. Knowing the differences between what these islands offer in terms of food, culture, beaches, entertainment, and other areas should help point you in the right direction.

Your accommodations are critical when vacationing in Jamaica or Barbados. Whether you're a first-timer or a return visitor to any of these islands, staying at an all-inclusive resort is a great idea! Staff at Sandals Resorts are super helpful when it comes to pointing guests in the right direction for the best things to do and island hot spots that are worth visiting. A vacation at a Sandals all-inclusive resort will also grant you access to lots of quality inclusions like gourmet restaurants, luxury accommodation, entertainment night and day, lots of bars including swim-up bars, and everything you’ll need for a memorable island getaway.


Expert tip: Want to visit two destinations in one trip? It takes just about 20 minutes or less to get from Barbados to Saint Lucia by plane. If you decide to vacation in Barbados, you can spend a few days in Saint Lucia as well since there are Sandals Resorts on both islands.




Swim With Dolphins, Stingrays And Sharks At Dolphin Cove

Island Life
October 31st 2022
Swim With Dolphins, Stingrays And Sharks At Dolphin Cove
Cover image credit: Dean A Innerarity/Shutterstock.com

If you start with the gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and other natural attributes and weave all the way through the intriguing culture and happening entertainment scene, you’ll see that Jamaica is a bucket list travel destination for more reasons than one. Whether you’re looking for a destination where you can do some sightseeing or somewhere you can jump right into a crazy island adventure, the options are endless on this sunny Caribbean isle.

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And speaking of adventures… one of the experiences you probably won’t want to miss out on while in Jamaica is swimming with dolphins. There are two great spots to do this in Jamaica — Dolphin Cove Montego Bay (which was previously called Dolphin Cove Negril) and Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios. These are both dolphin-centric attractions, but there are other marine animals you can also interact with while there, such as stingrays and sharks.

There’s much to learn and love about dolphins at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica! We’ve compiled everything you need to know before going to this attraction to ensure your time there, whether you’re doing a full day trip or just stopping in from a cruise ship, is simply unforgettable.


Things to do at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica

Dolphin Cove Jamaica is the sort of attraction where you’ll be able to do some of the things you’ve always had on your vacation to-do list. With options like swimming with dolphins and petting sharks on the agenda, you’ll be more than grateful for the decision to push the limits and really live in Jamaica by the time your visit to Dolphin Cove is over. If you’re just about sold, here are some of the best things to do at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica:

Get up close and personal with dolphins

There are many ways you will be able to get up close to dolphins while at Dolphin Cove in Jamaica. This can be done through the various programs offered, which start on an introductory level and get more involved as you level up. The first of these is a dolphin encounter program, which takes you about knee-deep into the water to interact with dolphins. This program is great for young children and people who prefer to stay in shallower water.

Dolphin Cove Montego Bay Jamaica Shallow

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The dolphin swim package is done in deeper water, and you’ll get to try out various tricks with the dolphins. The third package includes everything contained in the first two packages with the added opportunity to try out a ‘foot push’ (essentially a surfing experience including two very playful dolphins). You can select any program you like based on what you’re comfortable with. If you want to see the dolphins, but don’t necessarily want to get into the water, that’s an option too.

Swim with sharks

If you’re on the braver side, you can opt to swim with sharks at Dolphin Cove. You’ll have the option to also hold and feed Caribbean sharks at this facility. If you decide to go for this encounter, it is comforting to know that the sharks in this experience are not at all dangerous to humans. Added to that, trainers will be with you for the duration of this experience to help ensure you feel safe and have a good time. In addition to swimming with sharks, you can snorkel with them too! At both the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Dolphin Cove attractions, you can watch the shark show for free with an added cost to pet the sharks.

Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios Nurse Shark

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Snorkel with stingrays

Depending on how adventurous you are, snorkeling with stingrays just might have been on your to-do list for quite some time. Attractions like Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios feature a stingray snorkeling experience where you will be able to get close enough to these marine animals to hold, pet, and even feed them at the Stingray Sandbar. At both the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios Dolphin Cove locations, you’ll gain insight about stingrays from the trained and knowledgeable guides who’re always happy to answer questions.

Stingray Jamaica Dolphin Cove

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Interact with Dolphin Cove’s other animals

In addition to dolphins, sharks and stingrays, there are other animals at Dolphin Cove that you can interact with, including camels! That’s right, you can meet, feed, and ride camels while on vacation in Jamaica at an added cost of about $10 USD. Once you’re introduced to these amazing mammals, you can go on a Jungle Trail Walk where you’re likely to come across exotic creatures like snakes, iguanas, and parrots.


What you need to know about Dolphin Cove

There are a few things you probably need to know ahead of planning a trip to Dolphin Cove. Here are some of the most important ones:

How to prepare for your Dolphin Cove experience

Book tours early

As with most attractions in Jamaica and elsewhere, if you want to secure a ticket or tour spot, you should make your reservation as early as possible. This is even more important if you will be traveling during peak season (mid-December to mid-April in Jamaica) when tours seem to fill up much quicker.

Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios Pair

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Be sure to book and confirm all or at the very least most of your tours before arriving in Jamaica. If something changes and you need a refund, you should be able to get a refund for any cancellation made on a Dolphin Cove program as long as the cancellation is made at least 5 days ahead of your tour date or earlier, but you should confirm the cancellation policy when booking. If your tour is canceled due to bad weather, you will also be entitled to a full refund.

Have entrance fees on hand

You’ll need to travel with enough currency to cover the entrance fees for most tours in Jamaica unless these are already included within your tour package. Entrance fees may vary according to the tour, the program you choose, and even whether or not you want to walk away with photos at the end.

What to bring

When heading on any Dolphin Cove tour in Jamaica, it is important to wear comfortable clothing. When packing your bag for the day include towels, swimsuits, sunscreen, a camera, and some money for souvenirs. Keep in mind though, it is recommended that you don’t apply sunscreen until after your dolphin activity for the safety of the dolphins and the preservation of the environment. Camera-wise, there are some programs that do not allow photography, such as dolphin programs. For these, it is necessary to purchase a photo package that can come with an added price tag between $60-$100 USD. The price in this instance can vary based on the number of photos you purchase.

What to leave at home

If you’re planning on swimming with the marine animals at Dolphin Cove, it is a good idea to leave your jewelry at home. This includes rings, bracelets, and some types of earrings. You can either leave these at home or take them off before your program. Wearing jewelry during these experiences is not advisable because you can lose them while in the water and they can also scratch the dolphins.

How to get to Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove Montego Bay is located in Lucea, which is between Montego Bay and Negril. It is about an hour’s drive from Lucea to either Negril or Montego Bay. Dolphin’s Cove Ocho Rios on the other hand is in Ocho Rios, on the northern side of Jamaica.



The easiest way to get to Dolphin Cove Montego Bay is by way of a tour, which can take you directly there and back to your resort once the tour is over. Going with a tour will save you from having to find this location on your own, but if you’re up for exploring, then you can also rent a car to get there. Local buses and taxis are also an option for getting to Dolphin Cove. If you’re interested in taxi services, you can book a taxi from your resort and get information about the costs from the resort staff.

Dolphin Cove isn’t very hard to get to if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, an all-inclusive resort in Negril, or an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios. Both Dolphin Cove Montego Bay and Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios are ideal for half or full-day trips.

Expert tip: Only use cabs with red license plates when in Jamaica (if you happen to be hiring a taxi yourself instead of going through the resort) as these are the only legally operated cabs on the island. Negotiate upfront (before the cab drives off) if necessary.


Other places to visit near Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove is near some of the must-see attractions in Jamaica. Here are some of the best ones you should check out while you are in the area:

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach is a gorgeous and extensive stretch of beach in Jamaica that you absolutely must visit while there. Located in Negril on Jamaica’s west coast, Seven Mile Beach is about a 45-minute drive from Dolphin Cove Montego Bay. Seven Mile Beach is considered one of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean with soft white sand, crystal clear and calm waters, and lots of room to explore. Check out some of the best all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica to spend as much time as possible on this gem of a beach while on the island.

Sandals Negril Seven Mile Beach Couple Walk


Expert tip: Seven Mile Beach is one of the best reasons to visit Negril, Jamaica. Check out these other exciting things to do in Negril, including cliff jumping at Rick’s Café!


Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls is a small waterfall located about an hour away from Dolphin Cove Montego Bay. This location makes for a great half-day or full-day trip if you’re looking for the sort of experience where you can relax and have a good time. Mayfield Falls is made up of 21 small cascades and you’ll love the fact that there are lots of natural pools and ‘jacuzzis’ here as well, suitable for swimmers of all experience levels. The 4x4 Jeep Adventure to Mayfield Falls is definitely one of the best excursions in Negril, Jamaica.

Mayfield-Falls-Negril-Jamaica

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Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls is quite famous - it is one of the largest waterfalls in Jamaica and the Caribbean. That’s why it’s pretty much on the to-do list of every traveler to Jamaica. At Dunn’s River Falls, in addition to a waterfall that is 180 feet high, there’s also a beach, restaurant, souvenir shops, and disability access. While exploring this area, climbing the falls, and bathing in natural pools, you can also check in with local guides for cultural and historical insights about Jamaica in general. Dunn’s River Falls is located across from Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios, so it is a good idea to schedule both of these tours on the same day if you can.

Dunns-River-Falls-Ocho-Rios-Jamaica-Tourists

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Cool Blue Hole Cascade

Cool Blue Hole Cascade should definitely be on your list of things to do in Jamaica if you’ll be in the Negril, Montego Bay, or Ocho Rios area for your vacation. This attraction is about 30 minutes from Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios, and it is also commonly referred to simply as ‘The Blue Hole’. At this location, you’ll find a sinkhole beneath a waterfall up in the hills of Ocho Rios. For an admission fee of just about $20 USD, you can jump into the blue hole, swim around, and explore!

Ocho RIos Blue Hole Jamaica-Overview

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Expert tip: Ocho Rios is one of the best areas to stay in Jamaica if you’re interested in nature-centric activities. Check out some of these exciting things to do in Ocho Rios.


Swimming with the dolphins: A unique vacation experience in Jamaica!

As with all things, a wonderful vacation in Jamaica will require some planning. This is especially true if there are specific attractions you want to visit like Dolphin Cove, one of many amazing things to do in Jamaica.

If you’re well on your way to booking your Jamaica vacation, it's worth noting that staying at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica can help you get easy access to some of the best tours. You can book all-inclusive packages at resorts like Sandals in Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay, which have numerous restaurants, bars including swim-up bars, day and night entertainment, unlimited land and water sports and so much more. Either of these resorts will be the perfect starting point for island excursions of all varieties - all a part of your Jamaican experience of a lifetime!

The Very Best Locations For An Exceptional Fishing Trip In Jamaica

Island Life
October 19th 2022
The Very Best Locations For An Exceptional Fishing Trip In Jamaica
Cover image credit: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica is one of the best places in the Caribbean for a fishing trip. Bottom fishing, reef fishing, deep-sea fishing… these are all possible on this island. Whether you stay in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, or Port Antonio, you’ll be able to find a suitable place to go fishing. Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay is a great option as is Pedro Bank if you want to go bottom fishing or reef fishing in Jamaica.

On this island, anglers can expect to reel in a variety of fish including mahi-mahi, blue marlin, grouper, and snapper. In addition, Jamaica hosts a number of fishing events each year. If you’ve got your sights set on a fishing experience on this island, read on for everything you need to know including how to reserve a fishing charter. We’ve also included some suggestions on how to make the most of your Jamaica getaway!


The best fishing in Jamaica: Where to catch the best fish

Deep-sea fishing

Deep-sea-fishing

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Want some deep-sea fishing action? Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica is great for sprawling out and relaxing, as well as heading out on a deep-sea fishing adventure. Near the shoreline of this beach, there’s a drop of more than 2,000ft where anglers can catch a variety of fish species including marlin. When deep-sea fishing in this area, catches can include wahoo, mahi-mahi, sailfish, blue and white marlin, tuna, and barracuda.

Ocho Rios is also ideal for deep-sea fishing. The warm waters off the northern coast present a perfect opportunity for anglers and catches like snapper, kingfish, jackfish, and blue marlin are possible. If you decide to go out on a deep-sea fishing charter in this area, you'll likely head out from the Ocho Rios Marina.

Negril, a resort town, is a good deep-sea fishing spot as well. Anglers will just need to venture a few minutes from shore to catch yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and blue marlin. For a wider variety of fish, it's worth heading out about eight miles into the open waters. Fishing in Negril can be exciting, especially when done with friends and other anglers.

Port Antonio is on the list of the best places in Jamaica to go deep sea fishing too. This part of Jamaica is perfect if you’re looking for a more private fishing experience. Port Antonio is a quaint seaside town that isn’t necessarily a tourist hot spot. Fewer people and less fishing overall mean your chances of making a good catch are higher. The best time to go fishing in Port Antonio is during the months of September and October. The annual Marlin Tournament is held around this time and attracts anglers from all over the world. Prizes are awarded for the biggest marlin.

Good to know: Take a boat trip to Cayman Trench while in Jamaica for a thrilling fishing experience.



Reef fishing

Reef-fishing

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Reef fishing is also a possibility in Jamaica. This type of fishing is commonly done near or on coral reefs. As Jamaica has been affected by overfishing over the years, reef fishing can only be done in certain areas. These regulations are in place as efforts continue to be made to protect the sustainability of coral reef ecosystems and the fish population.

If you want to go reef fishing in Jamaica, you can head out with a local angler who can help you find the best spots. Negril is a possibility for a reef fishing adventure. While fishing in Negril, be on the lookout for grouper, barracuda, amberjack, wahoo, and bonefish.

Expert tip: Fish like grouper and bonefish are popular ingredients in Jamaican cuisine. Stamp and Go, Run-Down, and Fish Tea are just a few of the fish dishes you might want to try while in Jamaica.



Bottom fishing

Bottom-fishing

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Bottom fishing, also called legering, can be done both in freshwater and in the ocean. This type of fishing entails using bait and a hook to attract the fish. In Jamaica, it is possible to go bottom fishing in boats or along the coasts. If you’re new to fishing, this is a good way to start. Bottom fishing does not require as much skill as other types of fishing and is a fun and affordable activity to do with family or friends.

In Jamaica, anglers can enjoy bottom fishing off the south coast of the island, along the Pedro Bank. Some of the island’s best-preserved reefs can be found here, as well as seagrass and rocks along the seafloor and lots of fish and coral. Anglers can catch grouper, mutton snapper, yellow tail snapper, and red tail snapper here.

Buckner Bank, which is just off the coast of Montego Bay, is home to a wide variety of fish that can appeal to anglers as well. These include blue marlin, grouper, tilefish, amberjack, and almost all types of snapper. You may even be able to reel in some jacks and barracuda at Buckner Bank.


Fishing seasons: The best time to fish in Jamaica

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The best time to fish in Jamaica really depends on the type of fish you want to catch and even the type of fishing trip you plan on going on. If you know the type of fish you would like to catch and the season where you’re most likely to find it, this can help you to plan your fishing trip at the right time.

The months of August and October are the best times to catch blue marlin in Jamaica. At this time of year, this species tends to be plentiful. Fishing for grouper is possible all year round but their peak season is from May to October. Anglers should definitely visit Jamaica during the winter months, particularly during February, if they want to catch mahi-mahi, snapper, barracuda, tuna, and mackerel. Amberjack does not have a peak season, so anglers can catch this species at any time of the year.

Expert tip: While lobster is not a fish, catching and consuming lobster in Jamaica is also seasonal. If you want to dine on lobster during your fishing getaway, you can learn more about the lobster season in Jamaica before you travel.



Booking a charter for your Jamaica fishing trip

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After planning the best time to go to Jamaica for a fishing trip, the next step will be finding a suitable fishing charter. Companies offering private fishing charters are plentiful across the island. Many of these offer tours for deep-sea, reef, and bottom fishing. No matter what part of Jamaica you decide to spend your vacation in, you can get a fishing charter that will help you to have the experience that you want.

Private fishing charters are best because they take you to the best fishing spots. Ahead of your Jamaica fishing charter, you’ll have the option to choose between a half-day and full-day tour. The captains of these charters usually know just where to go for the best catches no matter the time of year. Prices vary depending on the type of fishing and the length of your excursion.

Private charters usually include licenses and equipment, which means if you select this option you won’t need to worry about sorting all of that out on your own. Refreshments are usually included as well, which is an added bonus to the tour. Island Routes offers fun fishing tours in Jamaica including Deep-sea Sport Fishing in Ocho Rios and other parts of the island.




Getting a fishing license in Jamaica

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Before you can even begin to fish in Jamaica, you should know that you need a license to practice. If you have booked a private charter, chances are that the license will be included in the cost of your tour. It is still best to find out from your desired tour company first. Fishing licenses are required when fishing from a boat. In addition, there is a catch and release policy for visitors fishing in Jamaica, which is a way of protecting the fish population from overfishing.

For shore fishing in Jamaica, you will not require a fishing license. You will however need a license for deep-sea fishing. Anglers should also be aware of protected areas where fishing is not allowed in Jamaica such as in the Montego Bay Marine Park. Spearfishing is prohibited in this area. For spot fishing (using a hook and line), written permission is needed to fish in the Montego Bay Marine Park.

Insider tip: Thinking of where to stay? In Jamaica, you’ll have the options of all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, all-inclusive resorts in Negril, and all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios. To find the right resort you’ll first need to decide the type of vacation you want. Find out which Sandals resort is best for you ahead of your Jamaica getaway.



Other must-dos while in Jamaica

Hike Dunn’s River Falls (Ocho Rios)

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Dunn's River Falls is one of the most famous attractions in Jamaica. Millions of people visit this location annually to experience the wonders of this 180-ft. waterfall. In addition to the main attraction, Dunn’s River Falls also features small natural pools and the waters of this waterfall flow into the Caribbean Sea.

Visitors can enjoy a hike up Dunn’s River Falls with a tour guide who will tell you all about the island, the falls, and everything they both have to offer. The hike, which is about 1 hour and 30 minutes long, gives visitors a perfect view of the lush vegetation and natural pools of the falls. It is also possible to climb Dunn’s River Falls, right through the water, hand-in-hand with other brave visitors. Small children and people with certain health conditions are not advised to climb the falls. Visitors are encouraged to bring a pair of water shoes, a change of clothes, and drinking water for the hike.

Though hiking the falls is one of the main attractions, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied at Dunn’s River Falls. At the nearby Central Gardens, children can enjoy the waterslide and then have some ice cream and pizza for snacks. The craft market has plenty of souvenirs and the cafeteria sells local Jamaican cuisine that you will surely enjoy.


Snorkel at Doctor’s Cave Beach (Montego Bay)

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Situated along the north coast of Jamaica is Doctor’s Cave Beach. This beach stretches along five miles with white sand and calm, clear waters that are rumored to have healing properties. This rumor began when Sir Herbert Baker, a British doctor, wrote about its healing attributes.

Whether the rumors are true or not, Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of Jamaica’s most popular beaches… and for good reason. The calm waters make it perfect for snorkeling, especially for beginners who will enjoy swimming among tropical fish like butterfly fish, grunts, stingrays, and blue tangs that live among the coral reef. Water sports are available too!

Doctor’s Cave Beach is a convenient location for a beach day because you can get food and drink from the bar and restaurant nearby. There are also lifeguards on duty as well as restrooms and changing rooms available for beachgoers. However, Doctor’s Cave is not a public beach, and there is an entrance fee of $6 USD.

Expert tip: If you love diving, here’s what you need to know about snorkeling in Montego Bay.



Explore Booby Cay Island (Negril)

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Booby Cay Island is located just offshore of Negril and is accessible by ferry. This small island gets its name from the booby bird that lays its eggs there. Peaceful and picturesque, Booby Cay Island is perfect for picnics and relaxing on the beach. The coral reefs around Booby Cay Island are part of the appeal for scuba divers and snorkelers.

Bird watchers and photographers will also enjoy the sightings and scenery of Booby Cay Island. During a day trip there, you’ll be able to explore the trails, barbecue, and spend some time in the ocean. Booby Cay Island is open to the public and after spending the day here you can simply take a ferry back to the mainland.


Reel in a big one on your Jamaican fishing adventure

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There you have it, fishing in Jamaica in a nutshell. By now you probably have a fairly good idea of the best time to visit Jamaica for a fishing trip and where to go for the best fishing experience. Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Negril are all popular fishing locations on this island whether you want to go deep sea fishing, reef fishing, bottom fishing, or go on any other type of fishing adventure offered in Jamaica.

When planning a fishing trip in Jamaica if you decide the kind of experience you want, it’ll be easy to choose the right time to go. Once that's decided, the next step will be accommodation. After a fun-filled day fishing off the coast of Jamaica in a fishing boat or from shore, you can retreat to one of the luxurious Sandals all-inclusive resorts. With multiple gourmet restaurants, stylish accommodations, and all-you-can-drink cocktails on the beach!

Expert tip: At some all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, you’ll easily be able to book your fishing tours from your resort. You can also schedule other tours and excursions and explore the wonderful things to do in Jamaica!




Jamaica vs. Punta Cana: Which Is Better For Your Caribbean Getaway?

The Islands
July 15th 2022
Jamaica vs. Punta Cana: Which Is Better For Your Caribbean Getaway?

Sun, sea, and sand are part of the appeal of Jamaica and Punta Cana (a town in the eastern part of the Dominican Republic), making them two of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean. So loved are they that millions of travelers go there every year to experience paradise in true form.

There are many similarities between Jamaica and Punta Cana, such as the fact that both have lots of beautiful beaches, lush landscapes, friendly people, and tons of adventure tours to try. There are also key differences, which include their native languages, culture, and history. In this post, we’ll discuss a little bit of everything to help you decide which of these destinations will be best for your Caribbean getaway.



Beaches: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

The best beaches in Jamaica

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Pictured: The stunning white sands of Seven Mile Beach in Negril are just one of many reasons to enjoy a sunny Caribbean vacation in Jamaica. Unlimited cocktails at awesome all-inclusive resorts like Sandals Negril are another!


Jamaica is filled with some amazingly picturesque white-sand beaches. If you're looking to sunbathe, snorkel, swim and explore, Jamaica has an option for you.

Here are some of our favorite beaches in Jamaica:

Seven Mile Beach (Negril) - This beach stretches four miles along the coastline, with a scenic view that would look amazing on your socials. There is plenty of room for everyone to explore its pristine white sands and cool waters. Seven Mile Beach is easily one of the best beaches in the world and it has received many accolades over the years.

Bloody Bay (Negril) - This public beach found in northern Negril is a popular attraction for visitors looking to mingle, swim and engage in water sports. The calm and clear waters of Bloody Bay make it safe for children and divers to explore the coral reef and marine life nearby. This beach is right next to Seven Mile Beach in Negril.

Doctor's Cave Beach (Montego Bay) - Located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Doctor’s Cave Beach is calm and soothing and its waters are believed by some to have healing powers. For a small fee of $6 USD, you can visit this private beach and enjoy many water sports, bounce around on the water trampolines, sunbathe, or go for a dip.

Frenchman's Cove (Port Antonio) - This small but beautiful beach can be accessed for a small entrance fee of $12 USD for adults and $6 USD for children under 12. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, you’ll be able to dine at the beach bar and grill nearby that serves up some delicious meals.

Expert tip: Love diving? You can go snorkeling in Montego Bay or stay at a Sandals all-inclusive resort for free snorkeling and scuba diving (up to 2 tanks per day)!



The best beaches in Punta Cana

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If you're looking for soft white sands, turquoise waters, and cool beach backdrops, the beaches of Punta Cana won’t disappoint. There are quite a few beaches to choose from when vacationing in Punta Cana but you should need to be aware that this resort town lies in the Atlantic Ocean. This means its waters are typically rougher than some other Caribbean islands like Jamaica

Here are our picks of the best beaches in Punta Cana:

Playa Blanca - White sands, calm waters, and water sports are part of the appeal of this beach, which is located next to a resort in Punta Cana. There are bar and restaurant options near the beach that will make your beach day feel complete.

Playa Juanillo - Fresh coconuts, hammocks, and calm, clear waters are some of what you can expect at Playa Juanillo. This beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, wading, and general relaxation. It’s also just a 15-minute drive from the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ).

Bavaro Beach- Simply gorgeous, Bavaro Beach is where to go if you love swimming in the ocean and fun beach activities. Long, romantic walks on the beach are also possible here and you’ll walk past plenty of coconut trees, restaurants, and some hotels along the way.

Arena Gorda Beach – This long and spacious stretch of sand can be found near Bavaro Beach. There are lots of palm trees for shade and it's quite clean, free of seaweed, and great for swimming.



Activities: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Snorkeling & scuba diving

Jamaica and Punta Cana are known for their unique natural attractions, beautiful landscapes, warm climates, and fun activities. Diving is one of the activities both islands offer, and here's what you can expect to find while diving at each:


Snorkeling & scuba diving in Jamaica

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Compared to Punta Cana, Jamaica has many more snorkeling locations throughout the island that can provide a bit more flexibility for beginner and more advanced snorkelers. While Montego Bay on the north coast has excellent options for those just starting out, Negril has options for snorkelers of all skill levels. As you prepare for your dive in Jamaica, remember to take the time to get accustomed to your equipment (if you’re using rental gear), avoid touching the reefs and marine animals, and only swim where you are comfortable.

Here are some of the best dive sites for snorkeling and scuba diving in Jamaica:

Negril Coral Reef - Just about two miles off the coast of Negril lies the Negril Coral Reef. This reef is home to groupers, stingrays, jellyfish, and a wide variety of coral and sponge formations. A boat trip can get you to this location.

Montego Bay Marine Park - Since this marine park is protected by a trust, the reefs are in good condition and many marine animals such as stingrays and sea turtles can be found there. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins or nurse sharks.

Ocho Rios Marine Park - Snorkeling at the Ocho Rios Marine Park can be a fulfilling experience. On a dive here, you may spot grouper, scorpionfish, snapper, eagle rays, nurse sharks, and a variety of corals and sponges.

Runaway Bay - This is one of Jamaica’s top snorkeling spots because of its wade-out offshore snorkeling and diving. There are some impressive coral reefs near shore in this area, particularly at Cardiff Hall Beach and North Coast Beach. In this area, snorkelers are likely to see parrotfish, barracuda, stingrays, angelfish, and French grunts.


Snorkeling & scuba diving in Punta Cana

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While diving is certainly offered in Punta Cana, this may not be the most exciting place to snorkel or scuba dive. If you’re an experienced snorkeller, you may want to keep an open mind or focus on other types of water sports. However, if you’re a beginner, some of the available snorkeling options might interest you since they’re easy to maneuver with shallow waters and tour guides to help you out.

Here are some of the best snorkeling spots in Punta Canta:

Isla Saona - A boat trip from Punta Canta will take you to the small island of Saona. In just a one-day trip, you can explore both the shallow and deep reefs and swim among the marine life. Sightings here can include turtles and stingrays. The water tends to be calm in this area, which makes snorkeling fun and safer to do.

Isla Catalina –You’ll need to take a boat from the Dominican Republic to get to Catalina Island. There you will find two beaches, a vast natural park, and beautiful coral reefs filled with marine life. The translucent waters of the beaches here are ideal for shallow and deep dives.


Fishing

Fishing can be an unforgettable experience in both Punta Cana and Jamaica. With the fishing tours or charters available on either island, you might reel in some big catches including mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, and perhaps even sailfish. In Jamaica, the best fishing sites can be found in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril, whereas, in Punta Cana, Cap Cana, Caba Engano, and Laguna de Nisibon are highly recommended.

Here are some more details about fishing in both countries:

Fishing in Jamaica

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Fishing in Jamaica can be a very rewarding experience. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish in the waters around this island. Even if you only venture out a few miles offshore from Jamaica, you can catch wahoo, tuna, blue marlin, mahi-mahi, and sailfish!

In terms of where to fish in Jamaica, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Negril, and Montego Bay are popular options. Montego Bay, in particular, is great for deep-sea fishing. Between the months of September and October, anglers can surely catch some mahi-mahi, barracuda, and tuna in this area. The Cayman Trench is another good spot to catch tuna, and, in Falmouth, anglers can catch cog, flounder, bass, mackerel, and even sharks. It is also possible to go shore and reef fishing right from the beaches or docks in Jamaica. Using this method, you might catch snapper, grouper, yellowtail, and amberjack.

The best time of year to visit Jamaica for a fishing trip depends on the type of fish you’re looking for. For example, the best time to catch bonefish in Jamaica is between the months of September to January. January to May is great for catching yellowfin and mahi-mahi. Grouper can be caught throughout the year, while tuna is most plentiful from March to April/May.

Expert tip: If you want to go fishing in Jamaica, Island Routes offers some amazing fishing excursions including the Deep Sea Sport Fishing Montego Bay.



Fishing in Punta Cana

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Punta Cana is the ideal place to try your hand at any type of fishing, whether it be bill fishing, deep-sea fishing, or even in-shore fishing. The warm temperatures of this destination (60-90°F) also work in favor of anglers looking for their next big catch. Many anglers have set records here with catches like a 480lb yellowfin tuna (2019). A record for the most blue marlins caught in a day was also set in Punta Cana (2016).

There are several ways you can go fishing in Punta Cana, including taking boat charters, shore fishing, or fishing from a lagoon. Boat fishing is the best option because it is usually done through charters and with the help of tour guides. Plus, when taking a charter or fishing tour, your fishing license will usually be organized for you.

If you’re up for a bit of inshore fishing, this can be done off the docks or near the reefs by the beach. Catches in these areas can include mackerel and barracuda. Common catches with lagoon fishing in Punta Cana are grouper, permits, soldierfish, tilapia, angelfish, and more.


Adventure tours

Both Jamaica and Punta Cana are excellent destinations for fun adventures and excursions. They both have unique attractions, diverse landscapes, lush vegetation, and thriving flora and fauna that make them appealing to those who want to get out and explore. Here are tours and excursions that Jamaica and Punta Cana have to offer:


Adventure tours in Jamaica

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Pictured: Serene, exotic, and one-of-a-kind ... Dunn's River Falls is a must-see attraction. Start your adventure at one of the nearby resorts in Ocho Rios, including Sandals Ochi, Sandals Royal Plantation, and the newly re-imagined Sandals Dunn's River, where you can arrange this experience.


Jamaica is mostly mountainous with a limestone plateau that stretches across two-thirds of the country. Adventurous hikers often explore the rugged terrain of the mountains while other visitors are in awe over the caverns, streams, and limestone formations. The island’s diverse topography has transformed it into a land of natural attractions and one of the most exciting islands to explore.

Some of our favorite adventure tours in Jamaica include:

Dunn's River FallsDunn's River Falls is one of the biggest attractions in Ocho Rios. This is undoubtedly due to the wonderful sight of the water falling into a natural pool and into the Caribbean Sea. It is possible to hike to another waterfall (Secret Falls) or go cliff jumping or rope swinging over the cool, clear water of the falls.

ATV safari in the jungle – A guided tour through the lush rainforests of Jamaica is an experience you do not want to miss. The Island Routes ATV Safari Montego Bay will take you through the countryside so you can experience some of the hidden gems this island has to offer.

Bobsledding – Bobsledding through Jamaica’s tropical forest will give you a scenic view of the island. This adventure happens at Mystic Mountain and includes taking a chairlift (SkyExplorer) to the top of the mountain ahead of an exhilarating bobsledding experience.

Party cruise – Aside from all these adventures, how can you visit Jamaica without enjoying a party or two? Catamaran party cruises are popular in Negril, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay. This is the ultimate way to have some fun with great music and good food out on the ocean!

Expert tip: There’s lots more adventure in store on this island including these 43 wonderful things to do in Jamaica.



Adventure tours in Punta Cana

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Punta Cana has a tropical landscape filled with rich greenery and picturesque beaches that stretch for miles across the town. Fun things to do in Punta Cana include water sports, going on ATV tours, zip lining, and more.

Here are some of our favorite adventure tours in Punta Cana:

Zip lining - Prepare to be both excited and exhilarated as you zip line through the rainforest, across rivers, and right past the amazing plant and animal life of Punta Cana.

Whale watching - Get up close to these wonderful animals by booking a whale watching tour in Samana Bay. The whale watching season in Punta Cana opens in December and ends in March. Humpback whale sightings are likely.

Scape Park – This 24-acre park has eight natural wonders that are meant to be explored and enjoyed. You can go for a swim in the lagoons, explore the caves, go zip lining or interact with the parrots, iguanas, and monkeys that have made Scape Park their home.

Horseback riding – This is a fun way to discover Punta Cana’s landscape and enjoy the view of the coastline. A horseback riding tour will take you through the lush vegetation of Punta Cana or for a dip in the ocean.


Shopping

No visit to an island is complete without a shopping trip or two. Both Jamaica and Punta Cana have several options if you’re shopping for handmade or modern-day merchandise. However, luxury shoppers will find that Jamaica has a whole lot more options to choose from.


Shopping in Jamaica

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As we mentioned earlier, Jamaica has more options for luxury shopping than Punta Cana. Shoppes at Rose Hall is one such location where you’ll find international brands of jewelry brands, fashion, and other items. There’s also a gift shop there with perfume stores and a Shade Shack that carries a variety of designer sunglasses. One of the popular stores, A Reggae Walk, sells merchandise featuring Jamaican reggae icon, Bob Marley. So, there's pretty much something for everyone!

If you want souvenirs or handcrafted items, you can get those at the local markets in town. The Kingston Craft Market has more than 100 shops that sell branded goods. You can also find some unique items at The Half Moon Shopping Village in Montego Bay and Musgrave Market.

Expert tip: Want to go home with some amazing keepsakes and gifts for friends and family? Here are 18 authentic souvenirs to bring home from sunny Jamaica.



Shopping in Punta Cana

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Going shopping in Punta Cana means you’ll get to see both local products and international merchandise. At the local markets, you can get lots of authentic goods and friendly vendors expect you to haggle for the best price on the items. Places in the Punta Cana Village like Plaza Bavaro offer handmade jewelry and craft items that can be great for souvenirs.

BlueMall Puntacana is another option for shopping in Punta Cana. Here you’ll find many international brands. Shopping there can easily become a fun day out as you can roam through the high-end boutiques and sample local and international cuisine from the restaurants. Shopping in Punta Cana will be the most fun with good company!


Nightlife

Jamaica and Punta Cana both have a bustling nightlife marked by parties, clubs, discos, and casinos. You can’t go wrong by looking forward to the nightlife in either Jamaica or Punta Cana, as they’re both tied to the culture and the people of these destinations.


Jamaica nightlife

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Jamaica is an island that is known for many things like its star athletes and, of course, its reggae music with legendary artists like Bob Marley having been born there. Both reggae and dancehall are a major part of Jamaican nightlife, from live musical sessions at Colette’s Bar and Bourbon Beach to the club life at Reggae Inferno and Pier 1.

If you’re simply looking for a fun night with a fantastic view, good food, and delicious drinks, you should stop by Ricks Café in Negril. The 35-foot cliffside and the beautiful sunsets are two of the main attractions at this famous spot. In the daytime, you can even try cliff jumping at Rick’s!



Punta Cana nightlife

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Regardless of your budget or the experience you are looking for, Punta Cana is sure to offer a party scene you can enjoy. If you’re looking to mingle and meet new people, take in a show or dance the night away, there is a location for you. The Smoke Room Disco is an affordable club while Coco Bongo hosts a variety of live shows. There’s sure to be music, dancers, and even acrobats! If you want a more private party, Legacy Disco is the place to go.

Want to try your luck at the tables or the slot machines? Make a stop at Hard Rock Casino in Punta Canta. There are about 40 gaming tables and well over 300 slots at this casino. The available games include baccarat, poker, and roulette, plus this casino is usually open all night long.


Historical sites & landmarks: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Jamaica and the Dominican Republic both have a rich history and culture that can be seen in the people, their language, and their way of life. The physical evidence of their histories can be found in the architecture of the various buildings and monuments of their respective countries.

Here are the historical sites & landmarks you can expect to find in Jamaica and Punta Cana:

Historical sites & landmarks in Jamaica

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Jamaica is filled with historical buildings and sites, including colonial architecture that is protected as part of the island’s history. During a vacation on this island, you’ll be able to sign up for tours to visit some of these locations.


Some significant buildings and historical landmarks are:

Rose Hall Great House - This 18th-century house in Montego Bay is set on over 6,000 acres of land. There’s a Jamaican golf course designed by Robert von Hagge and Ricky Baril on this property as well. Rose Hall Great House is famous for the tale of Annee Palmer and its spectacular Georgian style of architecture that accentuates the beauty of the building. This Great House has a scenic view of the Caribbean Sea and it is surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens.

The Bob Marley Museum - The Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile, Jamaica is the former home of the musical icon, Bob Marley, who died in 1981. The house has a 19th-century style architecture and you can see photos of Bob Marley, view his guitars and other personal items, and admire some pretty impressive murals while there. This museum also houses a gift shop, record shop, and theater.

Falmouth Courthouse -This courthouse, which was built in 1815, is another Georgian-style building located in Trelawny. It is the epitome of classic Jamaican architecture with grand columns and portico, fanlights, jalousies, shingled walls, and other unique features. It now serves as a courthouse and a parish council building, as well as a town hall.

Devon House – This mansion was built in 1881 for Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. Now a National Heritage Site, the building houses a bakery, shops, and other restaurants. There is also a well-known ice cream shop there called I-Scream, which is a favorite among many. Tours are available at this estate for those who want to learn more about its history.


Historical sites & landmarks in Punta Cana

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In Punta Cana, you can get familiar with some of the popular historical sites and landmarks with a couple of tours. These can serve as a quick lesson in the history of Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic as a whole.

Some of our favorite historical sites & landmarks in Punta Cana include:

Santo Domingo - This is the capital city of the Dominican Republic. It was the first European/Spanish colony in the Americas and, in 1990, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city of Santo Domingo still has colonial architecture and streets lined with cobblestone, which serves as a testament to its history. In fact, the architecture has been preserved as part of the cultural heritage of the land.

The Basilica Cathedral Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia (Higuey) - This is a famous 16th-century religious building about 40 minutes from Punta Cana. It was built in 1976 and has since become famous for its unique architecture. This religious sanctuary has an arch that is 225 feet high, five bells, and an altar with a framed portrait of the Virgin Mary.


Climate: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Jamaica and Punta Cana are located in the tropics, which means they’re both relatively warm throughout the year. While temperatures in these destinations are more or less consistent, Punta Cana can sometimes be a bit cloudier. Water temperatures in Punta Cana are usually about 82°F, which makes it a bit cooler than Jamaica. In Jamaica, water temperatures are usually warmest in August, at around 85.8°F.

Typically, Jamaica is pretty hot throughout the year and like many Caribbean islands, it has two seasons. The dry season runs from December to May, while the wet season runs from June to November. Punta Cana’s rainy season is from May to November while the dry season starts in December and ends in April.

Expert tip: While Jamaica is sunny through most of the year, the best time to visit Jamaica is from November to mid-December when temperatures average 80°F.



Culture: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Jamaica and Punta Cana both have unique cultural histories with foundations in their ancestry and colonization.

Jamaica was once a British colony that was home to many slaves from West Africa. This is one of the reasons why Jamaican culture and traditions tend to mirror British and West African customs. Britain’s influence is seen in the architecture of older, Georgian-style buildings, while the West African influence can be seen in the local cuisine. Also, like most Caribbean people, Jamaicans love to season their food with lots of herbs and spices, a practice they inherited from their African forefathers. Jamaican culture also includes their creole language, the local dialect, and reggae music, which can usually be heard all across the island.

Meanwhile, Punta Cana is part of the Dominican Republic and has Spanish and African roots with a history that also includes early Taino settlers. Their local cuisine reflects the influences of their ancestry while their music and dancing styles, like the bachata and the merengue, speak specifically to their Spanish roots.


Food: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Now for the fun part! Both of these destinations have amazing food options you’ll love. The cuisine in both Jamaica and Punta Cana is linked to their cultural roots in the same way that their music and language are. In Punta Cana, ceviche is a perfect example of this connection. This is a dish featuring fresh seafood and lime juice that is popular in Punta Cana and other parts of Latin America. You probably won’t be able to find this type of dish in Jamaica, as typical Jamaican food is prepared differently. What you will find in Jamaica, though, is lots of stews and soups with all types of meat and seafood, rice, vegetables, and various herbs and spices for seasonings.

The cuisine in Punta Cana has Spanish and Taino influences, while Jamaica’s food has strong African influences. On each of these islands, there are some dishes that you simply must try.


Starting with Jamaica:

Jamaican-jerk-chicken

Photo credit: dapperland/Shutterstock.com

Jerk chicken - This is a grilled, spicy meat dish with a smokey flavor that is popular throughout Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. It is sold at restaurants but it is also popular at roadside vendors like food trucks. It can be served with sides like rice & peas, vegetables, and plantain.

Ackee & saltfish - This is the national dish of Jamaica and it is made by boiling the ackee, which is a fruit endemic to West Africa. The ackee must then be cooked with salt fish, onions, spices, and tomatoes. This dish is usually eaten for breakfast.

Pepper pot soup - This hot creole soup is made with meat, okra, green vegetables, peppers, beef, and coconut milk. It is typically served with a side dish of dumplings. This nutritious delicacy is an all-time favorite for Jamaicans.


And for Punta Cana:

Punta-Cana-Cebiche

Photo credit: FOTOADICTA/Shutterstock.com

La Bandera - La Bandera, which means “the flag” in English, is also known as el Plato del dia (dish of the day). It is Punta Cana’s national dish. This dish is inspired by the colors of the flag of the Dominican Republic, which are white, red, and blue. It consists of white rice, red beans, and stewed meat.

Mofongo - Fried plantains with garlic and pork skin/chicharrones that are ground together and shaped into small balls, then served with shrimp or avocados.

Ceviche - In this dish, a small portion of raw seafood is prepared in lime juice or other citrus juice and topped with onions, peppers, and herbs like cilantro. Fried plantain may also be served with ceviche.


Transportation: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Finding transportation in Jamaica is not a problem since there is a public bus transport system that is affordable and can take you to most of the places you might like to go. There are also options for private bus transportation in Jamaica. Other options for getting around the island include cabs, car rentals, and even catching a domestic flight between cities (if you don't mind spending a bit more).

If you choose to use public buses in Jamaica, keep in mind that this mode of transportation will take longer to get you to your destination. Sometimes the buses fill up quickly, so you should also leave early enough that you can get on a bus to your destination without running late. The ferry service and the metro systems in Kingston and Montego Bay are other modes of transport that are available.

Unlike Jamaica, Punta Cana does not have as many options for transportation. There is a public bus system but their schedules are irregular, and therefore, unreliable. If you can’t get where you’re going on foot, you should definitely consider renting a vehicle. Expect, however, to encounter quite a bit of traffic as you drive through Punta Cana. Other transportation options to consider would be renting a taxi or a motoconchos, which is a taxi motorcycle.


Language: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

The official language spoken in Punta Cana is Spanish, while English is the official language of Jamaica. With that said, many locals in Punta Cana, including those at the hotels, do speak English. In Jamaica, you may discover that many locals have a unique dialect and speak Jamaican patois. This is a variation of their creole language that is inspired by their African roots. However, locals will usually communicate with visitors using standard English.


Economy & Currency: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Both Jamaica and Punta Cana are heavily dependent upon tourism for revenue. Visitors to either destination need not worry about encountering any issues with currency, as both accept the U.S. dollar and the majority of credit cards. However, based on the exchange rate, the U.S. dollar has a higher value in Jamaica, which means you get more for your money. If you’re in the Dominican Republic and you want to eat out, it may cost you as much as 70% more to do so than it would in Jamaica. Fortunately, transportation and entertainment are a bit more affordable.


Safety: Jamaica vs. Punta Cana

Punta Cana and Jamaica are considered safe places to visit, especially if you stay within your resort and enjoy the services offered there. Most resorts have their own security personnel and protocols in place. If you choose to get out to explore, like in any other destination, it is important to practice good judgment by avoiding isolated locations and remaining alert. If you’re interested in visiting a particular location, you may want to mention it to the staff at your resort so that they can provide you with some guidance and information.


Will your next vacation lead you to Jamaica or Punta Cana?

couples_sandals
Pictured: Fitted with luxurious features like an outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub for two, over-water hammocks, and glass vision floor panels, the over-the-water bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean foster the kind of intimate connection that Jamaica is famous for delivering.


Jamaica and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic both have a lot to offer. With the information contained in this article, you can look well beyond the surface of these amazing destinations to discover what they’re truly about. We hope that this comparison brings you that much closer to making a decision, which at the end of the day, will be all up to you. Once you decide on the type of experience you want to have on your vacation, you’ll be able to choose the right place to go. Then, it’ll be time to book your fabulous stay at an all-inclusive resort!

All-inclusive resorts in Jamaica are some of the most luxurious in the Caribbean. At these resorts, you won’t have to think about food, drinks, entertainment, or anything other than making the most of your Caribbean getaway. Plus, there are adults-only resorts like Sandals that cater specifically to couples and resorts like Beaches that cater specifically to kids, groups, singles, everyone!

Whether your next vacation leads you to Punta Cana or Jamaica, be ready to make memories with the ones you love on your Caribbean getaway.



Discover The Best Sandals Resort In Jamaica For Your Dream Vacation

The Islands
August 22nd 2022
Discover The Best Sandals Resort In Jamaica For Your Dream Vacation

The azure seas, white sands, and rich culture of Jamaica form the backdrop of many a tropical dream. With all the beautiful scenes available to you, you may think the resort you choose doesn’t matter as much. The truth is though that your Caribbean experience can vary greatly based on the resort and accommodations you choose! Want a fun and lively vacation, want an intimate, romantic getaway, or want to relax at the pool with unlimited cocktails?

Sandals Montego Bay Beach Cabanas SMB Jamaica

Sandals Resorts in Jamaica offer all this and more!

To help you choose the right Sandals Resort for your upcoming vacation, you should consider the experiences you want to have and the atmosphere that would suit you best.


The 6 best-rated Sandals Resorts in Jamaica of 2022 - ranked.

Before we hand you the list of the six best-rated Sandals Resorts in Jamaica (we will get there!), it’s important to note that your idea of a dream vacation may differ from someone else’s idea of a dream vacation.

The best-rated Sandals Resort is Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. 94% of the over 3,000 reviewers rate this elegant boutique resort as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. However, this intimate resort might not be the right Sandals for you if you’re looking for a lively resort experience with a big swimming pool and swim-up bar.

Ask yourself the question: What are you looking for in a dream vacation? Is it the beach, the swimming pool, the food, a lively atmosphere? Then, make your decision based on your specific needs and wants.

Methodology: We looked at the guest reviews of each Sandals Resort and calculated the percentage of ‘very good’ and ‘excellent’ reviews. In Jamaica, you can expect this percentage to be somewhere between 84% and 94%, so you’re likely to have a good time no matter which Sandals Resort you pick!


1. Sandals Royal Plantation

Ocho Rios area

Sandals Royal Plantation

Guests love this resort for its intimate and romantic atmosphere, attentive staff, and beach butlers. The resort is conveniently located near some of Jamaica’s most popular waterfalls: Dunn’s River Falls and the Ocho Rios Blue Hole. Guests of Sandals Royal Plantation can get free transfers to and from Sandals Ochi where they can also make use of that resort’s amenities. This includes all 16 of its restaurants.

  • Best Sandals Resort in Jamaica for an intimate and relaxing getaway
  • Free access to Sandals Ochi (16 additional restaurants and 11 more bars)
  • Located near the Sandals Golf & Country Club

View Sandals Royal Plantation.



2. Sandals South Coast

Jamaica's south coast

Sandals South Coast

Also known as ‘Sexy South Coast’. Guests love the attentive staff, one of Jamaica’s largest swimming pools, the fantastic beach (great for long walks along the shore), and the Over-The-Water bar. Located in Whitehouse, Jamaica.

  • Large Sandals Resort in Jamaica amidst a private nature reserve
  • Features one of Jamaica’s largest swimming pools
  • Popular Over-The-Water bar

View Sandals South Coast.



3. Sandals Negril

Negril area

Sandals Negril

Located on Jamaica’s most beautiful beach: the famous Seven Mile Beach. Guests love the stunning sunsets and the intimate atmosphere at this resort.

  • Located on Jamaica’s most beautiful beach
  • Intimate and romantic atmosphere
  • Stunning sunsets

View Sandals Negril.



4. Sandals Montego Bay

Montego Bay area

Sandals Montego Bay

Sandals’ flagship resort. This resort features an exclusive, private white sand beach, great food options, and it is located just a short drive from the airport (spend less time traveling and more time on vacation). Plus, all Butler and Club Elite Sandals guests receive complimentary BMW private airport transfers. Guests of Sandals Montego Bay can get a free transfer to and from Sandals Royal Caribbean (5 minutes away) and make use of all the amenities at both resorts. This includes the restaurants. Located in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

  • Sandals lively flagship resort
  • Long, exclusive white sand beach
  • Free access to Sandals Royal Caribbean
  • Best food options in Jamaica

View Sandals Montego Bay.



5. Sandals Royal Caribbean

Montego Bay area

Sandals Royal Caribbean

Guests love the private offshore island with a phenomenal Thai restaurant and the intimate, romantic atmosphere at this resort. Guests of Sandals Royal Caribbean can get a free 5-minute transfer to Sandals Montego Bay and make use of all the amenities at both resorts. This includes all restaurants. Located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, a short drive from the airport.

  • Features a private offshore island
  • One of Sandals’ smaller, more intimate resorts in Jamaica
  • Free access to Sandals Montego Bay

View Sandals Royal Caribbean.



6. Sandals Ochi

Ocho Rios area

Sandals Ochi

Sandals’ most affordable resort, featuring 16 restaurants and the Caribbean’s first speakeasy bar (the Rabbit Hole). ‘Ochi’ is split into two sides: the hillside and the beachside. The size presents no problem though - both sides of the resort are connected by ‘the Hop’, an air-conditioned van that brings guests from one side to the other every 10 minutes. If you’re looking for a Butler Villa at one of Sandals’ most lively resorts, this is a great pick. The resort is conveniently located near some of Jamaica’s most popular waterfalls: Dunn’s River Falls and the Ocho Rios Blue Hole.

  • Sandals’ most affordable and most lively resort
  • 16 restaurants included (the most of any Sandals)
  • Located near the Sandals Golf & Country Club

View Sandals Ochi.



Reviews are helpful when it comes to selecting the best resort for you. You’ll be happy to know, though, that you can hardly go wrong no matter where you decide to go! All Sandals Resorts go the extra mile to make sure guests have the time of their lives.


Which Sandals Resorts in Jamaica feature waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing?

All-inclusive resort with wakeboarding

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Head on over to the water sports center and prepare for some waterskiing and tubing. You can enjoy these activities and more at the resorts listed below:

Which Sandals Resorts have swim-up rooms?

There’s nothing quite like going for a romantic swim, right from the doorstep of your suite. Below you will find the full list of Sandals Resorts in Jamaica that offer swim-up rooms:

Learn more about swim-up rooms in Jamaica ahead of your trip!


Which Sandals Resorts in Jamaica have Over-the-Water Bungalows?

sandals south coast overwater bungalows

Picture: Sandals South Coast features heart-shaped overwater bungalows.

Over-the-Water bungalows are among the more recent additions of Sandals, and they’ve added something truly special to the resort. If you don’t book well in advance, it can be a little challenging to book an Over-the-Water Bungalow as these rooms are incredibly popular.

Over-The-Water Bungalows include glass floors, Tranquility Soaking Tubs, and personalized butler service. The two Sandals Resorts in Jamaica where you can find the deluxe Over-the-Water Bungalows are Sandals South Coast, and Sandals Royal Caribbean.


What if I want to bring family and kids?

While all Sandals Resorts are adults-only, Beaches Resorts (from the same founder) cater to families with children. Beaches Resorts are often referred to as “Sandals Resorts for families”, and in both Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, you’ll find waterparks, Sesame Street® characters, Xbox lounges, games rooms, fun activities for all ages, and a nightclub for teens.

Beaches Negril Ocean Overview

You’ll even get to have some adult time as there are certified nannies and Kids’ Camps available. All in all, Beaches Resorts offer the perfect family vacation, where there’s something for everyone.


Selecting the right Sandals Resort - your first step to an awesome stay in Jamaica!

There are lots of things to consider when selecting the perfect resort for your vacation in Jamaica. Luckily, Sandals has several resorts on the island that can cater to just about any experience and atmosphere you may desire. Regardless of which awesome resort you choose (this time!), you’ll benefit from a bounty of amazing inclusions like unlimited food and drinks at multiple themed restaurants and bars on property, day and night entertainment, free scuba diving for certified divers, and much much more.

A Sandals Resort in Jamaica is an awesome place to have the time of your life. If deciding which one to visit is still too tough, consider splitting your time between multiple resorts or planning a return trip!

Romantic, Thrilling & Exhilarating… These Are The 15 Best Waterfalls In Jamaica

Island Life
August 16th 2022
Romantic, Thrilling & Exhilarating… These Are The 15 Best Waterfalls In Jamaica

Without a doubt, Jamaica has some of the best waterfalls in the Caribbean. No matter where you choose to stay while on this island, chances are you’ll be near one of its incredible waterfalls. Some of the most frequently talked about waterfalls in Jamaica are Dunn’s River Falls, YS Falls, and Mayfield Falls. Though these waterfalls are truly amazing, there are several others you can explore while vacationing on this island.

As you explore this island and make your way to the best waterfalls, you’ll be struck by their serenity and natural beauty straight away. In addition to the mesmerizing, cascading falls, some waterfalls in Jamaica have their own natural pools and plenty of room to cliff dive or swing from a rope into clear, blue water. At YS Falls, it’s even possible to have a zipline adventure, allowing you to take in amazing views (hopefully with the best company)!

If you're still deciding which waterfalls to visit for a fun day trip in Jamaica, we’re here to help. We’ve taken some time to list the 14 most beautiful waterfalls on this island. Read on before you dive in!

Expert tip: Ahead of a Jamaica vacation, it is important to figure out where you want to stay. Ocho Rios resorts are a great option that’ll perfectly position you to check out some of the best waterfalls on this island.



1. The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios

The-Blue-Hole-in-Ocho-Rios

Photo credit: Photo Spirit/ Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica features a 20ft waterfall that flows into a clear, blue natural pool. So striking is this attraction that it is widely considered a “must-see” on this island. At the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, you’ll love the rope swing, the hiking trails, and opportunities to go cliff jumping.

An entrance fee of $25 USD per adult (starting price) is all you’ll need to access the Blue Hole. If you will be visiting this location with a tour, you probably won't need to worry about paying an entrance fee because it’s likely already covered with your tour package. Even with that said, you can book a more extensive tour on-site with a travel guide for around $75 USD or $125 USD, which includes a visit to nearby attractions.

Good to know: Water shoes are necessary at The Blue Hole. If you don't have your own, you will be able to purchase a pair when you get there.



2. Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios

Dunn-s-River-Falls-in-Ocho-Rios

Dunn’s River Falls is one of the few travertine waterfalls in the world. This waterfall frequently makes the list of best things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. If you consider the attractions at this waterfall park including a spectacular waterfall (180 ft high and 600 ft wide) that you can climb, multiple natural pools, rope swings, a beach, and more, then it's pretty easy to see why so many people love Dunn’s River Falls.

One of the things that makes Dunn’s River Falls stand out is the range of activities you can get into while there. That list includes wet hikes (through the falls) and dry hikes (to the top of the falls and in the general area). It takes about 1.5 hours to get to the top of the falls. This is well worth it as there are lots of natural pools and lagoons to relax and cool off in along the way. It costs $25 USD per adult and $17 USD per child to access Dunn’s River Falls.

Good to know: Keep in mind that only the wet climb takes you to the summit at Dunn’s River Falls. It is also illegal to do the climb without a tour guide.



3. Reach Falls near Port Antonio

Reach-Falls

Photo credit: Superlenny/ Shutterstock.com

It will take about one and a half hours to get from Ocho Rios to Reach Falls in the Montane Forest on the John Crow Mountain Range. This is one of the more popular waterfalls in Jamaica and it can be found inside an ecological sanctuary roughly 45 minutes east of Portland. The waterfalls at this location are about 25ft high and they’re quite a sight to see against the backdrop of the most vibrant greenery. There's a picnic area and large natural pools to swim in (including a heart-shaped one) at the base of the falls and pretty much all you’d expect in a charming, natural waterfall location.

Couples who enjoy being out in nature will love the small caves beneath the waterfalls at Reach Falls. One of the caves is big enough to actually get into. The powerful flow of the water here helped in the creation of these caves, which adds something unique and special to the whole experience. It’ll cost $10 USD per adult and $5 USD per child to visit Reach Falls.

Good to know: At Reach Falls, expect to see lots of exotic birds, including colorful parrots, between the trees. The flora and fauna here are pretty unique too. Wild pigs are sometimes spotted in this area as well!



4. Mayfield Falls in Negril

Mayfield-Falls-Jamaica-3

Photo credit: Four Oaks/ Shutterstock.com

Mayfield Falls is on the western end of Jamaica in Westmoreland. This is one of those waterfalls where you can spend a breezy afternoon doing nothing at all or exploring all the attractions in the area, including the “Washing Machine”, a natural pool that is at the base of the tallest waterfall at Mayfield Falls. The jacuzzi-like effect of this natural pool has made it a favorite for visitors and you’ll need to experience it for yourself to see why.

Aside from the natural pools, the underwater caves at Mayfield Falls are quite appealing. There’s one cave that's about 5ft long that you’ll be able to swim through if you’re brave enough. It’ll cost $20 USD to get into Mayfield Falls. If you go there with a tour, your entry fee would have likely already been included. Locker rentals are available for about $6 USD to store your belongings while you enjoy this waterfall. Mayfield Falls is best explored with a travel guide who can take you to the natural pools and hot springs.

Good to know: If you will be staying in Montego Bay and want to visit waterfalls closer to the Negril area, here’s how to go about getting from Montego Bay to Negril.



5. YS Falls in St. Elizabeth

YS-Falls

The natural beauty of YS Falls has a lot to do with its popularity, as does the fact that there is more than one waterfall at this location. YS Falls is located in St. Elizabeth on the south coast of Jamaica. Here, you can expect to find a series of seven waterfalls and natural pools along the Black River. The majority of the natural pools at this location are just a few feet deep, but there are a couple of them that are a bit deeper. Some of the deeper pools have rope swings that may be hard to resist.

Other than the waterfalls and natural pools, one of the things that make YS Falls stand out is the possibility of having a zipline adventure. There’s a zipline course here that will allow you to get an aerial view of the falls from about 40 feet above. Canopy tours are also available from the top of the falls to the base. If you only want to enjoy the waterfalls while you’re at YS Falls, you’ll just need to pay $20 USD per adult and $12 USD per child for the entry fee.

Expert tip: YS Falls is near Mayfield Falls. If you’re staying at a Beaches Resort, you can simply head over to the tour desk to book a combo excursion that will allow you to visit both of these locations in one day!



6. Turtle River Falls in Ocho Rios

Turtle River Falls is on the outskirts of Ocho Rios. It was once known as the Enchanted Garden. This waterfall is located within a 15-acre rainforest. Attractions within this space include 14 waterfalls, tropical gardens, a koi pond, and a bird sanctuary. If you want to get to the waterfall here, it’s best to get a tour guide who will help you find your way around. A tour guide can also help you get better acquainted with the exotic birds here including African macaws and parrots.

After spending some time exploring this scenic location, you can save the best for last and dip into one (or all!) of the natural pools. It costs about $20 USD per person to get into Turtle River Falls. The price includes access to the various amenities. Other attractions worth visiting near Turtle River Falls include Dolphin Cove and Dunn’s River Falls.




7. Somerset Falls in Portland

Somerset-Falls

Photo credit: Yardie Inc/ Shutterstock.com

Somerset Falls is in Hope Bay near Port Antonio in Portland Parish. This is a peaceful waterfall that you can get to fairly easily with no long hike necessary. Once you get to the general area, you’ll just need to follow a short path to get to the waterfall. You can spend some time enjoying the scenery here with someone special, and then cool off in the natural swimming pool beneath the falls.

One of the main attractions at Somerset Falls is the ‘wet tour’. This tour puts you right out in the water as close as possible to this waterfall as you’re likely to get. As part of this tour, you’ll also be able to take in impressive views of the cave-like grottos. After you’ve taken in all that Somerset Falls has to offer you can hop on a gondola ride that’ll take you to nearby waterfalls including Hidden Falls.

Good to know: It costs $10 USD per person to get into Somerset Falls. The entrance fee includes the boat ride to the main falls and access to the other amenities that makes this one of the more affordable waterfall excursions in Jamaica.



8. Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios

Konoko-Falls

Photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/ Shutterstock.com

Konoko Falls is a versatile space where you’ll be able to enjoy much more than just an amazing waterfall. About five minutes from central Ocho Rios, this waterfall was previously known as Coyaba River Garden. The word ‘coyaba’ is an Arawakan word that means heaven - quite fitting since the waterfall is set within a botanical garden.

Konoko Falls is smaller in size but comparable in beauty to the likes of Dunn’s River Falls. In addition to the charming waterfall and natural pool at this location, there's also a mini zoo, a bird aviary, and a museum where you can learn about Jamaican history including information on early settlers like the Taino Indians. To get into Konoko Falls and have access to the amenities you’ll need to pay $20 USD per adult and $10 USD per child.




9. Reggae Falls near St. Thomas Parish

Reggae-Falls

Photo credit: LBSimms Photography/ Shutterstock.com

If you’re looking for a good day trip in Jamaica, give Reggae Falls a try. This waterfall is located on the outskirts of Kingston in Hillside, St. Thomas Parish. Tucked away in the mountains, it is also known as Dam Falls — the name was changed in 1998 when the Reggae Boyz national football team qualified for the World Cup.

Reggae Falls is about 70 ft high. The river in this area is relatively shallow but there are some decent-sized natural pools that you can get into if you want to cool off. As this waterfall is a bit off the beaten path, you're unlikely to find it crowded. If you plan on going to Reggae Falls in Jamaica, pack as much food and water as you’ll need for the day as there aren’t any shops or restaurants nearby. It’ll cost $10 USD per person to access this waterfall. This fee is for entrance only and does not include tour guides.




10. Kwame Falls in St. Mary’s Parish

Kwame-Falls

Photo credit: Dale-Anthony Hines/ Shutterstock.com

Similar to Reggae Falls, Kwame Falls is a lesser-known local spot where you can enjoy the thrill of being at a waterfall without the crowd. This hidden waterfall is located in the rural district of Robin’s Bay in St. Mary’s Parish. It is named after a local hero — a warrior from colonial times who was part of a successful rebellion against slavery in Jamaica.

Kwame Falls is one of those waterfalls in Jamaica that is best suited to those who don’t mind a hike. The hike to this waterfall is about 1.5 hours. Don’t be deterred though - the walk is quite scenic and can build anticipation for the main event. You’ll hear the roar of the falls from about 5 minutes away. As you approach the 100ft waterfall, you’ll feel compelled to dive into the cool and clear waters of the natural pool. It costs about $5 USD per adult to get into Kwame Falls. There’s safe parking on the property as well that you can access once you pay the entrance fee.

Good to know: You can book a guided hike to Kwame Falls from River Lodge or Strawberry Fields Together. Also, there aren’t any food spots near this waterfall, so bring enough food and drinks for the day.



11. Cane River Falls in Bull Bay

Beat the heat with a visit to Cane River Falls while in Jamaica. This waterfall is just outside Kingston (about a 15-minute drive) near Bull Bay. Cane River Falls is more popular with locals and for this reason, you’re unlikely to find a lot of tourist traffic here. This waterfall has a reputation for being a favorite of reggae icon Bob Marley. He’s said to have frequented these falls often to wash his dreadlocks. There are also a few hand-painted murals of Bob Marley that you can check out while visiting this location.

If a peaceful ambiance is what you're looking for, Cane River Falls can be ideal. It is quite convenient to visit this waterfall as it is one of the least expensive waterfall locations in Jamaica with an entrance fee of $5 USD per person. The entrance fee just includes access to the site. To get to Cane River Falls, you’ll need to either have a rental car or book a local taxi.




12. Tacky Falls in St. Mary’s Parish

For a unique vacation experience, a visit to Tacky Falls in Saint Mary’s Parish is a good idea. At nearly 200 ft, Tacky Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Jamaica. This is a multi-tiered waterfall, and it was named after a legendary warrior named Tacky who is said to have led the most successful slave rebellion in Jamaica. This history is what has led to Kwame Falls being considered a “sister” attraction to Tacky Falls. Kwame was a warrior who fought in 1760 alongside Tacky.

Aside from its rich history, one of the things you’ll love at Tacky Falls are the swimming locations. If you hire a local guide, you can easily make your way to some of the best places to swim at Tacky Falls. Active couples will love the opportunities to hike (lots of walking necessarily to get here) and explore at this location — just be sure to wear decent shoes. Also, pack enough food and drinks for the day as this location is relatively remote.

Good to know: As Tacky Falls is quite tall, it is not possible to climb or cliff jump here. There is no entry fee for Tacky Falls but you may want to pay for a tour guide to make the most of this experience.



13. Scatter Falls in Rio Grande

Scatter-Falls

Photo credit: Malachi Jacobs/ Shutterstock.com

Scatter Falls is just outside of Port Antonio in the Rio Grande Valley. There are four cascading waterfalls and a rock pool at this location that adventurous couples will love. Scatter Falls is a little more out of the way than some of the more popular waterfalls in Jamaica, so finding it will truly feel like discovering a much sought-after natural gem.

Scatter Falls is scenic and mostly visited by locals. If you want to visit this waterfall, it is best to plan a tour rather than try to find your way there on your own. The journey to get to Scatter Falls includes a jungle hike (wear proper shoes) during which you’ll tread past limestone caves and spot lots of unique wildlife. Some tours to Scatter Falls even involve bamboo rafting! When you get to Scatter Falls you can climb up and around the falls in order to see the breathtaking view from the top.

Good to know: There is no entry fee to get into Scatter Falls but you’ll need a tour guide, particularly for getting across the Rio Grande to get there. If you plan on making your way to this waterfall outside of a tour, make sure to go with someone who is familiar with the falls. Bring enough food and water for the day.



14. Little Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios

Little Dunn’s River Falls, much like the more popular Dunn’s River Falls, is located in Ocho Rios. There is no entry fee to visit this waterfall, which is amazing as it has quite a lot to offer. Though beautiful, Little Dunn’s River Falls is not as widely known or visited as Dunn’s River Falls. Even still, it certainly can make for some great exploration while in Jamaica.

To get to Little Dunn’s River Falls, you’ll need to follow the “One Love Trail” (sturdy footwear is a must!). When you get to the waterfall, you can jump off the cliffs into the natural pools, swim, and relax on the beaches. This is a truly serene environment and, similar to Dunn’s River Falls, you can climb up the falls as well. You’ll need to be careful if you decide to try this as the rocks can be quite slippery - best not to attempt without a guide!

Good to know: If you plan on spending a couple of hours or the day at Little Dunn’s River Falls, pack lots of food and drinks. There’s no entry fee to get to this waterfall, but there are also not many shops nearby.



15. Roselle Falls in St. Thomas

Once upon a time, Roselle Falls ran dry, but no longer. The waters have again begun to flow, much to the appreciation of all who love simple attractions of this nature. Right by the roadside, Roselle Falls is one of those waterfalls in Jamaica where you won't have to worry about paying an entry fee. It is close to Morant Bay in St. Thomas, Jamaica. No long hikes are necessary, and you can pretty much just arrive at this location and get right into enjoying the ambiance.

Roselle Falls is best if you're looking for a waterfall where you can simply relax, or have a picnic next to the falls. It’s also ideal for a quick stop and a spontaneous natural shower by the roadside! For a day of rope swinging or cliff jumping, there are many more suitable options in Jamaica. If you plan on going to Roselle Falls, you might want to check out the beach in this area as well.

Expert tip: At some of the famous waterfalls of Jamaica, you can go on amazing hikes that’ll allow you to see the island from a whole new perspective. Here's what you need to know about hiking in Jamaica.



Best ways to travel to Jamaica’s waterfall destinations

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Photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/ Shutterstock.com

While in Jamaica, it won’t be hard to make your way to the best waterfalls. While there are many options, many travelers opt for tours arranged through their resorts. This is worth considering as booking a tour with a resort means you’ll have some time once you arrive at your destination to get a feel of the place and decide what’s best for you. Some waterfall tour options, like the Dunn’s River Falls Experience and YS Falls Experience, include transportation directly from your resort.

Aside from booking a tour, it will also be possible to get to some of the island's waterfalls using a rental car. This option works best if you’re comfortable with driving in a foreign country and are confident you’ll be able to navigate easily to the destination you have in mind. A car rental in Jamaica typically costs about $288 USD per week or about $41 USD per day. Most waterfall parks have parking somewhere in the vicinity. If you’re not sure, give them a call ahead of time.

The last option is a taxi cab, which you can book through your resort. The price you’ll pay for a taxi in Jamaica will depend on your destination. A private taxi can cost anywhere from $60 USD to $80 USD or more each way. The best option to get to a Jamaica waterfall will depend on which part of Jamaica you’ll be vacationing in and which waterfalls you want to see.

Good to know: When planning your waterfall excursion in Jamaica, keep in mind that with combo tours you may be able to visit more than one waterfall.



Where to stay on your next visit to Jamaica

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Picture: Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios, Jamaica is nestled between the lush mountains and pristine coastline just a short drive away from Dunn's River Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in Jamaica.

If you want a vacation where you won't have to think of much else but how to get there, Jamaica's all-inclusive resorts are a good option. From these resorts, you’ll be able to make your way to some of the best attractions in Jamaica including beaches and waterfalls. Depending on which resort you choose, you can enjoy the best quality inclusions, multiple restaurants, around-the-clock entertainment, and lots of other activities. There are tons of things to do in Jamaica as well, and some of the best all-inclusive resorts will put you right at the heart of the action.

For a vacation that includes spending lots of time soaking in the ambiance of Montego Bay, then certainly look in the direction of all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay. For a laid-back getaway, Negril all-inclusive resorts may be ideal. Sandals Negril is loved by couples who are seeking romance, passion, and a little quiet time. This resort also has some amazing accommodation options including villas with private pools like the Millionaire Honeymoon Butler Suite with Private Pool Sanctuary.

Any of Sandals’ six resorts in Jamaica including Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Negril, Sandals Ochi, Sandals South Coast, and Sandals Royal Plantation can be perfect for a couples trip that includes relaxing in or around a beautiful waterfall!

Good to know: Sandal’s Dunn’s River is also a great place to stay if you want to be near the most popular waterfalls on the island.




Experience the best waterfalls in Jamaica

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Visiting a Jamaican waterfall can be one of the most incredible adventures! At many of Jamaica’s waterfalls, and even en route to these waterfalls, the lush greenery will be one of the first things that draw you in. You can visit waterfalls like Kwame Falls that require a hike, or options like Somerset Falls that do not. Either way, when you arrive at the falls, you’ll probably want to jump right in!

Before free falling into a natural pool with the coolest, clearest water, you’ll need to decide where to stay in Jamaica. We’ve listed some options above, and you might also want to look into adult-only resorts in Ocho Rios or family resorts in Jamaica if you’ll be traveling with a mixed group. Whichever you choose, it won’t be hard to find the best waterfalls in Jamaica during your vacation.

Expert tip: If you want to visit Jamaica to experience the best waterfalls, you can start by getting familiar with international airports in Jamaica. This island is one of those in the Caribbean with multiple airports. Once you find the most convenient airport, you’ll be able to confirm your vacation in paradise!




Luxury Or Low Key — These Are The Best Shopping Locations In Jamaica

Island Life
June 30th 2022
Luxury Or Low Key — These Are The Best Shopping Locations In Jamaica
Cover image credit: Andrew Park/Shutterstock.com

Rhythm, dancing, and plenty of sunshine are reason enough to vacation in Jamaica … but add shopping to the mix and what you’ll have is an island vacation that’s super indulgent and gratifying! It’s a great idea to prioritize shopping in Jamaica because there are many places where you can shop around on the island such as craft markets, boutiques, and shopping malls. Some of the best areas for shopping in Jamaica include Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Kingston. With that said, no matter where you choose to shop on this island you can find something worthwhile and uniquely Jamaican to bring back home.

Jamaica Shopping Ocho RIos Street Vendors

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Some of the popular items that travelers love picking up while shopping in Jamaica include handmade hammocks and hats, local artwork, clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, perfume, cosmetics, and even food items like jerk sauces, rum cake, and authentic Blue Mountain coffee. Since there is a currency difference between the U.S. dollar and the Jamaican dollar, you’ll get more bang for your buck, making the whole experience even more worthwhile.

Keep reading if you want to know where to shop while in Jamaica. We've compiled some of the best locations!

Good to know: Montego Bay and Ocho Rios have more shopping malls and luxury shopping options while Negril, Kingston, and Port Antonio are better if you want to go shopping at local markets.


The best shopping in Jamaica

Jamaica is great for shopping - not only because the prices tend to be reasonable, but also because there are quite a few locations where you can make awesome shopping finds. If you want to experience the best craft markets, boutiques, souvenir shops, and high-end shopping in Jamaica, here are some of our favorite spots:

Half Moon Shopping Village (Montego Bay)

Once you arrive at the Half Moon Shopping Village in Montego Bay, you’ll find a charming and well-manicured space with pastel buildings and pretty gardens. You can either start off your experience by diving into the shopping right away or checking out the popular Bob Marley exhibition first. If you choose the exhibition, you’ll have the opportunity to watch a film about Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley. A new showing begins every hour.

Jamaica Shopping Montego Bay Crafts Woman Vendor

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

You’ll love the way Half Moon feels like the perfect introduction to island shopping. This location has lots of vendors, shops, and even restaurants, all in one place. Whether you’re looking for perfume and fragrances, jewelry, cigars, liquor, or clothing, you’ll likely find a shop to suit you at Half Moon. There are over 25 shops at this location.

Main Street Jamaica (Montego Bay)

Main Street Jamaica is best described as a shopping spot where you can get the best of Jamaica without having to search much. This is an outdoor shopping center, so you can enjoy the tropical ambiance of Jamaica while sifting through the stores to find what you need. The stores at Main Street Jamaica offer a wide range of items from local handmade goods to more high-end items from luxury brands, such as Dior, Chanel, Cartier, and others. Main Street Jamaica is sometimes referred to as The Shoppes at Rose Hall, so keep this in mind when making your way there.

Jamaica Shopping Montego Bay Craft Market

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com


Times Square Mall (Negril)

Times Square Mall in Negril is ideal if you're looking for good duty-free shopping. This is a great location to pick up souvenirs and gift items as well. Despite the name of this spot, it is actually more plaza-like in terms of its size and offerings. Even with that said, you’ll have many options for souvenir shopping, and you can find Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaican rum, clothing, towels, shot glasses, wood carvings, jewelry, and more.

Jamaica Shopping Negril Street Vendors

Image credit: Ralf Liebhold/Shutterstock.com

The offerings and prices at Times Square Mall’s souvenir shops are similar and bargaining is expected. It’s good advice to know what you want before you get there and have a general idea of the price, you're willing to pay as well. Before you leave this shopping center, take a moment to snap a photo with the giant Bob Marley Statue on site!

Expert tip: It is possible to do a combination tour to explore Time Square Mall in Jamaica. One such option is a Rick’s Café experience combined with a visit to Time Square Mall. This can be especially worthwhile if you want to pick up some authentic Jamaican souvenirs after a day of fun elsewhere.


Musgrave Market (Port Antonio)

Musgrave Market is open every day except on Sundays. So, if you're in Jamaica for a couple of days, you should be able to make it to this market on at least one of your vacation days. Musgrave Market is an open-air style local market where you can purchase everything from fresh produce to clothing, shoes, jewelry, and other handmade items. Musgrave Market tends to be entertaining as well. Sometimes you might spot local artists and crafters in the midst of bringing their creations to life, adding something special to the whole experience.

Oyster Bay Port Antonio Jamaica

Image credit: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski/Shutterstock.com

In Jamaica, Musgrave Market is very popular with the locals. This spot, often referred to as just ‘The Market’, is described by some as the ‘go-to’ spot in Port Antonio for just about anything. When you get there, be prepared to bargain for the items that catch your eye. The busiest days at Musgrave Market are Fridays and Saturdays, particularly in the morning.

Good to know: It can help to walk with your own reusable shopping bags when headed to Musgrave Market as some vendors charge extra for bags.


Island Village (Ocho Rios)

While on your Jamaican shopping trail, you can check out Island Village, which features a combination of stores, restaurants, and entertainment. Island Village is near the Ocho Rios cruise terminal, and it is open-air by design. Duty-free shopping is possible here and you can purchase anything from Jamaican rum and cigars to Blue Mountain coffee, jewelry, clothing, souvenirs, and more.

Jamaica Shopping Ocho Rios Island Village Shopping Center

Image credit: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski/Shutterstock.com

While at Island Village, you should definitely make a point of visiting the local Margaritaville. It’s always a good time there, and you can enjoy tasty food, dancing, cold drinks, a swim-up bar, and even a 60ft waterslide. There's also a water trampoline, live entertainment, and VIP Beach Service available.

Since Island Village is near the cruise ship terminal, it can sometimes get crowded, particularly on days when cruise ships are in port. If you'd prefer to avoid crowds, have a look at the day’s cruise ship schedule before heading to this location.

Expert tip: Staying in Ocho Rios while in Jamaica? Don’t miss a chance to take a dip or snorkel in the glowing waters of the Luminous Lagoon. The Luminous Lagoon is just over an hour from some of the best all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios.


Devon House (Kingston)

Devon House in Kingston, Jamaica is a colonial mansion that was the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. While on the island, you can explore this mansion as part of a tour. A visit to Devon House includes the opportunity to do some shopping as well. The shops on this property sell things like souvenirs, fashion and beauty items, and jewelry. There are also some restaurants at Devon House where you can indulge in authentic Jamaican cuisine before or after shopping.

Jamaica Shopping Kingston Devon House Bakery

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Once you’ve made your rounds at the shops, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the historical appeal of this restored Jamaican treasure. You can also visit the on-site ice cream parlor. Here you’ll find award-winning (and delicious!) ice cream flavors that’ll be the perfect way to wind down your tour. Be sure to take lots of photos to capture the fun memories you'll make here.

Old Fort Craft Market (Montego Bay)

If you want arts and crafts items, try visiting one of the markets in Montego Bay, like the Old Fort Craft Market. This spot is a hub for local artists and artisans, so you'll find all sorts of items including paintings, jewelry, pottery, and other handmade crafts. This is a fairly large market, and you can regularly find hundreds of vendors there selling their goods.

Jamaica Shopping Montego Bay Crafts

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The Old Fort Craft Market is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Haggling is expected and often necessary. When you walk in, you may be approached by vendors all wanting to sell you something. It’s best to know what you’re looking for and stay focused!

Expert tip: Want to visit the best shopping locations in Montego Bay? An all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay will put you right at the heart of the action and make it easy to organize your shopping trips while on the island too.


Taj Mahal Shopping Center (Ocho Rios)

At the Taj Mahal Shopping Center in Ocho Rios, the stores are stocked with souvenirs and other useful items you might need during your Jamaica vacation. Anything from t-shirts and hoodies to silver watches and diamond jewelry - you can sift through the goods at the duty-free shops to find what you need.

The Taj Mahal Shopping Center has three Jamaican restaurants, namely Mama Marley’s, Reggae Ally, and Café Express. There’s also a currency exchange and an ATM machine that doles out both U.S. dollars (USD) and Jamaican dollars (JMD). When it comes to shopping, the vendors at the Taj Mahal can be a bit pushy at times. Be prepared to be very assertive or avoid this spot altogether. Bargaining and haggling are expected here.

Insider tip: Try all-inclusive resorts in Negril or all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios if you want to stay at a resort with quality inclusions like day and night entertainment, land and water sports, gourmet dining at multiple restaurants, and so much more!


Jamaica shopping tips & tricks

When planning a shopping expedition in Jamaica, it is important to first decide what you’re looking for, and how far (distance-wise) you’re willing to go to get it. You might also want to do your own research on the various shopping location recommendations you’ll get if you ask around. Additionally, you should be aware that some locations are better for bargaining than others.

Jamaica Shopping Ocho RIos Souvenir Street Market

Image credit: Ovidiu Curic/Shutterstock.com

While Jamaica does not have huge shopping malls like the ones you’ll find in the U.S., the smaller shopping centers offer a variety of shops, restaurants, and more. When selecting a shopping location in Jamaica, being familiar with the safest spots is critical. You should also be aware of the local exchange rate. Though many locations will accept USD, converting a sum of money just for your shopping day can come in handy for more straightforward sales. Here are some other useful tips for shopping in Jamaica:

Know what you want — Before arriving at the various shopping locations in Jamaica, it helps to have an idea of what you're looking for. Setting a budget can also be useful so you don’t splurge on items you don't really need.

Expect to haggle — At some locations vendors will give you a higher initial price expecting that you will try to bargain with them. If you don’t, you could end up spending more on an item than it’s actually worth.

Be prepared to stand your ground — Some vendors can be aggressive and a bit pushy when it comes to making their sales. A simple ‘no, thank you’ should suffice if you're really not interested in what is being offered.

Do your research — Find out as much as you can about the various shopping locations before you go and how much time you’ll need to shop there. Some locations will take no more than 20 minutes to get in and out with what you need. At others, you might want to shop around, dine and explore for a little bit longer. Resort staff can provide some insight on this.

Plan carefully — If you love shopping but hate crowds, you should plan your shopping trip more precisely. Pay attention to things like cruise ship schedules because shopping locations tend to be more crowded when there are cruise ships in port, especially in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

Carry small bills — It is definitely worth converting some of your money into Jamaican currency (JMD) when planning a shopping excursion. Bring smaller bills with you so you can have exact change when purchasing various items. This will come in particularly handy if you plan on bargaining!

Wear comfortable shoes — Comfort will be key when shopping in Jamaica. The amount of walking you’ll need to do will depend on where you go, but it can't hurt to wear comfortable shoes and clothing as shopping trips can sometimes be prolonged. Wear something lightweight that’ll help you stay cool throughout the day. This will keep you from abandoning your shopping trip prematurely if the day gets too sunny!


Sandals makes a great home base for your shopping adventure in Jamaica!

Sandals Montego Bay SMB Aerial Couple

Pictured: Sandals Montego Bay is conveniently located just minutes away from the Montego Bay ‘Hip Strip’ and Sangster International Airport, making it a great place to begin exploring the wonders of shopping in Jamaica.

As far as the Caribbean goes, Jamaica is one of the better islands for shopping. On this island, it's not hard to find local craft markets, shopping centers, or shopping malls. Whether you decide to go to Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio, or to multiple locations for shopping, you’ll definitely be able to go home with something you’ll love.

Ahead of planning where you'll shop during your Jamaica vacation, you should book conveniently located accommodations! If shopping is on your agenda, it’s worth staying at a Sandals all-inclusive resort. All Sandals Resorts have their own gift shops, so you can shop ‘til you drop even if you don’t plan to leave the resort. Plus, you can easily plan your shopping trips and tours through your resort.

Sandals Resorts staff will be more than happy to provide you with local insight, as well as shopping tips and tricks. They can also arrange transportation for you and answer any questions you may have on the best places to go. Once your shopping urges have been satisfied, you can relax under the shade of a palm tree with an ice-cold (and always unlimited!) cocktail in hand.

Expert tip: Still not sure what to purchase during your shopping trip to Jamaica? Check out these 18 authentic souvenirs to bring home from sunny Jamaica for some great ideas.

Want The Best Snorkeling Vacation In Jamaica? Here’s Where To Start!

Island Life
June 13th 2022
Want The Best Snorkeling Vacation In Jamaica? Here’s Where To Start!

A vacation that includes snorkeling and lots of it? That's not at all hard to find in the Caribbean. In fact, islands like Jamaica have some of the most diverse snorkeling experiences that the Caribbean has to offer (think dive sessions in a bioluminescent grotto in Ocho Rios)! Indeed, Jamaica is known for its vibrant coral reefs, thriving marine life, and crystal-clear waters, all of which you’ll be able to experience during a vacation.

IR Turtle Shot

A little insight into Jamaica: This island is the third largest in the Caribbean. It is located near Cuba in the northwestern Caribbean. Jamaica is known for many things including reggae and dancehall music, it's amazing waterfalls like Dunn’s River Falls and YS Falls, scrumptious cuisine (yes, jerk chicken!), and of course lots and lots of beautiful beaches.

If you're looking for great snorkeling in Jamaica, you’ve come to the right place. We've listed some of the best snorkeling sites on this island, and what you can expect when diving there!

Expert tip: Want a dive resort in Jamaica? The all-inclusive resorts in Negril and the all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios cater to guests who want to dive. Snorkeling and scuba equipment can be easily accessed via the dive shop. The dive team can also share tips on the best places to dive depending on what you're hoping to see.


The 14 best snorkeling spots in Jamaica

1. Booby Cay (Negril)

Let your snorkeling vacation in Jamaica begin at Booby Cay in Negril. This small island is near Seven Mile Beach and is home to lots of booby birds (from which the island gets its name), as well as marine life of all kinds. Boobies lay their eggs on this island, so you might spot some nests if you go here for a snorkeling session.

Booby Cay Negril Jamaica

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You could possibly take a glass-bottom boat to Booby Cay while in Jamaica and whet your appetite for the dive expedition ahead while discussing the things you’ll see beneath the waters with the guide. Your boat tour to Booby Cay will likely include snorkeling equipment as well as lunch and drinks. Sometimes there is fresh seafood on the menu or jerk chicken, both of which go down well with local Caribbean beer like Red Stripe. A snorkeling trip to Booby Cay can span 2 to 4 hours.

Aside from getting there by boat, you can opt to kayak or ride a paddleboard to Booby Cay. Once you dive in, you're likely to be surrounded by fish of all types, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the coral in this area.

2. Doctor’s Cave Beach (Montego Bay)

Doctor's Cave Beach in [Montego Bay](Montego Bay) is a good choice for snorkeling in Jamaica. This beach has plenty of amenities including a restaurant, bar, and restrooms on-site. To take advantage of these conveniences while enjoying a snorkeling experience here, you'll need to pay a small entry fee of $6 USD per person for access.

Doctors Cave Montego Bay Overview Jamaica

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Once that’s out of the way, you can dive right into the cool and clear waters of Doctor’s Cave Beach, which are believed by some to be therapeutic. Whether or not there's any truth to this theory, most will agree the waters are calm and ideal for snorkeling, particularly if it's your first time enjoying this activity. The coral reef at Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the more active ones you can find off the coast of Jamaica. For the most interesting undersea views, swim around the reef and also along the stone walls that form the cove.

Sightings at Doctor’s Cave Beach during a snorkeling excursion can include blue tangs, grunt, butterflyfish, and sometimes stingrays. You can rent snorkeling gear on this beach at an additional cost if you don’t have your own. There’s even more action to be found at Doctor’s Cave in the form of fun water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding. You may also find jumping on the water trampolines a bit irresistible!

3. Seven Mile Beach (Negril)

It is almost impossible to visit Jamaica and not hear about Seven Mile Beach. Understandably so, as this is one of the best beaches on the island. Located in Negril, Jamaica, Seven Mile Beach is ideal for snorkeling as there are several interesting reefs that you can explore near this beach. Seven Mile Beach is relatively shallow, calm, and has great visibility, so it can be a good place for snorkelers who are just starting off.

Aerial View Seven Mile Beach Negril Jamaica

Image credit: Jonas_Maiwald/Shutterstock.com

More experienced snorkelers might enjoy a dive at the Negril Coral Reef about two miles off the coast. It is possible to take a boat out with a guide to explore the reef as part of your Seven Mile Beach day. The reef is shallow, and sightings include a variety of coral, sponges, seashells, tropical fishes of all kinds, conch, sea urchins, and tiny harmless jellyfish. When you’re done snorkeling at Seven Mile, you can stroll the extensive shores of this four-mile-long beach, which leads into the three-mile space of Bloody Bay.

4. Montego Bay Marine Park

Jamaica is one of the most convenient places in the world to snorkel, particularly because it’s so easy to get to some of the popular snorkeling sites on this island. The Montego Bay Marine Park is one of these convenient sites. This marine park is a protected area of about six square miles, and it’s home to beaches like Doctor’s Cave Beach, Aquasol Beach, Cornwall Beach, and Dead End Beach, all of which are interesting places to snorkel.

Montego Bay Jamaica Marine Park

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At the Montego Bay Marine Park, you’ll find lots of different coral reefs and mangroves. You can take a canoe trip through the mangroves to get to the outer reef, which is a fun place for a dive session.

5. Devil’s Reef (Ocho Rios)

Devil’s Reef is only accessible by boat, but it is not far from shore — just about 3-4 minutes from the beach. This reef on the eastern side of Ocho Rios is on the deeper end - about 65 feet below the surface sloping downward to 130 feet. This site is more popular with scuba divers than snorkelers because, with scuba equipment, you can have a closer look at the intricate features of the reef as you dive.

Snorkeling is still a possibility at Devil's Reef though. While diving here, you’ll be struck by how beautiful even the top side of this reef looks and the interesting marine life swimming around this area. Sightings at Devil's Reef include snapper, grouper, jackfish, barracuda, turtles, and sometimes nurse sharks.

Sandals Ochi Ocho Rios Jamaica Overview Expert tip: If you want to make the most of a snorkeling vacation in Ocho Rios, you might want to stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts in the area like Sandals Ochi, Sandals Royal Plantation, and Beaches Ocho Rios. This will greatly reduce the travel time it will require to get between the various snorkeling sites in this area.


6. Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay Beach has quite a lot to offer including gorgeous white sand, crystal clear waters, and amazing snorkeling experiences. This beach is on the north coast of Jamaica. It is around 36 minutes from Ocho Rios and an hour from Montego Bay. Runaway Bay is an area that’s more popular with locals than Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, so a beach day or diving experience here tends to be mellow and fun.

Runaway Bay St Ann Jamaica

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At Runaway Bay, you’ll be able to access the coral reef from the shore. If you want to dive a bit deeper, then you should check out the Runaway Bay Wall, a large barrier reef that is home to a plethora of marine life. Both snorkeling and scuba diving are possible at Runaway Bay and sightings include creole wrasse, parrotfish, angelfish, barracuda, sea urchins, and grunt. Once you’re done diving, you can easily find a secluded part of this beach to relax.

Good to know: Want to have more adventurous experiences once you're done snorkeling? If you stay at a Sandals all-inclusive resort, you can book tours and excursions directly through the resort.


7. Marley’s Garden (Montego Bay)

Marley’s Garden is located in Montego Bay, and it is one of those reefs in Jamaica that you’ll need a boat to access. The boat ride will be short though, and you’ll be at the reef in no time to get your dive expedition underway. This reef is about 40 feet below the surface and once you dive in,you’ll be thrilled at the colors and vibrancy of this natural attraction.

Marleys Garden Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: Denis Moskvinov/Shutterstock.com

Snorkelers can have a world of fun at Marley’s Garden, but to make the most of this experience, a scuba diving trip is preferred so you can get closer to the reef. If you don't have scuba gear, you can still take in some of its beauty from above while snorkeling. Some of the sea life you're likely to scope at this reef include elkhorn corals, sea fans, and lots of tropical fish including sergeant majors and squirrelfish.

8. The Throne Room (Negril)

The Throne Room is located off the coast of Negril on the western coast of Jamaica. This is a well-known scuba diving spot in Jamaica, but it is possible to go snorkeling here as well. If you want to go snorkeling at the Throne Room, you’ll likely be guided to the outer reef where scuba diving gear isn’t required to dive.

Negril Snorkel Reef Overview

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The lure of the Throne Room for scuba diving is the fact that there is an underwater cave here that is home to lots of different species of marine life. It is not recommended to get into the cavern without scuba gear, so you're unlikely to experience this portion of things during a snorkeling trip. However, there is still lots to see for snorkelers in this area including snapper, eel, turtles, shrimp, octopus, stingray, and lots of different types of coral, sponges (like giant elephant ear sponges), and tropical fish.

Good to know: If you’ll be scuba diving at the Throne Room, it is useful to note that the cavern can be entered via a crack in the reef.


9. Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Include Ocho Rios Bay Beach on your list of places to snorkel in Jamaica during your vacation. There's a reef on this beach that can be accessed by boat about half a mile from shore. You’ll need to be ferried across to the reef with a guide who can point you in the right direction in terms of where to dive. Ocho Rios Bay Beach is about five minutes walking distance from the cruise terminal in Ocho Rios, so it won’t be hard to find once you’re in this area. There are quite a few cafés and shops around this dive location where you can relax before or after your snorkeling session.

Ocho Rios Bay Beach Turtle Beach Ocho Rios St Ann Jamaica

Image credit: Yardie Inc/Shutterstock.com


Expert tip: If you want a guide and a boat to take you over to the reef off the coast of the Ocho Rios Bay Beach, you can usually find vendors on the beach offering this service. Once you’ve secured a boat, you should be able to spend an hour or two exploring the reef.


10. Coyaba Reef (Montego Bay)

Coyaba Reef is in Montego Bay and will require a boat trip for a snorkeling session. It’ll take around 20 minutes to get to this reef from the cruise port terminal in Montego Bay. Once you get there, you can dive right in and start exploring. Sightings at Coyaba can be quite surprising, but you’ll need to be a good swimmer to dive here as the currents can be strong. If you do wind up snorkeling here, you're likely to see lots of colorful fishes including wrasse, parrotfish, butterflyfish, and chromis. You might also spot an octopus or two, and other amazingly unique sea creatures.

Coyaba Reef Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: Damsea/Shutterstock.com


Good to know: Staying in Montego Bay and planning on snorkeling? Here’s what to expect when snorkeling in Montego Bay. You can also stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay if you want to be near some of the best beaches in Jamaica.


11. Bluefields Beach (South Coast)

Bluefields Beach/Belmont is located in Westmoreland Parish about one hour from Negril. This beach has been described by travelers as "a gem off the beaten track”, “simply gorgeous”, and "the highlight of a Jamaica vacation”. A Bluefields beach day is ideal if you’re looking for a snorkeling location that is convenient with resorts and restaurants nearby.

Bluefields Beach South Coast Jamaica

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It can be pebbly at first when you get into the water at Bluefields Beach, but things smooth out as you venture further in. Once in the water, you’ll be able to explore the surrounding reef where you can sometimes spot turtles and the occasional manatee. Bluefields Beach is also visited on occasion by dolphins, so you might be lucky enough to see one while there. From this beach, you can also visit Moor Reef (lots of coral reefs and tropical fish) via a short boat ride.

12. Oyster Bay (Port Antonio)

Oyster Bay is another dive option in Jamaica. This dive site is off the coast of Port Antonio and features eight miles of interconnected reefs. A great place to dive in this area is the Alligator Head Foundation and Reef Sanctuary. The water there tends to be quite calm, which is ideal for beginners. While diving at Oyster Bay, you might see parrotfish, grunt, angelfish, and more. Advanced snorkelers might enjoy diving here as well as it is truly a relaxing place to witness the magic of the undersea.

Oyster Bay Port Antonio Jamaica

Image credit: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski/Shutterstock.com


13. Luminous Lagoon (Falmouth)

The Luminous Lagoon is a unique attraction that appeals to travelers because there are few other sites like it in the world. This spot is just about 40 minutes from Montego Bay, and 1 hour from Ocho Rios. Experience the Luminous Lagoon, if you’d like, by taking a tour at night to see the microscopic organisms that live here. These peculiar creatures known as dinoflagellates emit a bluish glow when touched, which can make for quite a fascinating experience.

Luminous Lagoon

You can also go diving in the Luminous Lagoon. While snorkeling, here you’ll see the glow effect of the harmless dinoflagellates (bioluminescent organisms) up close - a beautiful underwater light show. There’s also the option of going with a catamaran tour that will provide the snorkeling gear you need as well as lots of expert tips and tricks.

Expert tip: There's an abundance of mangroves and white sand beaches around the lagoon that can be worth exploring. After your tour, you can stop for a cocktail and something to eat at the Glistening Waters Restaurant.


14. Port Royal, Kingston

In case you were unsure, Kingston, Jamaica has its own share of great dive sites. One of the best places to dive in Kingston is Port Royal where you’ll find many different shipwrecks off the coast. Diving here is suitable for snorkelers of all experience levels, and you’re likely to come across a wide variety of marine life.

Port Royal Kingston Jamaica

Image credit: Lieblingsbuerger/Shutterstock.com

If you choose to go snorkeling in Port Royal, you’ll probably get an overview of some of the shipwrecks, but if you want to get close to them, scuba diving is the better option. The shipwrecks in the Port Royal area (which was once home to many great pirates of the Caribbean) are around 50 feet beneath the surface. Once you're done diving at this location, you’ll have plenty of time to explore other well-known areas in Kingston.

Expert tip: Want to do a little more than snorkeling during your Jamaica vacation? Explore one of Jamaica’s best natural attractions, the Ocho Rios Blue Hole, or go cliff jumping in Jamaica for an action-packed getaway!



Bonus chapter: More activities to try while you’re in Jamaica

Cliff jump at the Cool Blue Hole

Adventure seekers will love the Cool Blue Hole, which promises a day filled with swimming, exploring, and overall peace and serenity. The Cool Blue Hole is a natural limestone sinkhole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica that offers amazing scenery and ambiance. Here the most beautiful waterfalls freely flow into the blue hole, creating the perfect natural swimming pool. The bright turquoise waters of this attraction helped to inspire its name, and once you get there, you’ll find the striking color to be quite surreal.

Ocho RIos Blue Hole

Image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

There is no charge to explore the Cool Blue Hole while in Jamaica unless you opt to go with a guide. If you do choose a guided tour, you'll pay a bit more, but the tips and tricks your guide shares with you will help make your experience even more memorable.

Expert tip: Whether you plan on cliff jumping or just climbing and exploring the rocks around the Cool Blue Hole, you’ll want to wear water shoes for safety and comfort.


Hike Dunn’s River Falls

A full or half-day trip to Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica can certainly add some excitement to your vacation. This 180ft high, 600ft long waterfall is one of the most popular attractions on the island. Not only will you get to see this magnificent waterfall up close when you visit, but you'll also be able to jump right into one of the surrounding natural pools for a refreshing dip. Rope swinging and cliff jumping are also a possibility at Dunn's River Falls.

Jamaica Ocho RIos Dunns River Falls Couple

If you've got the time, you'll definitely want to try hiking around the Dunn’s River Falls area. You can hike for 1.5 hours to get to the summit of the falls via the wet or the dry route. You also have the option of hiking to the nearby Secret Falls as well.

Good to know: Entry to Dunn’s River Falls is $25 USD per person (ages 13 and up). Children 12 and under pay $17 USD. Water shoes will come in handy at the falls because of the slippery rocks!


ATV around Montego Bay

If you're looking for a thrill, try exploring Montego Bay via ATV while in Jamaica. This can be an exciting way to see some of the places that you might not experience on any other excursions. An ATV tour in Montego Bay will take you through the lush Jamaican countryside, to small villages, through the jungle, and even along the oceanfront.

atv tour beaches jamaica

As you explore the locations along your ATV adventure with a guide, you’ll be able to take lots of photos to forever seal your amazing memories. The Montego Bay ATV tour usually takes around 3 hours, and you will definitely want to pack things like sunscreen, insect repellent, and a swimsuit underneath your clothes for this journey. You’ll also want to wear closed-toe shoes and bring your driver's license with you. The Montego ATV Adventure in Sandy Bay, Jamaica costs around $121 USD per person.

Visit the Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile

Dive right into some island history at the Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile, Jamaica. This museum is set up in the Jamaican reggae icon’s former home and prominently features many vibrant murals of the late musician. The renowned artist spent most of his life in Jamaica and this tour provides an intimate experience where you can see what his life was really like. Tours of the museum happen about every half hour, and it costs $25 USD for adults and $12 USD for children aged 4-12 to get into the Bob Marley Museum.

Bob Marley Museum Nine Mile Jamaica

Image credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com



Snorkeling in Jamaica: An awesome undersea adventure!

Jamaica offers a great variety of snorkeling sites, and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Many of these coasts have healthy and flourishing coral reefs offshore. The beauty of Jamaica’s forests, mountains, rivers, and people will become apparent to you the minute you set eyes on the island, but you’ll have to dive a little deeper to find the beauty that lies beneath its waves.

Scuba Diving Jamaica Barracuda Coral

Image credit: Simon Shin kwangsig/Shutterstock.com

If you want to enjoy a snorkeling trip in Jamaica but don’t want your luggage bogged down with snorkeling gear, then consider staying at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. Sandals Resorts in Jamaica not only provide snorkeling gear free of charge for all guests but also offer free scuba diving (up to 2 tanks per day) for certified divers.

From any of the luxury, all-inclusive Sandals Resorts in Jamaica, you’ll be able to explore snorkeling hot spots in Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios without the hassle. The sooner you get there for a snorkeling experience, the better!

Good to know: If you sign up for tours or excursions through any Sandals resort in Jamaica, transfers will be included with your package. This means you won't have to worry about setting up transportation on your own!

Jamaica’s Best Natural Attraction: The Ocho Rios Blue Hole

Island Life
November 25th 2021
Jamaica’s Best Natural Attraction: The Ocho Rios Blue Hole
Cover photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, also known as the ‘cool blue hole’, is a magnificent place for swimming. Far from an ordinary swimming pool, the Blue Hole is formed by nature and combined with the most mesmerizing waterfall. Just a glimpse of this natural wonder will take your breath away. Its beauty may even make you crazy enough to jump off the edge, right into the turquoise waters of this pure, hidden gem of Jamaica.

The Blue Hole in Jamaica gets its name from the surreal color of its water. This spot attracts cliff divers, nature lovers, and thrill-seekers of all varieties. The site is even more appealing because, just a short hike away, you can find another waterfall, more natural pools, and rope swings that will catapult you into this most liberating experience.

Expert tip: The Blue Hole is only one of the 34 exciting things to do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Don't forget to check out Dunn's River Falls while you're there!



Before you plan your incredible Blue Hole adventure in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, here’s all you need to know:


Blue Hole Ocho Rios

Photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

Things to do at the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios

Swinging from vines, admiring the breathtaking views, jumping into the stunningly blue waters, climbing the rock face, and letting go of your worries can all be a part of your thrilling day spent at the Jamaica Blue Hole. Here are some of the fun things you’ll be able to do while you’re there:


Jump in, step in, cliff jump, or use the rope swing

Cliff-Jump

Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole is undoubtedly one of those places where you can let your inner child out. Explore and make the most of your time in Jamaica by taking full advantage of the rope swings, and trying a cliff jump into the natural pools in this area. That is, if you think you’re brave enough!

First-time cliff jumpers might need a bit of convincing, but once you take that first big leap you’re sure to be back again for more. The water in the swimming hole is clear and cool. It is also rich in minerals. The main natural pool in this area is quite deep, so you don’t have to worry while jumping in using the rope swings or free-falling from the surrounding cliffs. Pay attention to the instructions from the tour guides who’re usually on hand, and you’ll be able to make the most of this experience while staying safe.

Expert tip: If you’re interested in cliff Jumping in Jamaica, here’s what you need to know before going for that big jump.



Hike to the Secret Falls

Hiking

Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Not only can you see waterfalls and bathe in the famously rejuvenating waters of Blue Hole, you’ll also have hiking opportunities you can participate in while on your excursion. Expert hiking skills aren’t required as it’s only about a 10-minute hike along the river to get to the Secret Falls, also known as Island Gully Falls. While short, the hike to the waterfall is quite scenic, with lots of natural swimming pools, rope swings, and cliff jumping opportunities along the way if you’re feeling adventurous.


What to expect when you arrive

Entrance fees

Visitors are required to pay an entrance fee of $20 USD to access the Blue Hole in Jamaica. Children pay half price for entry ($10 USD). Many tour prices already include the cost of entry to the Blue Hole, but you should verify this with your resort or tour operator during the booking process.

Lockers, bathrooms, and other amenities

Once you arrive for your Blue Hole adventure in Jamaica, you can store your clothing, shoes, and personal items in one of the lockers on the property for safekeeping. With free hands and no worries, you’ll be able to climb, swim, dive and explore to your heart’s content. Locker rentals cost just $2 USD each. Bathrooms and changing rooms are also on-site in case you’d like to change into your swimsuit when you get there or change out of your wet clothing later.

Food & drinks

One of the closest restaurants to the Blue Hole is Linda’s Jerk & Seafood Restaurant. Many visitors have lunch there after visiting the Blue Hole or nearby Dunn’s River Falls. Around the Blue Hole area itself, you can usually find people selling coconuts and Red Stripe Beer, a Jamaican staple well worth trying!


How to prepare for your visit to the Blue Hole

Tour-Blue-Hole

Cover photo credit: Nazar Skladanyi/Shutterstock.com

Booking a tour

Before booking a tour to the Blue Hole in Jamaica, the most important thing to consider is your transportation to and from the site. The Blue Hole is notoriously difficult to get to by car, so the best solution is to book a tour that includes safe, comfortable transfers to and from your resort.

The best tours on the market are usually offered by private tour companies in Jamaica and include transportation as well as a guided tour of the immediate area. These tour companies often offer a half-day, or even a full-day, Blue Hole tour with pick-up and drop-off included.

Combine a visit to the Blue Hole with some of the other attractions nearby, like river tubing at White River. Island Routes offers a great excursion doing just that!

Good to know: The Blue Hole is a popular attraction in Jamaica, but it’s not typically crowded. Very often, visitors find that their group is the only one there, especially when they’ve booked to visit in the early morning hours.



Things to pack before your visit to the Blue Hole

Water-Shoes

Cover photo credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.com

When heading out on a Blue Hole adventure, you’ll definitely want to dress comfortably! Wear lightweight clothing, and bring swimwear and water shoes since you’re likely to spend lots of time in the water, exploring the surrounding areas, and even climbing. If you don’t have your own water shoes, they are available for purchase on-site.

Bug spray is also a good idea since this location is nestled in the awe-inspiring Jamaican mountains, a natural habitat for bugs. Those who can’t swim or aren’t comfortable in the water may find that life jackets come in handy, especially for the deeper swimming pools in this area. Life jackets are also available on-site if you don’t have your own. You should also bring towels, a change of clothing, and sunscreen with you when you leave for this fabulous event.

Expert tip: Does packing for vacation stress you out? We can help! Here’s what you'll need to pack for a vacation in Jamaica (the ultimate list!)


How to get to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios?

The Blue Hole is located in the hills of Ocho Rios, on Jamaica’s north coast, in an area known as St. Ann Parish. This attraction is off the beaten path and about a 30-minute drive from the town center. To get to the Blue Hole, you’ll have to make your way through a rough and uneven path as there isn’t a paved road leading to its location. In fact, the path is so crude that most taxis won’t even take you there and risk damage to their cars.



Most visitors to the Blue Hole in Jamaica go as part of a tour, but there is also a special shuttle service you can take to get there from areas including Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, Tower Isle, and the airports in Montego Bay and Kingston. It costs about $20 USD per person for pickup from Ocho Rios and Tower Isle with a minimum of 4 people.

From Montego Bay, pickup costs $50 USD per person with a minimum of 4 people, but pick up directly from the Montego Bay Airport is $100 USD, and from the Kingston Airport is $200 USD.

Negril shuttle prices are available by contacting the shuttle service directly.

For the easiest, and most cost-effective, access to the Blue Hole in Jamaica, it is a good idea to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios, where arrangements can be made through your resort to get to the Blue Hole.


Amazing places to stay near the Blue Hole

Sandals Ochi
Picture: Sandals Ochi is so vast and lush that, no matter where you find yourself, you'll always feel as if there's plenty of space for just the two of you.

To prepare for the adventure of a lifetime at the Blue Hole, you should make finding the perfect accommodation your first step. Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios as many of the stand-out attractions in Jamaica are located in this area. Resorts such as Sandals Royal Plantation or Sandals Ochi can be the perfect choice for your dream trip. Sandals offers quality inclusions such as gourmet dining at a wide selection of restaurants, multiple bars (including swim-up bars), and stylish and luxurious room varieties.

From your Sandals all-inclusive resort, you can get assistance with booking your tour to the Blue Hole or any other local hot spots you may want to visit. Staff can provide insight on pricing, and even share tips and other information on what to expect. You deserve a luxury-included home base where you can plan your exploration of Jamaica’s most beautiful sights.

Besides booking the tour and securing your stress-free all-inclusive package, the next thing you’ll want to do ahead of your Blue Hole experience is to get excited about it!


Other places to visit around Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is an incredible place to be in Jamaica because there are lots of things to see and do. Aside from the very Cool Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, you’ll be able to enjoy activities like river tubing and rafting, combing the beautiful beaches, visiting the famed Mystic Mountain, and so much more!


Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn-s-River-Falls

Cover photo credit: gmeland/Shutterstock.com

You can’t possibly visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica without experiencing the beauty of Dunn’s River Falls! This world-famous landmark is a network of cascading waterfalls that towers over 180 feet high and stretches to 600 feet long, a naturally formed stairway to heaven. There are many activities, both thrill-seeking and casual, that you can partake in while visiting. Try joining hands with others and climbing up the beautiful slopes as a human chain. The falls and surrounding forest make for an excellent photo opportunity! Afraid of heights? No problem. You can enjoy an invigorating dip in the surrounding lagoons, filled with water from a fresh mountain spring. You won’t believe how spectacular this national treasure is.


White River tubing and rafting

Island Routes Jamaica

River tubing and rafting are a must while in Jamaica. After all, not every island offers this incredible activity, and most people simply fall in love with it. River tubing and bamboorafting in Jamaica are commonly done on the White River. This is typically a calm and relaxing experience whether you choose a tube or bamboo raft. The location where this activity kicks off is just a 5-minute drive from Ocho Rios, and the duration of the river tubing or rafting experience is about one hour. Some tour companies offer combined tours (full day) that include river tubing or rafting, in addition to a visit to the Blue Hole. That’s a combo well worth considering while in Jamaica!


Mystic Mountain

Mystic-Mountain

Cover photo credit: Sevenstock Studio/Shutterstock.com

Mystic Mountain is a Jamaican landmark you’ll probably hear about long before you get there. This attraction is about 5 minutes from Ocho Rios by car and is essentially a rainforest park. Once you make the initial trek up the Mystic Mountain, you’ll find heaps of adventure tours available for all ages.

Start with the Sky Explorer chairlift, which is a spectacular way to get to the top of the mountain. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Ocho Rios area along the way. Then, try Mystic Mountain’s signature attraction, a bobsledding adventure that lets you zoom through the rainforest using high-tech sleds. Ziplining through the dense forest canopy from one platform to another is another exhilarating way to see the area. Lightweight clothing, sunscreen, binoculars, a camera, sunglasses, and comfortable footwear are a few of the essentials you should bring along for this adventure.


Konoko Falls

Konoko-Falls

Cover photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

Konoko Falls is a must-visit stop while in Jamaica. Located about 5 minutes from central Ocho Rios, this beautiful waterfall and botanical garden attract visitors who’re looking for a location where they fully appreciate the beauty of Jamaica and soak in the peaceful ambiance of the island. To get to Konoko Falls, you can make a tour reservation through an affiliated tour company. Entrance fees are $20 USD for adults and $10 USD for children aged 3-12. Children under 3 are free. At Konoko Falls, there are two bars on-site that serve beers, sodas, juice, and food. Lockers are available as well ($5 USD), where you can store your belongings as you explore. To make the most of your day at Konoko Falls, bring along a towel, swimwear, sunblock, and water shoes.


Runaway Bay

Runaway-Bay

Cover photo credit: Ryan Richter/Shutterstock.com

Runaway Bay is a popular resort town that many people consider to be one of the most beautiful parts of Jamaica. The town is located about 30 minutes from Ocho Rios by car and there are many private beaches in the area. Visitors wanting to find a public beach won’t be disappointed as there are many including Cardiff Hall, which has a bar, bathrooms, and showers. Snorkeling is great at Cardiff Hall and other beaches in this area. There are also lots of scuba diving spots in Runaway Bay where divers often catch sightings of Parrotfish, Angelfish, Creole Wrasse, French Grunt, and other beautiful fish around the offshore coral reefs and in the open water.

Love scuba diving? Certified guests of any all-inclusive Sandals Resort in Jamaica scuba dive for free (max. two tanks a day) during their entire stay - this includes professional equipment and the dive staff!



Get ready to explore Ocho Rios’ best natural attractions!

Sandals-Royal-Plantation

There are many wonderful things to do in Jamaica and going to the Blue Hole is definitely one of them. The experience visitors can have at the Blue Hole has often been described as “safe, thrilling and beautiful”.

There is never a dull moment at the ‘cool’ Blue Hole. You’ll fall in love the minute you traverse the vine-covered cavern to the edge of this crystalline pool. Feel the rush of jumping into the many natural swimming pools in the area. Whether you use a rope swing or your own strength is up to you! Enjoy the short nature hike to the Secret Falls while surrounded by tropical flowers and foliage growing in the warm shade of tall trees. And, of course, capture this special experience with tons of scenic photos!

Don’t deprive yourself of an unforgettable trip to this natural wonder. If you stay at a conveniently located all-inclusive resort like Sandals Ochi or Sandals Royal Plantation, you’ll be perfectly placed to take part in all the fun. The friendly resort staff is looking forward to welcoming you with open arms, plus unlimited cocktails, up to 21 gourmet dining options, and around-the-clock entertainment!

Expert tip: Ahead of booking your vacation to Jamaica, it is a good idea to learn when the best time of the year to visit Jamaica is. Knowing this will help you to plan the kind of experience you’ve always dreamt about.




From Domestic To International: This Is Your Jamaica Airport Guide

The Islands
May 18th 2022
From Domestic To International: This Is Your Jamaica Airport Guide
Cover image credit: Craig F Scott/Shutterstock.com

After figuring out where you want to go for your vacation, the next step will be deciding how to get there. If the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica is what you have in mind for a getaway, there are three international airports you can consider for your arrival and departure: Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ), Ian Fleming International Airport in Boscobel (OCJ), and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston (KIN).

Welcome Montego Bay Jamaica Airport

Image credit: Craig F Scott/Shutterstock.com

Of the three international airports in Jamaica, Sangster is the most popular (and tends to be the busiest), Ian Fleming is the island’s newest airport, and Norman Manley is convenient for travelers headed to the southeastern coast of Jamaica.

Now that you know all the possibilities, we'll get into discussing how to decide which airport will be best for your travels to Jamaica and nearby activities you can enjoy within Jamaica once you arrive!


Which airport should I fly into in Jamaica?

Sangster International Airport (MBJ)

If you’ll be vacationing in Jamaica, chances are you’ll arrive via the Sangster International Airport. Sangster International Airport is in Montego Bay, St. James Parish. This is the main airport in Montego Bay and is a convenient gateway to get to various parts of Jamaica via ground transport or by way of domestic air travel.

Sangster International Airport Front View

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Sangster is one of the busiest airports in Jamaica, and on some days, can be quite hectic. This is because it’s a popular option for people headed to destinations on the north coast of Jamaica, as well as those who wish to travel domestically throughout the island. Fly into Sangster International Airport if you’re staying in the following towns. You can also make note of the associated transfer times for each location:

● Montego Bay - 15 mins
● Negril - 1 hr 45 mins to 2 hrs
● Falmouth - 30 mins
● Runaway Bay - 1 hour
● Hopewell - 40 mins
● Lucea - 1 hour
● White House - 1.5 hours
● Treasure Beach - 2.5 hours
● Billy Bay - 2.5 hours
● Ocho Rios (when Ian Fleming is not an option) - 1.5 hours

Expert tip: If you want a seamless experience at Sangster International Airport in Jamaica, you might want to consider Club Mobay with arrival and departure services, as well as a VIP Lounge.


Norman Manley International Airport (KIN)

The Norman Manley International Airport is another well-known airport in Jamaica. This airport was named after Jamaican Statesman Norman Manley who served as the first and only Premier of the island. This airport is located in Kingston, Jamaica (the capital). It is near the Blue Mountains, which makes travel time between Kingston and towns in the northeast of Jamaica like Port Antonia a bit longer. If you’re headed to the southern coast, however, it can be ideal to arrive at the Norman Manley International Airport.

Norman Manley International Airport Kingston Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Norman Manley is mainly used by Jamaican residents, but depending on your end destination, landing here could be ideal. If you’ll be visiting the towns listed below while in Jamaica, you may want to consider arriving via the Norman Manley International Airport. You can also consider the transfer times to each city:

● Kingston - 35 mins
● Port Royal - 15 mins
● Mandeville - 2 hrs

Ian Fleming International Airport (OCJ)

The Ian Fleming International Airport isn’t the most highly trafficked airport in Jamaica, but it is a great option if you’ll be heading to certain areas, including Ocho Rios. This airport is named after British author Ian Fleming who most famously wrote the James Bond novels. Ian Fleming is quite the household name in the Caribbean as many of the Bond movies were filmed in this region.

The Ian Fleming International Airport is the newest international airport in Jamaica most recently renovated in 2011 in order to welcome international arrivals. This airport is located around 9 miles from Ocho Rios, in Boscobel. It takes just 20 minutes to drive from the Ian Fleming International Airport to Ocho Rios. If you’ll be traveling to the Jamaican cities listed below, then arriving via the Ian Fleming International Airport can be ideal. This is, of course, if you can find a suitable flight that will be landing there as there aren’t many. You’ll certainly appreciate the shorter transfer times to some cities from this airport:

● Ocho Rios - 30 mins
● Runaway Bay - 1 hour
● Oracabessa - 10 mins
● Port Antonio - 1 hr 45 mins

Expert tip: Ocho Rios is well known for its natural beauty! Be sure to visit Dunn’s River Falls and the ‘Cool’ Blue Hole while you’re in the area (more on this below).


Domestic airports in Jamaica

There are both international and domestic airports in Jamaica. While you’re likely to arrive at an international airport, there are some cases where you may need to arrange a domestic connecting flight to get to other parts of Jamaica. Domestic airports are useful if you’re looking to avoid a long drive to your end destination and save time overall. There are three domestic airports in Jamaica, all listed below:

● Tinson Pen Aerodrome (Kingston)
● Negril Aerodrome
● Ken Jones Aerodrome (Port Antonio)


Flying from the U.S. to Jamaica: Tips & tricks

Find a direct flight, if possible

It is totally possible to find a direct flight to Jamaica from the United States. Direct flights leave regularly from cities in the U.S. including NYC, Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, and Houston. Flying out from large international airports can sometimes cost less when compared to smaller airports. If possible, try driving to the nearest international airport to cut down on travel costs.

Sangster International Airport Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

If you’re traveling from the west coast, from Los Angeles or Seattle for example, you’re likely to require a connecting flight. No worries though, you’ll be in Jamaica with the swaying palm trees soon enough!

Be sure to search for a good deal

It is worth spending a little more time flight shopping ahead of a Jamaica vacation. There are quite a few airlines that operate direct flights to this island including American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Southwest, and JetBlue. As such, it is sometimes possible to get really impressive deals. Prices vary depending on the airline and how far ahead you book your flight, but you might find surprising deals even in the weeks leading up to your departure date.

Plan ahead of time how you’ll get to your accommodations

Flights to Jamaica are available throughout the day. You can look for flights that leave early in the morning or afternoon, or even in the evening if that's more convenient. The last thing you’ll want to be doing first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening is figuring out how you will get to your resort. Decide beforehand what mode of transportation you’ll be taking.

Shuttle Transport Airport

Image credit: alexfan32/Shutterstock.com

If you’re also traveling within Jamaica, you can find domestic flight options at local airports to get to various parts of the island. Organizing ground transport is fairly easy as well and can be made even smoother by staying with Sandals' all-inclusive resorts because roundtrip airport transfers are included for their guests. Overall, it is not difficult to get around Jamaica via public or private buses, taxis, or a car rental.


FAQs about airports in Jamaica

Are Jamaica’s airports open for international flights?

Yes, Jamaica is open to international flights. Check here for more information on Jamaica’s entry requirements.

Which airport do you fly into to get to Negril?

If you’re staying in Negril, your best option is to land at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay (MBJ). Once you arrive at the Montego Bay Airport, you’ll then be able to travel to Negril via ground transportation. If you want to get to Negril a bit faster, you can also take a domestic flight from Sangster to the Negril Aerodrome.

What airport do you fly into for Montego Bay?

If you’re headed to Montego Bay, Jamaica, you should fly into the Sangster International Airport. This airport is about 3 miles from Montego Bay and it’ll take less than 15 minutes to get there by car. There are a number of airlines that fly into the Sangster International Airport including JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta.

Expert tip: If you stay at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, you’ll be able to experience many of the amazing things to do in and near Montego Bay, such as visiting Tropical Bliss Beach, exploring plantations, and going on river tubing adventures!


Bonus chapter: Activities around Jamaica’s international airports

Montego Bay: Sangster International Airport

Ras Natango Gallery & Garden

Ras Natango Gallery & Gardens lives up to the raving reviews you’ll find if you search this spot up before booking a tour. This outdoor gallery and garden combo is high up in the mountains, so you’ll be able to find all sorts of plants, birds, and art. You might see hummingbirds swirling around overhead and other captivating scenes as you explore the vibrant botanical gardens. When it's time for your art class (yes, these are also available!), you can try to recreate some of the amazing things you’ve seen before settling in for a delicious Jamaican lunch. The Ras Natango Gallery & Garden is a 25-minute drive from Sangster.

Ahhh Ras Natango Garden Gallery


Rose Hall Great House

The Rose Hall Great House is set on a 4,000-acre estate that also boasts an 18-hole championship golf course. There are many reasons to visit this 18th-century property (that may or may not be haunted), and a tour can be one of them. You’ll really enjoy roaming the Jamaican Georgian Plantation House and learning about its history. The Great House serves as a house museum and offers day and night tours (if you dare!). Rose Hall Great House is about a 15-minute drive from Sangster.

Rose Hall Great House Montego Bay Jamaica

Image credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com


Expert tip: If golfing on vacation sounds appealing, there are lots of other golf courses in Jamaica you can check out once you’ve seen the one at Rose Hall. Guests at Sandals Ochi get free access to one of the best golf courses in Jamaica!


Go river rafting down the Martha Brae

Islands that offer experiences like river rafting really set themselves apart from the pack. This is an activity that can provide both fun and relaxation. If what you're looking for is a calm and peaceful excursion that'll give you plenty of time to take in the stunning Jamaican scenery, then river rafting, or tubing is definitely it!

Martha Bae River Raft Jamaica

Image credit: Jam Travels/Shutterstock.com

A river rafting experience down the Martha Brae river includes getting on bamboo rafts and floating along the river’s course. This experience is offered as a guided tour. The area surrounding the river is quite lush and green, so you'll really feel as though you’ve discovered paradise. Before or after setting off on your raft, you go for a swim, indulge in a picnic, or explore the Martha Brae Rafting Village. This tour stop is about 30 minutes from Sangster.

Expert tip: There are many reasons to visit Negril, Jamaica, such as the beautiful beaches like Seven Mile Beach and Bloody Bay. Plus, there’s the allure of the all-inclusive resorts in Negril that are perfect for a romantic couples' vacation!


Kingston: Norman Manley Airport

Stroll through Hope Botanical Garden & Zoo

If you’re looking for a whimsical experience that involves animals and the most beautiful gardens, then a visit to the Hope Botanical Gardens & Zoo deserves a place on your vacation agenda. This is one of the most well-known botanical gardens in Jamaica and it is quite extensive. At this location, you can stroll around, take amazing photos, and peep in on the animals in the zoo. There’s also a museum and an orchid house here — both are worth exploring. Hope Botanical Garden & Zoo is about a 30-minute drive from the Norman Manley Airport.

Hope Botanical Garden Zoo Jamaica

Image credit: Derrian Barrant/Shutterstock.com


Visit the National Gallery Of Jamaica

The National Gallery of Jamaica is the place to go if you want a closer look at the Jamaican art scene. This is the oldest and largest gallery in Jamaica, and it is free to access. In this public gallery, there are both temporary and permanent exhibitions. Some of the permanent exhibitions include the Edna Manley Gallery, Kapo Gallery, and the Historic Gallery. If you plan on visiting this gallery while in Jamaica, call ahead for opening days and times. The National Gallery of Jamaica is about a 40-minute drive from Norman Manley.

Tour the Devon House

Devon House was built in 1881 and it is said to have once housed Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. Today, this mansion is open to guests who want to take a tour. While at Devon House, not only will you get a flashback in time as you explore, but you'll also be able to shop, dine, relax and even grab some ice cream on your way out. Devon House is about a 30-minute drive from the Norman Manley Airport.

Devon House Kingston Jamaica

Image credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com


Boscobel: Ian Fleming International Airport

Cool Blue Hole

The Cool Blue Hole, also known as the Ocho Rios Blue Hole, is one of those attractions that doesn’t leave much to be desired. If you’re looking for a bit of fun and relaxation, you’ll find just that at the blue hole, along with the opportunity to cliff jump into waters of the brightest blue. The Cool Blue Hole is known for the series of natural limestone sinkholes that can be found in the area, including the main 20ft deep blue hole that you dip into during this experience.

Ocho Rios Blue Hole

Image credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

If you choose to visit the Blue Hole while in Jamaica, you’ll have the option of getting into the mineral-rich waters in a number of ways, including by swinging in on a rope! There’s a waterfall nearby that you can hike to as well — Secret Falls. It takes around 10 minutes to get to Secret Falls from the Cool Blue Hole, and there you’ll find even more natural pools and room to explore.

The Cool Blue Hole is about a 20-minute drive from Ian Fleming.

Visit Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica has a lot to offer, so it is quite a popular attraction. This is one of the largest waterfalls in the Caribbean, towering 180ft and stretching 600ft. Aside from the spectacular, multi-stream waterfall at this location, there are many different natural pools you'll be able to try, including the largest one known as ‘The Washing Machine’. The water in these natural pools is crystal clear and refreshing, so it’ll be hard to resist getting in and soaking in the beauty of this natural gem.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica Bottom View

Image credit: Joseph Thomas Photography/Shutterstock.com

Dunn’s River Falls is about a 25-minute drive from the Ian Fleming Airport. There's also a beach in the Dunn’s River Falls area that you’ll be able to relax on while there.

Swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove

Want to swim with dolphins? Dolphin Cove is the perfect place for this activity while in Jamaica. There are at least three different Dolphin Cove locations in Jamaica with the closest one to Ian Fleming Airport being a 25-minute drive away. At Dolphin Cove, you can choose from an assortment of dolphin swim adventures with some being more interactive and involved than others. You’ll also be able to see sharks, stingrays, and view some species of tropical birds up close. You can also try the Dolphin Encounter in Lucea if you are eager to swim with dolphins while in Jamaica. This Island Routes excursion also includes a buffet lunch.

dolphin cove jamaica

Image credit: Dean A Innerarity/Shutterstock.com


Expert tip: There are lots of other interesting things to do in Jamaica such as seeing the beautiful Blue Mountains. Blue Mountain tours can be easily organized through your resort if you stay at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios.


There are lots of airport (and resort!) options for your Jamaica getaway

Sandals Royal Caribbean Over Water Villas

Picture: Sandals Royal Caribbean gives you a quick start to your fabulous vacation in Jamaica. Just 15 minutes from Sangster International Airport, this resort provides all guests with complimentary airport transfers, but some room categories include private transfers in a chauffeur-driven BMW!

Booking your Jamaica vacation is sure to be a lot simpler now that you know which airport to book your flights into. The next step in the process will be choosing the perfect accommodation. To keep things relaxed and effortless, all-inclusive resorts are a great option for a number of reasons. For starters, you won’t have to think about things like food, drinks, or even tips and gratuities at some all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.

The benefits are endless in the all-inclusive realm and at Sandals Resorts in Jamaica guests have access to up to 21 gourmet restaurants (including Stay at 1, Play at 2 options at neighboring Sandals resorts), multiple bars including swim-up bars, luxury accommodations, and lots of space for couples to cozy up. There’s also land and water sports, day and night entertainment, and everything necessary for a truly romantic and fun island getaway!

Conservation & Turtle Egg Hatching In Jamaica – A Worthwhile Vacation Experience

Island Life
April 29th 2022
Conservation & Turtle Egg Hatching In Jamaica – A Worthwhile Vacation Experience
Cover image credit: Steener/Shutterstock.com

Sea turtles are considered ancient seafarers and are thought by some to have lived alongside dinosaurs. There are just so many fascinating facts about sea turtles that it can be hard to know where to begin!

For one thing, they have amazing navigational skills, so much so that female sea turtles return, no matter the distance, to the very beach where they were born to lay their eggs. Sea turtles are quite majestic to look at as they swim through the ocean as well. There’s a problem though: many species of sea turtles are on the endangered and critically endangered lists!

Making that formidable list means that without the right amount of effort and funding, some species of sea turtles could very well be wiped out in a few years. Fortunately, there are many organizations throughout the world engaged in sea turtle conservation and monitoring. This has helped to protect the more vulnerable species of turtles.

Turtle Baby Surfacing Hatching

Image credit: Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

In Jamaica, there are a handful of conservatories that focus on sea turtle preservation efforts. As part of this post, we’ll highlight these and everything you need to know about turtle egg hatching in Jamaica, so you can jump right into the experience (and even assist if you’d like) once you arrive!

Expert tip: Watching sea turtles hatching is an amazing experience! If you don’t want to miss out, keep in mind that the best time to see the turtle egg hatchings in Jamaica is between July and December.


What kind of sea turtles live in Jamaica?

There are four types of sea turtles that can be found in Jamaica. This includes the green turtle, the loggerhead, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles. Of these species, the leatherback and hawksbill are on the list of critically endangered species, and, as such, conservation efforts in Jamaica and elsewhere focus on protecting these marine animals as much as possible.

Green Turtle Laying Eggs Beach

Image credit: David Evison/Shutterstock.com

Though not quite on the list of critically endangered species, the green turtle and loggerhead are very much endangered as their numbers have dwindled over the years. Interesting facts about the loggerhead and green turtle? The loggerhead sea turtle is the second largest marine turtle in the world, while green turtles are herbivorous in their adult age and feed on seagrass and algae!

Expert tip: The biggest leatherback turtle nesting population is found on Levera Beach in Grenada, making turtle spotting one of the amazing things Grenada is known for!


What does sea turtle hatching entail?

Once female sea turtles lay and bury their eggs in the sand, they head back to the open sea. The eggs remain in the sand for about two months until the day they hatch. Then, the hatchlings make their way out of their nests by digging themselves out from beneath the sand.

Turtle Nest Eggs Beach

Image credit: ymgerman/Shutterstock.com

The next step of their journey involves the hatchlings making their way across the wide expanse of sand to the ocean without being snatched up by predators, such as birds. Soldiering their way across the sand, the tiny sea turtles head towards the ocean. They must use all their strength and primal instinct. The first ones out of the nest tend to be the fastest ones, but that doesn’t always guarantee their survival.

The fittest and luckiest of them all will make it to the sea and, hopefully, live on to repeat the cycle.

Sea turtle nesting & incubation

The sea turtle nesting season is usually between the months of May and December. During this time, female sea turtles make an oceanic trek back to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs. Mother turtles will build their nests away from the water by digging holes in the sand. The turtles then lay their eggs in these holes and bury the eggs in the sand where they remain for a few weeks.

Turtle Baby Hatch Surfacing

Image credit: Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

In many ways, the sand functions like an egg incubator. So much so that the temperature of the sand influences the gender of the hatchlings. More female hatchlings are typically found in the sand at higher temperatures, while cooler temperatures mean more male hatchings.

The sand has other benefits too. While buried, the sea turtle eggs are well protected from predators like birds, reptiles, raccoons, dogs, and so on.

Sea turtle hatching

A lot happens between the time sea turtle eggs are laid and when the baby turtles break free from their shells and get to the water. After an incubation period of about 45-70 days, baby sea turtles break through their eggs with the help of an ‘egg tooth’, which is a temporary part of their anatomy. It can actually take 3-7 days for the hatchlings to dig their way out of the sand. Through this process, they are building up their strength for the world that awaits.

Baby Turtles Hatching Out

Image credit: SLSK Photography/Shutterstock.com

Usually, there are around 100 eggs (sometimes up to 150) in a female sea turtle’s nest. These eggs hatch all at once. Once they do, the sea turtles dig upwards through the sand to the surface and make a mad dash to the water. The fact that the mother turtles do not wait around for the babies to hatch means that the hatchlings must embark on this journey alone, making it all the more dangerous.

Driven by instinct, the turtles know exactly where to go and usually emerge from their nests under the cover of night. Not all baby sea turtles will make it to the ocean, but for the ones that do, the arduous journey is only halfway done. The hatchlings must continue to swim, possibly for as long as the next 24 to 48 hours, to make their way into deeper water and away from predators.

Good to know: Some people refer to sea turtle hatching as a ‘sea turtle boil’. This term refers to the illusion of boiling sand that appears as the baby turtles dig frantically to break free from their nests.


Where can you see baby sea turtles hatch in Jamaica?

There are a few key beaches in Jamaica that are popular with nesting turtles. These include beaches on the north coast like Hope Bay, Winnifred Beach, and Ocho Rios beach. Beaches on the south coast like Treasure Beach, Bluefields, and Whitehouse are quite popular as well. If you want a trip to Jamaica that includes turtle watching tours, it’s a good idea to stay at either a couples-only resort in Ocho Rios, a family-friendly resort in Ocho Rios, or at Sandals South Coast. where you’ll easily be able to plan excursions and enjoy the island.

Turtle Baby Surfacing Walking

Image credit: Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

If you’ll be staying at Sandals, it’ll be easy to book your turtle-watching excursion directly through your resort. Turtle-watching tours make it possible to get up-close views of turtles and to have an unrivaled nature-oriented experience. During some turtle watching tours in Jamaica, you might even be able to help guide baby turtles to the sea and help with turtle release, which can lead to a higher rate of survival for the hatchlings.


How can you get involved in turtle conservation in Jamaica?

If you want to find out more about sea turtle conservation or get involved, it will be worthwhile to sign up for a turtle-watching tour! One of the options is the special turtle watching tour offered through a partnership with the Sandals Foundation, Island Routes, and the Oracabessa Foundation. This experience allows you to see live baby turtle releases in the most memorable way. Plus, the funds from the turtle tour go back to the Oracabessa Foundation, which protects sea turtles and has released thousands of baby turtles over the years.

Turtle Baby Surfacing Hatch

Image credit: Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

If you’re interested in turtle watching, this experience might just be the highlight of your vacation. On the best days, you’ll get to interact with turtle hatchlings in their natural habitat, which will make for quite a memorable vacation experience!


Sea turtle preservation at Sandals

Sea turtles are a critically endangered species, and in the Caribbean, there are select organizations, like the Sandals Foundation, that focus on supporting turtle conservation initiatives. All over the Caribbean, the Sandals Foundation partners with local groups and organizations to help preserve sea turtles, coral reefs, and other populations of marine life. Community education is also a core focus.

As a part of their turtle conservation efforts, Sandals manages the Boscobel Marine Sanctuary in St. Mary, Jamaica, the Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary in Westmoreland, Jamaica, and participates in other related programs.

Good to know: Sandals is also dedicated to the protection of coral reefs and general marine conservation. You’re welcome to help the Sandals Foundation save the ocean!


Boscobel Marine Sanctuary

The Boscobel Marine Sanctuary is located in St. Mary parish on the north coast of Jamaica. In 2017, this is a protected area officially became the first ‘rotating fish sanctuary’ on the island. This means that, unlike many other protected marine areas, the Boscobel Marine Sanctuary is open for fishing at certain times of the year. Local fishermen benefit from this arrangement because there tends to be an increase in the population of fish, as well as fish biomass, as a result.

Overall, the intention of the Boscobel Marine Sanctuary, much like other sanctuaries in Jamaica, is to protect and preserve sea turtles and other vulnerable marine life through established restrictions, with a focus on community engagement and education.

Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary

The Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary is a wildlife conservation project that was established in 2015. This marine sanctuary includes a beach area, coral reefs, and mangroves. There are wardens who work within the office at this location, monitor the nests and sea turtle activity, and participate in community and school outreach.

While in Jamaica, you can get involved with this and other sea turtle preservation efforts even if you’re just heading to the island for a vacation. Sandals South Coast is near the Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary and it is a great accommodation option if you want to take part in turtle conservation efforts or do tours while in Jamaica.

Good to know: In the year 2021, 312 sea turtle hatchlings were hatched and released at the Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary.


Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society (BBFFS)

In Jamaica, the Sandals Foundation works closely with local communities to preserve sea turtles and their hatchlings. The Foundation partners with local groups like the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society (BBFFS) in funding turtle conservation projects. As Bluefields has long been known for its high record of sea turtle activity, this is actually one of the key places on the island of Jamaica for turtle conservation endeavors. Efforts ramp up during nesting season when the sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs.

Through its association with the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society, the Sandals Foundation helps to protect and strengthen sea turtle populations in this area. Sandals South Coast and the Bluefields beaches are active nesting sites in Westmoreland, Jamaica that have recorded turtle nesting action over the years. These areas benefit from the presence of conservation wardens funded by the Sandals Foundation. The wardens do both day and night beach patrols, which are vital to nest identification and keeping nesting sea turtles safe. The wardens are also skilled in nest releases and anti-predation practices. Their work spans six different beaches.

Good to know: The BBFFS has released over 8000 live hatchlings to date as part of its sea turtle preservation efforts.


Turtle egg hatching? What a way to spend your vacation in Jamaica!

Sandals South Coast Aerial Rondovals

Picture: Located very close to the Whitehouse Marine Sanctuary, Sandals South Coast in Whitehouse, Jamaica combines Caribbean beauty with European elegance for a truly breathtaking experience. Plus, every room has an ocean view!

Most people spend their vacations in Jamaica enjoying the sun, sand, sea, and cocktails! While you’re sure to want to make the most of those aspects while you’re on the island, it’s a great idea to throw in some new, remarkable experiences. You’ll be amazed by the natural phenomenon of turtle egg hatching. It’s an enjoyable activity with a purpose. There’s a unique opportunity to support sea turtle conservation efforts by observing turtle egg hatching in Jamaica. You should seize it!

If you stay at a luxury Sandals all-inclusive resort, not only will you have access to all the conveniences you’ll need for your island experience, but you’ll easily be able to book your excursions directly through the resort. Come for the turtles and stay for the unlimited food and drinks, gourmet dining, day and night entertainment, and loads of other quality inclusions!

A stellar Caribbean vacation where you can truly make a difference - there’s no better feeling.

Expert tip: Have your heart set on a Jamaica getaway? Here are some cool things to do in Jamaica.

Doctor’s Cave Beach – A Dreamy Beach Destination In Montego Bay, Jamaica

Island Life
March 15th 2022
Doctor’s Cave Beach – A Dreamy Beach Destination In Montego Bay, Jamaica
Cover photo credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

Venture off to sunny Jamaica, the third-largest isle of the Caribbean, where you can enjoy beaches that are more unique than others you may have encountered. One legendary beach in Jamaica is Doctor’s Cave Beach on the north side of the island. The storyline of this Montego Bay beach involves mysterious healing properties that, once upon a time (and even still now), had hundreds jetting off to this island in the southern Caribbean Sea to recapture their health.

Whether or not there is any evidence proving the magical healing capabilities of the waters at Doctor’s Cave Beach, it’ll definitely make for a great day trip while in Jamaica! Before we dive into all the things that make Doctor’s Cave Beach amazing, here’s a bit of the backstory:


Doctor’s Cave Beach — The history

If you’re searching for Doctor’s Cave Beach in Jamaica, you might also hear it being referred to as the Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, or Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club. While this is one of the beaches in Jamaica where you’ll pay an admission fee ($6 USD per person), the fee gives you access to all the amenities at Doctor’s Cave Beach.

Doctors-Cave-Beach-Club-Montego-Bay-Jamaica

Image credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

While lounging on this strand, you hear a bit about its history. A doctor, known as Alexander James McCatty, owned the beach in the 1800s when it was only possible to get to the beach via a cave. In 1906, the property was donated to the community.

Years later another doctor visiting from England, Sir Herbert Baker, penned an article about the healing properties of the water at Doctor’s Cave Beach. This article written by Sir Herbert has resounded over the years, and, though it’s not been proven whether this beautiful, white sand beach has special curative properties, the beach remains a favorite.


Doctor’s Cave Beach – It’s worth your while

Plain and simple, a visit to any Caribbean island is incomplete without a visit to the beach. Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the top beaches to visit in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and here’s why:

The water is crystal clear, calm, and safe

There are lots of reasons you’ll probably fall in love with Doctor’s Cave Beach once you see it. The clear, blue, and calm water is definitely one of them. The sea here is almost always calm, which makes it perfect for water sports, swimming, or just taking a relaxing dip on a hot day.

Doctors Cave Montego Bay Overview Jamaica

Image credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

Whether you’re looking to take it easy and just enjoy that Caribbean vacation you’ve waited so long for, or you want to try water sports you’ve never been able to before, Doctor’s Cave Beach can be ideal. There are two water trampolines on this beach that’ll be perfect for a bit of fun, and lifeguards during the day, which add to this beach’s family-friendly appeal.

Expert tip: If snorkeling a reef or scuba diving sounds like a great way to spend your vacation in Jamaica, you should consider staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay like Sandals Montego Bay or Sandals Royal Caribbean where professional-quality snorkeling equipment and scuba diving (up to 2 tanks a day for certified divers) are all included in your package!


Surrounding coral reefs are teeming with marine life

Whatever your experience level, snorkeling will definitely be a possibility on Doctor’s Cave Beach. The ocean here is even more beautiful once you dive in and see what’s beneath the waves. If you choose to participate in this activity, prepare to get up close to amazing coral reefs filled with vibrant sea life.

Scuba Diving Jamaica Coral Reef

Image credit: Damsea/Shutterstock.com

As you make your way along the edges of the swim area, you’ll be able to view the reef at your leisure and get a closer look at the sea creatures that call it home. Sightings around this reef include lots of tropical fish like butterflyfish, grunts, blue tangs, and sometimes even stingrays. You’re free to look and explore as much as you wish, but make sure not to touch the coral as this can kill them. If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, you can rent some on the beach for around $6 USD.

Expert tip: There are many awesome spots for snorkeling in Montego Bay that you can try during your vacation in Jamaica.


The amenities are fantastic

When it comes to selecting a beach to spend time on while in Jamaica there are lots of things to consider. Are you looking for a beach that is private and secluded, or do you prefer a spot that has it all in terms of amenities? Once you answer these questions, you’ll easily be able to find the right beach for you.

Doctors Cave Montego Bay Beach Jamaica

Image credit: Simon Shin kwangsig/Shutterstock.com

Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of those where there’s a full range of amenities you can use. These include bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms along the beach. You can also rent out beach chairs, sunbeds, and umbrellas from beach vendors to use while there. These can cost around $6 USD each, per day. In addition to that, there’s also a beach bar and restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat before or after hitting the waves.

You're within walking distance of fantastic restaurants, lounges, and shops

Shopping will definitely be a possibility while in the Doctor’s Cave area in Jamaica. This beach is very close to Jamaica’s famous ‘Hip Strip’ on Gloucester Avenue where you’ll find lots of resorts, boutiques, gift shops, and more.

Doctors Cave Jamaica Montego Bay

Image credit: mmuenzl/Shutterstock.com

The Hip Strip is great for doing some shopping before or after the beach, whether you’re interested in Jamaica souvenirs or you want to get a little something for yourself. While shopping and exploring this area, you’ll definitely feel inclined to let loose a little and jam to the live Reggae music playing along the street.

There are plenty of places to dine, including Margaritaville’s bar and restaurant, a popular attraction. You can walk from Doctor’s Cave Beach to Margaritaville in about 4 minutes. Another popular eatery in this area is the Pelican Grill. This is a family-owned local diner where you’ll be able to get authentic Jamaican cuisine like ackee & codfish, callaloo, and bammy. There are also more classic American selections on the menu, especially at breakfast time. It’s about a 6-minute walk between The Pelican and Doctor’s Cave Beach.

Insider tip: Want to do some shopping while in Jamaica without having to travel too far to find good shops? If you stay at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, you’ll be able to book an excursion that’ll take you to the best places to shop, while keeping you safe!


Other must-sees around Montego Bay

There are plenty of things to do in and near Montego Bay whether you want to spend as much time as possible beachside, go shopping, or even experience great dining. Here are a few of our top suggestions:

Explore the Montego Bay Marine Park

The Montego Bay Marine Park experience is one worth putting on your vacation agenda. For starters, this marine park is about 10 miles of protected ocean area. Some of the stand-out features here include coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds. You can come here to snorkel or go kayaking. It is possible to visit this area via a catamaran cruise as well.

Montego Bay Jamaica Marine Park

Image credit: lilyling1982/Shutterstock.com

To visit the Montego Bay Marine Park, you can schedule a tour. These are usually as educational as they are fun. The marine park is near Doctor’s Cave Beach, so if you really want this beach experience, you might as well pair it with a marine park tour. The Montego Bay Marine Park is about a 7-minute drive from Doctor’s Cave Beach. It’ll take about 25 minutes to walk between these two attractions.

Good to know: Other marine sanctuaries in Jamaica include the Bogue Island Lagoon Special Fishery Conservation Area (Bogue Lagoon) and the Montego Bay Marine Park Special Fishery Conservation Area (Airport Point).

Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls is close enough to Doctor’s Cave Beach that you can check out both of these spots in one day. This would mean perhaps spending half a day in each location: Doctor’s Beach, a strand loved for its potential therapeutic properties, and Mayfield Falls, a waterfall that has about 21 small cascades.

Mayfield Falls Negril Jamaica

Image credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

You can also choose to visit these two locations on different days, which will give you more time to enjoy it all. At Mayfield Falls, you can swim in and around the falls, and dip into the many natural pools and jacuzzis in the area as you make your way up the falls. The hike up the falls can take about an hour. Water shoes are highly recommended.

Good to know: The largest cascade at Mayfield Falls is known as ‘the Washing Machine’ and it is about 10 feet high.


Hike Dunn’s River Falls

You’ll hear a lot about Dunn’s River Falls ahead of getting to Jamaica and even more once you arrive. This is one of those places where you should definitely listen to the recommendations. Although it’s a bit further out of Montego Bay, it’s well worth a visit!

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica

Image credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

This world-famous waterfall, located about 1.5 hours from Doctor’s Cave Beach, is the largest waterfall in Jamaica at 180 feet high. Its sheer beauty and magnitude attract scores of visitors annually, which means things can get pretty busy.

At Dunn’s River Falls, you can hike, climb, and explore. It’ll also be possible to swim in the natural pools as you hike your way to the top of the falls. There’s a beach in this area as well (known as the Dunn’s River Falls Beach), a restaurant that serves up tasty local dishes, and a gift shop.

Good to know: Dunn’s River Falls is kid-friendly, and there’s also parking, restrooms, and disability access. Water shoes are recommended for this tour.


Doctor's Cave Beach: a must-see while in Jamaica

Doctor’s Cave Beach in Jamaica has quite a unique reputation. You’ll have to see it for yourself to decide whether or not it lives up to that! The reality is that few people leave this beach disappointed, but rather they depart with their own interesting stories to tell about their experience.

Doctors Cave Jamaica Beach Overview

Image credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

Wade in the clear blue water at Doctor’s Cave Beach and see if it eases your aches and pains. Check out the colorful reef nearby and see how many species of fish you can spot! Once you’ve had your fun in the water, you can grab a bite to eat and a cocktail to enjoy as the sun sets on your perfect beach day.

Expert tip: Prefer to lounge on a private white sand beach in Montego Bay, where you won’t have to pay admission and are able to enjoy unlimited cocktails for free? Stay at all-inclusive resort Sandals Montego Bay, you’ll even be able to book a private cabana and have your breakfast and lunch delivered by your personal butler!

Bloody Bay In Jamaica — Pristine, Beautiful & A Vacation Must

Island Life
March 10th 2022
Bloody Bay In Jamaica — Pristine, Beautiful & A Vacation Must
Cover photo credit: Br33/Shutterstock.com

One of the first things a person might ask before going to Bloody Bay in Jamaica is how the area got its name. Fortunately, there is an answer that can quickly wash any perplexities away.

Bloody Bay Jamaica Aerial

Image credit: Jayne Lipkovich/Shutterstock.com

Bloody Bay was so named in the 19th century during a time when there was quite a bit of whaling activity happening in the bay. Today, Bloody Bay is free from any such activities, and it is known and loved for simply being a beautiful beach spot with crystal clear waters that is absolutely worth putting on your vacation must-visit list.

But, before we get into it…


Here’s what you need to know about Jamaica

Jamaica is one of the most well-known islands of the Caribbean. It is also among the largest. In case you’re wondering where Jamaica is, this island is located south of Cuba and to the west of Haiti. Jamaica is known for many things including a vibrant culture, home-grown music, a happening entertainment scene, great food, athletics, and so much more. It is also known for being a tourism hot spot. On this “irie” island, there are lots for travelers to do, including lounging on amazing beaches like Bloody Bay.


Where is Bloody Bay?

Bloody Bay is on the west coast of Jamaica, about 6 miles from Negril. There are some amazing coral reefs in the bay, which make it a great place to go snorkeling, scuba diving, and even kayaking. Many catamaran tours cruise in the vicinity of this bay, attracting scores of visitors regularly. Bloody Bay is also near some of the best beach resorts in Jamaica - a great feature if you’re planning an all-inclusive vacation.




Travel time to Bloody Bay from popular cities in Jamaica

If you plan on visiting Bloody Bay while in Jamaica, it can be helpful to take note of the time it will take to get there from various parts of the island. From Negril, it takes about 15 minutes to get to Bloody Bay by car. It’ll be easy to book an all-inclusive resort in Negril and schedule a trip to this bay while in Jamaica. It takes a bit longer to get to this area from Montego Bay (1.5 hours) and from Ocho Rios (3 hours). If you plan on staying in any of these areas and want to visit Bloody Bay, resorts like Sandals can help you arrange your transportation to and from this beach.


Bloody bay in Jamaica - A quintessential Caribbean getaway

Of the thousands of beaches in the Caribbean, Bloody Bay in Jamaica is one of the most beautiful. From the minute you get to this Negril beach, you’ll sink into relaxation mode as you watch the waves crash gently against the shoreline and get set for a relaxing beach day. Aside from its obvious beauty, here are some more reasons a trip to Bloody Bay might just be worth your while in Jamaica:

Bloody Bay is perfect for relaxing

There’s nothing quite like finding that perfect Caribbean beach to cool off, get bronzed, take awesome pictures, and just relax. Bloody Bay is a great place for all of the above as this beach is hardly ever too crowded. The water on this strand is usually quite calm and is shallow for a good distance from the shoreline, which makes the beach very family friendly as well.

Bloody Bay Jamaica Lobster Cages Shore

Image credit: Chris Moran/Shutterstock.com

Bloody Bay is split between private beach resort zones and public beach areas. That’s why you’re not likely to find the beach too crowded on any given day. There’s plenty of room to lay out on your beach blanket, towel, or get comfy in a lounge chair while scoping the incredible views.

The water is ideal for swimming

There aren’t many beaches where the water stays shallow for hundreds of feet before any significant dip. It will be a welcome surprise when you get there to find that Bloody Bay most certainly is one of these. Calm, shallow, and clear… The water on this beach is perfect, whether you just want to do a bit of frolicking or actual swimming. On top of that, there’s usually little to no seaweed - all the more reason to love Bloody Bay!

You can choose from lots of different activities

There’s so much to do at Bloody Bay. While there, you can decide what type of beach day you want to have — quiet and relaxing or fun-filled and packed with adventure. If you’re looking to try something new while at Bloody Bay beach, you can choose from a range of water sports that are suitable for both beginners and those who are more experienced. Consider signing up for snorkeling, scuba diving, or even kayaking out in the bay. While diving here, you’ll have the opportunity to see starfish, squid, small barracuda, stingrays, eels, and a range of tropical fish.

Bloody Bay Jamaica Overview2

Image credit: Jayne Lipkovich/Shutterstock.com


Good to know: Look out for sea urchins in the shallows at Bloody Bay. If you plan to explore the reefs or you just want to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to wear water shoes.


You're just a short stroll from beachfront restaurants and boutiques

Want a beach day that includes nearby dining options, cocktail bars, and even shopping? If so, keep Bloody Bay high on your vacation agenda. Not only is there a great beach in this area, but there are also plenty of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and other attractions that can amp up the fun of a simple beach day.

While walking around Bloody Bay, there’s a chance you might run into some musicians jamming to reggae music and showing off their talent. This will be the perfect opportunity to groove to some Jamaican tunes and really let your hair down to enjoy the experience this island has to offer. When you’re done swaying to the beat, you can settle in at one of the popular restaurants in this area like Office of Nature, which offers fresh lobster that’s cooked right before your eyes.

Insider tip: For easy access to all the attractions Bloody Bay has to offer, one of the all-inclusive resorts in Negril might just be perfect for your Caribbean getaway.


Other places to see around Bloody Bay

There’s lots to see in and around Bloody Bay. Some of the nearby attractions include Booby Cay Island, Seven Mile Beach, and Mayfield Falls. Many of these places can be visited as part of combination tours, which can be discussed with your resort. Here’s what you need to know about some of the popular attractions around Bloody Bay:

Seven Mile Beach

Visiting Seven Mile Beach will be a tropical dream while in Jamaica. This is one of the most popular beaches on the island and the atmosphere is always lively and fun. Seven Mile Beach is also one of the longest stretches of beach on the island as suggested by the name.

Sandals Negril Seven Mile Beach Overview
Picture: Sandals Negril sits on the most gorgeous stretch of the Seven Mile Beach, which connects directly to Bloody Bay.


Seven Mile is as beautiful as it is famous. It is known for its brilliant white sand, calm and clear waters, endless water sports, nearby restaurants, and of course, the possibility of taking long, romantic (or casual!) walks on this truly extensive beach. Seven Mile Beach actually extends around four miles in all with the remaining three miles extending into Bloody Bay. If you want to spend time on Seven Mile Beach while in Jamaica, check out the best all-inclusive resorts at 7-mile beach, so you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited cocktails on this gorgeous beach!

Booby Cay Island

Booby Cay Island is the perfect spot for a day trip while in the Bloody Bay area. This small island is south of Bloody Bay Beach and it can be accessed as part of a tour. It is possible to swim or snorkel over to the island, but this is not always recommended as there’s usually a lot of boat traffic. While on Booby Cay Island, you can snorkel on the beach or explore parts of the island before or after settling in for a fresh seafood meal. Some tours include charcoal-grilled lobster for lunch, which can be a treat while basking in the peaceful ambiance of this remote island.

Booby Cay Island Negril Jamaica

Cover photo credit: VIG-Vam/Shutterstock.com


Blue Hole Mineral Springs

The Blue Hole Mineral Springs is one of those attractions you’ll probably catch wind of before even getting to Jamaica. It’s a popular attraction on the south coast in Westmoreland Parish — Brighton district to be exact. The Blue Hole Mineral Spring is about 30 minutes from Bloody Bay, and it is certainly worth visiting while in Jamaica.

Before getting to the Blue Hole, you might come across some videos of locals and visitors jumping from the cliffside into the Blue Hole, or even descending into the mineral-rich waters of this attraction via the on-site ladder. You can join in on these activities once you get there, and the choice will be entirely up to you on how you want to get into the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is located inside a limestone cave, about 20 feet deep, and the spring is known for its therapeutic qualities. There is a waterfall near the Blue Hole, an on-site bar, and lots of places to relax along the edge of the spring. Before leaving, you might consider getting a mud bath mineral massage!

Mayfield Falls

Looking to have an amazing waterfall experience while in Jamaica? A visit to Mayfield Falls just might be calling your name. Mayfield Falls is just over an hour away from Bloody Bay and it’s one of the most gorgeous attractions on the island. Consisting of 21 small cascades, Mayfield Falls gives you the opportunity to dip into the refreshing falls, and even get right beneath the cascades in some places. You’ll also be able to hike, explore, and bathe in the many natural pools and whirlpools on-site.

Mayfield Falls Negril Jamaica

Cover photo credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

Mayfield Falls is great for a half or full-day trip and it is a family-friendly attraction. There’s a $15 USD entrance fee to get in, and once inside, a travel guide can escort you during the one-hour trek up to the falls. If you plan on exploring the area and getting into the water, be sure to bring along a pair of water shoes.


The best time to visit Bloody Bay

Jamaica has a tropical climate, so the weather is warm pretty much all year round. Overall though, the best time of year to visit Jamaica is mid-December to mid-April, which also happens to be peak season for this destination. This time of year is also the best time to visit Bloody Bay because there is a lower chance of rain interruptions for your beach day and a higher likelihood of fun, relaxation, socializing, and generally having the time of your life. Jamaica tends to be warmest from December to March as well, so if you travel during this time, you’ll be able to catch some rays in the best beachside spots and cool off in the refreshing Caribbean Sea.


There's so much to love about Bloody Bay in Jamaica!

There are so many beaches to explore in Jamaica, and Bloody Bay Beach is among the best. Wade in the cool, clear waters, shop at trendy boutiques and explore the surrounding areas on your trip to Bloody Bay. A visit to Bloody Bay will add pizazz to your Caribbean vacation. What a great way to spend your Jamaican getaway!

Bloody Bay Jamaica Aerial3

Image credit: Jayne Lipkovich/Shutterstock.com

Expert Guide To Hiking In Jamaica (Where To Go & Where To Stay!)

Island Life
February 1st 2022
Expert Guide To Hiking In Jamaica (Where To Go & Where To Stay!)
Cover photo credit: ajlatan/Shutterstock.com

The air is different in a new place! Once you’ve hopped on a plane and ventured away from home, you’ll have the chance to experience the excitement of a new destination and the way it can sometimes feel like making a fresh start.

Hiking is a great way to get a blast of fresh air from a wonderful new destination, and it’s even better if you’re traveling with the love of your life! Jamaica is one of the most popular islands for hiking in the Caribbean. There are many cool trails on this island that allow you to discover Jamaica in a more intimate way and get in tune with the slow and steady island time.

In this post, we’ll zero in on some of the best hiking trails in Jamaica and reveal why you should seriously consider this destination for your next vacation!

Expert tip: There’s no better place than Jamaica to have a vacation that’s both active and luxurious. There are many all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica that cater to travelers who want it all.



The 6 best hiking trails in Jamaica

Jamaica’s mountainous landscape makes it a great choice for couples who are looking for some of the best hiking in the Caribbean. More than half of this island is covered with mountains, making it easy for nature lovers to find somewhere exciting to explore. If you plan on hiking while in Jamaica, here are some of the best hiking trails:


1. The Blue Mountain Peak Trail

View-from-Blue-Mountain-Hiking-Trail

Visiting the Blue Mountain range is a must while in Jamaica. This is the longest mountain range on the island and it extends across the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, and St. Andrew. The Blue Mountain is also the highest peak in Jamaica.

The Blue Mountain is alluring because of its beauty and the incredible hiking opportunities it offers. This mountain range is about 1.5 hours from Kingston and the hiking trail can be found inside the Blue and John Crow National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). To get to the highest point of the mountains, which is around 7,402 ft, you’ll need to traverse the Blue Mountain Peak Trail which is about 14-miles long. This hike is steep in some places so be precise about your selection of hiking boots. From the highest points of this trail, you’ll be able to see the island’s north and south coasts and even the outline of Cuba on clear days.

Expert tip: While in this area, ask about the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee that is harvested there. You just might find a shop to purchase some to take home with you!



2. Mount Zion Hill Nature Walk

Mount-Zion-Hill-Nature-Walk

Photo credit: Dominick Smith/Shutterstock.com

Another great hiking trail can be found in Montego Bay. This trail, the Mount Zion Trail, is an uphill challenge leading the way to the Mount Zion Village. Hiking in this area is one of the top 42 things to do in Montego Bay and the trail is about 4.8 miles round-trip. It can take about 2 hours to get to the village of Mount Zion from the starting point of this trail if you’re hiking at a leisurely pace.

The diverse landscape along the Mount Zion trail is one of the things that sets it apart. The trail meanders through orchards, farms, pastures, and dense jungle, all of which adds to its appeal. Once hikers get to Mount Zion Village, they are free to explore the area, which includes a church, a school, a rum shop, and stunning views that make the whole experience worth it.

Insider tip: After this challenging hike, there’s no better feeling than relaxing in your suite at a luxury all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay. Rejuvenate by getting in some spa time, or simply relaxing at the beach!



3. Cockpit Country Trails

Cockpit-Country-Trails

Photo credit: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski/Shutterstock.com

For more experienced hikers in Jamaica, trekking on the Cockpit Country Trails can be a thrill. Cockpit Country Trails are near the north coast of Jamaica, around an hour from Montego Bay, and around 30 minutes from Falmouth. Keep in mind before heading there that most of the trails in this area are not for the faint of heart. They are among the more challenging hikes in Jamaica, and guided tours are recommended.

Along the Cockpit Country trails, you can expect wild jungle terrain, eerie caves, and a chance to see quite a few species of Jamaican wildlife. Once you get to this location, you’ll have to choose between the Troy-Windsor Trail (20 miles round-trip) and the Quick-Step Trail (22 miles round-trip). The Troy-Windsor Trail will take you along an old British military road from the 1700s, while the Quick-Step Trail goes to the village of Quick-Step. There is also a shorter option in this area, the Windsor Loop, which is three miles long. This trail takes about one hour to complete and it is a little more accessible.


4. Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn-s-River-Falls-1

Photo credit: SL-photo/Shutterstock.com

Dunn’s River Falls is an attraction you won’t stop hearing about while in Jamaica. This 180-foot waterfall is world-famous, and millions of people clamor to experience it each year.

Hikers will love the options available at Dunn’s River Falls. You can choose to do a wet hike that involves climbing the falls to get to the summit or a dry hike that takes you along the trails in the area. Water shoes are recommended for the wet hike, which is the only way to get to the summit of the falls. A local guide is definitely recommended here, and you’re likely to find one as soon as you arrive at the falls. The hike up the falls takes about 1.5 hours, and the admission fee for this attraction is about $25 USD per adult.

Expert tip: Another option for hiking to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica is via the One Love Trail, which starts from downtown Ocho Rios and leads to the falls. Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios can make it easier to check out the dozens of amazing attractions in this area.



5. Mayfield Falls River Hike

Mayfield-Falls-River-Hike

Photo credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

Get some more waterfall action at Mayfield Falls, but this time go for a hike! There’s an amazing hike in this area known as the Mayfield Falls River Hike. This trail is in the Dolphin Head Mountains in Glenbrook, Westmoreland, which is around an hour away from Negril.

Off the beaten path and truly worth experiencing, there are marked differences between this hike and the hiking experiences available at similar sites like Dunn’s River Falls. For one thing, Mayfield Falls tends to be less crowded than Dunn’s River Falls. Mayfield Falls is also made up of 21 cascades, the largest of which is around 9.8ft (The Washing Machine). There are a few natural pools and jacuzzis at Mayfield Falls, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and on-site parking.

A guide is recommended for making the most of your Mayfield Falls adventure. Just as soon as you arrive, you’re likely to run into local guides who can lead you along your nature walk. Hiking trails here range from 45 minutes to a few hours with varying levels of difficulty. Water shoes are recommended as many, if not all of these trails, will take you through the river. It costs $15 USD to get into Mayfield Falls, but this site is among the top five reasons to visit Negril.

Expert tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Negril will make it easy to plan your Mayfield Falls adventure as the resort staff is always ready to help.



Watch Hill Trail

Watch-Hill-Trail

Photo credit: ajlatan/Shutterstock.com

If you’re searching for great hiking trails in Jamaica, you’re likely to discover the Watch Hill Trail. This is a 4.6-mile trail on the north coast of Jamaica is located near Port Antonio, Portland, and is rarely (if ever) crowded.

This is a moderate and scenic hike leading along a river and will give you a chance to see some of the island’s banana and sugar plantations up close. The Watch Hill trail can be done at a relaxed pace and will take around 3-4 hours to complete. Watch Hill is an out-and-back trail, so your hike will begin and end at the same place.


The best time to visit Jamaica for hiking

Jamaica is a great destination to visit year-round, especially if you’re looking for warm weather and lots of interesting things to do. The best time to visit Jamaica for hiking tends to be between mid-December and mid-April. During these months, your chances are higher for having a rain-free vacation since December marks the start of Jamaica’s dry season. The average temperatures are also lower during this time of year, so you can enjoy outdoor activities with less heat.

No matter when you decide to visit Jamaica, you’ll be able to enjoy sunny shores, great beach resorts, entertainment, and so much more!


Reset and rejuvenate while hiking in Jamaica

Sandals-Montego-Bay-2
Picture: Once you've explored the lush Jamaican landscape, relax and enjoy the casual atmosphere of Sandals Montego Bay. Unlimited cocktails and around-the-world dining can lead to more adventures, if you let them!

A well-planned hiking trip can be something you’ll remember for years to come, especially if that hiking trip is on an island as spectacular as Jamaica. Revel in the island’s gorgeous mountainous landscape and get your heart pumping on whichever beautiful hiking trail suits your skill level and thirst for adventure.

While great hiking is definitely one of the amazing things Jamaica has to offer, there are lots more activities you’ll be able to enjoy while on the shores of this festive island. If you want to experience the beauty of Jamaica without worrying about too many details, staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica can be a great and hassle-free option.

Resorts like Sandals have multiple themed restaurants, bars including swim-up bars, day and night entertainment, water and land sports, and many other quality inclusions. Plus, you’ll have seven Sandals resorts to choose from in Jamaica, any of which can be a great option to begin your amazing hiking vacation on this gorgeous Caribbean island!




Let The Adventures Begin: The Top 19 Things To Do In Falmouth, Jamaica

Island Life
January 27th 2022
Let The Adventures Begin: The Top 19 Things To Do In Falmouth, Jamaica

Jamaica is one of those Caribbean islands that you simply must visit at least once. And why exactly is that, you may ask? Well, this 4,244 square mile island is one of the largest and most beautiful in the Caribbean (comparable in size to the US state of Connecticut). Jamaica is divided into parishes, one of which is Trelawny, home to the popular town of Falmouth.

Falmouth has a rich history filled with stories that have been preserved in its Georgian-style buildings, its people, and its traditions. In this post, we’ll share the 19 best things to do in Falmouth, including visiting its white sandy beaches, hidden caves, and bioluminescent lagoons.

If you’re ready for an exciting adventure, let’s dig in!


1. Take a culinary walking tour of the town

Falmouth-Port

Photo credit: Irina Wilhauk/Shutterstock.com

One of the first activities you might want to get into once you arrive in Falmouth, Jamaica is a culinary walking tour of the town. This guided walking tour offers you a chance to learn about Jamaican history and its delicious cuisine. You will get to sample various dishes prepared by locals who have used culinary traditions and practices, as well as local herbs and seasonings, to prepare scrumptious dishes that’ll be the perfect introduction to this tropical isle. By way of the culinary walking tour, you can also find out more about what life was like on the sugar plantations and how this crop was produced.

The culinary walking tour in Falmouth will take you through this historic town where you should look out for sites such as the Falmouth Courthouse, and museums like the Greenwood Great House. The courthouse, which was erected in 1815, is a concrete example of Georgian architecture that has been preserved on the island.


2. Try river tubing on the Rio Bueno River

River-Tubbing

Rio Bueno is a small village along the north coast of Jamaica with a river that runs through it and into the Rio Bueno Harbor. The lush vegetation surrounding the Rio Bueno River creates the perfect ambiance for a nature-oriented tour. While in Jamaica, you’ll be able to explore this area by way of river tubing half-day tours led by guides that’ll share more about the history of this island along the way.

If you’re up for a thrill, you can make a few stops during the river tubing tour to swing from ropes or jump off different ledges into the cool water below. Ensure that you carry your swimsuit, a towel, cash, and even a camera if you’d like. Mosquito repellent will also come in handy!


3. Take part in the Hampden Estate rum tour

This rum tour takes place at the Hampden Estate Rum Distillery in Trelawny, Jamaica. This distillery, which was established in the 1950s, produces a Pure Single Jamaica Rum, using a process that has been around for more than 260 years.

During the Hampden Estate Rum Tour, you’ll be able to see more of Jamaica’s countryside, tour the Hampden Great House, and get to enjoy a bite to eat and rum samples as well. The tour duration is about two hours and each tour accommodates ten people at a time. You must be 18 years or older to take part in this tour and remember to wear enclosed shoes!


4. Zipline for unbeatable views

Zipline

Don’t miss out on some exhilarating ziplining while in Falmouth. The adrenaline rush you’ll get while zipping through the lush vegetation in this area is comparable to none, and definitely worth signing up for. Falmouth has many different locations to choose from for ziplining, so if you’re not afraid of heights, you’ll be in a great position for some adventure!

Your ziplining fun can begin with the Mystic Mountain Zipline Canopy Tour, which is about an hour from Falmouth. When you zip through this rainforest, you will be rewarded with a view of Dunn’s River Falls, near the town of Ocho Rios. Other amazing tours include the Good Hope Estate Pass & Adventure Falls excursion which takes place in Trelawney about 20 minutes away from Falmouth.


5. Experience a private tour of the Martha Brae River in a bamboo raft

Bamboo-Raft

Bamboo rafting in Jamaica is definitely something that should be at the top of your bucket list. The 30-foot rafts, which are made of 100% bamboo, are led into the waters of the Martha Brae River by any of the 80+ licensed raft captains who are very knowledgeable about this area. The tour lasts about an hour and takes you down more than three miles of river with an awe-inspiring view of Jamaica’s beautiful flora and fauna.

Before you even board the raft, you will first meet the guides in the embarkation area, known as “Rafters Village”. This spans six acres of land and is exciting enough by itself, thanks to souvenir shops, a bar, picnic area, and Miss Martha’s Herb Garden. Be sure to check it out before or even after you go rafting.

Expert tip: Want to stay at a Sandals Resort, but are you interested in visiting Falmouth for the day? Stay at Sandals flagship all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay or at the more intimate Sandals Royal Caribbean. Falmouth is located just a 30-minute drive from both resorts.



6. Drive an ATV through the lush Jamaican rainforest

ATV

An ATV tour in Falmouth is an exciting way to explore the outdoors, see amazing sites and buildings, and visit the hotspots of the island. You’ll get to ride through the rugged terrain and experience many of the nature trails, wildlife, and vegetation in its midst.

ATV tours are a great thrill and ideal for anyone looking for some fun in the sun. You may need to bring some bug repellent and a change of clothes, just in case, as the trails can sometimes get muddy. No worries, though, the sites that you will see and the new places you will visit will make it all worth it!


7. Explore Falmouth on horseback

Horseback-Ridding

Horseback riding through Falmouth is an incredible way to experience the town. What’s even better, is that horseback riding is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders, so no one ever feels left out. Plus, many companies offer horseback riding tours so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from while in Jamaica. One of the popular horseback riding tours you can try while on this Caribbean isle is the Falmouth Jamaica Horseback Riding tour. This tour will take you from the cruise ship port to the stables then out on horseback. The guides will take you to the beach, past sugar cane fields, and through rugged and beautiful green spaces.


8. Admire nearby Great Houses

Rose-Hall-Great-House

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The Great Houses in Jamaica carry a history with them that tells the tale of slavery and triumph and they are known as intriguing historical buildings. Two of these include the Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay (about 30 minutes from Falmouth), and the Good Hope Great House in Trelawny.

A visit to Good Hope will teach you more about its history as a sugar plantation in the 18th century, and you’ll see its modern-day transformation to an adventure center. At Good Hope, you can embark on a historical tour, go river tubing, try horse and buggy rides, or go ziplining. Meanwhile, at the Rose Hall Great House, you can learn more about the famous Annie Palmer who was rumored to have killed her husband within those very walls. Don’t worry, it's not all grim though; you can also get a tour of this 4,000-acre estate complete with its 18-hole championship golf course.


9. Enjoy Red Stripe Beach

If you’d like to spend a nice relaxing day at a private beach, you may want to head down to Red Stripe Beach in Falmouth. A beautiful coastline borders the calm, blue waters of this charming beach. A visit to Red Stripe Beach grants you access to the amenities offered, such as the restaurants and bar, beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as changing rooms.

Red Stripe Beach is well protected by security and lifeguards and is usually also kept very clean, and free of nuisances like seaweed. This beach is also easy to access, as it is only a few minutes away from the cruise port. A visit to Red Stripe Beach is included in many of the excursions offered by the cruise sector, so if you’re in Falmouth, be sure to ask your tour guide about visiting Red Stripe Beach.


10. Spend the day at Burwood Beach

-Burwood-Beach

Photo credit: Yardie Inc/Shutterstock.com

Burwood Beach is a popular public beach that is situated close to the cruise port in Falmouth. This publicly accessible beach is frequented and loved by many, so if you don’t mind the crowd, you should definitely stop by.

Burwood Beach has lifeguards on standby as well as changing rooms, bathrooms, and showers. To maintain these amenities, there is a small entrance fee that must be paid to gain access to the beach. Local vendors also sell fish and other treats and snacks for you to munch on while lazing in the sun. Don’t forget to bring a friend or two with you, so you can all enjoy the beach together.


11. Explore Green Grotto Caves

Green-Grotto-Caves

Photo credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Some should already be familiar with the Green Grotto Caves, thanks to the 1973 James Bond spy film “Live and Let Die”, which was filmed here. If you’re not, you should stop by to visit these caves that are regarded as one of Jamaica’s most fascinating attractions.

The Green Grotto Caves are revered for the amazing natural formations that set it apart, including the limestone structures, stalagmites, and its very own lake known as the Grotto Lake. While there, you can keep a lookout for the snakes, snails, and bats, such as the Jamaican fruit-eating bats, that all live within the cave. A visit to these caverns is bound to be a mysterious but interesting one, ending with lots of stories you can share with your friends and family.


12. Relax at Doctor’s Cave Beach

Doctor-s-Cave-Beach

Photo credit: Timo Becker/Shutterstock.com

Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Montego Bay and attracts visitors and locals alike. A short trip from Falmouth can take you to this gorgeous beach that stretches about 5 miles across the coast. This beach, which is named after Doctor James McCatty, is equipped with facilities such as bars, changing rooms, and a gift shop and it is ideal for a fun day with families or friends.

Doctor’s Cave Beach requires a small entrance fee and gives you opportunities to enjoy water sports such as kayaking and parasailing at an additional cost. There is also a coral reef very close by that is an ideal location for snorkeling. Overall, if you’re looking to create some great memories on the white sands of Jamaica, don’t hesitate to visit Doctor’s Cave Beach.

Expert tip: Will you be staying in or near Montego Bay while in Jamaica? Here are the top things to do in Montego Bay for an exciting getaway!



13. Swim in the bioluminescent Luminous Lagoon

Luminous-Lagoon

Dinoflagellates are small marine plankton that can be found at the Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica, one of the most interesting nocturnal attractions you’ll be able to see in Jamaica. The presence of this marine plankton causes the water to light up at night illuminating the pool itself and any other marine life in the water.

The Luminous Lagoon is very unique; it is located at the meeting point of the Martha Brae River and the Caribbean Sea. It stands out because it is one of only five locations in the world where bioluminescent plankton can be seen, with three of the other locations being in Puerto Rico. In Jamaica, the dinoflagellates can be seen all year round and you’re free to take a guided boat tour of the lagoon to experience it for yourself.


14. Go on a swamp safari with crocodiles

Swamp-Safari

Photo credit: Delmas Lehman/Shutterstock.com

Remember that James Bond movie we spoke about earlier? Well, another one of the scenes from ‘Live and Let Die’ was filmed at a swamp safari in Jamaica! If you’re an animal lover or just a little more daring than most, then this is a tour you simply must try.

Your swamp safari adventures in Jamaica can begin with the wetlands that make up Charles Swaby’s Crocodile Farm, home to more than 70 crocodiles. As part of this excursion, you’ll be able to feed the crocs, hold their babies, or just watch them be fed by their caregivers. At the swamp safari, you’ll also get a chance to see some other animals such as the Jamaican coney, gray fox, and capuchin monkey.


15. Try your hand at bobsledding

Bobsledding

Like many other islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica has rugged terrain with many majestic mountains. Jamaica offers a unique experience where you can go bobsledding through mountains such as the 700-foot Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios.

This ride starts at the top of the mountain and runs through Mystic Mountain’s 100-acre park. Just imagine how exhilarating it would be to travel down this 1,000-meter track, surrounded by amazing views and a rich tropical climate. If the thought of this excites you, then this is definitely the adventure for you.


16. Explore the shops and restaurants at Falmouth’s cruise port

Falmouth-1

Photo credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

When the Falmouth cruise port reopened its doors in 2011, large cruise ships could finally dock there and the local businesses thrived. A walk through the port will take you to the many restaurants and the various shops in this area. Many of these shops also sell souvenirs that you can take home to your loved ones.

Some of the notable attractions near the cruise port include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which is a restaurant, shop, and bar all in one. Margaritaville’s menu features local cuisine and other food options to suit almost all preferences. Pepper’s Jerk Center is another popular restaurant in the cruise port area that sells authentic Jamaican cuisine.


Jamaica’s top attractions that are a bit further out of Falmouth:

17. Jump into the ‘cool’ Blue Hole

Blue-Hole

Photo credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole is a deep sinkhole that gets its name from the turquoise waters that fill the pool. This natural attraction can be found a short distance from Falmouth, in the town of Ocho Rios.

The Blue Hole is an attractive natural wonder to those who love the outdoors, swimming, climbing, and thrill-seeking. You can also cliff dive and jump into the pools using ropes swings in this area. While the Blue Hole is one of the most stunning attractions in Jamaica, there isn’t usually much traffic there. Rest assured you’ll have enough space to enjoy this magical area however you’d like.


18. Visit Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn-s-River-Falls

Photo credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

A list of things to do in Jamaica is incomplete without mentioning Dunn's River Falls. Why exactly is that, you might wonder? Well, Dunn’s River Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Jamaica, and rightfully so, as it is one of few in the world that flows into the ocean below. Not only is Dunn’s River Falls quite a stunning sight to see, but there is also so much to do while there.

If you’re looking to simply relax, then feel free to lounge at the beach or take a swim. If you’re up for some adventure, then you should definitely climb the waterfalls and take in the view from the top. If thrill-seeking is more your style, why not try out a zip line tour that will give you a panoramic view of the rainforest? Don’t forget to make a quick stop at the shops to get some souvenirs.


19. Visit Nine Mile, the birthplace of Bob Marley

Bob-Marley-Mausoleum

Photo credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

Not far from Falmouth, Nine Mile in St. Annes will take you to the place where Reggae legend Bob Marley lived and is buried. His mother, Mamma Marley, and his half-brother, Anthony Booker, are also buried there. Throughout the years, this mausoleum has been visited by many.

Guided tours of Bob Marley’s residence are rife with Rastafarian symbols and memorabilia, and the guides will show you his favorite spots in the house. A visit to Bob Marley’s home is truly an experience that will make you feel connected to the renowned artist who shaped Jamaican culture and inspired many.


Falmouth is waiting for you!

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Picture: Just 30 minutes from Falmouth, Jamaica, Sandals Montego Bay embodies the same care-free and adventurous spirit. Unlimited food and drinks, day and night entertainment, and an exclusive white-sand beach make this resort the perfect home base for your Falmouth experience.

Falmouth in Jamaica has lots to offer the bold and adventurous traveler, the peace-seeking visitor, the passionate couple, and all other varieties of people. Whether you want to go ziplining through the forest, swimming on a beautiful beach, bobsledding, or on an ATV excursion through a scenic nature trail, you can do it all in this charming Jamaican town. There really is something for everyone in Falmouth, so you’ll simply have to take your pick.

Before you plan your itinerary of must-do activities while in Falmouth, you should think about which area of Jamaica to stay in. Falmouth is near some of the best all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, which is great if you’re looking for a vacation that’s luxurious and stress-free.

Sandals all-inclusive resorts offer quality inclusions and activities, including day and night entertainment. Guests of this resort also have access to land and water sports, anytime meals at some of the best restaurants of the island, beach bars and swim-up bars, an award-winning spa, and more, which will add that extra something to your Caribbean getaway.

For an amazing adventure in Falmouth, Jamaica, all you’ll have to do is to show up. The experiences you’ll have along the way will be memorable, to say the least!




A Nation’s Flag Says It All — Jamaica’s Flag Symbolism Revealed

The Islands
December 6th 2021
A Nation’s Flag Says It All — Jamaica’s Flag Symbolism Revealed
Photo credit: railway fx/Shutterstock.com


There’s so much about Jamaica to fall in love with! Not only is it the third-largest island of the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola), it is also one of the most vibrant and historic. The country is known for many things, such as its gorgeous greenery, picture-perfect beaches, and luxury all-inclusive resorts. Plus, Jamaica’s flag is probably one of the most recognizable in the world.

Jamaica’s flag has a stand-out, tri-color flag featuring striking shades of green, black, and gold. The flag, which was adopted in 1962, is sometimes referred to as “The Cross” because of its gold saltire which looks like a diagonal cross. If you’ve ever wondered about this national symbol, read on. We’ll share details on the symbolism and history of the national flag of Jamaica.

Good to know: So, where is Jamaica? The island is located in the Caribbean Sea, just about 90 miles south of Cuba and 119 miles west of Hispaniola. That’s just 560 miles from Miami, Florida!



The history of the Jamaican national flag

Jamaica became an independent nation on August 6, 1962, and adopted its official flag on the same date. Having gained independence from the United Kingdom, the country was in a state of celebration.

It took time to come up with just the right flag for this beautiful and vibrant island nation. A nationwide competition was hosted in an attempt to foster community involvement. Ultimately, the Jamaican flag was designed by a bipartisan committee of the Jamaica House of Representatives. A very similar process was followed in 1973 to design the national flag of The Bahamas.

Jamaica’s original flag design featured horizontal stripes instead of the saltire, but it was considered too similar to the flag of Tanganyika, part of present-day Tanzania. So, the stripes were replaced by the saltire in the final design.

Expert tip: Want to find out more about Jamaica’s history and culture? Check out some of these amazing things to do in Jamaica, especially visiting the Bob Marley Museum!



Symbolism of the Jamaican flag

jamaica-flag

Photo credit: Elzloy/Shutterstock.com


One of the amazing things about international flags is the individual meanings and representations. Flags can often tell you about national values and aspects held dear to a particular place.

The Jamaican flag’s meaning can be interpreted concisely and poetically as: “The sun shineth, the land is green, and the people are strong and creative.” In other words, the colors of the Jamaican flag stand for the sun (gold), the land (green), and the people (black). To provide more detail: the gold cross/saltire represents the sun and the national wealth of the country; the green top and bottom triangles represent the lush, mountainous landscape and agricultural resources of this tropical island; the black left and right triangles represent the strength and creativity of the Jamaican people.

Fun fact: Jamaica’s flag is unique because it is one of only two national flags in the world that features no red, white, or blue. The other is the national flag of Mauritania.



Etiquette surrounding the Jamaican national flag

There are a few guidelines when it comes to showcasing the Jamaican national flag:

  • At no point should the displayed flag touch the ground or floor.
  • The Jamaican flag should not be draped on vehicles of any kind, with the exception of military, police, or state events.
  • No flag should be flown above or to the right of the flag of Jamaica while in the country, except for at foreign embassies and consulates.
  • It is mandatory that the Jamaican flag not be smaller than any other international flag being flown at the same time (exception for foreign embassies and consulates).
  • Flags that are faded or irreparably damaged should be burned privately; they should not be used for any other purpose than that which was intended.
  • When the flag is being used on civilian grounds, the flagpole should be raised at 8 am, and brought down at sunset.


Other flags of Jamaica

State flags

State-flags


The Jamaican state ensign is a design used by members of the island’s government. It is a blue ensign with the Jamaican flag in the top hoist (canton).
There’s a separate ensign which is used by the coast guard of this island; this version is white and has a red St. George’s cross. It also features a Jamaican flag in the canton.


Historical flags

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Historically, Jamaica used different flags during its pre and post-independence periods. Before the island’s independence from the United Kingdom, the country’s flag had a blue background with the flag of the United Kingdom in the top hoist, and the Jamaican coat of arms to its right. This design had four variations: the main difference was the island’s coat of arms, which began to evolve after the year 1906.

The coat of arms of Jamaica is a reflection of the island’s national motto, ‘Out of Many One People’. The motto speaks to the multicultural nature of Jamaica, and this heritage is depicted in the island’s coat of arms. The current coat of arms of Jamaica showcases a male and female from the Taino tribe standing on opposite sides of a shield. The shield features a red cross and five golden pineapples. A crocodile is mounted atop the crest, just above the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling.

The design holds great significance because the Tainos were the first inhabitants of the island of Jamaica. The pineapples and crocodiles are indigenous to Jamaica, examples of the country’s diverse flora and fauna. The Royal Helmet and mantling represent a special distinction given to Jamaica by the British and acknowledge the country’s former status as a British colony.


Learn all of Jamaica’s secrets first-hand!

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Picture: Create your own secret hideaway at Sandals South Coast in Whitehouse, Jamaica. The South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suite with Private Pool Sanctuary offers the perfect combination of extravagance and seclusion.

Jamaica’s flag is definitely one of the most unique and eye-catching flags in the world. There are many more features of Jamaica that are just as extraordinary! From gorgeous waterfalls and natural springs to vast green mountains teeming with life, Jamaica is truly a tropical paradise. This island offers a variety of sights and activities that thrill-seekers, history buffs, and nature-lovers can all appreciate. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity about the Jamaican flag, you should try to discover some of the island's other amazing secrets.

If you’re ready to start planning a vacation to the beautiful island of Jamaica, consider staying at one of the beautiful Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. At Sandals, you’ll eat mouthwatering meals and snacks, drink delectable alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and dance the night away at themed events, all included, all the time. When you’re not dining at one of the resort’s gourmet restaurants, or being pampered at the Red Lane Spa, you’ll be conveniently positioned to experience the dozens of other wonderful things there are to do in Jamaica. Plus, you’ll be well-prepared to take part in any pool-side conversations about the Jamaican flag when you arrive!

Expert tip: Depending on what you plan to do in Jamaica, you’ll find some seasons are better to visit than others. Find out here when is the best time to visit Jamaica!



Montego Bay vs Negril: Which Is The Best Jamaican Vacation Destination For You?

The Islands
August 9th 2021
Montego Bay vs Negril: Which Is The Best Jamaican Vacation Destination For You?

Life is fresh in Jamaica. It’s one of those places you can travel to and almost feel as though time is standing still, or at least moving slow enough that you can actually keep up. You can move at your own pace…take a breath even.

This is the magic of the Caribbean in general, but in Jamaica, this laid back island ambiance feels amplified. It’s a beautiful and hypnotizing feeling… but before you can even experience it, there’s so much to decide about your trip. Like where to stay.

Expectedly, with an island so gorgeous, there are lots of nice areas to stay in while in Jamaica. Two of the most popular are Montego Bay and Negril. Both Montego Bay and Negril are popular vacation destinations in Jamaica.

Montego Bay is known to be the tourist hotspot and for its opulent all-inclusive resorts. ‘Mobay’ is located near Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, Rocklands Bird Sanctuary and Rose Hall Great House. Negril is known for its laid back atmosphere, boasting some of the best beaches in Jamaica. Some of the top attractions located near Negril are the Seven Mile Beach, Mayfield Falls and Blue Hole Mineral Spring.

Overall, there are lots of things to consider before deciding to stay in either place. If you’re having a tough time choosing, this article should give you some more insight on which would be best for you.


Montego Bay vs Negril, which is right for you?

Negril Beach

Montego Bay: Jamaica’s most happening destination

Montego Bay is a popular tourist hotspot in Jamaica that appeals to travellers looking for a luxury vacation experience. It is the capital of Saint James Parish and visitors love this part of Jamaica because of the wide range of attractions that can be found.

Resorts, restaurants, bars, and entertainment of all kinds are in abundance in this part of Jamaica. There’s decent (duty-free) shopping as well, which you can make time for in between beach hopping and maybe even some diving action somewhere like the Montego Bay Marine Park!

Montego Bay’s location

Montego Bay is located on the north coast of Jamaica. It is the second-largest city in Jamaica after Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. It will probably take less than 10 minutes to get from the Sangster International Airport to your resort in Montego Bay.

This makes Montego Bay the ideal Caribbean island getaway from the United States, especially if you’re only staying for a couple of days: you’ll lose minimal time on the road.

Points of interest in and around Montego Bay

1. Ahhh… Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

Ras-Natango-Garden-and-Gallery

As the name suggests, this location makes it possible to indulge in art and nature in one place. This is one of the best combo tours of this kind in Jamaica. Visitors can view art from the gallery (and purchase as well) at their leisure. The paintings, mostly acrylic, are Jamaica inspired and the nature tour includes a chance to see some of Jamaica’s endemic birds as well as the unique blooms of this island. There’s also a koi pond where you can pet the turtles and a few small waterfalls.


2. Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

Red-Billed-Streamertail-Hummingbird

Photo credit: Sujatha Vempaty/Shutterstock.com

Thousands of birds in one place and a chance to spot lots of different species is what you can expect your day to be like if you choose to spend some time at the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. Described as a “truly magical place”, a tour here is simple, and you’ll be able to get right out there with the birds in the garden of a quaint cottage as they shoot around eating from the feeders and maybe even from your hands - if you’re lucky!


3. Martha Brae River

Martha-Brae-River

Photo credit: Jam Travels/Shutterstock.com

The Martha Brae river promises a romantic and meandering afternoon underneath the canopy of Jamaica’s finest greenery. This river is located on the north coast of Jamaica in an area known as Trelawny and it is most popular for river rafting adventures. If you’re traveling to Jamaica as a couple, this activity should definitely be included on your to-do list.

Also read: The Top 42 Things to Do In and Near Montego Bay



Where should I stay while in Montego Bay?

Sandals-Montego-Bay


Sandals Montego Bay: Sandals Montego Bay was the very first Sandals Resort in existence, and now with all the fresh and imaginative touches, this all-inclusive resort is as luxurious as it’s ever been. This is an open-concept resort set right on a long private white-sand beach. Guests at this lively adults-only resort can enjoy unlimited food and (alcoholic) drinks at 12 restaurants, 6 bars including one of the first ever swim-up bars in the world.

Sandals-Royal-Caribbean


Sandals Royal Caribbean: The Sandals Royal Caribbean experience includes a private island and Over-The-Water Bungalows if you’re really looking for a luxurious couples getaway for that special occasion. This laid back adults-only resort features 9 restaurants and 5 bars including swim-up bars. All food and drinks are always unlimited, always included.


Insider tip: Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean are located on a 5-minute drive from each other. Sandals guests can go between these resorts and make use of the amenities and restaurants at both resorts at no additional cost (transfers in between these resorts are included as well).



Negril: True life, true love, true harmony

Beaches-Negril

Negril, a town described by some of its own as a place where one can experience “true life, true love, and true harmony” is one of Jamaica’s most popular tourist areas. Even though it is a popular tourist destination, Jamaican culture is thick, rich and unfiltered in Negril.

Surrounded by nature, it won’t be hard to sink into your deepest state of relaxation while spending endless hours on the beach. Fun places to go in Negril include the gorgeous Seven Mile Beach, Mayfield Falls, and Rick’s Cafe.

Negril’s location

Negril is on the western tip of Jamaica. It is about an hour and thirty minute drive from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, but it’s worth the drive!



Points of interest in and around Negril

1. Seven Mile Beach

Beaches-Negril

Just as soon as you arrive in Jamaica (and even before), you’re likely to get lots of recommendations to go to Seven Mile Beach, a gorgeous stretch of sea and sand in Negril. Walking along this beach, there’s lots of little bars and restaurants you can pop into to get a bite or something to drink while you enjoy the ambiance of this popular beach.

Want to drink unlimited free cocktails on Seven Mile Beach? Book Sandals Negril or Beaches Negril, all food and drinks are unlimited and included in the booking price!


2. Mayfield Falls

Mayfield-Falls

Photo credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

Feel like a waterfall dip? If this is something you’ve never done before then Jamaica is a great place for it. At Mayfield Falls there are about 21 mini waterfalls, with the tallest being the ‘Washing Machine’ at about 10 feet high which you’ll get to experience along the Mayfield Falls River Walk. A tour of this area can take about an hour and a half, and you’ll definitely want to bring swimwear for a refreshing dip.


3. Blue Hole Mineral Spring

A visit to the Blue Hole Mineral Spring is perfect if you want to relax in therapeutic mineral waters while taking in the beauty of Jamaica. The Blue Hole is literally a large sinkhole filled with water from a natural spring. This mineral spring is located about 30 minutes away from Negril, and here you can jump (or climb down a ladder if you prefer) into the blue hole. There’s also a ground level pool which also has the same mineral waters that doesn’t require jumping or climbing to get in. Sometimes there’s a dive show that the staff and lifeguards put on, which is fun to watch!

Insider tip: When in Negril, also check out the cliff jumping at Rick’s Cafe. This is an easy, breezy, Jamaican chill out spot with a pool, lounge area, restaurant, bar, and even a stage area with an incredible ocean backdrop.


Also read: 38 Exciting Things To Do In And Near Negril



Where should I stay while in Negril?

Sandals-Negril


Sandals Negril: Sandals Negril is a paradise within itself in Jamaica, located on Seven Mile Beach. This is one of those all-inclusive adults-only resorts that echoes the beauty of its surrounding space and amplifies the most loved attributes in the most magnetizing way. Guests of Sandals Negril get to enjoy world-class dining in 7 restaurants, unlimited water and land sports, and a host of other quality inclusions.

Beaches-Negril-Waterpark


Beaches Negril: Beaches Negril is another all-inclusive property on Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica. This resort was created for families and everything within focuses on ensuring not only that kids have the time of their lives, but parents too! This resort has lots of kid-friendly inclusions like the Pirates Island Water Park, Kids Camps for children of all ages, unlimited land and water sports, and Club Liquid, a ‘night club’ where teens can mingle.

Insider tip: Much of the action in Negril happens within the resorts, so it’s a good idea to book an all-inclusive package that includes lots of entertainment options. The nightly entertainment at both Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril ranges from extravagant beach parties to live reggae music, from fire shows to steel drum bands - you won’t be bored for a second!



Negril vs Montego Bay: differences in weather

The weather in Negril is comparable to the weather in Montego Bay, although daytime temperatures from June to August can be a bit higher in Montego Bay. In these summer months, Negril reaches 86 °F, where temperatures can rise up to 91 °F in Montego Bay.

During the wet season in Jamaica (July - October) you can expect twice as much rainfall in Negril than in Montego Bay, but the same amount of days with rainfall per month (~ 5 rainy days a month).

Don’t worry though! Jamaica’s quick tropical downpours seldom last long, and often makes way for an otherwise sunny day.

Also read: When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Visit Jamaica?




Montego Bay vs Negril… which is your pick?

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It can be hard to choose from two great places in an already fantastic destination, but choose you must! Okay, so maybe it isn’t that pressing — vacations (and even the planning process) should be relaxing, after all.

On a more serious note though, when it comes to choosing between these two destinations, at the end of the day your biggest deciding factor might be minuscule. It might come down to one of the attractions nearby, or maybe even a particular resort.

The fact of the matter is, both are great places. If short airport transfers and a buzzing nightlife are important to you, Montego Bay is your pick. Looking for a more quaint and laid back destination, with some of Jamaica’s best beaches? Negril is the vacation destination of your choice. You really can’t go wrong with either of these dream destinations.

Staying a bit longer? A split stay between Montego Bay and Negril might be the best option! The drive from Montego Bay to Negril takes about one and a half hours.




YS Falls, Jamaica: Insider Tips From Local Tour Guides

Island Life
April 6th 2021
YS Falls, Jamaica: Insider Tips From Local Tour Guides

Of the many incredible things to do in Jamaica, chasing waterfalls definitely should definitely be in your top 3. Dunn’s River Falls, Mayfield Falls, Konoko Falls and Reach Falls are among the best waterfalls on island, but YS Falls stands out among them all for its reputation of being one of the “most well kept attractions in Jamaica” and “a tranquil and serene place that has it all”.

YS Falls Jamaica

Photo credit: SaltySnow Photography/Shutterstock.com

Photos and videos of YS Falls sell the experience effortlessly but nothing beats being there and witnessing the magic first hand. Located on Jamaica’s South Coast near the Black River in St. Elizabeth Parish, YS Falls is relatively easy to access from areas along that coast, as well as Negril. The lure of YS is the multitude of waterfalls to be found there; seven in all. In addition to the waterfalls, visitors can also explore a tropical garden and plunge into pristine natural pools.

Hours after arriving at YS Falls, you’ll still hardly be ready to leave, but fortunately there’s much to explore at this Jamaican attraction. Read on for everything you need to know about YS Falls!

Insider tip: Planning on staying in the Negril area while in Jamaica? The luxurious couples only all-inclusive resort Sandals Negril is located right on Seven Mile Beach and great for a mix of romance and adventure as you can easily book a day trip to YS Falls via the resort!


Don’t go chasing waterfalls… unless it's YS Falls.

You won’t find any place in Jamaica with a shorter name than YS, and believe it or not, this area was initially a cane farm with a factory (in the 1800s) before it was recognized as such a stunning visitor attraction. It was then known as YS Estate, and served as a supplier of logwood which in many instances would be bound for Europe.

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Photo credit: Mehdi Kasumov/Shutterstock.com

The ownership of the Estate around which the falls are located was transferred many times to different owners. The great grand uncle of the current owners of the falls is said to have purchased the property in London, where it was being held in the Encumbered Estates Court — he wanted a property with a river running through it, and bought the estate before laying eyes on it. After that point, the property continued with the production and export of logwood and cane, until those markets dried up. Cattle was also raised on the estate (particularly Jamaica Red Poll cattle), and later, thoroughbred horses.

Today, YS Falls is enjoyed as a major tourist attraction in Jamaica, boasting several beautiful waterfalls and lots of other natural attributes loved by visitors the world over.



What you can expect to find at YS Falls

Tractor and jitney ride

jitney-ride

If you want to get the most out of any experience, the first thing you’ll need to do is be open to what comes with it. At YS, this can include a tractor and jitney ride, which will in about 10 minutes take you up to the falls. The scenery along the way (mountains, fields, horses and the like) will be memorable to say the least, much like the laughter you won’t be able to resist along the way. The drop off point will be the gift shop, at which point you can plan what you’d like to do first on the estate.


Gift shop

As with many of the popular tourist attractions in Jamaica, there’s a gift shop on property at YS Falls. Inside the gift shop you’ll find lots of local craft including handcrafted art pieces, clothing, and other souvenirs. One of the best things about the gift shop is the way it blends in effortlessly with the natural surroundings; it includes charming and expansive verandahs from which you can spot lots of colorful birds taking turns at the bird feeder. You can also grab a bite while you’re there; hot dogs, hot beverages and other refreshments are available.


Seven waterfalls

rope swing YS Falls

The main attraction at YS Falls is of course the waterfalls, and there are a whopping seven waterfalls at this location. The falls are located just off the Black River, and in the vicinity, you’ll find several picnic tables set up in scenic locations where you can enjoy afternoon lunch once you’re done cooling off in the natural pools. As a plus, there’s also a ‘Tarzan swing’ which visitors love that can be used to make the biggest splash into the pool!


Insider tip: Climbing the falls is an amazing option that can be done safely with a guide, though if you prefer to take it easy, you can just walk up the stairs on the side to get to the top!


Speaking of natural pools…

Not only can you enjoy easily accessible waterfalls at YS Falls via carefully implemented pathways and steps, you’ll also be able to spend some time soaking in natural pools beneath the bluest skies imaginable. The natural pools are filled with water from the waterfalls which cascade beautifully into these nature made pools. There are guides and lifeguards in the pool area who will be able to guide you to the best pools to swim in. Most of the natural pools are comfortable and child friendly as they are relatively shallow (around 4 feet), which means you’ll be able to swim worry-free.


The River Pool

The River Pool is located directly at the base of the falls. The base of this and other natural pools is composed of smooth river pebbles, and there’s also lifeguards keeping watch. The waters are crystal clear, so you’ll be able to see right through to the bottom on most days. There are also usually lounge chairs near the pool where you can relax before or after getting in.


The Garden Pool

A short distance away from the falls, you’ll find the Garden Pool. In the garden pool area, you can spend some time in the cabanas, and you can expect similar physical attributes to this and other natural pools at YS. Skip from one pool to the other until you’re completely refreshed!


Canopy zipline tour

zip-line

Who can turn down some fun filled ziplining in the Caribbean? This is an especially good activity to get into at YS Falls as it’ll grant you some amazing views of the falls from an aerial perspective. From 40 feet up, you’ll be able to look down on the expansive jungle below as you dangle (safety!) above the picture perfect falls. You can also take a canopy tour from the top of the falls, to the base.


A park and garden

The gardens at YS are perfect for unwinding and letting the realization sink in that you really are in the Caribbean — that whimsical place you’ve always wanted to visit! So quaint and beautiful is the garden at this location that you’ll feel like you’re pressing the reset button as you remind yourself inwardly to take in every last drop of this awe-inspiring experience.


Insider tip: Grab some snacks before heading to the garden, and eat in the midst of the calming tropical flora. Picnic tables are available in this area.


River tubing

River Tubing

River tubing is a must in Jamaica, and YS Falls is one of the places where you can do this. If you want to ensure you’ll be able to go river tubing at YS, you may need to make reservations in advance as this can book up quickly. Speak with your tour operator to make arrangements in advance.


Onsite restaurant

Feeling for some delicious Jamaican delights? The on property restaurant at YS Falls has you covered. You can stop by to grab something to eat before or after you go for a leisurely swim in the natural pool!


A bar

bar

Feeling thirsty? The onsite bar at YS Falls is close at hand so visitors can stay hydrated and in good spirits throughout their visit. You’ll definitely want to drink lots of water in these sunny temps!


Playground for younger kids

Younger kids are not left out of the mix at YS Falls. They can spend some time with parents or caregivers at the YS Falls playground which will definitely help keep kids happy and occupied in between dips in the pool.


Parking

YS Falls has convenient packing if you do decide to drive there on your own. Once you park, the tractor or jitney will take you up to the falls, and later, back to the parking lot when you’re ready to leave.


Lifeguards

You can expect to find lifeguards on duty at YS falls, though it is a requirement that anyone who gets into the water knows how to swim. For small children and those unable to swim, there is a special natural pool that is filled via an under and above ground spring that’ll be perfect for some YS water play and relaxation.


Changing rooms & rest rooms

There are convenient changing rooms at YS Falls as well as restrooms you’ll be able to make use of during your time there. The bathrooms can be found near the ticket office.


What does it cost to visit YS Falls if not going with a tour group?


Adult: $20.00 USD
Child (3-15 years old): $12.00 USD (Ja.$1,500.00)

Jamaican Residents with valid ID (Drivers License, Voter ID or Work permit):

Adult: $1,500.00 JMD
Child(3-15 years old): $1,000.00 JMD


Tip: If you’re going to YS Falls with a group exceeding 10 people, you’ll need to make a reservation. The maximum group size for visits to YS Falls is 15 people.


When can I visit YS Falls?

YS Falls

Photo credit: Four Oaks/Shutterstock.com

YS Falls are open regularly with the exception of Monday every week. The falls are also closed for holidays like Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day. Aside from that, you’ll be able to visit the falls during their opening hours of 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Admission stops daily at 3 pm. Mid-December until April is one of the most popular times to visit Jamaica overall, and that is something worth keeping in mind when planning your visit to YS Falls. Read more about the Best Time to Visit Jamaica to help plan your trip.


Good to know: The opening days and times of YS Falls are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to call to get all the details you need ahead of a visit.


How to get to YS Falls?

The best way to get to YS Falls is by arranging a tour to get there. Going as part of a tour takes away the hassle of having to plan to get there and finding the location on your own. If you’re planning to take a taxi, make sure the car has a red number plate.


Where to stay if you want to visit YS Falls

If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica and want to ensure you’re close enough to YS Falls to make visits there more convenient, there are a few all-inclusive resorts located nearby that’ll be perfect for your next vacation. These include:


Sandals South Coast

Located on a 40-minute drive from YS Falls.

Sandals South Coast all-inclusive resort Jamaica

Sandals South Coast is truly something special boasting the largest swimming pool in all of Jamaica, 9 gourmet restaurants including the guest favorite Café de Paris (a French inspired pastry shop) and opportunities for guests to be at one with nature with early morning garden tours right on property. There’s a ton of other amazing things you’ll love about this resort, including how easy it’ll be for you to book excursions while there. One such tour you’ll be able to book through Island Routes is the YS Falls Experience which will let you experience the best of YS Falls firsthand!


Sandals Negril

Located on a 1 hour and 45-minute drive from YS Falls.

Sandals Negril all-inclusive resort

All-inclusive and luxury focused, Sandals Negril could be the perfect escape for you and your love on your upcoming Jamaica trip. Sandals Negril is located on Seven Mile Beach and includes access to 7 restaurants on property, 5 bars including swim-up bars, and a host of other quality Sandals inclusions including butler service depending on your room category. At Sandals Negril, you’ll be able to book an Island Routes tour to YS falls like the YS Falls and Treetop Zipline Highlight from Negril or the YS Falls Experience.


Insider tip: Whether you’re staying at Sandals Negril or Sandals South Coast, you’ll be able to book tours during your stay at the resort tour desk, or via the call center. All tours include transportation to the site, and back to the resort.


How to contact the YS Falls location

YS Falls is located in the South Coast of Jamaica in the “breadbasket” parish of St. Elizabeth. The hours and contact details for the Estate are listed below:

Hours: 9:30am – 3:30pm
Closed: Mondays & Local Public Holidays.

Phone: (876) 997-6360
Email: [email protected]


YS Falls in a nutshell

Jamaica has many outstanding attractions but not all offer such a wide variety of things to do all in one place like YS Falls. At YS Falls you’ll be able to have a day that’s as busy or laid back as you would like as you indulge in an experience that is authentically Jamaican!





18 Authentic Souvenirs To Bring Home From Sunny Jamaica

The Islands
March 12th 2021
18 Authentic Souvenirs To Bring Home From Sunny Jamaica

With a captivating entertainment scene, diverse cuisine, and great options for excursions, Jamaica has all the ingredients of a perfect vacation destination. Add all-inclusive resorts like Sandals to the mix and what you’ll have is the beginnings of an unforgettable adventure.

In Jamaica, after snorkelling around Seven Mile Beach, taking the plunge at Dunn’s River Falls, rafting down the Martha Brae River, exploring Mystic Mountain, and embarking on countless other adventures, you’ll not only fall in love with the island but long to take a bit of it home with you as well by purchasing an authentic souvenir.

Ssouvenirs-Jamaica

Photo credit: byvalet/Shutterstock.com

If you find yourself in that position (madly and utterly in love with an island!) perhaps some souvenirs will be just what you need. Plus, you’ll be able to share them with friends and family in the hopes that they’ll join you on your next visit to this rhythmic Caribbean island.

Read on for some of our top Jamaica souvenir choices, from t-shirts and paintings, to hot sauce and Blue Mountain Coffee!


In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Authentic souvenirs to pick up in Jamaica
Tips for shopping for Jamaican souvenirs
Best places to shop for souvenirs in Jamaica



Authentic souvenirs to pick up in Jamaica

Authentic and original Reggae music

Reggae Records

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Want to take some good Reggae jams back home with you after an amazing vacation? If so, Jamaica may just be your go to. This vibrant Caribbean isle is the birthplace of Reggae music.

On this island, you might be surprised how many Reggae artists there are that you may not have heard of, and how diverse the local music selection is overall. Other popular genres you’ll hear on this island include Dancehall, Dub and Ska.

For the ultimate souvenir or keepsake, you’ll be able to purchase albums that you might have a hard time finding elsewhere. Those wanting to venture even deeper into the world of Reggae music will be intrigued by the Rasta community at Mount Debre Zeit near Papine, Kingston, where the Reggae vibes are always authentic. Mount Debre Zeit Records and Variety Store will be your go-to for souvenirs. While there, you’ll also be able to have a heart to heart with ‘Ras’ while sipping on locally made roots tonic, listening to new music, and getting the 411 on who’s hot currently in Jamaica.


Blue Mountain Coffee

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You won’t stop hearing about Blue Mountain Coffee while in Jamaica, and one sip of the sought-after coffee will explain why. Known for its exclusive nature, high growth elevations, and hand-picked appeal, Blue Mountain Coffee is both pricey, and one of the best coffees in the world. Much of the Blue Mountain Coffee crop is exported to Japan — as much as 80 percent. Fortunately, even with those numbers it isn’t hard to find Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica, particularly in gift shops at resorts like Sandals, or on local coffee farms. Take some home with you to share the wealth at a fraction of the cost!


Pick up some art by a Jamaican master

Jamaica-Paintings

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Natural inspiration is everywhere you look in Jamaica. Translating that inspiration into the most incredible works of art are the island’s amazing artists. On your vacation to Jamaica, you’ll be able to find and purchase some original pieces to take back home as a souvenir. The art scene is pretty notable on this island, and it won’t be hard to find something top quality at reasonable cost, including vibrant oil paintings that’ll be easy to roll up and fit into your luggage. Art related events in Jamaica include regular public auctions which can be super lively, as well as art gallery affairs which often feature works by master painters. Some of the stand out artists in Jamaica include Albert Huie, Barrington Watson, Cecil Cooper, and Milton Harley.


Jamaican rum

Appleton-Estate

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Take that feel good Jamaican spirit home with you by sourcing some local rum. Some of the rums produced in Jamaica are among the best in the world and can add the perfect touch to any cocktail. Jamaican whiskies as well, are known to be super smooth, and will go down well with anyone with a taste for the finer things. In Jamaica, you can do tours of some of the local distilleries, like Appleton Estate, where you’ll learn about the rum making process and also get a chance to purchase some souvenirs.

Insider tip: Want to be treated to some of the finest rum cocktails during your all-inclusive Caribbean vacation? Premium liquors are included and unlimited at the many bars located across the six Sandals Resorts in Jamaica!


Rum cream

If you like creamy rum, you’ll love some of the Jamaica varieties which sometimes include nuts, spices, and even dried fruits. Rum cream is a mellow, alcoholic drink that you can share with friends and family to let them know that you thought of them, even while having the time of your life in paradise! Rum cream mixes well with Blue Mountain Coffee.


Hot sauce

Caribbean islands like Jamaica are known for their flavorful cuisine, some of which have gained popularity internationally. Spices are key when cooking up and serving scrumptious Jamaican dishes, and so is a good bottle of hot sauce! Jamaica hot sauce typically includes scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest Chile peppers in the world) as a key ingredient, and this is one souvenir that comes packed with fire and flavor. If fiery isn’t quite what you’re going for, there are also milder versions of hot sauce made with fruits including mango and banana.


Jamaican cold-pressed coconut oil

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Coconut oil is one of those things you just don’t want to leave the Caribbean without. While in Jamaica, get a couple bottles of Jamaican cold-pressed coconut oil which comes in handy for just about anything, including hair and skin care, makeup removal, and a range of health uses. This oil is according to the experts, one of the healthiest around, and it is said to help protect the body and brain. The potential health gains of this amazing wonder oil makes it a great gift — don’t forget to get some for yourself as well.


Jamaican jerk seasoning

Jamaican jerk meats are in a class of their own, and hopefully if you decide to vacation in Jamaica, you’ll make lots of time to savor amazing jerk meals. If you love it (which you likely will!), you’ll be able to take some jerk seasoning home with you where you can challenge yourself to recreate some of these wonderful spicy meals. Jamaican jerk seasoning makes a great present to bring home, but make sure to get some for yourself as well. Look for the brands Walkers Wood and Island Spice, which you can find at local supermarkets and at some souvenir shops.


Jamaican beef patties

A bite into an authentic Jamaican beef patty might be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. There’s so much flavor packed into this sizeable pattie, that you just might not be able to get enough! Fortunately, it's completely possible to bring home some frozen patties to share with friends and family back home!


Jamaican cookbooks

Cookbooks

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Who wouldn’t want to learn how to cook Jamaican style, after spending some time on these eclectic and exciting shores? For this reason, a Jamaica cookbook will come in handy not just for you, but also to be able to share the people of this island’s unique way of cooking with those you love.


Coconut wine glasses

Bet your friends don’t have any coconut wine glasses yet, and they’ll be totally surprised if you get them some directly from Jamaica as a souvenir. It’ll almost be like they went there themselves, and they for sure will want to show off these goodies made with real coconut shells. Coconut wine glasses won’t be hard to find in Jamaica — you can pick them up from most craft vendors in Montego Bay and other parts of the island.


Wood carvings

Woodcarvings

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Never mind how unique and intricate wood carvings tend to be, they aren’t something the average person will think about purchasing for themselves on a regular day. Unless of course, they’re really into art, in which case, this will make the perfect souvenir. Help your lucky friend or family member add wood carvings made in Jamaica to their collection by visiting Fern Gully near Ocho Rios where you’ll find some of the best wood carvings on the island. Items include artfully made bowls and trays, and other carefully crafted creations.

Insider tip: Guests of Sandals resorts in Jamaica can arrange their excursions easily through the resort, which makes getting to the best souvenir shopping locations a breeze!


Straw hats

A good ol’ straw hat (or a brand new one) can come in handy in and out of the Caribbean. This is a great gift if you want to take some sunshine back home to your friends or family members, at which point you’ll be able to share a bit of history on how these straw hats are made from handmade origami in Jamaica. You can find these straw hats at most craft stops in Jamaica, and there are usually a wide variety to choose from.


Jamaica branded clothing

Jamaica Clothing

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Much like this island has its very own music, it is also possible to get authentic Jamaican branded clothing on this island. Many of these brands feature the colors of the Jamaica flag, portraits of popular musicians, and other artwork. You can get everything from t-shirts to track suits, as well as rasta hats, belts, bracelets, and baseball caps. You can also get things like branded footballs, mugs, and beach towels, all of which make cool souvenirs.


Jamaican root tonic

Jamaican root tonic is made from medicinal plants, herbs, roots, and tree bark. It is considered a healthy drink, which can help build strength, vitality, and even increase sex drive. Many Jamaicans swear by this concoction, and based on the fact that it still remains just as popular today after being around for many years, we’ll say it may just be worth a try! While in Jamaica, get a few bottles of this for yourself, and also to share with those nearest and dearest.


Leather sandals

Leather Sandals

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An authentic pair of leather sandals are a good find wherever you go, but if you’re looking for souvenirs that will also last and be useful, this will be a good buy in Jamaica. Made from all-natural materials, you’ll be able to find tasteful leather sandals in Jamaica if you look hard enough. Gift shops and craft booths in Montego Bay are a great place to start looking.


Jamaican dolls

No matter the age of the person you’re getting an authentic handmade doll for, they’re bound to appreciate the ones made in Jamaica. Many craft shops stock this item, and there are a range of dolls you can choose from made with soft spongy materials, or hand plastic. Typically, these dolls can be found rocking traditional Jamaica wear and trendy Jamaican hairstyles which both adults and kids will love!


Laid back, worry-free way of life

If there’s anything you simply can’t leave Jamaica without, it's the sort of peace of mind and stillness that can only be found in a Caribbean paradise island such as this. Definitely leave your worries in Jamaica, and go back home with more than a few doses to spare of laid-back living, and watch how much your outlook on life changes for the better as a result!

Resort-Shop
Pro tip: If you are staying at any Sandals all-inclusive resort you will be able to find lots of high quality souvenirs at the resort shops, which includes items like Blue Mountain Coffee, jewelry, t-shirts and Jamaican rum.



Tips for shopping for Jamaican souvenirs



1. Made in China?

Unless you want to end up with a random item manufactured somewhere like China, and not an authentic Jamaican keepsake, look carefully at all items before you purchase them. Read tags and ask questions to avoid being duped.


2. Shop around for various options.

If you’re going to go souvenir shopping, commit to it. Don’t just buy the first things that catch your eye as that’s a sure way to overspend and to leave without getting what you actually want. Look around at the various options even if that means going to a few stores in a couple different locations. Definitely compare prices as you go along.


Souvenirs

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3. Negotiate a fair price.

Bargaining is all part of the game when souvenir shopping. If you see something you like, sometimes it’s worth negotiating with the vendor to arrive at a fair price, especially if you for sure saw the exact item for less money elsewhere.


4. Stop the hassle with a few words.

The competition is stiff for the vending market in Jamaica. This means you can expect to be approached with lots of offers while shopping around for souvenirs. No worries though, if you aren’t interested, just say so with a simple “No, thank you”.


Best places to shop for souvenirs in Jamaica

There are many places in Jamaica where you can find great souvenirs. Here are some of our top choices:

1. Montego Bay Craft Market

If authenticity is what you seek, the Montego Bay Craft Market is a good starting point for souvenir shopping. This market is located in a convenient location in the city and you’ll be able to find some great bargains. Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean are two amazing resorts located within close proximity of the Montego Bay Craft Market.


2. Ocho Rios Craft Market

Souvenir

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If you’re staying at Sandals Ochi or Sandals Royal Plantation, the Ocho Rios Craft Market is worth checking out as it is located near both of these resorts. This is the largest market in Ocho Rios, and there are over one hundred vendors set up in this location. This means it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for before you go so you won’t be overwhelmed.


3. Negril Craft Market

There are quite a few shopping options in Negril when souvenir shopping, but the Negril Craft Market is a good place to go if you want more items all in one place. Located just off Norman Manley Blvd, at this location you’ll be able to find handmade crafts (including baskets, jewelry and wood carvings) and even some vintage items.

Insider tip: Negril is an amazing place to shop in Jamaica where you can also find some incredible beaches (like the world famous Seven Mile Beach) and resorts like Sandals Negril which offers guests 7 restaurants, and 5 bars including swim-up bars! The best part: all drinks and food are included and always unlimited.


4. Port Antonio Craft Market

The Port Antonio Market is a small, vibrant space where you’ll be able to get a feel of the Jamaica market experience while shopping around for souvenirs. There’s a wide variety of choices at this location, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed!


Now that you know where to find the best Jamaica souvenirs…

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Picture: The authentic Jamaican and charming Sandals Royal Plantation, an all-inclusive butler resort in Ocho Rios.

All that’s left to do now is plan your vacation! Whether you have your heart set on a romantic and laid back resort like Sandals South Coast, the enchanting and charming Sandals Royal Plantation, or at any of the other 5-star all-inclusive Sandals properties in Jamaica, you’ll be close enough to some of the best souvenir shopping spots in Jamaica.

The Best All-Inclusive Resorts On Seven Mile Beach In Jamaica

The Islands
February 23rd 2021
The Best All-Inclusive Resorts On Seven Mile Beach In Jamaica

Life’s a beach… especially when you find that island destination that’ll live up to just about every tropical beach dream you’ve ever had… like Jamaica.

This “irie” island in the sun is popular with travelers from around the world, especially those who appreciate reggae music, a rich culture, wonderful food and simply beautiful beaches. Among the most popular areas in Jamaica is Negril, where you can find the country’s most beautiful beach: Seven Mile Beach. This beach is known for its calm water, great snorkeling and incredible sunsets.

In this article we’ll highlight some of the best all-inclusive resorts to stay directly on Seven Mile Beach


1. Sandals Negril

Best all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach for couples.

Photos | Resort map | Rooms | Restaurants | Inclusions

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Much like at all the other all-inclusive resorts under the Sandals umbrella, the staff of Sandals Negril on Seven Mile Beach spends its time amplifying the creation of love stories of guests who sign up for the experience. Sandals Negril has been described as free-spirited, and it is the ideal choice for couples looking for a good time with lots of intimate and memorable moments in a luxurious setting. Right on the beach, this resort is as hip and trendy as you would expect from one in Negril, and it has also in the past been awarded the EarthCheck Double Platinum Certification for its consistency in the commitment to environmental excellence. Elegant and refined, this luxurious all-inclusive resort on one of the best beaches in Jamaica will bring your love story to life!

7 gourmet restaurants on-property

Sandals Negril outdoor restaurant all-inclusive

Sandals Negril has 7 amazing restaurants which guests can lunch and dine in during their vacation. This includes Kimonos, which features oriental cuisine, the Italy themed Cucina Romana, the truly tropical Sundowner restaurant, and many other options including a pizzeria. There’s a little something for everyone at Sandals Negril’s top-class restaurants. The best part: it’s all included, all unlimited.

Unlimited water sports

Negril scuba diving Sandals

You won’t have a dull moment at Sandals all-inclusive resort on Seven Mile Beach, especially if you plan on spending lots of time in the water. From riding on aquatrikes, kayaking, or water skiing, to windsurfing, snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving (PADI certified guests can dive for free - max. two tanks a day) and more, there’s plenty of reasons to get out into the ocean for some fun. The best part? Watersports are all included!

Day and night entertainment

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There’s something to do at Sandals Negril day or night, and you’ll be able to get in on the fun during your all-inclusive vacation on Seven Mile Beach. From Sunday’s Island Night to Monday’s Carnival Beach Party, all the way through to Wednesday’s White Night & Chocolate Buffet, Thursday’s Reggae Fest, Saturday’s Caribbean Night, and everything else in between, you’ll definitely be feeling the Jamaica vibes at Sandals Negril.

Unlimited land sports

Tennis

Want to stay active during your Sandals vacation? How about some table tennis, shuffleboard, or lawn chess? You can also try your hand at croquet, basketball, beach volleyball, day & night tennis, board games, pool (tables), darts, or bocce ball. Whatever you choose, it will be a great chance to connect with your partner or meet new couples on property which may just lead to lasting friendships!

Fitness Center

Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean letting go of your fitness regimen – at least not at Sandals Negril. Stay in your best shape during your tropical escape with the Sandals Red Lane® Spa Fitness Centers, whether through group workouts or private training sessions.

Red Lane® Spa

woman-in-the-spa

You won’t be able to get enough of the Sandals Red Lane® Spa which will pamper you and your love back to life, or just to a point of rejuvenation which might have been just beyond your grasp – at least, it was before you connected with the magic that is Sandals Negril!

Special amenities & features:

  • Swim-up suites
  • Suites with private pools
  • Peaceful and relaxing ambiance
  • Extensive beachfront
  • Sandals signature Tranquility Soaking Tubs
  • Wheelchair accessible

Check out these awesome Sandals Negril specials!


2. Beaches Negril

Best all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach for families.

Photos | Resort map | Rooms | Restaurants | Inclusions

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Beaches Negril is a top choice for families who want to vacation at an all-inclusive resort which focuses on ensuring every guest is kept happy and entertained. This family friendly resort is super laid back, in an elegant setting that’s truly luxurious. Beaches Negril is one of the amazing all-inclusive resorts along the famed Seven Mile Beach stretch, and you’ll be able to take in the amazing views this affords, as well as dip into the warm, turquoise waters of this beach at a moment’s notice. When you and the kids aren’t taking in the beachside views, the 9 top-notch restaurants, or the other fantastic, (kid-friendly) inclusions, there’ll definitely be enough time for some fun at Beaches Negril’s Pirates Island Waterpark which features ginormous water slides, kid-friendly pools, soda swim-up bars and a lazy river. Whether you want to relax while your kids check out the kid’s clubs or get right into the family-friendly activities with them, your time will certainly be well spent at Beaches Negril.

9 top-notch restaurants on-property

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Beaches Negril has 9 amazing restaurants you and your family will be able to indulge in during your Caribbean getaway. This includes The Venetian which specializes in Italian cuisine, Mexican cuisine at El Mariachi, Bar.B.Q Park for some barbecue favorites, Soy Sushi Bar, Dino’s Pizzeria, and so much more. Beaches Negril’s restaurants are truly versatile and aim to please even the most difficult eaters! All food and drinks are included, and always unlimited.

Water sports

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Get sporty in the ocean during your Jamaica all-inclusive vacation on Seven Mile Beach. At Beaches Negril, things like kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling, paddle boarding, waterskiing, knee boarding, and scuba diving (PADI certified guests can dive for free - max. two tanks a day) are all included. You can also get out on hydrobikes or get into some hobie cat action out on the calm waters of Negril.

Day and night entertainment

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Hardly anything compares to staying at a resort where you can step out of your room and always find something fun to get up to. The Beaches experience includes lots of entertainment, day or night whether you like beach parties, want to get into some fun themed nights, spend some time at the swim-up bars, take in live bands, special events, or talent shows. Cocktail parties, nightclub engagements, street parades and bonfires are also some fun things you’ll be able to get into during your stay!

Unlimited land sports

all-inclusive landsports at Beaches Resorts

Want to get into some action other than kicking back in your simply amazing and exquisite Beaches suite? Why not try some beach volleyball with the kids? If that’s not quite your thing, you can choose from things like basketball, lawn chess, croquet, soccer, day and night tennis, board games, pool (tables), shuffleboard, billiards, table tennis, bocce ball or horseshoes. Whatever your preference, Beaches Negril on Seven Mile Beach can make it happen.

Pirates Island waterpark

all-inclusive water park resort in Negril

Many families find themselves gravitating to Beaches Negril not only because of its ideal beachfront location, but because of the fact that Beaches Negril has its own waterpark located right on Seven Mile Beach, known as the Pirates Island Waterpark. Your kids are in for a world of fun at this water park which includes huge water slides, kid-friendly pools, soda swim-up bars, and a lazy river, all of which will make for some exciting moments under the Caribbean sun. Make sure that everyone wears lots of sunscreen!

Sesame Street® characters

Sesame Street characters at Beaches Negril

Have exclusive Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street® at Beaches Resorts, through their partnership with Sesame Street®. This is the only resort in the Caribbean where your kids will be able to be immersed in this amazing adventure, which includes being able to play every day with the fun, loveable and friendly Sesame Street® cast. Your kids probably won’t be able to wipe the smiles off their faces during this experience, which includes being able to have a scrumptious buffet breakfast with their favorite character!

Insider tip: Ask about Beaches’ special Sesame Street® VIP Packages for even more fun!


Fitness Center

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Do you want to vacation with family, but are concerned about missing gym time? At Beaches Negril you won’t need to give this a second thought as guests have access to the state-of-the-art Red Lane® Spa Fitness Center where you can find group fitness classes, personalized training sessions or even round‑robin tennis tournaments. Fitness certainly will be a lot more fun during your all-inclusive vacation on Seven Mile Beach!

Red Lane® Spa

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The comfort and peace of mind of parents is not forgotten at Beaches Negril, and the Red Lane® Spa is ready to get you in the right state of mind. Sign up for a treatment or two during your vacation, while the kids are kept occupied with complimentary activities at the Kids Camps.

Special amenities & features:

  • Family suites
  • Complimentary Kids Camp activities for all age groups
  • Nurseries & certified nanny service
  • Club Liquid (night club for teenagers)
  • Trench Town (arcade hall)
  • Xbox Play Lounge

Check out these awesome Beaches Negril specials!




3. Grand Pineapple Beach Resort Negril

Budget-friendly all-inclusive resort on Seven Mile Beach.

Photos | Rooms | Restaurant | Inclusions

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Grand Pineapple Beach Resort Negril is a low-key all-inclusive beach resort on Seven Mile Beach which is perfect for travelers who want to be near the ocean. It’ll be easy to lose track of time as you sink into your vacation experience in this pristine beachfront setting. Grand Pineapple Negril packs value into its all-inclusive experience, and that is one of the reasons it is popular with travelers to Jamaica. The resort caters to travelers of all types, from the solo island hopper, to families of any size. You’ll fall in love with the lush greenery at this location, which perfectly complements the colorful cottages and tropical beachfront. Grand Pineapple promotes itself as a resort with “more inclusions, more choices and more ways to enjoy your time together”.

Grand Pineapple’s restaurant

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There are lots of delicious dining options to choose from when it comes to Grand Pineapple’s restaurant Orchid Terrace, particularly if you’re looking for something that’s authentically Jamaican. Indulge in the buffet which will provide you and your family with plenty of tasty options made by the talented chefs at this Caribbean resort.

Water sports

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The water sports options are extensive at Grand Pineapple Negril, and include snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving (at an additional cost from Sandals Negril or Beaches Negril), and so much more. Or, you can just relax in the resort’s shimmery freshwater pool which can be the reset you never knew you needed!

Entertainment

You’ll feel the Jamaica rhythm from the moment you step into Grand Pineapple Negril, and these cool, tropical rhythms flow right into the entertainment offerings of this resort located on Seven Mile Beach. Reggae and calypso play a significant part of the fun here, and you’ll be able to get an authentic taste of Jamaica’s entertainment and culture.

Land activities

Have an active getaway with your family trying out things you don’t always have time for back at home. From rousing rounds of beach volleyball, to lawn chess and table tennis, the fun keeps going at Grand Pineapple Negril. You can also sign up for fun excursions through the tour desk which will help you get to know Jamaica on a more personal level.

Caribbean spa

Spa

What’s a Caribbean vacation with no spa time? Mellow out at the Grand Pineapple Spa which offers a range of treatments that can help you enjoy every part of your vacation just a little bit more.

Looking for an all-inclusive option that’s also budget friendly? Check out these Grand Pineapple Negril specials!


Bonus: Top 5 places to visit near Seven Mile Beach

1. Mayfield Falls

1 hour and 15 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach, Negril.

Mayfield-Falls-Negril-Jamaica

Mineral springs and waterfalls all in one spot. The attractions here include two waterfalls, 21 freshwater pools, and enough flora and fauna to help get you at one with nature. There are plenty of great backdrops for photo ops at Mayfield Falls which is in the mountains, but you just might be so immersed in the experience that you forget to take photos at all!

2. Blue Hole Mineral Spring

30 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach, Negril.

The Blue Hole Mineral Spring can be found in Brighton District, Westmoreland Parish. Known and loved for its therapeutic attributes, here you’ll be able to see firsthand why many people consider the Caribbean a destination where true rejuvenation can be found. The Blue Hole Mineral Spring is about 25 minutes southeast of Negril and it is a great spot if you’re looking to unwind, and even cliff jump for an added thrill. Mud baths are also an option here, and the white, clay-like mud found here is said to have many healing properties your skin will love.

3. Floyd’s Pelican Bar

Catamaran half day trips available from Seven Mile Beach, Negril.

Floyds-Pelican-Bar-Negril-Jamaica

Floyd’s Pelican Bar is a must visit location when you’re in Jamaica, and you’ll love this spot from the moment you get on the boat to get there. This bar has an easygoing ambiance, and you’ll probably be laughing for the entire time that you’re there. This bar stands out because it’s located in the middle of the ocean (about half a mile from shore)! Not only will you be able to sip on cold Red Stripe beers and cocktails while socializing, you’ll also be able to take in amazing views. There’ll also likely be tasty treats on offer in case you get hungry, which means you’re all set to spend as long as you’d like at this carefree and fun location. Some half day tours include stops at Pelican Bar, so you can ask about this ahead of booking your excursion with Sandals or Beaches resorts.

4. Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden

20 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach, Negril.

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Just a few minutes away from Seven Mile Beach in Negril, you can find yourself in a space of pure bliss. That place will be none other than Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden in Hylton Avenue, where you can see beautiful hummingbirds in their natural habitat. This won’t be one of those times where you spot a hummingbird for a few seconds, and don’t see another one in forever. Many of these fast moving birds call Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden home, and at this location you’ll be able to see the birds up close, and even feed them if you choose. If you’re travelling with kids, you can have them hold out a bottle filled with sugar water, and watch as the birds curiously come close enough for you to get some amazing photos! Also at this location, you may just spot the national bird of Jamaica, which is none other than the Doctor Bird, also known as the Swallow-tailed Hummingbird.

5. Watch the cliff jumpers at Rick’s Café

15 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach, Negril.

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Rick’s Café is a cool and casual restaurant and bar in Negril, but it is also much more than just that. This location is well known in Jamaica (legendary even!) for cliff diving and amazing sunsets. The restaurant is set on a cliff about 35 feet high, and from this vantage visitors here can enjoy some of the most amazing views in this western part of Jamaica. Whether or not you’re into cliff diving, you can get into the excitement by kicking back with some tasty treats and drinks while you watch the more adventurous do their thing, or just relax in the lounge area or in a cabana and take in the super chill ambiance.

Also read: Things to do in and near Negril, Jamaica.


Now that you’re filled in on the best all-inclusive resorts on Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica…

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It’s almost time to start packing for your next Caribbean vacation! We know that with so many amazing resort options in Jamaica, you’re bound to feel as though your trip can’t come soon enough. One thing’s for sure though — your trip to the Caribbean will certainly be worth the wait, and perhaps even a repeat visit!

Why Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee Is The World’s Most Sought-After Coffee

Food & Drink
January 21st 2021
Why Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee Is The World’s Most Sought-After Coffee

Rhythmic reggae beats, mesmerizing beaches and waterfalls, friendly people, a vibrant culture, and not forgetting, Blue Mountain Coffee — all of these are among the amazing things Jamaica is known for.

While there are many reasons to travel to this Caribbean isle, where adventure awaits, on top of that list is being able to wake up to the delightful aromas of a cup of world-famous Blue Mountain Coffee, while admiring the rugged and simply stunning backdrops of Jamaica, hopefully from the vantage of a suite at one of Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts.

Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee Blend

Photo credit: Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock.com

Coffee lovers will be right at home at Sandals Resorts, as Blue Mountain Coffee is part of the attraction: you’ll be able to enjoy this exclusive coffee in your suite at no additional charge (Club Level and Butler suites), and at most restaurants on property. If you love it (which you probably will!), you’ll even be able to take a few packs back home with you from the resort gift shop. From there you can share the authentic goodness of this reputable coffee brand with friends or family!


In this article on the Sandals Blog:

History of Blue Mountain Coffee
What makes Blue Mountain Coffee so special?
Delightful aromas of Blue Mountain Coffee
Where to buy Blue Mountain Coffee?
Don’t be fooled! How to spot fake Blue Mountain Coffee

Unlimited Blue Mountain Coffee during your stay
FAQs about Blue Mountain Coffee


The intriguing history of Blue Mountain Coffee

blue-mountain-coffee-estate

The history of Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica is intriguing. As history tells it, in 1723 when Martinique was a colony of France, King Louis XV, sent a few coffee plants to Martinique to be cultivated. Five years later, the governor of Martinique gifted the governor of Jamaica, Sir Nicholas Lawes, with a single coffee plant. This plant was nurtured and many, many more were grown, signalling the beginning of the coffee industry in Jamaica!


What makes Blue Mountain Coffee so special?

1. The high-altitude area where the beans are grown

High-altitude-Blue-Mountains-Jamaica

Blue Mountain coffee is grown in the misty Blue Mountains of Jamaica, which can be found to the north of the country’s capital, Kingston. The coffee beans thrive in the rich, volcanic soil of the mountains and they must be cultivated at altitudes of 3,000 - 5,500 feet to receive the honor of being called Blue Mountain Coffee. This means that only coffee harvested at this altitude from the parishes within the mountain range, like St. Mary, St. Andrew, Portland and St. Thomas, will qualify for this prestigious label. At this elevation, the coffee plants get just as much water as they need. They are also less susceptible to disease and they get plenty of time to develop their rich flavors!

2. All beans are picked and separated by hand

woman-picking-blue-mountain-coffee-beans-1

These coffee beans undergo a thorough examination before they can be approved for the next stage of their intricate developmental process. Machines are sometimes used to extract the best beans, after which these beans are scrutinized individually to ensure they are of the right size and are smooth and void of any imperfections.

3. Only the best beans make the cut

blue-mountain-coffee-beans

Even after being carefully selected and roasted, the beans must be approved by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. This board ensures that only coffee beans of a premium quality are used to make the unique Blue Mountain Coffee. This unique brand is protected by the board that has put rules and regulations in place so that the coffee is grown under the right conditions, and that a standard product is delivered to consumers. Once the requirements have been met and the board is satisfied, the coffee receives the internationally renowned Blue Mountain Seal of Approval.


Discover the delightful aromas of Blue Mountain Coffee yourself!

Sandals Emerald Bay Cafe de Paris Woman Coffee

Picture: Discover delightful aromas. Sandals Resorts exclusively serves the world’s most sought-after specialty coffee grown in Jamaica's misty Blue Mountain range.

With just enough sunshine and rainfall for coffee plants to thrive and blossom, the Blue Mountains of Jamaica are the ideal location for the many coffee plantations that can be found along its expansive terrain. The coffee produced here is one of a kind, and it is loved for its smooth, sweet taste and fragrant aroma. This island is one such place where you can have Blue Mountain coffee and be assured that the possibility is high that what’s in your cup is truly authentic!


Where to buy Blue Mountain Coffee?

Sandals Emerald Bay Cafe de Paris Counter Couple

Picture: Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend Coffee possesses an unmatched superior flavor that has garnered a reputation for being the world's best coffee.

During a visit to Jamaica, it’s totally worthwhile to pick up some of this delicious coffee either from your resort if you’re staying at Sandals, or from the many local sellers who are always more than happy to show off the local product. This coffee can also be bought online from various sellers around the world. Keep a lookout for where the coffee has been manufactured to ensure that you buy coffee that has been produced on the best plantations in Jamaica.

Other places you’ll be able to get Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica include:

Wallenford Estate

This estate in Kingston Jamaica produces a unique brand of Blue Mountain Coffee. This variety uses peaberry coffee beans which have one cherry rather than two, resulting in a distinctive but delicious taste.

Clifton Mountain Estate

Situated in St. Catherine’s Peak Jamaica, this plantation is said to be more than 270 years old. It is regarded as the oldest plantation on the island that is still in operation. Clifton Mountain Estate’s reputation speaks for itself, as it is known to produce some of the best Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica.

Flamstead Estate Coffee

Blue Mountain Coffee is also grown at the Flamstead Estate, which can be found more than 3,000 feet above sea level, which is the perfect altitude to produce amazing coffee!

Greenwich Estate Coffee

Coffee produced at this estate has a strong tangy flavor of caramel and chocolate with a smooth, delicious finish. This estate is said to be the first environmentally friendly one in Jamaica.

All of the estates mentioned above are located near Kingston, in the Blue Mountain region.

Pro tip: Is your Sandals all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica coming up soon? While on these exciting shores, be sure to get a shot of Jamaican rum cream in your Blue Mountain Coffee — its full, delicious flavor will leave you wanting more!


Don’t be fooled! How to spot fake Blue Mountain Coffee

rainforest-alliance-official-seal-on-coffee-barrel-1

The best way to know the real from the fake when it comes to Blue Mountain Coffee is to check the seal. All official brands should have the Coffee Industry Board Seal with a mark of certification, which is usually a blue circle with the words “Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee” inside. You can also ask the seller for the declaration paperwork that is given to all official sellers.

If you don’t know what to look for, it might be hard to spot the difference between the fake and real product. Another way to check is to read the packaging. The planting, harvesting and packaging of Blue Mountain Coffee is all done in Jamaica and any label which says otherwise is not attached to a genuine product.

The easiest way to differentiate fake Blue Mountain Coffee from the real product, might be the price. Blue Mountain Coffee takes twice as long to harvest as other types of coffee, making it a highly sought out brand. So if the coffee itself is very cheap, then chances are you’re being duped.

Pro tip: There are lots of blends being sold out there and many people are willing to buy them because they’re cheaper than the original product. However, chances are you might get 20% or less of the real coffee while the rest is of another generic blend.


Drink unlimited Blue Mountain Coffee during your stay!

Sandals Antigua Cafe de Paris Couple Coffee

Picture: Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend Coffee is served exclusively throughout all Sandals specialty restaurants, French-style cafés, Club Sandals Lounges, self-serve coffee stations and room service.

Did you know all Sandals Resorts in Jamaica including Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Negril, Sandals South Coast, Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation exclusively serve Blue Mountain Coffee?

Guests of Sandals Resorts can indulge in authentic Blue Mountain Coffee at specialty restaurants, cafés, Club Sandals lounges, self-serve coffee stations and through room service!

The best part is, it’s all included, all unlimited.


Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee — perfect for waking up in paradise!

Sandals Royal Barbados Coffee Butler Cabana

Picture: Our unprecedented Caribbean resorts with Butler Service, provides our most discerning guests with an unimaginably supreme standard of service and luxury, where your every need is anticipated.

The unforgettable taste and sweet aroma of Blue Mountain Coffee has definitely made its way onto the list of reasons Jamaica should be a bucket list destination. These in demand beans have stolen the show as far as premium coffee is concerned and are definitely worth waking up to in a place that will for sure take your breath away!

Insider tip: Planning a Sandals vacation in Jamaica? Here are 43 Wonderful Things To Do In Jamaica!


FAQs about Blue Mountain Coffee

Is Blue Mountain Coffee the best in the world?

Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the best coffees in the world; its taste is rich and heavenly with a sweet floral aroma. Before it finds its way to your cup, this coffee is made from beans that have been harvested for close to a year. Its taste makes it worth it!

How much is Blue Mountain coffee per pound?

Blue Mountain Coffee costs about 58 US Dollars per pound.

Is Blue Mountain Coffee worth the price?

Though you will have to spend quite a bit for Blue Mountain Coffee, you will be getting a premium brand of the highest quality. So give it a try, we can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

Why is Blue Mountain Coffee so expensive?

There is limited space on the Blue Mountains in Jamaica where it is grown and added to that, it takes about ten months to harvest which makes its supply very low. While its delicious taste puts this coffee in high demand, a limited supply makes it much more expensive than other coffee brands.

Why did Blue Mountain Coffee become famous?

Blue Mountain Coffee was sent to Jamaica in the early 18th century by a governor and since then, it has been widely produced because of its distinctive and addictive flavors. It has earned its reputation as one of the tastiest and rarest coffees in the world.

Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee arabica?

Yes, the coffee grown in the Blue Mountains in Jamaica is from the Arabica Typica subspecies. Additionally, the climate and the altitude of the mountains provide the best atmosphere for the coffee beans to flourish.

What factors account for the specific flavor of the Blue Mountain brand of coffee?

In order for the Arabica sub species of plant to grow, there must be adequate phosphorus and nitrogen in its environment — all of which can be found in the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. Added to that, the mountains provide enough cover for the plants and just enough rainfall.

What’s the best way to brew Blue Mountain Coffee?

Simply add two tablespoons of coffee, or as much as you would like, to a French press, percolator or drip pot, to brew some delicious coffee. The coffee should not be boiled and should be consumed soon after brewing to maximize its freshness.

What is the best way to store the coffee?

Many believe that the refrigerator is the best way to store coffee or coffee beans, but in reality, it is not. The coldness of the fridge robs the coffee of its natural flavor and freshness. So, in that case, a vacuum or airtight container is best.

Sandals' Most Spectacular Swim-Up Rooms in Jamaica

The Islands
December 4th 2020
Sandals' Most Spectacular Swim-Up Rooms in Jamaica

What is more spectacular than being able to step out of a cool, crisp and lavishly designed suite to meet your own private oasis in the warm tropical air? At Sandals you not only get this, but in our swim-up suites, you need only take a few more steps and your toes will blissfully descend into your own private pool that’s practically the same warmth as the air outside. Nothing says luxury like a swim-up suite, and there is nowhere better to enjoy one than in lovely and romantic Jamaica.


Also check out Sandals other all-inclusive swim-up rooms in The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada.


It’s safe to say, these rooms are special. They stand in a class of their own and their amazing views are one of those features that you will never get tired of. Jamaica is incredibly beautiful, and as the backdrop for your vacation you won’t have any issues relaxing and enjoying every day of it. Read on to know more about some of the options of the best Jamaica swim-up rooms, we have to offer:


In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Beachfront Swim-up Millionaire Butler Suite
South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suite
Dutch Beachfront Swim Up Butler Suite
Oceanfront Swim-up Butler Suite
Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suite
Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Butler Suite

Bonus: Over-the-Water Bungalows & Villas



1. Beachfront Swim-up Millionaire Butler Suite

Spacious and spectacular, this swim-up suite in Montego Bay stands out for all the right reasons.

Beachfront Swim Up Millionaire One Bedroom Butler Suite Inside

Beachfront Swim Up Millionaire One Bedroom Butler Suite Outside

A swim-up room is always a good idea when vacationing in Jamaica, and even better if that swim-up suite comes with a personal butler, like the Sandals Beachfront Millionaire Suites. These suites are on the high end of luxury, and they can be found at Sandals Montego Bay. Here you can float away into Caribbean bliss as you enjoy the spectacular ocean views, a Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two, butler service, and 24-hour room service. The suite comes with a retractable glass wall that separates the living area and bedroom, and a wet bar filled with premium liquors. This modern and spacious swim-up suite surely is that “something different” you might be looking for in a Caribbean getaway.

Check availability: Beachfront Swim-Up Millionaire One Bedroom Butler Suite

View: Pool, Beachfront, Oceanview.
Features: Butler Elite Service. Fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Private BMW luxury airport transfer.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 12 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 6 bars. Unlimited motorized water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals Montego Bay
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica.



2. South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suite

VIP check-in included, Sandals new swim-up Rondoval Suites are first-class.

swim up rondoval suite sandals interior

swim up rondoval suite sandals south coast

Want to stay in a suite with its own Private Pool Sanctuary? Then the South Seas Swim-Up suite might be just your fit! There’s a level of serenity you’ll be able to find at this swim-up room in Jamaica which includes its own private butler that is comparable to none, and you’ll fall in love with its stylish details like the porcelain tile flooring, conical ceilings and the modern and expansive living room area. What’ll probably have you sold is the seamless access to the winding river pool from this suite, your own Tranquility Soaking Tub™, and even a personal butler. Enjoy 24-hour room service and VIP check-in with this room category!

Check availability: South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suite

Features: Butler Elite Service. Fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for Two.
View: Pool, Tropical Garden.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 9 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 7 bars. Unlimited motorized water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals South Coast
Location: Whitehouse, Jamaica.



3. Dutch Beachfront Swim Up Butler Suite

Part of the Love Nest Butler Suites® in the Dutch Village at Sandals South Coast, this swim-up suite in Jamaica aims to please.

swim up room jamaica sandals south coast

swim up room jamaica sandals south coast 2

In the Caribbean it’s all about soaking up as much sun as possible, while still keeping cool in a place where the refreshing breezes can literally lull you to sleep. Dive right into an all-inclusive getaway swim-up style with the Dutch Beachfront Swim Up Butler Suite available at Sandals South Coast. Sandals South Coast is generally a laid back resort choice, and this suite reflects the ambiance of the resort with features like a Tranquility Soaking Tubs™, a fully stocked bar with premium liquor, a spa-style bathroom, 24-hour room service, VIP check-in, and so much more. This suite is one of the Love Nest Butler Suites® in the Dutch Village and also includes butler service and stunning ocean views.

Check availability: Dutch Beachfront Swim Up Butler Suite

Features: Butler Elite Service. Fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for Two.
View: Beachfront, Oceanview, Pool, Tropical Garden.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 9 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 7 bars. Unlimited motorized water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals South Coast
Location: Whitehouse, Jamaica.



4. Oceanfront Swim-up Butler Suite

A swim-up suite with mesmerizing sea views is a must in the Caribbean!

Oceanfront Swim up Butler Suite Inside

Oceanfront Swim up Butler Suite Outside

Swim-up rooms are music to the ears of any traveller hoping to spend lots of time in the water during a tropical getaway, and the Oceanfront Swim-Up Butler Suite at Sandals Montego Bay is a great option for that sort of poolside fun. What stands out most about this swim-up room in Jamaica is its incredible oceanfront view, which really and truly is the reason people fall in love with the Caribbean. These suites are fresh on the list of Sandals swim-up options and in addition to quick access to the river pool, they also include a Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for Two. This swim-up suite is one of many at Sandals Montego Bay, and it is ideal for couples who want an experience that is inclusive of butler service, and 24-hour room service.

Check availability: Oceanfront Swim-up Butler Suite
View: Pool, Oceanfront, Oceanview.

Features: Butler Elite Service. Fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Private BMW luxury airport transfer.
Similar (less spacious) swim-up suites are also available with concierge service.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 12 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 6 bars. Unlimited motorized water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals Montego Bay
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica.



5. Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suite

This authentically Jamaican swim-up room is located on the amazing Seven Mile Beach!

Swim up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suite Inside

Swim up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suite Outside

Let love lead the way to Sandals Negril, where you and the one you love most can find out firsthand just why swim-up suites in Jamaica are so popular. The Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suites includes 24-hour room service, a personal butler, and easy access to the world-renowned Seven Mile Beach. You’ll love the amazing ocean views from this suite, the signature walk-in shower, whirlpool bath, and four-poster king-size bed. There’s also a living area that’s spacious enough to enjoy together or with a couple of new friends, and a fully-stocked wet bar.

Check availability: Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Beachfront Butler Suite
View: Pool, Tropical garden, Partial ocean view.

Features: Butler Elite Service. Fully stocked in-room bar, free to use.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 7 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 5 bars. Unlimited motorized water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals Negril
Location: Negril, Jamaica.



6. Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Butler Suite

Surrounded by tropical gardens, this swim-up room in Jamaica also presents a dining opportunity right on the water!

Swim up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon One Bedroom Butler Suite Inside

Swim up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon One Bedroom Butler Suite Outside

There are many things guests love about Sandals Royal Caribbean including the amazing restaurants (especially the Thai restaurant!), the swimming pool with swim-up bar, and the excellent butler service, which you can find in suites like the Swim-Up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Butler Suite. You’ll feel like you’re living a dream while spending time in this authentic Jamaican suite, which is ideal for honeymooners, or couples who want to slow things down for some uninterrupted time together. These suites are well appointed and in-demand, and include features like a walk-in shower, four-poster king-size bed, his & hers vanity bathroom sinks, a whirlpool bath, a patio with sun loungers and a bistro set, and more. The best part of course, will be the easy and personalized access you’ll have to the Crystal Lagoon Pool!

Check availability: Swim-up Crystal Lagoon Honeymoon Butler Suite
View: Pool, Tropical garden.

Features: Butler Elite Service. A fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Private BMW luxury airport transfer.

A ‘walk-out’ room is also available, but it is not directly located on the edge of the Crystal Lagoon pool.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 8 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 5 bars. Private offshore island. Unlimited water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals Royal Caribbean
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica.



7. Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Swim-up Club Level Jr. Suite

Sandals' newest swim-up suites in Jamaica, located in the tranquil Highgrove building.

swim-up-suites-Sandals-Royal-Caribbean-interior

swim-up-suites-Sandals-Royal-Caribbean

In Jamaica you’ll have plenty of options of rooms with easy access to the pool like the Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Swim-Up Suite at Sandals Royal Caribbean. This ground floor suite in the Caribbean Village of Sandals Royal Caribbean has swim-up pool access from a private outdoor patio where guests will also find a Tranquility Soaking Tub for two which will definitely up the romance factor for any vacation.

With pleasant garden views and a bistro set out on the patio that couples can enjoy while having a private dinner pool side, this is one of the many suites at Sandals made with and designed for love. Inside this suite couples can spend their vacation days in ultimate comfort with a king-sized bed, large HD smart TV and custom-built furnishing all around. Other perks of this suite include access to the Club Sandals lounge and concierge service, all day room service, and more!

Check availability: Crystal Lagoon Hideaway Swim-up Club Level Jr. Suite
View: Pool, Tropical garden.

Features: Concierge and room service. A fully stocked in-room bar, free to use. Roundtrip airport transfers. Tranquility Soaking Tubs™ for Two.

Luxury inclusions: Unlimited food & drinks at 8 world-class restaurants. Unlimited premium liquors at 5 bars. Private offshore island. Unlimited water sports. Free scuba diving trips. Red Lane® Spa at additional costs.

Resort: Sandals Royal Caribbean
Location: Montego Bay, Jamaica.



Bonus: Over-the-Water Bungalows & Villas

Everyone’s talking about the heart shaped Over-the-Water Bungalows at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, which truly showcase what luxury is all about. If you’re interested in the swim-up concept, this takes things to the next level with an ocean in place of a pool that you’ll be able to jump right into.

SWH Over Water Bungalow Inside

SWH Over Water Bungalow Aerial

Feel the warm Caribbean sunshine on your skin as you soak in the rays on the built in suspended patio with a swim-up platform, or find your serenity on the couple’s over-the water hammock while sipping on premium drinks. The glass floors are one of the finer touches, but you’ll also appreciate the spa-style bathrooms, outdoor shower, and overall tropical ambiance.


Swim-up rooms in Jamaica are truly something special…

A swim-up room is always a good idea when vacationing in Jamaica – it’ll add that exotic feel every Caribbean vacation needs. Whether you choose to vacation in Jamaica, or you decide to try one of these 14 Unique All-Inclusive Swim-up Rooms You’ll Fall in Love With, with Sandals you’re all set for a vacation where love is definitely included!




30 Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With Jamaica

The Islands
January 27th 2020
30 Pictures That Will Make You Fall In Love With Jamaica

Sandals South Coast Jamaica Sunrise Main Pool

One of Jamaica's largest swimming pool at Sandals South Coast comes with breathtaking views and a swim-up bar. Best part: drinks for guests are always included, always unlimited.

Reggae Tribute Band Nine Mile Jamaica

Photo credit: Lost Mountain Studio/Shutterstock.com

A reggae tribute band at Nine Mile, the birthplace of Bob Marley.

Beaches Negril Jamaica Seven Mile Beach

Negril's famous Seven Mile Beach. Everything you can possibly imagine is possible at all-inclusive resort Beaches Negril. A water park, lively pools, restaurants and bars - all located right on the beach.

High-up-in-the-Blue-Mountains-in-Jamaica-1

The Blue Mountains form the longest mountain range along the eastern edge of Jamaica and features majestic scenery. This under-explored area is also the source of the world famous and fragrant Blue Mountain Coffee.

Sandals South Coast Jamaica Over Water Bungalows

From all-new Over-the-Water Bungalows, an overwater bar, and a romantic Over-the-Water wedding chapel, Sandals South Coast brings guests closer than ever to the water.

Saint Ann Jamaica Local Musicians

Photo credit: Yevgen Belich/Shutterstock.com

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is known for its colorful and rich culture.

Romantic beach getaway Jamaica

Jamaica is the perfect place for a romantic beach getaway.

YS Falls Jamaica

Photo credit: Stefano Manocchio/Shutterstock.com

YS Falls is located on the South end of Jamaica in a parish called St. Elizabeth. Like much of Jamaica, the falls are surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful trees. Many people say YS Falls is one of the most beautiful sights they have ever seen.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Jamaica Mariners

There is a soul in cooking in Jamaica that is unmatched. Enjoy unlimited local favorites including Jerk Chicken and Jerk Pork at Sandals Royal Caribbean, where peppery jerk and fiery scotch bonnet spices are used to season these local treasures.

Bamboo River Raft Jamaica

Go on a romantic bamboo river rafting adventure at the Marta Brae or Black River.

Sunset Cruise

Even if you’ve never been to Jamaica, you’ve probably heard all about the peaceful blue water, warm temperatures, lush rainforests, and other alluring details. But the one thing that may impress you the most if you ever visit is the mesmerizing tropical sunsets.

Blue Hole Ocho Rios Jamaica

Photo credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Hidden in the looming mountains, lie pools of crystalline turquoise waters, which beckon to you to take a leap and immerse yourself in promises of a cool and refreshing swim. Ocho Rios' Blue hole, often called Irie Blue Hole, this attraction is arguably one of the most beautiful tourist attraction in Jamaica.

Sandals Royal Plantation Jamaica Gardens

Both charming and enchanting, this is Sandals Royal Plantation - an intimate beach resort of just 74 ocean view suites tucked into a magnificent coral bluff. You can spend your days lazing by the pool with cool libations delivered right to you by a beach butler.

Ricks Cafe Clif Jumping Jamaica

Photo credit: Alchemist Chronicles 876/Shutterstock.com

A short drive from all-inclusive resort Sandals Negril you'll find Rick's Cafe, famous for its amazing sunsets and cliff jumping.

Floyds Pelican Bar Jamaica

Photo credit: Deju1988/Shutterstock.com

Just off the south coast of Jamaica, you'll find Floyd's Pelican bar - completely made of drift wood. Have a drink and carve your name in the wood!

Mayfield Falls Negril Jamaica

Photo credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

Mayfield Falls is an eco-tourism attraction centrally located in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica. It consists of 2 beautiful waterfalls, 21 natural pools, 52 types of ferns and lots of exotic flowers, plant species, birds, butterflies and wildlife native to Jamaica.

Appleton State Tour Montego Bay Jamaica

Marvel at the workings of the Appleton Estate, a rum distillery that’s known for creating one of the world’s smoothest and most sought-after rums.

Couple watching sunset Ricks Cafe Negril

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

While in Jamaica, enjoy a local Red Stripe beer while watching the sunset.

Frenchman Cove Jamaica

Photo credit: SLIC/Shutterstock.com

Often referred to as Paradise, Frenchman’s Cove beach is a unique beach located in the parish of Portland, Jamaica.

White River Rafting Jamaica

Photo credit: LBSimms Photography/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica's scenery can also be enjoyed through its rivers on your own personal bamboo raft. You can choose from the Martha Brae, Black River and many more.

Margaritaville Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Have some cocktails, hop on the water trampolines and enjoy the slides at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Locations can be found in Montego Bay and Fallmouth.

Bob Marley Statue Kingston Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Bob Marley statue in Kingston,one of the pioneers of reggae. His musical career was marked by blending elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, as well as forging a smooth and distinctive vocal and songwriting style.

Sandals Royal Caribbean Cabana Night

Private beach cabanas with butler service at Sandals Royal Caribbean. Guests have access to a private offshore island.

Sandals Ochi Golf Country Club

Sandals Golf Club in Ocho Rios recognized as one of the finest in Jamaica by Golf Digest and Frommers Travel Guide. Give yourself the perfect golf vacation, with rolling fairways lined by sweeping views of the sea and mountains. This magnificent 18-hole course is located near Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation. Green fees are included in your stay when booking a room at one of Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.

Lighthouse Negril Jamaica

Photo credit: Lucky-photographer/Shutterstock.com

This Lighthouse is situated at south Negril Point which is at the extreme western end of the Island. Built before the turn of the last century, the Negril Lighthouse has served the people of Jamaica since 1895.

Dolphin Swim Jamaica

Is swimming with dolphins on your bucket list? You can check that off your list in Jamaica.

Sandals Negril Seven Mile Beach

Sandals Negril nestled within lushly landscaped acres along the island's legendary Seven-Mile Beach.

Dunns River Falls Ocho Rios Jamaica

Photo credit: Jan Schneckenhaus/Shutterstock.com

Climb Jamaica's most popular attraction: the Dunn's River Falls. Located near Ocho Rios, you can choose between a 'wet hike' and a 'dry hike'.

Sandals Montego Bay Swim Up Room

Take a swim right from your suite with Sandals Montego Bay's luxurious swim-up rooms.

There you have it, some of the most beautiful pictures of Jamaica. Only a short flight away from the U.S., this slice of paradise is the ideal place for a romantic getaway!

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Visit Jamaica?

The Islands
April 2nd 2019
When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Visit Jamaica?

Jamaica is without question one of the top tropical paradises of the Caribbean, and across this emerald island, hotspots of excitement and entertainment eagerly await your arrival.

Difficult to choose between, as they are all amazing holiday destinations, the cities of Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios all have individual qualities that guarantee a stay that you will never forget.

Also read: 40 wonderful things to do in Jamaica.

Jamaica is the place to help you have a wonderful vacation. Below you will find details on weather, annual events, and the top 5 places to visit, so that when you arrive in Jamaica, you will have nothing to worry about as the stress of regular life melts away.

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Weather in Jamaica
Temperatures in Jamaica
Rainfall in Jamaica
Ocean temperature in Jamaica
Peak season vs low season
Annual events

Bonus: Top 5 destinations in Jamaica


Like its neighboring islands, Jamaica’s climate is lush and tropical, with only slight variations across the island. Note too that the island experiences two rainy seasons; the first beginning in May, ending in June and the second lasting from September to November. There are also two dry seasons, with one running from July to August and the second from December to April.

The best time to visit Jamaica is during the start of 'winter', November to mid-December, with temperatures averaging 80°F. Peak season begins mid-December and ends mid-April, which is a great time to vacation in Jamaica if you don't mind the crowds. Summers (June to August) are warmer, bringing a slight increase in rainfall.

The weather: Beach weather all year long

It’s always a good time to visit Jamaica, but if the weather is a contributing factor in your decision-making process, below are some detailed weather graphs giving you a month to month overview of what you can expect on your vacation.

Temperatures in Jamaica

A tropical climate means warm weather all year round, with only slight variations between winter and summer.

Montego Bay sees its warmest days in July, with a maximum temperature of 91°F, while the ‘coldest’ period is over the month of January, at 82°F.

graph temperature montego bay

Negril generally hottest in July, Negril averages a maximum temperature of 86°F, and is coldest in January at 82°F.

graph temperature negril

Kingston, located off the southern coast, is slightly warmer in the winter months, with average maximum temperatures of around 86°F. The summer months average maximum temperatures around 91 °F. Be aware, if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation - you'll have a better time at Montego Bay, Negril or Ocho Rios.

graph temperature kingston

Similar to the rest of the country, Ocho Rios boasts warm temperatures year-round. June is the hottest month, with maximum temperatures averaging about 88°F, while January has the coldest temperatures, hovering around a still-warm 84°F.

graph temperature ocho rios


Rainfall in Jamaica

Typical of the tropics, the north-east winds have a direct effect on Jamaica’s rainfall. Especially between September and November, when the island’s northern coast experiences a slight increase in rain.

The southern region (e.g. Kingston) is sheltered from the winds by the Blue Mountains, as well as the hills of the west-central part of the country.

Due to their elevation, the central mountainous regions receive more rain than Jamaica's coastal hotspots, and as a result, are naturally lush and green - truly a sight to behold.

Montego Bay receives around 37 inches of rain each year, September to December being the wettest months, but still a great time to enjoy the island country. You'll experience beaches that are less crowded, and accommodation is often available at a lower rate.

graph rainfall montego bay

Negril has its wettest month in October, averaging 8.7 inches of rainfall, while December to March averaging less than 3 inches of rainfall, as the driest months of the year. In a year, Negril receives around 62 inches of rain - slightly more than other Jamaican hotspots. That being said, Negril boasts the most beautiful beaches in the country and is a great place for a beach vacation all year long.

graph rainfall negril

Kingston, being protected by the mountains, receives less rain than the rest of the island, with an average of around 28 inches of rain per year. The wettest months in Kingston are from September to October.

graph rainfall kingston

Ocho Rios receives around 37 inches of rain per year, with September and October being the wettest months.

graph rainfall ocho rios

Keep in mind Jamaica seldom sees a full day of rain. Being a tropical destination, rain often falls in one part of the day – making way for sunshine the other part of the day. Just make sure to bring a waterproof bag, in case you get surprised by some tropical rainfall.

Your daily dose of vitamin sea

Every day is a beach day in Jamaica. Sea temperatures range from 81 °F between January and April, and up to 84 °F between July and November.

Average water temperatures of 82 °F and pristine beaches, means you can snorkel all year round whenever the mood strikes. While the weather is cooler during peak season (ever so slightly), and the water visibility may be slightly better, due to less rain, you will not be disappointed if you travel during low season.

graph ocean temperature jamaica


Peak season vs low season: When should I book my next trip to Jamaica?

The weather in Jamaica is spectacular year-round, making it the ideal destination to enjoy the beautiful island. Your best bet would be to travel during the months of November and mid-April, just before and during peak season.

Peak Season: Mid-December – Mid-April

Winter is peak season in Jamaica. The weather is slightly cooler over these months, and the island sees an influx of tourists from around the globe. We would advise that you book at least three months in advance to avoid facing a situation where there is no availability.

graph tourism Jamaica 2018

Shoulder Season: Mid-April - May and November - Mid-December

Shoulder season is a great time to visit your (soon to be) favorite vacation island. From Mid-April to May the weather is amazing and the crowds taper-off after peak season, giving you ample space to relax, unwind and soak up the magnificent surroundings. From November - Mid-December enjoying the same great weather, but you can expect the beaches and resorts to be less crowded.

Low Season: June - November

Low season falls during the summer months. During these months you will experience fewer crowds on the beaches, resorts and restaurants. On top of that you will often find top-class accommodation at a lower rate. This might be not the best time to visit Jamaica when you are looking for a party, but it's a great time to grab a cocktail and take a well-deserved break on the beach.

Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica

Picture: Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios.


Insider tip: If you are considering taking a cruise ship vacation to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that is Jamaica, expect fewer crowds at the cruise ports during shoulder season.


The best events to experience while in Jamaica

While the Jamaican resorts will provide you with a luxury experience like no other, you might want to venture out for one or two authentic Jamaican experiences. You won't regret adding a little adventure to your vacation!

Jamaica Carnival

Location: Montego Bay, Kingston, Ocho Rios

Month: January to April

It’s an explosion of color, music, dance and food. Soak up the full Jamaican experience as the island nation comes to life in the center of the three major cities, Montego Bay, Kingston and Ocho Rios. From beach parties to street parties, the Jamaica Carnival is truly a unique experience. This might very well be a great time to visit Jamaica.

steel drums Jamaica

Bob Marley Week

Location: Kingston

Month: February

The first week of February sees reggae fanatics and Rastafarians come together in the city of Kingston to commemorate the life and music of Jamaica's best-known musician, Bob Marley. The week includes symposiums, lectures, karaoke contests, a fashion show, exhibitions and various other events related to Bob Marley. Don’t miss out on the “Redemption Live” concert. It’s the closest you’ll get to a Bob Marley experience - a man whose music and beliefs were so rooted in grassroots of the Jamaican people.

Montego Bay Yacht Club Easter Regatta

Location: Montego Bay

Month: March/April

If you’re up for a feast of maritime activity from the esteemed Montego Bay Yacht Club, you’ve come to the right place. Whether participating or simply witnessing the sails glide past you, from a spot of your preference, you’re in for a few days of delightful entertainment over the Easter weekend.

St. Elizabeth Horticultural Society Flower Show

Location: St. Elizabeth

Month: April

If it’s an immersive local experience you’re after, Easter Monday will give you just that. Affectionately known as the “Flower Show” the St. Elizabeth Horticultural Society Flower Show has been providing locals and tourist alike a real Jamaican experience since 1963. Get a taste of dancehall (popular Jamaican music), local eats, and a few shopping experiences where you can haggle with local vendors, which should stand you in good stead for the rest of your trip.

St. Ann International Kite Festival (Easter Monday in St. Ann)

Location: Richmond, St. Ann

Month: April

Calling all families and social lovers to the annual St. Ann Kite Festival and celebration. You’ll need to bring your A- game if you intend on entering the competition. This long-held tradition is less about the flying and a more about kite design and the building of kites. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of light (fun) rivalry. In true Jamaican style, this event is concluded with eats and live reggae music.

Kingston Curry Festival

Location: Kingston

Month: May

“Everything Curry” is the theme of this festival and it will deliver just that. Food, music and art are the order of the day, at the sought-after Kingston Curry festival. Showcasing the best dishes from local chefs and restaurants, the Kingston Curry Festival is also host to an artisan village and a number of other popular Jamaican cuisines. Be sure to arrive hungry.

Calabash International Literary Festival (Biannual)

Location: Kingston

Month: May (Biannual - the next one to be held in 2020)

“Inspirational” and “diverse”, are words that spring to mind when describing the Calabash International Literary Festival. Twice a year locals and visitors will be passionately adorned to a 3-day festival of poetry readings, music and other forms of storytelling methods.

" ... Calabash is a high-grade international event in which writing from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia forms a thought-provoking mosaic of story, history and mythology." - The Independent on Sunday

The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival

Location: Ocho Rios

Month: June

What started out as an experimental one-day event in 1991, with the idea of redefining the Jamaican musical landscape, has now boomed into an eight-day festival, featuring the greatest names in Jamaican Jazz around the world. Known as the oldest Jazz festival in the region, families can enjoy their Jazz Vacation in multiple regions from Ocho Rios to Kingston.

Do you want to celebrate the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival in style? Book in advance and pamper yourself by staying in the ocean-front butler suites of classy Sandals Royal Plantation.

jazz in Ocho Rios Jamaica

The Reggae Sumfest

Location: Montego Bay

Month: July

Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Beres Hammond and Maxi Priest are just a few of the many highly acclaimed local and international jazz artists performing at The Reggae Sumfest. A 6-night line-up of activities which will include an all-white blitz party, a sound system explosion, and a beach party along with the 3 main concerts will contribute to a full week of summer festivities.

Tip: Get front row seats to the Reggae Sumfest by booking Sandals Montego Bay or Sandals Royal Caribbean. Both resorts are located on a beautiful beach!

“Reggae music isn’t something you hear, it’s something that you feel.” - Peter Tosh

Marlin tournaments

Jamaica International Fishing Tournament: Montego Bay

Port Antonio International Blue Marlin Tournament: Port Antonio

Month: October

The waters of northern Jamaica are famous in the deep sea fishing circles. For over 40 years, both the Jamaica International Fishing Tournament and the Port Antonio International Blue Marlin Tournament sees local and international anglers and fishermen from all corners of the globe making their way to the Caribbean to fish the teeming waters. To win you’ll have to catch the biggest Blue Marlin, a fish that migrates through the Caribbean during September and October. Parties and celebrations make these tournaments a heritage highlight.

National Heroes Day

Location: Throughout Jamaica

Month: October

Not all heroes wear capes. Every third Monday in October is a public holiday commemorating Jamaica’s seven official national heroes. The greater freedom and societal betterment for Jamaica is attributed to six heroes and a heroine. Apart from these official-status heroes, modern day heroes are also recognized and given awards on National Heroes Day.

Restaurant Week

Location: Throughout Jamaica

Month: November

A foodies paradise! Over 100 participating restaurants throughout Jamaica will have you chomping at the bit (no pun intended) to get your bum in a seat for their delectable culinary delights. Restaurant chefs will welcome patrons for their signature dishes at discounts as much as 30 per cent. If there was ever a time to visit the island, the best time to visit Jamaica would be over the month of November.

Jamaican chef preparing food

Bonus: The top five Jamaican destinations

Negril

Seven miles of unadulterated sandy bliss is what makes Negril a destination of choice. Seven Mile Beach, which as you might have guessed is nearly seven miles of uninterrupted sand. Coupled with endless turquoise waters for as far as the eye can see, this piece of paradise will certainly set the tone for your dream vacation.

Grab a cocktail and watch the sun melt into the ocean straight off the shores of Negril. Witness the most beautiful sunsets at Sandals Negril (all-inclusive adults only resort), or Beaches Negril (all-inclusive family resort with waterpark).

Sandals all-inclusive resort in Negril

Picture: Sandals Negril, all-inclusive resort on Seven Mile Beach.

Montego Bay

A well-known stomping ground for the rich and famous, the pearly beaches of Montego Bay are home to some of the best premier luxury resorts. Second in its size to Kingston, it is known as the tourist capital of Jamaica, and for very good reason. From shopping, to art galleries, to parks and nature reserves, the beautiful seaside city will certainly keep you on your toes.

Insider tip: Staying at any of these all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, will give you access to all three resorts - including all restaurants, bars and swimming pools: Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Sandals Inn. It’s like three vacations in one!

Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay
Picture: Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios, once a small fishing village, is now a bustling city hosting an array of outdoor adventures for you and your family. Outdoor adventures on Mystic Mountain, Martha Brae River Rafting, or exploring the city on horseback, are just a few of the many “must do” activities while visiting Ocho Rios.

Don’t forget to go on the Dunn’s River Falls island Routes Tour, one of Jamaica’s most magnificent natural treasures. Check out Sandals Ochi (all-inclusive couples-only resort) and Beaches Ocho Rios (family friendly all-inclusive resort) for a stress-free vacation.

Sandals all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios

Picture: Sandals Ochi, all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios.

Port Antonio

Port Antonio, the capital of Jamaica’s Portland Parish, is found on Jamaica’s northwest coast, and is the island’s third largest port. Made famous by Hollywood, movie buffs will appreciate that Port Antonio was featured in multiple Hollywood films, such as Club Paradise and Tom Cruise’s Cocktail.

Kingston

Recognizing the important role reggae, ska, dance hall and rocksteady have played in shaping the city’s identity, Kingston, was crowned the Creative City of Music by UNESCO in 2015. The capital and largest city of Jamaica is located on the south eastern coast of the island. Known as the heart of music, art, and culinary explorations in Jamaica, it’s no surprise visitors flock to the city for a day trip to get a taste of the Jamaican culture. Kingston is the business center of Jamaica, if you are looking for a beach vacation - the other four destinations mentioned above might be a better pick.

Come to Jamaica and feel alright

From alluring sandy beaches to adventurous hikes through lush mountains and waterfalls, Jamaica boasts an array of unique experiences. Above all: it’s the perfect paradise to have a drink and relax. Experience authentic Jamaican food accompanied with the groovy beats of reggae and you have yourself a vacation that is a welcome break from busy day-to-day life.

Base yourself at any one of the Sandals' all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and start your vacation the way it was always intended: stress-free and everything being taken care of for you.

Where Is Jamaica Located? Paradise Around The Corner.

The Islands
January 3rd 2020
Where Is Jamaica Located? Paradise Around The Corner.

Jamaica is an island country located in The Caribbean, on a 1 hour, 35 minute flight from Miami. It is located to the south of Cuba, to the east of the Cayman Islands and to the west of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.



With its palm fringed beaches and lush mountains, Jamaica is a popular vacation destination known to be the birthplace of reggae, Bob Marley, Blue Mountain coffee, Red Stripe beer, Jamaican rum, jerk chicken and wonderful waterfalls. Find out what else Jamaica is known for.

Thinking of going on a beach vacation, sipping on unlimited free cocktails? Jamaica is the place to be for an all-inclusive resort vacation.

smb-main-image

Picture: All-inclusive resort Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica features 12 restaurants and 7 bars (including a swim-up bar). The best part: all food and drinks are always unlimited, always included!



Also read:
Where is The Bahamas?
Where is Saint Lucia?

42 Wonderful Things To Do In Jamaica: Top Points of Interest on the Island

Island Life
August 29th 2019
42 Wonderful Things To Do In Jamaica: Top Points of Interest on the Island
Photo credit header image: Natascha Kaukorat/Shutterstock.com


No matter where you go, Jamaica is the name most associated with the Caribbean region, much to the chagrin of other small island folk. Nevertheless, it is understandable why so many people believe that the land of Reggae music and dancehall is the mother of all Caribbean islands; for one thing, it’s one of the biggest islands in the region, and added to that, much of the culture in the smaller islands is heavily influenced by all things Jamaican – everything from the music to the food and lingo.

Also read: Best time to visit Jamaica.

For Caribbean jetsetters, the island is the ultimate vacation spot because there are so many points of interest in Jamaica, from exploring picture-perfect beaches and rare luminous lagoons, to touring famous museums, swimming in refreshing waterfalls and exploring ancient forts.

Within this article, we’ve highlighted 42 points of interest in Jamaica that should help solidify your decision to vacation in this part of the world.

No exaggerations or embellishments are necessary: Jamaica is hands down one of the best places for a Caribbean holiday with plenty of things to do. Read on to see why!

Best beaches to visit in Jamaica

If Jamaica is known for one thing, it is the beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Though you can find beautiful beaches along the entire coast of the island, there are a few that really stand out to us.

If you are looking for a beautiful view of the glistening waters of the Caribbean sea, a nice place to get a tan, or somewhere to spend a beach day, here are our top six favorite beaches on the island.

1. Seven Mile Beach

Located: Negril

seven mile beach jamaica

From the moment you set foot in Jamaica, you’ll hear people talking about Seven Mile Beach. It is one of the most popular beaches in Jamaica, and arguably the best… the beach is literally miles long, which translates to an abundance of space to bring your sand, sea, and sun fantasy to life. You can make your experience there as quiet, or as involved as you wish, but you’ll surely find the perfect elements to bring together your beach day.

Expert tip: Want unlimited cocktails on Seven Mile Beach? Consider staying at an all-inclusive resort like Sandals Negril (adults-only) or Beaches Negril (family-friendly, includes waterpark) – located directly on Seven Mile Beach!


2. Winnifred Beach

Located: West of Port Antonio

Winnifred Beach Jamaica

Photo credit: Lieblingsbuerger/Shutterstock.com

It goes without saying that you’re going to do some beach hopping while in Jamaica. Since the stars have already aligned precisely for you to do just that, you might as well check out Winnifred beach, a must-see, out-of-the-way golden strand that never disappoints. A few years ago this beach came narrowly close to being developed, by way of a business center and villas, but still today it remains as pristine and refreshing as it has always been, and it will do you well to enjoy it while you still can!

Expert tip: Amid the greenery on this beach, you’ll find Cynthia’s Restaurant, where you can enjoy grilled seafood and other delicious meals!


3. Boston Bay

Located: Portland

boston bay jamaica

Photo credit: Brandon Noel/Shutterstock.com

Welcome to surfer’s paradise! Grab your board, and get ready to hit the waves. Unless of course, you want to just kick back and relax, and take in the sights and sounds, or indulge in a great seaside Caribbean restaurant. The best time for wave action is between June to December, which also happens to run parallel to the rainy season. For sun-seekers, that time of year may serve as a deterrent, but this is not the case for people hoping to ride the biggest waves while in Jamaica.

If you’re new to surfing, Boston Bay is an awesome place to learn! Surf lessons and board rentals are available at this location.

Expert tip: When it comes to surfing in the Caribbean, Jamaica and Barbados are among the top destinations! If you’re wondering which of these islands might be best for you, check out our article on Barbados vs. Jamaica.


4. Doctor’s Cave Beach

Located: Montego Bay

Doctor's Cave Beach Montego-Bay

Photo credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

Doctor’s Cave Beach is definitely one of the top five beaches in Montego Bay, and one of the top ten in Jamaica, overall. If you listen to the locals, you’ll be convinced that it is more than just a beach, but a magical shore where healing is possible simply by submerging in the clear, blue sea. This train of thought spread like wildfire back in the early 1900s, when a famous British osteopath (who inspired the name of the beach) concluded that the waters had healing powers. People came from all over the world to experience it themselves, and pretty soon hotels sprung up all over the place. It is still today a popular tourist destination, whether or not the legend holds any weight!

Expert tip: At Doctor’s Cave Beach you’ll find a restaurant, bar, washrooms, and a Starbucks Coffee shop!


5. Treasure Beach

Located: On the south Western Coast of Jamaica

Coast Treasure Beach Jamaica

Photo credit: Paul W. Henry/Shutterstock.com

There are numerous beaches in the Treasure Bay area, and most who go there say Treasure Bay beach has a less ‘touristy’ feel than other beaches on Jamaica’s west coast. Some days you will go there and be the only person there, other days, you’ll find a mix of locals and visitors, all enjoying the quietude of this beach. There are a few restaurants and bars in the area, so if you go, you’ll be in good hands.

6. Half Moon Beach

Located: Negril

Half Moon Beach Jamaica

Photo credit: Dean A Innerarity/Shutterstock.com

Simply put, Half Moon Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With soft, white sand and clear blue seas, this beach is a perfect backdrop for a dreamy beach day. Half Moon Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Jamaica, and it can often be very crowded.

If you want to enjoy the beach, but don’t quite like the crowd, a brief walk up the beach will take you to quieter areas where you can soak in some sun in peace. Otherwise, rent a cabana or a beach chair and settle in for an amazing Jamaica beach experience. Don’t forget to stop at the lunch buffet!


Best romantic activities for couples in Jamaica

Jamaica is a popular honeymoon and vacation destination for couples to take a romantic getaway. Though you’ll be able to find romantic spots along the island, there are a few experiences you do not want to miss.

Whether you’re looking for romantic accommodations, scenic nature tours, or a private spot to enjoy one another’s company … Jamaica has it all.


1. Heart-shaped Overwater Bungalows

Located: Montego Bay & Whitehouse

heartshaped overwater bungalows sandals

The first of its kind, Sandals heart-shaped overwater bungalows in Jamaica are a sight to behold and even more amazing to spend the night in! You can find the heart-shaped suites at Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals South Coast. With glass floors and 24-hour butler service, this accommodation is truly one of a kind.

2. Rio Grande River Tours

Located: Portland

Bamboo raft Rio Grande River Portland Jamaica

Photo credit: Aisha Sylvester/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica has some pretty neat rivers, and the Rio Grande is one of the most highly rated. When you get here, you’ll likely find tour groups waiting to go on their Jamaica bamboo rafting tours, which typically last for about two hours.

This romantic guided tour is the perfect setting for nature lovers. You’ll glide through the tropical rainforest, and take in the sights along the way. Notably, this river was first used by banana farmers to transport bananas to other areas. Now, it is free to be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

3. The Martha Brae

Located: Montego Bay

Marta Brae bamboo rafting tour Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Promoted as “the ultimate romantic adventure”, rafting on the Martha Brae is highly recommended while in Jamaica. You’ll learn about the legend of Martha Brae, an Arawak witch who, as Jamaican history tells it, lived on the River Matibereon.

The story has something to do with a hidden treasure and Spanish explorers, but much of it has been lost in translation. Nevertheless, getting to raft down the river is a treasure of an experience in itself, and you’ll have no regrets. In Rafter’s Village, the recreational facility at this location, you’ll find souvenir shops, a swimming pool, restrooms, a bar, and a picnic area.

4. Reach Falls

Located: Portland

Reach Falls Portland Jamaica

Photo credit: mr.innis/Shutterstock.com

Reach Falls is one of the most romantic attractions in Jamaica. Think cascading waterfalls, freshwater pools, and a prolific forest. Here you can head out on guided tours, or plan a picnic and take in the low-key ambiance. One of the highlights is the hike upstream towards the ‘Rabbit Hole’ via the Driver’s River. It’ll take a bit of courage, but it’s all worth it, and the guides help along the way.

5. The Blue Hole

Located: Ocho Rios

Blue Hole Jamaica Ocho Rios

Photo credit: Natascha Kaukorat/Shutterstock.com

The Blue Hole in Jamaica is a paradise for nature lovers. High up in the mountains, it is described by some who go there as “a little piece of heaven”, complete with rope swings, refreshing freshwater pools, nature trails, and beautiful waterfalls.

It’s quite a walk to the falls, but there’s a lot to see along the way. This spot is not as touristy as many other locations in Ocho Rios, so it’s great for visitors who want to do something out of the norm. This is one of the most romantic day activities you can do in Jamaica - especially if you want to see the sights!

Expert tip: The Blue Hole is located on a 20-minute drive from Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation. Bring along some water shoes for added comfort.


sandals royal plantation

Image: Sandals Royal Plantation, the beach resort where Tom Cruise's "Cocktail" was filmed.



Top outdoor activities & water sports in Jamaica

The island of Jamaica is more than just a relaxing vacation destination — you can also find plenty of exciting outdoor excursions. If you are looking for adventurous travel guides, river tubing, snorkeling spots, or other water sports, Jamaica is one of the top destinations.

Below are our top things to do in Jamaica if you are looking for exciting outdoor activities or water sports on the island.

1. Kool Runnings Adventure Park

Located: Negril

Explore Jamaica’s largest water and adventure park and add some excitement to your vacation. This is a great place to go in Jamaica if you are bringing your kids, but even if you’re not traveling with children, you can still enjoy a river rafting or canoeing adventure, the wave pool, or some paintball action. Other activities include outdoor laser combat, go-karts, and kayaking. You’ll be able to spend a full day at the Kool Runnings Adventure Park, and it’ll still leave you wanting to come back for more. The park is open six days a week (closed on Mondays), from 10 am to 5 pm.

2. Luminous Lagoon

Located: Falmouth

luminous lagoon jamaica

A visit to the Luminous Lagoon must be on your to-do list while in Jamaica – glowing waters are a rare find, not only in the Caribbean but in the world. Microorganisms called dinoflagellates are responsible for the luminescent glow of this body of water in an area where the Martha Brae river meets the ocean.

There are only four other locations in the world where you can witness this phenomenon, and the water in this blue lagoon in Jamaica is said to glow the brightest of them all because of a consistent climate.

Expert tip: The Luminous Lagoon is just one spot where you can experience some of the best snorkeling in Jamaica. Get to know some of the other great snorkeling locations ahead of your trip!


3. Black River

Located: St. Elizabeth

Mangrove trees on Black River Jamaica

Photo credit: Malgorzata Litkowska/Shutterstock.com

Get in touch with nature with a tour along the Black River learning all about the species that inhabit the area, including scores of birds, and crocodiles. You may spot the latter creeping along the riverbanks as you glide across the river on a boat tour, but have no fear, they’re mostly just about their own business. This tour is a great way to learn about the geography and ecology of the area, as well as a bit of history.

4. Rick’s Café

Located: Negril

Ricks Cafe Negril Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Sunsets, reggae music, and cliff jumping… not necessarily in that order. You’ll have a blast at Rick’s Café, whether you go with a group, or with the love of your life. For aspiring cliff jumpers, please note that the biggest jump is 35 feet high, which seems an easy feat for local divers, who are entertaining to watch as they fling their bodies any which way into the waters below.

It is an experience you won’t soon forget, especially with the possibility to view live performances from the main stage once you’re done diving. There’s also a pool area and a lounge with delectable bites.

Expert tip: Rick’s Café is located 15 minutes from Sandals Negril, which makes for easy access for guests staying at the property.



5. Dolphin Cove

Located: Ocho Rios

dolphin cove jamaica

Photo credit: Dean A Innerarity/Shutterstock.com

There is no question about it, dolphins are smart, funny, and not to mention, super adorable! They are literally man’s best friend of the ocean, and an opportunity to swim and play with them should not be missed. While in Jamaica, you can visit the Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios to experience this for the first time… or second, or third! You can also swim with sharks and stingrays and learn more about each species.

6. The Blue John Crow Mountains National Park

Located: The border of Portland and Saint Thomas

Blue Mountains Jamaica

Photo credit: Yardie Inc/Shutterstock.com

The best things in life are free, and places like the Blue John Crow Mountains and National Park bring this old adage to life. Here you’ll find “crisp clean air, lush terrain, and vibrant wildlife”. This is Jamaica’s only national park, and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area once served as a refuge for slaves and indigenous people, most notably the Taino.

There are great views in and around this location, and a host of things to do including mountain climbing (it’s about 2,256 meters long), swimming beneath the waterfalls, and exploring coffee plantations. Make a day for it, for a great Jamaican adventure.

7. Mystic Mountain

Located: Ocho Rios

Mystic Mountain Skydrive

The list of popular points of interest in Jamaica is incomplete without a visit to Mystic Mountain. The area allows for a varied view of Ocho Rios, amid a tropical forest. The peak of Mystic Mountain rises over 700 feet, and here you can try various excursions including the Sky Explorer chairlift, a rainforest bobsled tour, or a zip-lining adventure. You can also do the combination tour, which takes the adventure to a whole new level! Contact Island Routes to book your tour today.

8. YS Falls

Located: St. Elizabeth

ys falls jamaica

Beat the Caribbean heat by planning a waterfall day while in Jamaica. One of the best spots for this is YS Falls. You’ll find seven beautiful falls, gardens, and surrounding areas, and the opportunity to zip-line over the falls. Yes, you heard right. This is entirely possible at YS Falls. There are also natural pools, which are great for children, or anyone who really just wants to relax and not have to think about a thing!

Expert tip: On-site lifeguards will instruct you on the best areas to swim at YS Falls. It’s worth walking with water shoes or purchasing a pair once you arrive. Tour companies like Island Routes offer great prices for this attraction.


9. Konoko Falls

Located: Ocho Rios

Konoko Falls Ocho Rios Jamiaca

Photo credit: DosanJones/Shutterstock.com

Konoko Falls is considered one of the island’s best-kept secrets. Within the park, you can find a botanical garden, a waterfall, and a zoo. This area is frequently used as a location for weddings, family reunions, gala events, and even photoshoots. Adults pay US$20 to get in, children (3-12 years) US$10, while children under 3 years are free. Visitors are free to explore the park on their own or opt for a guided tour. A tour of Konoko Falls and Park is a great way to learn about the indigenous Taino Indians who were early inhabitants of the island of Jamaica.

10. Frenchman’s Cove

Located: Portland

Port Antonio Jamaica Frenchman's Cove Jamaica

Photo credit: Travelling Thilo/Shutterstock.com

A charming and captivating Jamaican point of interest, Frenchman’s Cove is a beautiful location where the river and sea collide. You won’t find many other spots in Jamaica like this, so whether you’re looking for a fun-filled beach day or tranquil river ‘lime’, you’ll find it at this Caribbean haven.

11. Dunn’s River Falls

Located: Ocho Rios

dunns river falls ocho rios

Dunn’s River Falls is a highly promoted location in Jamaica, and that’s because of the satisfaction level of many of the people who decide to go there while on vacation in Jamaica. It is just as beautiful as you’ve ever heard, with multiple waterfalls, which cascade over limestone ledges, and pour into the ocean. The more adventurous can hike the falls with a guide, or choose to go without one. It takes some effort, but it is completely doable. Wear water shoes, and proceed with caution.

Expert tip: Bask in the natural pools at the base of the falls, which are incredibly invigorating!


12. Mayfield Falls

Located: Negril

mayfield falls jamaica

Photo credit: Michael Kucsmas/Shutterstock.com

Hidden in the mountains, you’ll find Mayfield Falls. Nature lovers will be at home here, as they dive headfirst into the peace and rejuvenation the Falls and associated mineral springs offer. There are two waterfalls at this location, 21 fresh water pools, and enough flora and fauna to set your heart at ease. As you tour the property, you’ll be able to stop and rest at various gazebos, which also serve as a great backdrop for photos.


Top places to stop for food & nightlife

If you are taking a vacation in Jamaica, the nightlife and local foods are a must-try experience. From traditional reggae music, dance clubs, and delicious food, we’ve outlined the top 6 destinations for a night out on the town.

You’ll want to try some popular Jamaican dishes — like fried plantains and jerk chicken — and experience the lively nightlife of the island.

1. The Hip Strip

Located: Montego Bay

Hip strip Margaritaville Montego Bay Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The Hip Strip is considered by some the “heart of Montego Bay”, and rightly so, as the pulsating rhythms from various bars, restaurants, and shops permeate the atmosphere day and night, drawing in those who want to experience the vibrancy of the land of Reggae music. If you’re there in the evening, it may be worth your while to have some drinks and learn some Jamaican dance moves at one of the hottest clubs in town. Early morning city crawlers will enjoy the action-packed beaches in this area.

2. Standing Spring Coffee Tour

Located: New Castle

Blue-Mountain-roasted-coffee-beans
Roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans

Who knew a coffee tour could be as engaging as the ones on offer by the Standing Springs Plantation? You’ll definitely be wide awake for this one as you trek into the Blue Mountains to explore coffee fields with Plantation Founder and Owner Price Smith. Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the premier coffee brands to come out of Jamaica. It’s definitely a must-try on your Caribbean getaway.

The Plantation has existed for over 100 years, but only in recent times has it solidified its identity as a coffee grower and distributor. You can choose between a brief (two hours), or a more extensive tour (four hours plus), which includes roasting your own coffee, and going home with some samples! The coffee tours run from 8:30 am through 4:30 pm Monday to Sunday.

3. Miss T’s Kitchen

Located: Ocho Rios

There’s nothing quite like Jamaican food, so you can best believe Miss T’s Kitchen is a must-visit while in Jamaica. Put it high up on your list of things to do if you want to try authentic Jamaican food, in a relaxed garden setting. You’ll jam to Reggae music while sampling many different dishes, at a reasonable cost. You haven’t quite tasted Jamaican food until you’ve been here, so don’t miss out.

4. Appleton Estate

Located: Nassau Valley, South Coast Jamaica

Appleton Estate Rum Factory Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Appleton is a popular Jamaican rum, and an opportunity to tour the Appleton Estate is one that must be accepted at all costs. That is of course if you’re into rum tastings and things of that sort. As part of the rum tasting tour at Appleton, you’ll learn about the history of the fine Caribbean rum, and overall, explore the process of making rum, from the 18th century until now. While at the Estate, look out for the Copper Pot Stills which are said to give Appleton rum its distinctive taste. Don’t forget to purchase a bottle or two to take home with you!

5. Dub Club

Located: Kingston

Dub-Club-nightlife-crowd-1

The Dub Club in Kingston opens on Sundays, and it usually attracts visitors from all parts of the world. The love for music is what brings people together here, as well as the amazing views of Kingston by night. Here you can learn all about Reggae music and its beginnings in Jamaica, as well as about the Rastafarian culture, which is popular on the island. Expect an underground jam session and an experience that is uniquely Jamaican.

6. Floyd’s Pelican Bar

Located: Accessible from Treasure beach (by boat)

island routes catamaran cruise with guests at floyd's pelican bar

All you’ll need is a boat (or a boat owner willing to transport you there), and you’ll be set for an afternoon of fun at the Pelican Bar. It’s literally a bar in the middle of the ocean, and you’ll have an unforgettable time sipping on cold drinks, sampling the local fare, and dipping your feet into the warm surrounding waters. There are various tours that include a stop at the Pelican Bar, and it is definitely one of those items you’ll want to tick off your bucket list while in Jamaica!

Expert tip: Tours to Floyd’s Pelican bar are offered from Sandals South Coast. You can call the bar in advance to find out what will be on offer for lunch or to make special requests.


Best ways to experience Jamaican culture & history

The island of Jamaica is full of rich history and culture. From the historic museums, national parks, and beautiful landscaping, you’ll want to see it all. While on your Caribbean vacation, take a second to enjoy the natural history of the island at some of these top cultural destinations.

1. Fort Charles

Located: Port Royal

fort charles jamaica

Photo credit: Rostasedlacek/Shutterstock.com

Let your explorations begin with Fort Charles, where you can explore the history of Port Royal, and find out more about the people from this Jamaican village near Kingston Harbour. Fort Charles was constructed in the mid-1600s by the English, after their historic invasion of the island. The Fort played a significant role in their defense in times of war, and still today there are several canons standing around the Fort. One of the highlights of this tour is the museum experience, which is made that much more engaging by a knowledgeable and passionate museum curator.

2. The Bob Marley Museum

Located: Kingston

Bob said it best, “every little thing will be alright”, and it always is, especially if you’re in Jamaica. Fans of the late Bob Marley will be filled with euphoria once they set foot at the popular Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica. The museum is located at the musician’s home, converted by his wife Rita Marley. This reggae-inspired tour provides an in-depth look into the life of Bob Marley, and you can choose between the ‘Combo “One Love” tour, the ‘Bob Marley Home’ tour, and the ‘Making of the Music’ tour.

3. Sunken Pirate City

Located: Port Royal

Forget Pirates of the Caribbean. The real story waiting to hit the big screen is in Jamaica, where you can find a pirate tale for the generations. Did you know that Port Royal was once considered a pirate haven, once seeing the likes of Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, and Calico Jack? Well, you’ll find out all this and more with a visit to the Sunken Pirate City area in Port Royal, which was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1692. Now the remains of the city lay underwater, and they’re a major tourist attraction. Find out how you can explore the area with a local dive center.

4. National Gallery of Jamaica

Located: Kingston

Are you looking for some artistic inspiration, or do you just want to check out a collection of varied and intricate art? A visit to the National Gallery of Jamaica, one of the oldest museums in the Caribbean (opened in 1974), will more than deliver; here you’ll find creations by artists from all over the Caribbean, from different time periods, so it’ll be like a blast from the past, right on into a carefully composed, or totally abstract future.

5. Devon House

Located: Kingston

Devon House Jamaica

Photo credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com

This location is notorious, and once you get here you’ll find out about its significance to not only the Jamaica populace but also to Caribbean people at large. Devon House was conceptualized by the island’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. Here, the Caribbean and Georgian architecture collide, complemented by antique furniture, along with some recreated pieces. Still today, with rolling green lawns, the house is carefully maintained by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. It is a much-celebrated national monument.

Expert tip: While at Devon House, check out its internationally acclaimed ice cream parlor.


6. Rose Hall Great House

Located: Montego Bay

Rose Hall Great House Montego Bay Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Some call the Rose Hall Great House the House of Horrors of Jamaica, but that doesn’t scare hundreds of people from taking a tour of the property while in Jamaica. Legend has it that the house is haunted by Annee Palmer, the famed ‘White Witch’, and as part of the tour, trained actors do their best to scare the living daylights out of anyone that can be caught off-guard. The House dates back to the colonial era and was restored in the 1960s. Here, apart from being scared silly, you’ll learn about the life of the British elite in the not-so-distant Caribbean past.

7. Emancipation Park

Located: New Kingston

Emancipation park Kingston Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

If you go to Emancipation Park in the late afternoon, you’ll find people jogging, walking, and making the most of their time at the park. Greenery abounds at this location where you can find the peace, serenity, and freedom that you need. There is also an 11-foot bronze sculpture, which was named “Redemption Song,” which goes along with the park’s theme, “Tribute to Freedom.”

8. Nanny Falls & Moore Town

Located: John Crow Mountain

There’s so much to do at the Blue John Crow Mountain, including spending some time exploring the waterfalls in the area, particularly Nanny Falls, which is named after a Jamaican heroine, Nanny of the Maroons. Nanny Falls doesn’t only offer spectacular views, it also offers a cultural experience, during which you can learn more about the Maroons, and other historical aspects of Jamaica. This is another site believed to have healing properties, so dive right in.

9. Croydon Plantation

Located: Montego Bay

Croydon-Plantation-Catadupa-Montego-Bay-Jamaica

Photo credit: CO Leong/Shutterstock.com

You can explore Croydon Plantation in the Catadupa Mountains of St. James by embarking with a guide on an information tour for an experience that some describe as a great combination of environment, education, eating, and escape. There’s lots of insight to be found here on the history of Jamaica and the Jamaica way of life. While some visit this site because of their love for coffee and pineapples, both of which are grown here, there are many other reasons to go to the plantation, including the fact that you’ll get to enjoy a delicious jerk chicken lunch once the tour is over!

Tours of Croydon Plantation are a great way to learn about the history of this plantation, particularly about national hero Samuel Sharpe, once a slave, who was born at Croydon and later become a preacher. All in all, it’s a good way to spend part of your day while in Jamaica.


Best golf courses in Jamaica

Looking to relax on the green and tee off a few golf balls? Jamaica has some of the most scenic golf courses in the Caribbean. You can find some beautiful golf courses at certain Sandals Jamaica resorts, or venture off into other top destinations.

Below, we’ve broken down our top 4 favorite golf courses on the island.

1. Caymanas Golf Club

Located: Spanish Town

Just a 20-minute drive from Kingston, you’ll find the Caymanas Golf Club, which officially opened in 1957. Today, the 18-hole course attracts golfers from around the world, offering the perfect setting for both new and experienced golfers. High on the list of best Caribbean golf courses, Caymanas also has its own Golf School, a pro shop, clubhouse, driving range, and chipping green.

2. Tryall Club Golf Course

Located: Montego Bay

The Tryall Club golf course has hosted a significant number of golf championships, and for that and other reasons to do with positive reviews spreading via word of mouth, the course has rocketed in popularity for all who choose to vacation in Montego Bay. Tryall Club is great for all ages, and all levels of golfing ability, with an 18-hole par-71 championship green that will help you perfect your game against a stunning Caribbean backdrop.

3. Sandals Golf and Country Club

Located: Ocho Rios

sandals golf club jamaica

The Sandals Golf & Country Club in Jamaica is more than ideal for spending a day out on the green, and golf lovers will enjoy the fact that they can stay and play at Sandals Ochi and Sandals Royal Plantation for as long as it takes to explore and master the course, or longer if you decide to. The course is open to guests from any of the six Sandals properties in Jamaica, so you’ll have a steady stream of competition from around the world. The Sandals Golf & Country Club features a pro shop, golf shop, driving range, and a clubhouse.

Expert tip: Visit the Sweet Spot Jerk Shack on the #10 Green for lunch while at the Sandals Golf and Country Club!


4. White Witch Golf Course

Located: Rose Hall Estate, Montego Bay

Golf course Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Tee off at the 18-hole White Witch Golf Course, which was designed by the highly acclaimed course architects Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril. The course consists of 200 acres within the Rose Hall Estate. Golf aficionados will take pride in testing their game at this course which is best suitable for more seasoned players because of its rolling terrain. Even if you’re watching from the sidelines, the ocean views from this location are undeniably stunning!


Jamaica: A true Caribbean Paradise

Jamaica is a paradise for anyone seeking an all-encompassing Caribbean vacation that leaves nothing untouched, or unexplored. You can choose from a plethora of Jamaica’s points of interest and things to do, or take it easy, and do nothing but relax at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. Whatever you decide, the rich memories of your vacation will last a lifetime!




What To Pack For A Vacation In Jamaica? The Ultimate List.

The Islands
August 21st 2019
What To Pack For A Vacation In Jamaica? The Ultimate List.
Photo credit header image: ajlatan/Shutterstock.com


Jamaica is a popular Caribbean destination for more reasons than one. It is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean region, and is associated with being the birthplace of Reggae, the land of beautiful waterfalls, the home of sporting legends, and overall, a place where everything is always quite alright.

Veteran visitors know what to expect when heading to the island, but first-timers may have a little trouble deciding what to pack for Jamaica. Whether you’re heading to Jamaica to experience the lifestyle at one of the many all-inclusive resorts, or you’re planning to rent something for yourself, this check list will help you get ready to have the most amazing vacation of your life!

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Packing considerations

Packing clothes for 7-days
List of essential travel items
Things you might not have thought of


5 Things to consider before packing for Jamaica

Read on to find out what things you want to consider before packing for Jamaica, or go directily to clothes to pack for 7-days in Jamaica instead.

Expert tip: Wearing clothing with camouflage print is illegal in Jamaica and only reserved for the local army.


Are you travelling alone, or with a group?

couple jumping from waterfall jamaica

Travelling solo means you’ll likely have to pack less. However, packing for trips where you’re bringing kids along, or other members of the family, might lead to you packing more. Babies, toddlers, and the elderly often need more specialized items to take along with them on a trip, and if any of these age groups are part of your party to Jamaica, you can expect your packing list to be more extensive.


What is expected weather like when you are traveling?

The best time to visit Jamaica is from mid-December to mid-April annually, and the reason for that is you can expect stable weather conditions.

Overwater bungalows Sandals South Coast

Picture: Overwater bungalows at Sandals South Coast, Jamaica.

As with most other Caribbean islands, you’ll still find good weather outside of this time, although you might want to pack accordingly, accounting for brief tropical rainfall. The difference between Jamaica and some of the smaller Caribbean islands though, is that because of its larger size, the weather in one area of Jamaica compared to another may be very different. The varied terrain on this island influences conditions in various areas, have a look at our Best Time To Visit Jamaica article to find out more.


Tip: Don’t expect any Jamaican to have a conversation with you about the weather. No one really pays attention to the figures, just what the skies and clouds are saying, which is usually pretty reliable!



What items will be provided by your accommodation?

Consider the complimentary items that are provided by the accommodation (like toiletries, beach towels and hairdryers) – the less you must bring along, the better!

Sandals Montego bay resort beach

How long will you stay in Jamaica?

You may feel the tug at your heart strings to take more things if your trip is longer than the average 5 to 7-day trip. Try to avoid this, as once you get there, you’re likely to find that you don’t need half of the items you brought along. Plus, most resorts have laundry services. If you are planning to stay at a resort for longer than a week, it’s probably best to simply pack for a week and use the laundry services available. This way you are packing smarter.


What is the purpose of your trip?

Are you going strictly for a Caribbean getaway, are you in Jamaica to do business, or do you plan on getting married in Jamaica? If you’re going specifically for a destination wedding, check out our article on beach weddings to get some advice on what to wear for this occasion.

The activities you will partake in, will influence what you will need to pack. Things to do in Jamaica include some of the most spectacular waterfall hikes, river rafting, cliff jumping and stunning beaches, including the popular Seven Mile Beach. You’ll also find a vibrant nightlife scene in Jamaica, which is perfect is excitement is what you seek.

Tip: Keep in mind that beach hopping trips require more swimsuits, while trips purely to enjoy the amenities of all-inclusive resorts like Sandals, may require you to bring along some more elegant options for dining at some of the specialty restaurants you can expect to find on property.



Here’s what you’ll need for a 7-day trip to Jamaica

Ladies: 7-day clothing packing list

a packed woman's suitcase

Photo credit: FabrikaSimf/Shutterstock.com

  • 2 swimsuits / bikini's
  • 4-5 tops / t-shirts
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 1-2 pants or capris
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • Underwear (enough for the duration of your trip)
  • 2 sets of PJs
  • 1 summer dress
  • Toiletries such as comb, makeup, deodorant, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Dinner attire for a special night out. Remember, the best resort restaurants often have dress codes, so if you’re staying at a resort, bring some options!
  • Heels or wedges (if you wear them)
  • 1 pair of sneakers (if you plan on hiking)

Packed your clothes? Have a look at these 12 essential travel items to pack for Jamaica.



Gents: 7-day clothing packing list

  • 2-3 polo shirts
  • 1-2 pairs beach shorts
  • 2-3 t-shirts
  • Underwear (enough to last the duration of your trip)
  • 2 sleeveless beach tops
  • PJs
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of long pants and button-down shirt (for semi-formal or formal dinner event). Remember, the best resort restaurants often have dress codes, so if you’re staying at a resort, bring some options!
  • 1 pair of closed-toe shoes
  • 1 belt that matches everything
  • Cuff links (if you want to wear them)
  • 1 pair of sneakers (if you need them)

Not sure what to wear for your flight?

Two words: Simplicity works. Getting through TSA can be a hassle, so the most important thing to remember is to be comfortable. Wear shoes that you don’t mind taking on and off if you’re asked to, and clothing that will keep you warm on the plane, that you can easily peel off once in the Bahamas. Cardigans or light sweaters over your casual airport attire (jeans, trousers, casual shirt), work just fine.


12 Essential travel items to bring to Jamaica

Keep these essential travel items either on you, or in your carry-on luggage.

1. Valid passport

man holding U.S. passport

Photo credit: Dmytro Surkov/Shutterstock.com

Don’t leave home without it; and no, you can’t just travel on your driver’s license to the Caribbean! Check the validity of your passport to ensure you have at least six months remaining before expiry. Airlines have the right to deny boarding if your documents are not up to date.

Expert tip: Take photos of your passport and travel documents with your cell phone as an added precaution in case they get lost or stolen.



2. Plane ticket(s)/boarding pass

Bring along all information associated with your flight to the airport; you can store your information on your phone, just as long as you’re able to access and present the information, once you get to the airport. It's always good to have a printed back up, in case you accidentally drop your phone or run out of battery! Once your boarding pass is issued, keep it in a safe place or you won’t be able to board your flight.

3. Contact number and address of your accommodation

You’ll need this to fill in your immigration forms, and to answer any questions that may come up once you arrive to your destination. Additionally, you might need this information handy when arriving at the airport, so your taxi knows where to drop you off.

PS. If you stay at any of the Sandals or Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, you will get picked up from and returned to the airport at no additional costs.

4. Health / Life insurance cards

Don’t leave your insurance cards behind; they’ll come in handy if you run into an emergency situation or require medical assistance while in Jamaica.

5. Valid driver's license

Doing some exploring on your own? If you decide to rent a vehicle, bring a valid driver's license to Jamaica. You can use a US driver's license for the first three months of your stay. Beware that you might not be able to rent a car in Jamaica if you are over 75 or under 23 years old.

6. Travel insurance for Jamaica

The answer is yes to all questions related to travel insurance; you never know when you will need it, and it is reassuring to know that you have it in the event that you do. Most travel insurance policies will cover lost or stolen luggage, flight cancellations, and medical expenses.

Good to know: Sandals and Beaches properties offer travel insurance at additional costs when booking a stay at either all-inclusive resort.



7. Cash and credit cards

Hands counting dollar bills

Photo credit: Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock.com

While it is not advisable to walk around with large sums of money, you’ll need to walk with some small bills for tipping purposes, or making small purchases at the airport. It is also important to let your banking institution know you will be traveling to Jamaica, so you don’t have any issues using your debit or credit cards. Keep in mind that not all vendors take debit or credit cards in Jamaica.

The United States Dollar (USD) to Jamaican Dollar (JAM) exchange rate is 1:40. If you pay in USD (which you can do at most establishments), be prepared to get JAM in return. Resorts like Sandals and Beaches have currency exchange points at the front desk, which is super convenient!

8. A blue or black ink pen

This might seem like a given, but if you’re a regular traveler you’ve seen how often people ask others to borrow pens, to fill in their immigration forms. Perhaps you’ve been one of those people. There’s nothing wrong with sharing, but it’s just easier bringing your own. Perhaps this time you can be the person with the extra pen to give to someone else. Keep your pen close by; preferably in your jacket pocket, or in the outside pocket of your carry-on bag.

9. Prescription medications

Avoid any unnecessary hassle trying to source these in Jamaica by bringing an adequate supply with you. If you do happen to forget your medication, you may not find the same brands in Jamaica as in the US, because the prescription medication there is based on the British system. You may also be required to see a doctor before a pharmacy even considers your request. Keep in mind you may have just as hard of a time getting non-prescription items like pain medicines, and others. Take your own medications in their original packaging or prescription bottles, to avoid any problems.

10. Items you cannot live without

Everyone has that one thing they can’t imagine living without, albeit for a few days. Try to narrow this down as much as possible for your trip. Remember, you can purchase most things while in Jamaica. If it isn’t essential, leave it behind.

11. Electronic gadgets

Travel times and associated wait times in between travel points can be extensive. Other than books or magazines, you can bring along e-readers, tablets, and laptops to entertain you. This will come in handy particularly if you’re travelling with kids. Bring along the chargers necessary to keep these devises powered up!

12. Change of clothes in your carry-on

Be sure to bring along some extra clothes and personal items in your carry-on just in case there is a delay in your luggage arriving to Jamaica. Walking with emergency supplies ensures that your vacation plans don’t come to a standstill while you wait for your luggage to arrive.


Staying at a resort or hotel? Toiletries and towels are often provided, so no need to worry about the shampoo bottle leaking in your luggage. All Sandals and Beaches Resorts in Jamaica provide toiletries like shampoo and conditioner, lotion, body wash, soaps and towels – directly from the Red Lane Spa.




Items you’ll need for a day at the beach

Sunscreen

Woman sunscreen

Photo credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com

There’s nothing worse than getting sunburn during a trip to the beach, much less while on vacation. Sunburns can be painful, so find a sunscreen that works for you. Make sure it is water resistant, 30 SPF or higher, and reef safe if you plan to go snorkeling or scuba diving. It is best to apply sunscreen liberally every two hours. Don't forget your ears, and the top of your head if you are bald!

Wide-brimmed hat

woman bikini straw hat at beach

Photo credit: Elena Rudakova/Shutterstock.com

Not a fan of sunscreen? Grab a wide brimmed hat and you’ll be good to hit the Jamaican beach front. Just wear the appropriate clothing, and you’ll be both fashion savvy, and sun safe. If you’re at Sandals and on the beach, head for a beach umbrella or cabana!

Cover-ups for the beach

woman relaxing beach

Photo credit: Matthew Connolly/Shutterstock.com

Instead of wearing bulky clothing over your wet swimsuit, opt for cover ups like sarongs, lightweight beach dresses and wraps, or even loose-fitting long sleeves shirts and pants. You can also try UV protection clothing, which can come in handy for activities such as snorkeling that leave your back exposed to the sun’s rays.

Sunglasses with UV protection

You can’t go wrong with a good pair of polarized sunglasses. These will protect your eyes from the elements, even when its overcast and you can’t even tell how the rays could possibly be harmful. Keep in mind that looks can be deceiving; protect your eyes particularly if you’re out on the beach.


Tip: Bring along a pair that you aren’t particularly attached to for your vacation, just in case they get lost while hiking one of Jamaica's waterfalls.



Beach bag

straw bag beach summer essentials

Photo credit: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock.com

Beach bags come in handy when you want to bring everything but the kitchen sink with you on beach day – and especially when you plan to stay on the beach long enough to see the sunset. Pack everything you need from towels, to your favorite novels, sunglasses, and bottled water. Most people prefer beach bags with interior cooler storage, which is perfect for keeping your drinks cold!

Beach blanket

You don’t realize how much you need a beach blanket, until you get to the beach and realize you don’t have one. Towels are never quite big enough, so take some time to select the perfect beach blanket, which will add to the comfort of your beach day. Choose one that is lightweight, and easy to pack!

Waterproof phone case

a phone in a waterproof case

Photo credit: Melimey/Shutterstock.com

You never know what can happen, so it helps to be prepared when you’re on an island surrounded by water. Whether you’re out exploring the ocean, waterfalls or rivers, a waterproof phone case will ensure that your phone is always kept safe and water free. Opt for a high-quality one that will last. Look for a case that makes it possible for you to take underwater photos, or even videos.

A quick dry towel

This will help ensure that you use less towels, whether you plan to explore a beach, or waterfall during a day. If you stay at a resort you can expect beach towels to be provided.

Flip-flops

Flip flops on the beach

Photo credit: S_Photo/Shutterstock.com

You’ll need something you can get off and, on your feet, quickly, so anything with laces is not ideal. Flip-flops will keep your feet cool, and you won’t have to worry about emptying a shoe filled with sand at the end of the day!

Tip: Just in case you do spend a little too long in the sun, Aloe Vera is worth packing and bringing along with you. Look for one that contains 99 percent Aloe Vera. It will work wonders to soothe your skin!



20 Things to pack for Jamaica that you may not have thought of

1. Water shoes

Water shoes

Photo credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.com

Water shoes are available to rent, but it’s easier to just bring along your own. Choose an inexpensive pair to bring with you for use during water activities while on island. Dunn's River Falls is a location where you may need to bring along water shoes, as the surface of the rivers and waterfalls in the area tend to be gritty. They will also come in handy for climbing the falls.

2. Replacement jewelry

A good rule of thumb - don't bring jewelry on your vacation that you don’t want to lose during snorkeling and other activities. Like your engagement or wedding ring. Yet, that can be difficult to do, particularly if you’re travelling for a destination wedding or vow renewal. Some people bring cheaper replacement versions for their vacation and leave the real stuff at home for when they return.

3. Snorkeling gear

snorkeling at Sandals Negril

If you’re packing light you may not want to bring along snorkeling gear, but you can rent some once you get to Jamaica. Customized or otherwise personalized googles, you can bring along, particularly if you wear prescription goggles. Besides, bringing your own is probably more hygienic. At all Sandals resorts snorkeling equipment is provided for free, to all interested guests.

4. All-natural fish food

If you’re into it, you can bring these along to feed the fish something safe when you go snorkeling. You’ll be happy you did.

5. Waterproof camera

Scuba diving with underwater camera

Photo credit: Tirachard Kumtanom/Shutterstock.com

If you don’t have a waterproof camera, perhaps this is the ideal time to look into getting one. There are so many interesting things to do in Jamaica, and many of them involve getting wet. Cherish and keep those moments by investing in a waterproof camera. Or you could just get a waterproof pouch for your phone.

6. Waterproof pouch or bags

Yellow blue waterproof bags

Photo credit: Apichart.C/Shutterstock.com

You’re going to need something to put wet swimsuits into, and ziplock bags are ideal. Bring along 3 or 4 big ones, they’re sure to come in handy. These are also great to keep your cash and documents dry if you bring them on a boat trip!

7. Luggage scale

Man using luggage scale

Photo credit: Magnetic Mcc/Shutterstock.com

Keep track of what you’re bringing with a luggage scale. If you get past 40lbs, start slowing down, as most airlines limit luggage to 50lbs. Investing in a luggage scale will keep you from paying overweight fees, both now and for future travel. This comes in handy when you plan to do some shopping!

8. Extra camera supplies

Don’t leave home without batteries and at least two memory cards for your camera. Bring the original batteries, and an extra set of rechargeable batteries just in case. You’ll have plenty of photographic opportunities in Jamaica, don’t miss out because you didn’t plan properly.

9. Multi-port charger

multiport fast charging station

Photo credit: JIPEN/Shutterstock.com

Keep all your devices plugged into one place so you can keep track of them during your stay. The last thing you want to do is get home and remember you forgot to take your charger out from that outlet next to the lamp, behind the bed!

Rooms in select categories at Sandals offer USB charging ports, which will come in handy during your vacation.

10. Distinctive luggage tags

You’ll be astounded how quickly you’re able to find your luggage with the simple addition of colored ribbons, or bright tags. Once you’ve tried it once, you’ll never want to go back to plain old luggage again!

11. A surge protector

This helps to keep your electronic devices protected against power surges, which are more common than you think. The last thing you’ll need is your laptop getting damaged by a power surge, or any essential device that you need to last through the duration of your vacation.

12. A money belt

woman wearing a money belt

Photo credit: Mike Focus/Shutterstock.com

Money belts are the evolution of the fanny pack. If you choose the right one, you’ll feel at ease anywhere you go in Jamaica. Slim-fit designs make it look like you’re not wearing anything under your shirt, and some come with hidden pockets, which work well for keeping your money safe.

13. Medicine kit

First aid kit

Photo credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.com

These always come in handy, especially if you plan ahead to bring the essentials, like band-aids, pain relievers, antihistamine medications, Aloe Vera ointment, alcohol pads, and antibiotic ointments. You may also want to include medicines for common gastrointestinal ailments, including Imodium and Pepto-Bismol. Pills for seasickness are worth bringing along, and baby powder always comes in handy for chafing. If you’re travelling with a group, everyone does not need to bring their own kit; decide between yourselves who will be responsible for bringing it along.


Tip: Ask your doctor whether you should pack an Epi-Pen. This is highly recommended if you have allergies, particularly food allergies. Keep in mind that the ambulance service in Jamaica is not as reliable as in the US.



Some resorts like Sandals make it a priority to keep guests safe while on property by having dedicated nurses on property, who are always available for emergencies and other occurrences.

14. Insect repellent/bug spray

woman spraying insect repellent

Photo credit: Sergio Monti Photography/Shutterstock.com

You can’t avoid bugs and mosquitoes in the tropics, but you can go prepared to try to keep them away from you. Choose products with 20 percent picaridin or 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus for effectiveness. Avoid DEET, a controversial ingredient. Walk with insect bite relief cream, especially if you may be allergic to certain bug bites. Popular brands include Benadryl or Cortaid. Bug repellent can be purchased at all Sandals resort shops.

15. Hand sanitizer or disposable wipes

Even if you’re not bringing along a medicine or first aid kit, you’re going to want to walk with hand sanitizer and disposable wipes. This helps to keep your hands germ free, and helps you wipe down sketchy surfaces that you may come in contact with.

16. A laundry bag

Or a pillowcase, or a trash bag… whatever works. All you need is something you can put your dirty clothes in, so they don’t get mixed up with your clean items and leave you smelling funky for the rest of your vacation.


Tip: Who wants to think about laundry while on vacation? Sandals offers laundry services for guests, which you’ll be grateful for when you get to reuse the same outfit all clean and crisp during your vacation!

17. A hair dryer

Taking your own portable hair dryer is a good idea if your accommodation doesn't provide one. Traveling with others? Plan with your group (if you’re traveling with one) to determine who will carry a hair dryer in their luggage that you can all use.


Did you know? It's pretty normal for hotels to provide guests with hairdryers in their rooms nowadays. Sandals Resorts was the first resort in the world to provide guests with complimentary hair driers in their rooms!



18. Portable water bottle

woman drinking thermo bottle

Photo credit: Anja Ivanovic/Shutterstock.com

Keep the environment clean by investing in a reusable water bottle, instead of purchasing bottles of water every time you get thirsty. The truth is, it’s hot in Jamaica, and you’re probably going to drink a ton of water. It’s best to walk with something you can safely refill.

19. An insulated mug

Save yourself the back and forth at the bar. Invest in a big, ol’ insulated mug that will keep your drinks cold longer, while you take in the Reggae vibes in Jamaica. It’ll be perfect for your first cup of Red Stripe (or water if you insist)!

20. Plug adaptor (if you are not from the States)

People not from the US who are traveling to Jamaica will find that travel adapters come in handy during their stay. These ensure that you can plug your incompatible devises in for use while in Jamaica. If you forget to pick one up before your trip, you can always purchase one at the airport.


Last but certainly not least, have fun!

Now you know what to pack for a vacation in Jamaica, don’t forget to bring your best self! If you can’t do that, then at least leave with your best self… which means you’ll have to kick back and enjoy all the cool things Jamaica has to offer, wasting not a moment thinking about how things could be better. You’re in the Caribbean, and it doesn’t really get any better than that!


Cliff Jumping in Jamaica: Tips & Insights To Know Before You Leap

Island Life
August 19th 2019
Cliff Jumping in Jamaica: Tips & Insights To Know Before You Leap
Photo credit header image: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com


Cliff jumping is for the brave at heart – those people who are unafraid to take a leap of faith and jump off the edge. Fortunately, when doing this in the Caribbean, or more specifically Jamaica, a cliff jumping session typically ends in cool and refreshing waters, in coves that are fun to explore.

As with most things that are exciting and daring, before engaging in a cliff jumping encounter, you must first learn about what it means to ‘cliff jump’, the best places to do it safety, and what the overall experience is like.

Among the best places to cliff jump in Jamaica is Rick’s Cafe in Negril. Greenery abounds at Rick’s and collides in the most spectacular way with the deep blues of the nearby ocean on the cliffside. The water in the cove nearby is an inviting turquoise color, and many people include cliff diving or jumping here as part of their stay in Jamaica.

Rick’s Café is a popular spot to spend the day, and has a bar, restaurant, and even a lounge area. There are also umbrellas and cosy cabanas close to the bar. Rick’s Café is especially popular with people who want to cliff jump, or those who want to just sit on the edge of a dramatic cliff side vantage and take in a spectacular sunset.

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

About Rick's Café
Is cliff jumping safe?
Dos and dont's

When to jump?
Can my kids jump?
What’s jumping like?

Cliff diving vs. cliff jumping
Don't feel like jumping?
When to come if not jumping

What’s the food like at Rick’s Café?
What to bring to Rick's Cafe?
Tipping divers
Other cliff jumping spots



What you need to know about Rick’s Café

ricks cafe cliffs flag closeup negril jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Rick’s Café was founded in 1974 by Richard Hershman. Negril was a lesser known touristic destination at this time, and the venue added something new, not only to Negril, but to Jamaica. It was the first public bar and restaurant in the area with such outstanding views of the sunset.

The total property is about 2 acres, which means there is plenty of room to explore. Rick’s Café is located on top of a 35-foot high cliff, which makes for amazing views. There are upstairs rooms, which are available only if you order food. The bar is usually most crowded around sunset, so make your plans to go there well in advance to get there early.


What’s the buzz all about?

While in Jamaica, you may hear both locals and tourists talking about Rick’s Café. Part of the reason for that is that the Café is well known for its prime opportunities for cliff jumping. A Rick’s Café diving experience and tour starts at around US$20, if you sign up with companies like Island Routes. The experience comes complete with trained lifeguards and security on duty to keep guests safe.


How to get to Rick’s Café

You can take a local cab to get to Rick’s Café if you are in the Negril area. Most hotels in Negril are about 5-10 minutes from the Café area. From Montego Bay, you can take a tour bus, by organizing a tour via Island Routes. It is also possible to embark on a Catamaran Cruise which stops off at Rick’s Café.


Is cliff jumping safe?

ricks cafe cliff view negril jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Many people question whether cliff jumping is safe. That of course depends upon the way you choose to engage in the pastime, and how careful you are in doing your research before plunging into the waters beneath. As accidents are not unheard of in the cliff jumping arena, it is advisable to proceed with caution. Here are some things you should consider doing before diving in.

1. Get informed

If you have never cliff jumped before, spend some time watching others do it successfully while on site, before making up your mind to engage in a cliff jumping session.

2. Scope the area below before jumping in

This helps to be aware of any hidden or obvious hazards. Pay attention to the signs in the area, like boulders or coral heads beneath the surface.

3. Ask the locals about what to expect

This helps so you are not caught off guard for your cliff jumping endeavour-like knowing where to jump from, and where to exit. Being as informed as possible before jumping in will add to your overall experience.

4. Find out about the dos and don'ts

In some areas, it is not advisable to dive in headfirst, as that could prove extremely dangerous, particularly in shallower water. Be cautious.

5. Jump at your own risk

Remember that if you choose to cliff jump, you are doing so at your own risk. There are signs all over the Rick’s Café property saying this, and if you choose to ignore them and get hurt in the process, the Café is not responsible.

ricks cafe cliffs flag lighthouse negril jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

6. Take all precautions

The nearest hospital to Rick’s Café is about 90 minutes away. Keep that in mind before deciding to cliff jump.


Dos and don'ts when cliff jumping

  • Do not cliff jump while intoxicated. This could prove dangerous. While some people choose to have a drink or two to build up the courage to jump, it is not advisable to jump if you are drunk.
  • Do not jump over the edge if you cannot see the area you are jumping into clearly.
  • Do not jump if you see anything potentially dangerous in the water.
  • Engage in a cliff jumping session with friends who can look out for you.
  • Avoid cliff jumping on secluded beaches, where there is no one to help should an accident occur.
  • Do not jump with bottles or drinks in hand.
  • Do your research in advance to find out how safe the area is.

Rockhouse Hotel cliffs boat tour Negril Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

  • Do not attempt to cliff jump if you cannot swim.
  • Ensure that your bikini top (if you are wearing a two-piece) is tied securely, or that your shorts fit correctly.
  • Be prepared for up-close encounters with fishes and other marine life.
  • You can choose to pinch your nose before hitting the water to prevent water from going up your nose.
  • Find out beforehand how to exit the water once you’ve jumped in. Some popular cliff diving locations in the Caribbean require that you swim out into the deep, all the way around the cliff, and back onto the beach to get out.
  • Remember, it's not as easy as it looks!
  • When cliff jumping at Rick’s Café, keep in mind that the establishment has a strict drug-free policy. You will be kicked out (at the very least) if you do not adhere to their rules.


When is the best time to jump?

The best time to cliff jump at Rick’s Café in Jamaica is from 2-4pm. There are usually more people in the area during this time, which is good if you are a first-time cliff jumper; this gives you an opportunity to watch people in action before you make the jump yourself.

Rockhouse Hotel cliffs Negril Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Can I bring my kids with me to cliff jump?

In the area where Rick’s Café is located, there are some cliffs which are not as high that children may attempt to jump from. You can bring kids along if they can swim.


What’s it like to take a jump?

Cliff jumping can be scary, especially if its your first time. You literally have no idea what to expect, once your feet leave the edge. There’s no turning back once you’re over the edge, and at that point, you’ll either be filled with excitement, panic, or both. Those mixed feelings usually wear off in a few seconds, and after that its pure exhilaration as you free fall into the waters below, with a gigantic splash. Cliff jumping is all about letting go and enjoying the moment. Most people find that making the jump is the most difficult part, but once they are past that point, fear makes room for one of the most amazing experiences of a lifetime.

ricks cafe view negril jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The experience of cliff jumping in Jamaica can best be described as a combination of going down a water slide and jumping out an airplane, at a much lower altitude, while feeling everything inside you rushing upwards to your neck. It is that exciting, and that real, and a million thoughts might go through your mind in just those few seconds it takes to hit the water.

There are real concerns for some people… that they might land the wrong way and do a belly flop, or that they’re not positioned in the correct way. These are usually small matters, as most people hit the water just fine.


Your life will probably flash before your eyes…

As you don’t really have much control when you’re free falling from a cliff, for some people it's instinctual to try to grab onto something, which can result in lots of flailing of arms and legs. This can be humorous to the people watching from above, so don’t take it personally if you hear laughter as you go down (if you can even focus on that), or as you hit the water. Some people receive rounds of applause after they make the big jump, typically depending on how ‘well’ the jump is executed. You shouldn’t focus too much on making a show of it though, as this can take away from the overall experience.


Tip: If you’re a first-time cliff jumper, it is highly recommended that you start on the lower levels and make your way up to the higher jumps. Cliffs in the most popular spots in Jamaica range from 8 feet to 40 feet. There is also a 27-foot option.



Cliff diving versus cliff jumping

ricks cafe cliffs negril jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Of course, there is the obvious differentiation – cliff jumping, as opposed to cliff diving. Cliff jumping would simply require that you position yourself at the edge of a cliff and jump in when you are ready. Cliff diving on the other hand takes a certain level of skill, and you would have had to have diving experience for this to be worth doing. If you have no experience, cliff diving would be downright dangerous, and therefore not advisable. Not all cliff jumping locations are created equal. Some are deeper, or shallower, some have more rocks, some have potentially dangerous or poisonous marine life lurking below – you just never know. If you are a beginner, jump in at a lower-level spot, while leaving the high-level jumps for the more experienced.


What if I don’t feel like jumping?

Don’t feel pressured into cliff jumping. If it isn’t for you on that particular day, you can do it on another day, or not at all. Sometimes its just as fun to sit on the sidelines, as you get to relax as you watch other panic-stricken people trying to convince themselves to make the big jump. Grab a cold beer or cocktail and sit back and relax. Cliffs in Jamaica are also great for spotting dolphins in the nearby waters, and you’ll have a front row seat. You will also be perfectly positioned to take in some of the action, as the local cliff divers tend to really put on a show, some even climbing onto trees, and jumping from there. Take our advice, and do not try this yourself. Buy hey, since you’re not even considering jumping, of course that would be a stretch!


Tip: Feel free to leave a tip the local divers as a thank you for the courageous and daring entertainment.



What’s a good time to come to watch if I do not plan on jumping?

enjoying view sunset ricks cafe

Photo credit: H1nksy/Shutterstock.com

Picture: Sunset view from Rick's Café.

It’s best to get there before 4pm if you’re not planning on jumping. This is the time that is usually busiest, and you’ll get to take in more of the action. Walk with a fully charged camera and phone, and prepare to stay long enough at least, to take in the amazing sunset from Rick’s Café. Just around 5:30 pm at this location, people start taking claim of various prime sunset watching spots at the edge of the cliffs, so be sure to find a spot that suits you from early. Rick’s Café makes a regular sunset watching experience even more exciting with a live in-house band, just around the time the sun starts to go down. This means you’ll be grooving to Reggae music, inclusive of well-known Bob Marley hits, as the sun descends slowly, marking the ending of a beautiful day.


What’s the food like at Rick’s Café?

Rick’s Café is a little more on the pricey end, and this is something that has happened over time (particularly after the location was rebuilt), as prices have increased. If you are on a budget, eat before you go, and plan to be back at your hotel for dinner. Beers at this location cost about $5-USD a pop. Try a cold Red Stripe Beer. As this spot is promoted more as a bar than a restaurant, expect bar snacks, and less than extravagant food. The food here while not five-star, is tasty and enjoyable. Expect things like buffalo wings, chicken tenders, and salsa & chips. There are also fish, and vegetarian options.

people enjoying sunset ricks cafe

Photo credit: Travelbee Photography/Shutterstock.com

The service at Rick’s Café has received a few lacklustre reviews in the past, so keep your expectations in check. Once you can remind yourself that you are going for the experience, you should be just fine. You will more than likely be pleasantly surprised and find that you experience the best service in town while you are there!

Here’s a look at the menu at Rick’s Café so you know what to expect when you go: Rick's Cafe Menu. At Rick’s, the tip is usually included in the bill.


What to bring to Rick's Cafe?

  • Cash for food, drinks, and souvenirs
  • Tips for divers (small bills)
  • Camera
  • Swimwear
  • Change of clothes

white lighthouse negril jamaica

Photo credit: Roy Boyce/Shutterstock.com


How do I tip the cliff divers?

There are wooden tip boxes in the diving area, although some people drop paper money into the water, which the divers can retrieve easily because paper money will float. The divers in the water will usually swim over and collect the bills. However, if it is extra windy, it is best to place your tip into the box.


Insider tip: Travelling to Jamaica? Sandals offers a range of all-inclusive properties to choose from for your stay on island. If you are in Negril, Sandals Negril is a top choice!



Other places you can cliff jump in Jamaica

Rick’s Café isn’t the only cliff jumping spot in Negril, Jamaica. Another well-known spot is The Caves, which is located a few minutes from Rick’s Café. Though not as popular as Rick’s Café, you will find amenities at The Caves which will make your experience there a comfortable one. There’s also a cool bar in a cave at this location, as well as outdoor pools, and accommodation options. At The Caves, you can also start at the lower levels (about 8 feet), and make your way up to the more advanced jumps. A third cliff jumping location is also known as 3 Dives. There you can not only get your cliff jumping fix, but also taste some of Jamaica's best Jerk chicken, some awesome lobster, and enjoy live music with a gorgeous sunset backdrop.

sunset 3 dives cliffs negril jamaica

Photo credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com

Picture: 3 dives cliff jumping property.

Pure Adrenaline!

All in all, cliff jumping is an exhilarating experience which will leave you with a sense of freedom that you would not have otherwise experienced, and not to mention bragging rights! It is one of the top things to do while in Jamaica.


Light Up Your Vacation With Jamaica’s Carnival Experience

Culture
July 21st 2019
Light Up Your Vacation With Jamaica’s Carnival Experience
Photo credit: John de la Bastide/Shutterstock.com

Carnival has a deep meaning to the people of the Caribbean islands and Jamaica is not excluded. With its own carnival celebration held just after Easter annually, many visitors go to Jamaica to be part of the festivities that are all about letting loose and celebrating culture and freedom as part of an event that culminates with costumes, dancing, and a grand masquerade.

During carnival in Jamaica carnival bands show off their costumes in a themed portrayal that’s usually eye-catching with various aspects of their presentation up for judging. With such a knack for making things exciting and fun on the entertainment scene, you can be sure carnival in Jamaica will be like none other you’ve ever experienced.



What is Carnival?

In the Caribbean context, carnival also known as ‘bacchanal’ is a celebration that takes place annually on many islands. Most carnival events are based on folklore, culture, religion, and tradition with quite a few Caribbean carnivals held just before Lent (February or early March) during a time known as Shrovetide (Pre-Lent).

Carnival-1

Photo credit: Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.com

In a number of islands the main carnival parades happen two days before Ash Wednesday, which is when Roman Catholics traditionally observe the beginning of the Lenten season. So essentially, carnival is the final festivity before a much more sober observation in this region. As such, many people let go of their inhibitions and enjoy the celebrations to the fullest.



Carnival in Jamaica

In Jamaica carnival is held one week after Easter which can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25. This is much unlike celebrations held ahead of Lent in many islands, but there are some other islands who have over the years shifted their celebrations from February to other times of the year for touristic and other reasons.

Carnival-in-Jamaica

Photo credit: arindambanerjee/Shutterstock.com

Carnival celebrations in Jamaica started in the 1990’s, and this happened as a result of a musician named Byron Lee wanting to bring some of Trinidad’s (the birthplace of Caribbean carnival) celebrations over to the island. Byron Lee’s band ‘Byron Lee and the Dragonaires’ is well known for having raised the profile of ska, calypso, and soca music in Jamaica. In Jamaica, the roots of carnival have to do with an ancient pagan festival in Egypt that was adopted by the Greeks, Romans, and later the Roman Catholic Church in Europe.

Though carnival celebrations in Jamaica traditionally kick off after Easter, this island’s carnival calendar is usually in full swing long before that with many parties (fetes) including breakfast party events and jouverts (street parties) getting underway. Events start rolling from February and happen at various venues including some beach jouvert experiences.

National Dominican Carnival parade

Photo credit: Mario De Moya F/Shutterstock.com

Carnival in Jamaica has been growing every year with events like cooler fetes (pay to enter and bring your own cooler and drinks), breakfast parties (early morning), and soca cruises being held in and out of Kingston where the main events are usually held.

In more recent times, carnival events in Jamaica have extended to areas like Ochos Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril.



Events in Jamaica around Carnival

Jamaica-around-Carnival-1

Photo credit: Angela N Perryman/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica’s carnival is a true spectacle. The main event is the Road March through the streets of Kingston which is also the largest city in Jamaica. This event is usually held on the Sunday after Easter.

Thousands of revellers (masqueraders) groove to music on the streets at this time with many bands and singers coming in from other Caribbean islands to perform and even participate in the big event. Soca and calypso music ring out everywhere you go and the excitement in the air is palpable.

Carnival-2

Photo credit: heardinlondon/Shutterstock.com

Aside from the main carnival event there are many activities and events visitors can be part of while in Jamaica in places like Ochos Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, and Kingston. These include live shows, boat parties, club events, and other regular or all-inclusive parties the latter of which requires a set price to be paid after which everything else including admission, food and drinks is usually included.

Good to know: Jamaica has one of the best Carnival celebrations in the Caribbean. Each of the carnival bands in Jamaica has its own costumes, parties, and the bands are often associated with specific locations in Jamaica.



Carnival around Jamaica: where to celebrate?

There are quite a few spinoff events of the main carnival in Kingston and these are held in places like Ochos Rios, Montego Bay and Negril. Each of these areas has managed to make their celebration unique which is something that can be appreciated by both revellers and spectators.

Here’s what you need to know about carnival events around Jamaica:


Carnival in Kingston

Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is where plenty of people spend a lot of time during Jamaica's carnival. Most carnival events are held in this area and throughout the carnival period, Kingston is usually a hive of activity.

Carnival-3

Photo credit: Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.com

Note that Kingston is the business center of Jamaica and generally not as popular amongst vacationers when compared to Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios. When planning your vacation in Jamaica these are the places where you’ll find the best beaches, tourist attractions and resorts.

Also read: Which Area Of Jamaica Should You Stay In? A Comprehensive Guide.


That being said, the main Road March event is held in the capital city and not to be missed. All events promoted and staged ahead of this build up the hype for the main event which brings the curtains down on the festivities. Jamaica’s Carnival Road March is the grand parade and features all the carnival bands displaying their show-stopping costumes as they make their way along the carnival route.

Carnival trucks usually lead the bands with loud music which can range from Soca and Calypso to Dancehall and Reggae, and everything else in between.



Carnival in Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios on the Northern coast of Jamaica has a history of being a fishing village, but in more recent times has grown to become an alluring resort town. Even with the way this area has developed over the years it has not lost its natural essence and still today boasts some of the most beautiful rainforests, rivers and waterfalls in Jamaica.

Carnival-in-Ocho-Rios

Photo credit: expatpostcards/Shutterstock.com

On the carnival scene, festivities in Ocho Rios start in January and conclude in April. Some of the popular fetes happening in Ocho Rios around carnival time include Frenchman’s Rise Up and Caesar’s Army Bacchanal Road. Ocho Rios also has a Road March event of its own which showcases the Ocho Rios Carnival Band. This happens one week before Kingston’s Road March.

As Ochos Rios also features some of Jamaica’s best all-inclusive resorts, there’s often carnival celebrations held on the resort grounds.

Insider tip: Ocho Rios is about an hour and a half away from Kingston which means you can easily make your way to some of the main carnival events in Kingston if you will be staying at a Sandals all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios. The best part is that all (alcoholic) drinks are included and unlimited at Sandals, which should get you in the right mood!



Carnival in Montego Bay

Montego Bay is known and loved for its ambiance and opulent resorts. Travellers love the all-inclusive beach resorts in Montego Bay where you can drink unlimited cocktails on one of its amazing white sand beaches.

Carnival-4

Photo credit: Natalia Mikhaylova/Shutterstock.com

During Jamaica’s carnival Montego Bay lights up even more on the entertainment scene with lots of parties, live shows and other events being staged. This area on the north coast of Jamaica has its own carnival celebrations that are worth checking out while on the island.

Montego Bay is around a 2.5-hour drive from Kingston, in case you want to book a taxi and make the trip to the Road March event in the capital city.


Carnival in Negril

Negril is a popular vacation destination in Jamaica that is known for its calm, laid back ambiance and its enticing natural beauty. Negril is also home to the best beach in Jamaica: the world famous Seven Mile Beach.

Carnival-5

Photo credit: a katz/Shutterstock.com

As this town is located on a 4-hour drive from Kingston, it’s not recommended to make the trip down to the capital city for the Road March, unless you decide on a split stay.

However, beach lovers are still able to stay in Negril and enjoy Jamaica’s carnival without having to make the trip down to Kingston, as the town has its own carnival celebration that is usually held in May. This event is a lot more low key than the main event held in Kingston, but still a great experience. Negril’s carnival includes live music, jouverts, and other cultural events.

Insider tip: Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril are two amazing all-inclusive resorts located right on Seven Mile Beach.



Mas bands in Jamaica

Carnival bands in Jamaica are often referred to as Mas bands, which is short for masquerade bands. Revellers are the participants in these Mas bands and once the grand carnival parade comes around everyone who is part of the band gets to march and dance along the streets as part of carnival celebrations. This is called ‘playing Mas’.

Mas-bands

Photo credit: Daniel Samray/Shutterstock.com

If you plan on jumping carnival in Jamaica, the first thing you’ll need to decide is which band you’re going to join. There are four major carnival bands in Jamaica including Bacchanal Jamaica, Ochos Rios Carnival Band, Xaymaca International, and Xodus Carnival.

Xaymaca and Xodus are the newest of these bands to Jamaica’s carnival scene. There are key differences between the portrayal of each individual band every year. Bands will have their own themes and costume designs to match. The themes are often expanded into entire story lines that are shared at respective band launches.

Each Mas band in Jamaica is divided into various sections based on their theme. Larger bands usually are divided into 8-10 sections, while smaller bands can have much less. Carnival bands usually have section leaders for the various band sections which are basically a sub-theme of that year’s portrayal.

Mas-band-in-Jamaica

Photo credit: John de la Bastide/Shutterstock.com

Section leaders usually attend all the band meetings and are responsible for organizing and meeting the needs of participants in their section. Section leaders help come up with the overall theme and sometimes contribute costume design ideas.

Revellers (participants) in individual sections wear cohesive costumes which differentiate the various sections. Even within a single costumed section there can be variations of the same costume depending on the preference of participants.



How to choose the best band

Carnival costumes are usually first displayed at band launches which are more or less fashion shows with an amped up party vibe. People who are unable to attend the various launch events can still view the costumes on various carnival band websites and even watch replays of the band launches in the days following the events.

Carnival-6

Photo credit: Daniel Rossi Limpi/Shutterstock.com

With all of the options available after these launches some people find it hard to select a carnival band and costume. To make things easier, it’s a good idea to first choose the band you want to jump with based on reviews and maybe even opinions from friends who’ve participated before, and then select the costume you like from that band.

Overall, if you want to be part of any carnival band in Jamaica you’ll need to secure your costume early. This can be done by making a deposit to the band of your choice. Once you’ve done that, your costume will be placed on hold until the full amount has been paid. It is also an option to pay for the entire costume in full.

If you don’t have a costume you won’t be able to join a carnival band in Jamaica.



How much does it cost to participate in Jamaica’s Carnival?

The cost of the Jamaica carnival depends on whether you’ll be a spectator or masquerader. It’ll cost the most to be a masquerader as you’ll have to pay for your costume and will likely want to pay for some parties as well. We’ll detail some of the specifics below:

As a spectator

Carnival can be fun even if you don’t play Mas in a band. While watching from the sidelines you can quietly take in the carnival scene or fall into the rhythm and really let loose. Even as a spectator you’ll be able to get into the carnival fun in Jamaica with many parties being held before and after the main carnival parade.

The cost of carnival parties in Jamaica will depend on how many events you go to and whether or not these events are all-inclusive. Regular carnival parties can cost around $50 - $125, but all-inclusive parties tend to be somewhere in the region of $300 - $600.

Most revellers try to go to at least two or three of the major carnival parties, or at least one in each category, club, boat, breakfast party, etc.


As a Masquerader

Playing Mas comes with a cost. People pay for the experience which includes fancy costumes and the price you’ll pay depends on the band you decide to jump carnival with.

Masquerader

Photo credit: Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.com

Carnival costumes are often quite elaborate with lots of glitter, feathers, and faux gems. They are intricately designed and most of them hand made. More elaborate costumes can include wings in addition to the head pieces and other body adornments.

The price you’ll pay to be a masquerader depends on whether you choose a VIP section, or a regular one. Costume prices can range from $400 to $1,000 for women, while men can expect to pay $500 on average for a carnival costume.



Where to stay during Jamaica’s Carnival

Carnival planning can be exhausting. You have to make arrangements for costumes if you plan on jumping with a band, plan which parties you’re going to, and somehow still find the time to plan other activities while in Jamaica.

If you’re planning on traveling for carnival, it is a good idea to stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. This can help take away some of the stresses of vacation planning as all you’ll need to do is pay for your vacation package after which everything else including unlimited food, (alcoholic) drinks and entertainment within the resort will be available to you.

Depending on the resort, you can even get help to book some of the best tours to go on between the carnival action so you can make the best of your time in Jamaica.

When traveling to Jamaica especially for carnival, stay in an area close to some of the best events like Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, or Negril. Resorts in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril are often less crowded during carnival time and will leave room for you to do other activities other than just carnival.

Also read: 28 Helpful Travel Tips For Jamaica: Dos & Don’ts


You’ll have a blast visiting Jamaica during Carnival

Carnival in Jamaica is something to be experienced at least once. After that one time you might become a bit addicted to Mas, but at least there’s many other events on the Caribbean Carnival Calendar to keep you in a festive mood.

carnival-costume-feathers

Photo credit: John de la Bastide/Shutterstock.com

Overall, the most important things to do when planning a carnival related vacation, and specifically, planning one in Jamaica, is to sort out your accommodation plans well in advance keeping in mind all the things you need and want. Again, Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts are always a good idea for the simple fact that carnival time can get busy, and once you’re having a good time partying you’re not going to want to think about making arrangements for anything else.

At an all-inclusive resort you won’t have to, as restaurants, (swim-up) bars, water sports and even airport transfers are included in the cost of your package. And, as a carnival newbie, the local staff at the resort may even be able to give you some useful carnival tips that can enhance your experience.

So, all of this to say, once you have your all-inclusive booking out of the way, you’ll be free to let loose and enjoy your carnival experience in Jamaica to the fullest!

Expert tip: Try to get some sleep in between carnival events so you’re not too exhausted to enjoy it all! When returning from a carnival trip, also ensure you have at least one day to recoup before getting back to business as usual.





Jamaica vs The Bahamas: Which Island is Best for You?

The Islands
July 11th 2019
Jamaica vs The Bahamas: Which Island is Best for You?

When it comes to Caribbean vacations, Jamaica and the Bahamas have always been able to hold their own. Cumulatively, because of the fact that the Bahamas is made up of 700 different islands, and that Jamaica is a single 4,244 mi² landmass, the two are among the largest territories in the Caribbean region.

While both tropical paradises are worthy of a beach getaway, the Bahamas offers you over 700 tropical islands and therefore this is the place you go on a relaxing boat trip, from one beautiful white sand beach to another. Jamaica has its incredible mountainous landscape, which offers wild river rafting, spectacular waterfalls, hiking tours and zipline adventures. Although the ocean water is slightly warmer in Jamaica compared to the Bahamas, the latter has a slight upper hand when it comes to snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tip: Get PADI® certified at one of Sandals all-inclusive resorts, and dive the rest of your stay for free!

When it comes to food, there is a soul in Jamaican cooking that is unmatched. When in the Bahamas, try out one of the many conch dishes and ‘peas & rice’. In Jamaica, give the jerk chicken and ‘ackee & saltfish’ a try.

beach in the bahamas

Both Jamaica and the Bahamas have a rich history and similar style architecture. In Jamaica you will find Georgian style buildings and in the Bahamas you can marvel at colonial style buildings. Both countries feature colonial fortifications.

While casinos are hard to find in Jamaica, nothing beats listening to a live reggae band while sipping on your Red Stripe beer. If you are looking to play golf on your vacation, check out Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma (the Bahamas) or Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios (Jamaica).

Both countries are post card worthy and undeniably worth a visit. Still not sure which of the two tropical paradises to pick for your next vacation? Here is an in-depth look at both islands, which we hope will help make your choice that much easier!


In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Activities
Architecture
Landmarks
Landscape & climate

People
Culture
Language
Food
Music

Where to stay?
Getting around
Economy & currency
Safety

Jamaica or the Bahamas?


Activities: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Select your favorite activity from the list below:

Relaxing on the beach
Snorkeling
Scuba diving
Fishing
Tours
Shopping
Entertainment & Nightlife
Casinos


Beaches: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Get in touch with your most laid-back self as you lay on warm Caribbean shores soaking in the sun. Caribbean beaches tend to be more beautiful than most, so be sure you walk with your camera, and plan out your day ahead of time.

Beaches in Jamaica

There are plenty of beaches to choose from in Jamaica, including the world famous Seven Mile beach, Frenchman’s Cove and Doctor’s Cove beach. Most are tourist friendly, with amenities allowing you to stay for longer periods of time and have fun. The sunsets in Negril are simply amazing. Jamaica also has beaches like Tropical Bliss beach in Montego Bay, perfect if you prefer a party beach atmosphere.

Sandals Negril seven mile beach

Picture: Sandals all-inclusive resort in Negril, located on Seven Mile Beach.

Beaches in The Bahamas

While in the Bahamas, Cable Beach, Coco Plum Beach, Pink Sand Beach, and Gold Rock Beach are favorites for both locals and tourists alike, beaches like Lighthouse beach are best for relaxing in a quiet and serene environment. In the Bahamas you will find plenty of beaches of white soft sand and beautiful turquoise waters.

Sandals Royal Bahamian on Cable beach

Picture: Sandals Royal Bahamian, located on Cable Beach.

Check out the beaches we listed in our ‘Top 12 beaches in Nassau’ and ‘Top 40 beaches in the Bahamas’ articles, if you want to learn more about the amazing beaches found in this country.


The verdict on beaches

While Jamaica has some amazing tropical beaches, like those in Montego bay, Ocho Rios and Negril, the Bahamas comes out on top. The beaches in The Bahamas are so plentiful, and so diverse, that you can find a breathtaking white sand beach on dozens, if not hundreds of the 700 islands across the Bahamian archipelago. Ideal for beach-hopping!


Snorkeling: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Loads of people travel to both Jamaica and The Bahamas to see what the beaches have to offer. It’s part of their Caribbean appeal. In Jamaica, there is a range of activities visitors can engage in on some of the most pristine beaches, including Seven Mile Beach and Doctor’s Cove Beach. While in The Bahamas, Pink Sand Beach and Gold Rock beach are favorites for both locals and tourists alike.

Top snorkeling spots in Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach

Doctor's Cave Beach

Treasure Beach

Booby Cay

Sea life you might encounter while snorkeling in Jamaica, include snappers, sergeant majors, barracudas, squirrel fish, flying gurnards, spotted moray eels, stingrays, trumpet fish, jack fish, puffer fish, hard corals, soft corals, scorpion fish, butterfly fish, squid, parrot fish, urchins, sharks, jacks, groupers, turtles, lionfish and more.

Top snorkeling spots in The Bahamas

Cable Beach, especially Sandals private offshore island (Nassau)

Gold Rock Beach (Grand Bahama Island)

Rose Island Beach (Rose Island)

The Goulding Cay Reefs

Sea life you might encounter while snorkeling in The Bahamas, include lobsters, crabs, snappers, eels, stingrays, hard corals, soft corals, squid, angel fish, parrot fish, trumpet fish, trigger fish, goat fish, urchins, squirrel fish, tangs, butterfly fish, sharks, barracudas, jacks, anemones, groupers, flounder, octopi, turtles, jellyfish, lionfish and more.

Snorkeling


The verdict on snorkeling

Snorkeling can be amazing all over the world, but in the Caribbean, you have some of the best, with Jamaica and The Bahamas ranking above most. Though Jamaica may have some amazing beaches and reefs, the snorkeling in the Bahamas, especially in the out islands, is slightly better. Some areas of the Bahamas, where the snorkeling is best, you will see gorgeous reefs plentiful with many different species of fish and marine life. Along with the diversity, the easy access, and number of islands with reefs in The Bahamas, lets these 700 Bahamian islands take the top prize in this category.


Scuba diving: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Diving in Jamaica

Jamaica might not be known as a popular scuba diving destination, but there is plenty to see! Turtles, nurse sharks, dolphins, rays and sea horses are spotted on a regular basis. Most popular diving spots in Jamaica can be found around Montego Bay (great dive sites for beginners!) and Negril. Popular dive spots include the Arch (Montego Bay), the Wreck (an old DC3 plane wreck, Montego Bay), Middle Shoal reef (Negril), Shark’s Reef (Negril), Throne Room (Negril), Surprise Reef (Negril) and Devil’s reef (Ocho Rios).

scuba diving


Diving in The Bahamas

In the Bahamas there are lots of locations to choose from when it comes to diving, as there are many islands offering varied experiences. Some of the top diving sites include Runway Wall (Nassau), the James Bond Wrecks (Nassau), Bahama Mama (Nassau), Current Cut (Eleuthera), Tiger Beach (Grand Bahama), Victory Reef (Bimini) and the Andros Barrier Reef (Andros).

The diving in the Bahamas is spectacular, and ranges from drop-offs and underwater caves to wrecks and shark dives.

scuba diving bahamas


Tip: Stay at Sandals Royal Bahamian, an all-inclusive resort located in Nassau. Scuba diving is included in your stay, including state-of-the-art equipment! Plus, you will have access to a private offshore island to relax in between dives!



The verdict on scuba diving:

Hands down the Bahamas come out on top when it comes to scuba diving, although Negril has some amazing dive sites as well. The Bahamas simply have a bigger variety of things to see. From James Bond wrecks to underwater caves, from colorful coral reefs to shark spotting – scuba diving in the Bahamas is pretty amazing.


Fishing: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Fishing in Jamaica

In Jamaica you’ll find plenty of boating events, like the Montego Bay Yacht Club Easter Regatta in March/April every year. Tour companies like Island Routes offer a wide range of fishing tours, including deep sea fishing. Fish you can expect to catch, include Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Mahi-Mahi, Grouper, Mutton and Yellowtail Snapper and Jack Crevalle.

Fishing in The Bahamas

Billfish angling is extremely popular in The Bahamas, with several tournaments being hosted annually. There are also several boating events and regattas which happen throughout the year, the most popular being the Bacardi Billfish Tournament in March and The Bahamas Billfish Championship held between April and June.

Fish you can expect to catch while in the Bahamas are the Blue and White Marlin, Red Snapper, Nassau Grouper, Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, Mahi-Mahi, Amberjack and Wahoo.

Want to learn more about fishing in Nassau, the Bahamas? Check out our 'Definitive Guide to fishing in Nassau'.

fishing group on boat


The verdict on fishing

Since Nassau (capital of the Bahamas) is only a 15-minute boat ride from the deep waters, it means that you can get into the deep and plentiful waters in almost no-time. There are many fishing tournaments year around that can take you on some of the most exciting and challenging fishing adventures you can find anywhere. The Bahamas tops Jamaica, when it comes to fishing.


Tours: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Popular tours in Jamaica

Bamboo river raft tours

bamboo river raft

Bamboo river rafting in Jamaica is a popular couples' experience. Explore the “Rafter’s Village” aboard a 30-foot, bamboo raft, which is an experience unlike any other. Sip on your welcome drink and take in the amazing sights as you bob down one of Jamaica’s many rivers.

Waterfall excursions

waterfall in Jamaica

Jamaica has some pretty impressive waterfalls like the Dunn River’s Falls. Grab your water shoes and GoPro for this adventure. You can either go for a wet and adventurous climb up the Falls, or walk beside it, taking in the spectacular beauty. Reach Falls in St Thomas, and Secret Falls in Ocho Rios are two other waterfalls you’re sure to love!

Pelican Bar boat trip

island routes catamaran cruise with guests at floyd's pelican bar

Make an adventure out of it; take a boat out to Pelican Bar which is located just about a mile offshore from Treasure beach. Have a bite, some cold beers or a cocktail, take lots of pictures, and be sure to go for a swim!

ATV safari tour

You can’t go wrong with an ATV on a beautiful and rugged Caribbean island. Explore the sights and sounds of Jamaica on four wheels, in areas like Negril, Sandy Bay, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios.

Catamaran tour

Oceans are considered magical for a reason, and you’ll see this for yourself while on a scenic catamaran tour in Jamaica. Enjoy great drinks, music, and maybe even the best sunset of your life!

Expert Tip: Try a party cruise with snorkeling, or a romantic private catamaran tour for your honeymoon vacation!


Other fun adventures while in Jamaica include ziplining, horseback riding, hiking and biking, cliff diving, safari tours, and more!

Popular tours in the Bahamas

The Bahamas is all about the beach life. Nowhere in the Caribbean will you have so many beautiful beaches in such close proximity, and at your disposal. You can choose between pink and white sand slices of paradise, and beaches to relax, or beaches where you can interact with nature; think swimming pigs, roaming iguanas, friendly stingrays, and playful dolphins!

Boat / Snorkel tours

Snorkel tour

If you’re in The Bahamas, chances are you’ll venture out on at least one relaxing boat tour to another island. Ferries and water taxis are relatively low cost, so you can take full advantage of this to explore the best the islands have to offer.

Swimming with pigs (Big Major Bay, Exuma)

Pig Island in the Bahamas

The Bahamas leaves Jamaica in the dust with this one. The adorable swimming pigs in Exuma are not to be missed. They will literally swim out to meet you as you arrive to Big Major Cay (Pig Island) by boat, and if you’re travelling with kids, you’ll win some major points for this activity.

Learn more about the swimming pigs.

Lucayan National Park (Grand Bahama)

Lukayan national park

Photo credit: Panicha Sillapawatayanon/Shutterstock.com

Caves, mangroves, and a pretty amazing beach. Gold Rock Beach, located within this park is especially beautiful at low-tide. Some people describe it as magical. Some tours to Lucayan Park included kayaking, hiking, and cave explorations.

Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (Eleuthera)

Nature lovers will appreciate this 25-acre sanctuary managed by The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Leon Levy Foundation. You can learn about the history of Eleuthera, and indulge in a most peaceful space amid the flora and fauna.

The Glass Window Bridge (Eleuthera)

The narrowest point of the island of Eleuthera, The Glass Window Bridge is a sight to behold. It is literally a strip of land between wide bodies of water, one the Atlantic Ocean, and the other, Eleuthera’s beautiful blue waters. You won’t find this in many other places, so take a deep breath, and save the memories for later.

The verdict on tours

Jamaica has the edge on tours when activities are considered. As there are no waterfalls, and a general absence of rivers and mountains in the Bahamas, there are simply more adventurous things you can do in Jamaica. That being said, if you are just looking for a relaxed beach vacation including a boat trip or two – the Bahamas has all you need.


Shopping: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Shopping in Jamaica

Bigger island, wider range of shopping opportunities. While in Jamaica, check out places like The Shoppes at Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Island Village in Ocho Rios, and Time Square Shopping Mall in Negril.

In Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay you’ll find plenty of options for shopping, from art galleries like the National Gallery of Jamaica and The Art Centre, to craft markets like the Kingston craft market, which is often described as “a true representation of Jamaican culture”.

Craft Market Ochi Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Take home with you: Blue Mountain Coffee, Oil Paintings, Jamaican Dolls, Local Rum (Jamaican White Overproof Rum), Jamaican spices.

High-up-in-the-Blue-Mountains-in-Jamaica-2
Did you know: The Blue Mountains in Jamaica are among the highest peaks in the Caribbean! Some visitors fly to Jamaica just to sample coffee grown in the Blue Mountain region.


Shopping in The Bahamas

If you’re looking for souvenir or gift items while in The Bahamas, check out the Nassau Straw Market. Bahamian artisans use sisal, also known as Agave sisalana, as part of their crafting process. It is widely cultivated in The Bahamas, as are palm leaves. Once they are dried, both are used to create intricate items – everything from weaving baskets and fans, to hats and purses. Sometimes you’ll find colorful fabrics incorporated in these designs, which amounts to a pretty neat finish. Among those treasures, you’ll also find things like handmade crafts, shell jewelry, and wood carvings.

Nassau Straw Market Bahamas

Photo credit: dnaveh/Shutterstock.com

The various booths at the Bahama Crafts Centre (Paradise Island) feature locally made items including Junkanoo art, steel drums, and jewelry. The Crafts Centre is located near Marina Village on Paradise Island. Marina Village is also worth scoping for interesting shopping finds.

The Craft Cottage (Nassau) is an art lover’s dream, as you’ll not only be able to purchase cool items like soaps, clothing, and art, but you might even be able to meet some of the creators and artists who frequently stop by this location. While in Nassau, it’s also worth taking time to peruse the art pieces at the Doongalik Studios Art Gallery.

Crystal Court Shops in Paradise Island, Marathon Mall in Nassau, and Port Lucaya Market Place in Freeport are also interesting places to shop.

Take home with you: Jams and jellies, cigars, Junkanoo art, rum, and batik-style clothes.

The verdict on souvenir shopping

While both Jamaica and The Bahamas have lots of places to shop for souvenirs, Jamaica comes out on top. You will find more places for you to buy souvenirs from and the US Dollar goes a longer way.


Entertainment & nightlife: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Nightlife in Jamaica

Jamaicans sure know how to party, and if a party experience is what you seek, you’ll find yourself right at home on these shores. If you choose to venture outside of the resorts, great places to go for a night out include Rick’s Café (Negril), Collette’s Bar (Negril), Floyd’s Pelican Bar (Treasure Beach) and Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records (Kingston and Montego Bay). Montego Bay is your best bet, if you are looking for a night out.

people drinking at Sandals Montego Bay

Picture: Seaside fireplace at Sandals Montego Bay.

Nightlife in the Bahamas

That’s not to say the people from The Bahamas fall behind in that category. Both islands play host to spectacular carnival parades annually, drawing thousands of visitors to their shores. Places to go include The Daiquiri Shack, Tiki Bikini Hut, Senor Frog’s (all in Nassau) and Nippers Beach Bar (Abaco). Nassau is the place to be in the Bahamas for a good night out.

Verdict on nightlife

No clear winner here. In both locations it is your safest bet to stay inside the resort area. All-inclusive resorts often offer unlimited drinks until late and have plenty of live music and other forms of entertainment. Whether you’re in the Bahamas or Jamaica, you’ll find lots to do in and out of your resort!

fire show at Sandals resorts

Picture: Entertainment you can expect at Sandals all-inclusive resorts.



Casinos: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Casinos in Jamaica

Jamaica is not a casino destination, according to the island’s tourism minister, and may never be. It is however a destination where casino gaming is available. There are plenty of gaming lounges that you can check out around Jamaica, including in Montego Bay.

Casinos in The Bahamas

You’ll find casinos in The Bahamas, but you won’t find many locals taking a chance, as local laws prevent nationals from gambling. As a visitor you will be free to indulge. Most casinos in The Bahamas are located within hotels or resorts.

roulette gambling table

Photo credit: Eric Glenn/Shutterstock.com


The verdict on casinos

With Jamaica not having any casinos, The Bahamas gets the default vote. However, there are casinos in Nassau that are world class, so if you have the bravery for putting your money on the table, you can win big here.


Architecture: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Jamaican architecture

Jamaican Georgian architecture

jamaican georgian architecture

Photo credit: Photo Spirit/Shutterstock.com

Jamaica’s architecture is unique and historic. Still today you’ll find places with very distinct Jamaican Georgian Architecture, which combines ancient Georgian elements with more modern and functional aspects that suit the Jamaican landscape. Jamaican Georgian architecture at one point became the go-to as far as construction went, with everything from public buildings, to private homes, dawning elements from this style.

Jamaican Vernacular architecture

The Jamaican Vernacular architecture style, brought to the island by tenant farms and indentured laborers mostly from Scotland, is another still existing feature you may spot in some places while traversing the island. This style is described as ‘more down-to-Earth’, particularly for those who could not afford the Jamaican Georgian design. House with this style can be compared to the bothies of 18th century Scotland.

The mid-1900s and onwards

Changes to local infrastructure in Jamaica happened during this period, as British tradition made way for influences by the Spanish who brought in their own preferences, like larger verandas and balconies. This was adopted by some, but as time wore on, climatic suitability trumped everything else. More modern designs followed, and soon the 20th century led to taller buildings, and more international designs, some of which still contained Georgian detail.

Bahamian architecture

Bahamian clapboard cottages

colorful house in the Bahamas

Photo credit: Lux Blue/Shutterstock.com

Not so popular nowadays in The Bahamas, but you’ll still find a few signature Clapboard Cottages in islands like Harbour Island and Spanish Wells. As a signature, Clapboard Cottages were from the earliest days angled in order to let the trade winds in. Added to this, windows tended to be larger, and ceilings higher, which keep residents cool. Other features included awning-style push-out shutters, shaded windows, and low stilts.

Bahamian colonial houses

Old Parliament house Nassau Bahamas

Photo credit: Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock.com

With traditionally thick walls, shuttered windows, and light paint to reflect the sun, old colonial buildings are now mostly used to house government buildings in the islands of The Bahamas. You’ll find quite a few of these quaint and British inspired buildings throughout the islands.

Modern Bahamian Villas

Susceptible to tropical storms, it is important that all infrastructure in The Bahamas is built to withstand possible strong wind. Carefully considered elements of modern villas in The Bahamas keep this in mind with their tiled roofs and stone walls. The modern Bahamian Villas are as sturdy, as they are beautiful!

The verdict on architecture

This is a bit of a toss-up when it comes to architecture of the two countries, as both have some amazing historical heritages, preserved by both countries.

Both countries have similar styles like the colonial style of the Bahamas and the Georgian style of Jamaica. Both countries have their own colonial fortifications that beg to be explored and both have plantation-styled homes on estates that can be visited.

However, if there was one deciding factor, Jamaica wins being a much larger, individual landmass, and as the population centers are all connected and easily accessible, and there is more to see, in terms of man-made structures.


Landmarks / historical sites: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Landmarks and historical sites in Jamaica

Devon House

Devon House Kingston Jamaica

Photo credit: Mihai-Bogdan Lazar/Shutterstock.com

At this mansion in Kingston attributed to Jamaica’s very first millionaire George Stiebel, you’ll be able to embark on guided tours, or check out the in-house bakery, ice cream parlour, restaurant, or shops. Devon House is also a very popular wedding venue.

Morant Bay Courthouse

Here you’ll find Edna Manley’s statue of National Hero Paul Bogle – a historic monument, fitting for a place so rich in history that is commonly associated with the Morant Bay Rebellion, an important moment in Jamaican history.

National Heroes Park

A botanical garden and one of the most expansive open spaces in Kingston. You’ll find a range of monuments here, and the burial ground of some of the most prominent Jamaican national heroes and leaders.

Rose Hall Great House

Rose Hall Great House Montego Bay Jamaica

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

Tours, golf, weddings, events, and more. All of these are available at this Jamaican Georgian style mansion located in Montego Bay. Rose Hall was built in the 1770s, and first belonged to colonist Fulke Rose, and later in the 1800s, to John Palmer.

Spanish Town Square

There are a number of 18th century buildings in this area which has Spanish origins. It was previously known as Villa de la Vega, and was once the capital of Jamaica.

Landmarks and historical sites in The Bahamas

Old Forts (Nassau)

Fort Charlotte Nassau

Photo credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com

Fort Montague, Fort Charlotte, and Fort Fincastle are all located in New Providence Island in The Bahamas. At all three locations you’ll have opportunities to tour the British-colonial era forts built in the 1700.

Parliament Square (Nassau)

Nassau City Parliament Square Bhamas

Photo credit: Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock.com

Marked by its typical colonial design Parliament Square in downtown Nassau stands out in a charming and mysterious way. Full of history, the buildings here were constructed in 1815. Today, they typically host government meetings.

The Queen’s Staircase (Nassau)

Queens Staircase Nassau Bahamas

Photo credit: dnaveh/Shutterstock.com

A major landmark in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex in downtown Nassau, the 66 steps here are made of solid limestone. They are named in honor of Queen Victoria (Britain, 1837 to 1901).

Cloisters and Versailles Gardens (Paradise Island)

Versailles Gardens Paradise Island Bahamas

Photo credit: Adrian Acu/Shutterstock.com

The Cloisters Paradise Island is a breath of fresh air. The Cloisters, which was first part of a French Monastery in France, has a history of being disassembled and re-assembled. The structure has found a resting place in The Bahamas’ Paradise Island. At this location you’ll also find the expansive Versailles Gardens, which is particularly lush, and loved by all who visit.

Tip: There’s a great view of Nassau’s Harbor from this location which is also popular for weddings.


Government House (Nassau)

Government House downtown nassau

Photo credit: photravel_ru/Shutterstock.com

Like most islands in the Caribbean, Bahamas’ Government House is the residence of the Governor General (GG) of The Bahamas. The building itself is from the colonial era, and previously was home to the Governor of The Bahamas. The GG’s residence is open for scheduled tours.

Christ Church Cathedral (Nassau)

Christ Church Cathedral Nassau Bahamas

Photo credit: Zoran karapencev/Shutterstock.com

Built in 1670, this church is the oldest in The Bahamas. Known to be the ‘Mother’ of all Anglican churches in the islands, Christ Church Cathedral was notoriously destroyed and rebuilt several times.

The verdict on landmarks

Though Jamaica has an abundance of landmarks that you can and should visit, there is a distinct advantage in The Bahamas, especially if you are looking to see many in a short period of time, like in the nation's capital of Nassau. Many of Jamaica's landmarks can be hours apart to see them apart, while in Nassau you can do a whirl-wind tour of over a dozen just by walking.


Landscape & climate

Both Nassau and Jamaica are considered third world developing countries. A quick comparison finds that Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is more developed than most parts of Jamaica. This balances off because most of the out islands in The Bahamas are less developed, and some even untouched. The Bahamas takes pride in sustainable development and pays attention to preservation concepts within the development of infrastructure.

Jamaica mountains

Picture: Mountainous landscape of Jamaica.

Jamaica is one major island, unlike The Bahamas which is a tropical archipelago made up of 700 different islands of varying sizes. It is one of the biggest islands in the Caribbean and features lots of mountains and rainforests; with beautiful beaches that are especially popular for snorkeling and scuba diving for their numerous reefs. Jamaica is nearer to the Equator than The Bahamas, which means the waters here are slightly warmer. Jamaica can be found about 500 miles south of The Bahamas.

Peak season in Jamaica

Peak season in Jamaica is from December to April, much like in The Bahamas. The weather tends to be cooler then, and the island busier than most other times of years as this is a popular time to travel. If you’re planning to travel in peak season, you’ll need to book your trip in advance in both islands. Peak season temperatures in Jamaica range from lows of 70°F to highs of 84°F.

Want to find out more about Jamaica’s weather? Check out our 'Best Time visit Jamaica' article.


Peak season in The Bahamas

Peak season is the most popular time to travel to most destinations, and the same goes for The Bahamas. The islands are the least rainy around this time, with temperatures still moderate as opposed to traveling in the summertime. Another plus is that the peak traveling months, from December to April. The average temperature during the high season ranges from lows of 63°F to highs of 82°F in The Bahamas.

This means your chances for an idyllic and sunny Caribbean vacation are sky high!

For more info, check out our ‘Best time to visit the Bahamas’ article.


The verdict on landscape and climate

It is hard to deny that The Bahamas are gorgeous. The beaches, the crystal-clear waters, its sunsets and even the plants you can see all around the islands.

However, Jamaica comes out on top here. Also, with beautiful waters and beautiful white sand beaches, Jamaica has rich and lush mountain ranges that can't be found in the comparatively flat Bahamian islands. There is something to be said about being able to trek through jungle-like forests to come upon gorgeous rivers and naturally occurring waterfalls.

On top of that, Jamaica's high temperatures are around 5 degrees Fahrenheit higher in the months of December until April, compared to the Bahamas. It all depends on what temperatures you are used to at home, but some travellers prefer Jamaica especially in the months of January and February, for this very reason. In these months high temperatures in Jamaica reach 82 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 77 in the Bahamas.


People: Jamaicans vs Bahamians

Everything irie in Jamaica

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the island of Jamaica, or in the Caribbean for that matter, is Rastafarian, and hangs out on a lush beautiful beach all day.

People in Jamaica

As a very mixed culture, Jamaicans are known as generally hard-working people, much like most of the residents across the islands in the Caribbean.

Some of the major ethnic groups which influenced the diverse races in Jamaica include: the Tainos from South America, the Spanish (in the days of Columbus), Africans, the British, Indians, the Chinese, and people from the Middle East (Libya and Syria).

The Bahamian connection

People from The Bahamas are known as Bahamians, and most are also mixed, due to the colorful histories of the islands, which include back and forth battles for dominion, and the times of slavery.

The Bahamas is 91 percent afro-Caribbean, with about 5 percent of the population being made up of mostly white natives. Two percent of the population identifies as ‘mixed’ while the rest is unspecified.

Verdict on the people

Bahamians tend to be a bit more reserved than Jamaicans, due to differences in culture. Some visitors might interpret this as rude, but as long as you are friendly and give it time, most will become more open. Generally speaking, both Bahamians and Jamaicans are friendly people, and will go out of their way to show you all the reasons you should (and will) fall in love with their beautiful islands!


Culture: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Culture in Jamaica

Jamaicans and their culture are vibrant and dynamic, and this can be seen in everything Jamaican – from the people, to the food, to the entertainment you’ll find.

Jamaica is frequently associated with Reggae and dancehall music, and rightly so. The island is the root of these genres, with artistes like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and in recent times Sean Paul and Shaggy. Not only is this island home to some of the best of music, but the same goes for sports, with icons like Olympians Usain Bolt, Shelly Ann Fraiser and others.

On a wider scale, aspects of African traditions can be seen in Jamaican culture, in terms of the music produced on this island, as well as in art, dance, and local theatre. Ethnically diverse, the culture is quite mixed in Jamaica, so if you visit the island, expect to be pleasantly surprised!

Culture in The Bahamas

Bahamian culture has noticeable African, British and American elements and influences. With a history rich in piracy to its reformation into privateering, to slavery and its abolishment, the culture in The Bahamas has been shaped in ways that even a storybook would be hard-pressed to match. These elements are infused in its cultural traditions and events, and the way of life of the people. One of the biggest cultural celebrations in The Bahamas is the Caribbean carnival called Junkanoo, a street parade with costumes, music, dance, usually held in the early hours of Boxing Day, or New Year’s Eve.

Junkanoo celebrations Nassau

The festival itself, much like the people of this territory, is lighthearted, fun, and exciting.

The verdict on culture:

If you are looking for a place that is steeped in musical heritage, where the people are hardworking and full of soul, then Jamaica wins here. However, if you are looking to explore lands and seas that where the culture was carved from a more rugged, mystical set of events, where survival was a daily struggle for most, then The Bahamas tip the scales and come out on top.


Language: Patwa vs Bahamian English

Language in Jamaica

Though Jamaicans speak English, for many, even some people from the Caribbean, it may be difficult to understand their dialect, which is also known as Patois (Patwa). Patwa is an English-based creole dialect that most Jamaicans speak naturally, though nearly everyone can revert to proper English before you can bat an eyelid.

People talking in Jamaica


Language in The Bahamas

The Bahamas is predominantly an English-speaking island, though some people are fluent in Haitian-Creole, and Bahamian English which incorporates African influences and island dialect. Some say Jamaicans and Bahamians have similarities of speech, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.

The verdict on language:

The vast majority of both the Jamaicans and Bahamians speak English. If you are visiting any of these Caribbean island getaways, you should have no problem with communication.

Hands down the Jamaican dialect is as the more complex to understand, especially Patwa, which if you do not speak it, it is like a completely different language, but there is a beauty in their accent that is warm, welcoming and invites you to relax and just enjoy the moment.

With the language in The Bahamas there are many unique words spoken in the local dialect that are fun and entertaining, especially when you learn them for the first time. Don't be shy to test it out and ask a local to speak Bahamian with you.


The food: Jamaica vs Bahamas

One thing’s for sure, Caribbean people love delicious food. If you travel to any destination in the Caribbean you’ll notice just how much attention natives pay to ensuring the correct proportions of seasoning are added to meats especially, to ensure the richness of flavors and an almost sensual experience of the palette.

The food in Jamaica

As popular as it is in Jamaica, some people might even believe ackee and saltfish is the only thing Jamaicans eat. This dish is quite flavorful, but it is just one of many delectable delights you can find on this island.

Many Jamaicans credit steamed fish and okra, another culinary favorite, for their athletic prowess and other talents. This dish is healthy and tasty, so it’s a win either way!

Other popular menu items include the world-renowned Jamaican jerk chicken, pork or seafood, curried goat, rundown, rice and beans (made with coconut milk and red beans), and more.

Jamaican jerk chicken with rice

Photo credit: dapperland/Shutterstock.com

Picture: Jamaican rice and peas, fried plantain and jerk chicken.

Callaloo, a savory dish made from boiling down leaf vegetables (amaranth, taro or xanthosomo) in water is a culinary experience that must be had, as is ‘Bammy’ a yummy cassava-based (yucca) flat bread. Scotch bonnet peppers are a secret ingredient in many dishes, adding the spice that brings Jamaican foods to life.

Jamaican Patties are also popular and have made their debut into the international arena. These yellow, flaky pastries are often filled with chicken curry, beef, or vegetables, but you can also find cheese and lobster patties which are amazing, to say the least!

Traditional Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish

Photo credit: Paul_Brighton/Shutterstock.com

Picture: Jamaican acee and saltfish with festival and callaloo.

In Jamaica you’ll also find soursop of all varieties, even soursop juice. Soursop, a white, fleshy fruit rich in health benefits, is the fruit of the Annona muricata, evergreen tree.

Last but not least, the local Red Stripe beer is a celebrity in itself, and one sip is all the introduction you need!

Food in The Bahamas

The Bahamas is famous for its conch dishes, which include but are not limited to Conch Salad, Conch Fritters, Cracked Conch, Conch Chowder, Conch Burgers, and more. Conch is a good source of protein, and other vitamins and minerals. Conch Salad is best enjoyed on a breezy Bahamian beach!

Caribbean people love fried fish and chicken, and Bahamians fall right into that stereotype. Except in this case, the food is so delicious that it isn’t even a bad thing!

Bahamian conch fritters

Photo credit: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.com

Picture: Bahamian Conch Fritters.

In The Bahamas you’ll also find their version of Peas & Rice, which can include pigeon peas, ham (or bacon), tomato paste, thyme, salt, pepper and other seasonings. It’s a very different dish from Jamaican Rice and Beans, but also incredibly tasty!

If you’re spending some time in The Bahamas, it is highly recommended that you seek out some Minced Lobster, which is otherworldly, if you can find someone who makes it.

Bahamian peas and rice

Picture: Bahamian peas and rice, fried plantain, coleslaw and steamed chicken.

Other popular dishes include Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Stewed/Baked Chicken, and ‘Switcha.’ The latter is similar to lemonade and is perfect with lots of ice on a hot Bahamian day.

Where beverages are concerned, you’ll also want to try ‘Sky Juice’, a cocktail made with fresh coconut water, gin, and condensed milk. It’ll give you a ‘kick’ that’s purely Caribbean. Also try local Bahamian beer, Kalik, which locals say is supposed to symbolize a cowbell ring! Sands is another popular local brew.

The verdict on food

There is a soul in Jamaican cooking that is unmatched. What they do well they do extremely well, and there is an abundance of chefs in Jamaica that are magicians when it comes to mutton, chicken and pork.


The music: Jamaica vs Bahamas

The music in Jamaica

Reggae, dancehall, and a little bit of Soca are the trending genres of Jamaica, but it’s not all you can expect to listen to while in Jamaica. Jamaicans are quite cultured when it comes to music preferences, and you’ll notice this as you scan through radio stations in your rental, or if you decide to check out the local bars or clubs.

However, Reggae and Dancehall music genres are gigantic in this territory, as this is the land in which they originated. You’ll find loads of studios in Jamaica which are buzzing with artistes, both established and aspiring, as everyone works on getting the next hit. It is common in Jamaica for one producer to create a particular ‘riddim’ or beat, and for a number of artistes to lay their music on that same beat. Of course, only the most popular reach international airwaves.

19-reggae-tribute-band-Nine-Mile-Jamaica

Photo credit: Lost Mountain Studio/Shutterstock.com

On the Reggae scene, Bob Marley, even in his death is King of Reggae music. Some visitors travel to Jamaica just to visit the land of his birth, and his childhood home. While in Jamaica, Reggae buffs can visit the popular Bob Marley Museum where they can enjoy everything Bob Marley. Tour options include the ‘Combo “One Love” Tour’, the ‘Bob Marley Home Tour’ and ‘Bob Marley’s “Making of the Music” Tour’, the latter of which allows participants to tour the legendary Tuff Gong recording studio.

The music in The Bahamas

Music in The Bahamas is lower key than that of Jamaica, as Jamaica comparatively sets the bar higher than most other Caribbean countries are able to go.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect to hear good music, as Soca and Calypso are popular in The Bahamas, especial around carnival which happens in May annually. ‘Rake and scrape’ music is part of Bahamian tradition too, and it is said to have originated from Cat Island. This genre commonly incorporates Concertinas, Goombay drums, and a Handsaw. Rake and Scrape tunes are mostly instrumental, and the rake and scrape effect is achieved by bending a saw, and scarping a small object, like a screwdriver, against the saw.

Boy with trumpet

Varied cultural influences have played a part in what Bahamian music is today. Since the 1950s, however, music in The Bahamas has been influenced significantly by American culture, and by many of the other ethnic groups coming to Bahamian shores.

Artistes from The Bahamas who have reached the heights of international fame include The Baha Men (Who Let the Dogs Out?), Ronnie Butler and Kirkland Bodie.

The verdict on music

When it comes to producing new and original music in their own style Jamaica wins with little doubt. Jamaicans are the pioneers and kings of Reggae, they are unmatched in such genres. The Bahamas, though there are some noteworthy musicians in calypso, rake and scrape and other forms of music, there tends to be a heavy reliance on American influences, when it comes to general music played across the land. Here you will not be surprised when you hear common, even old top-40's style music played in many places you go.


Where to stay: Sandals Jamaica vs Bahamas

Staying in Jamaica

In Jamaica, some of the most popular areas are Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios.

Sandals has two all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, including the newly renovated Sandals Montego Bay (the first Sandals!) and Sandals Royal Caribbean (comes with an exotic private island).

You’ll find two all-inclusive resorts in Ocho Rios: Sandals Ochi (comes with tropical gardens and a golf course) and Sandals Royal Plantation (secluded boutique resort, oceanfront butler suites only).

Sandals Negril is located on the beautiful Seven Mile Beach, offering an amazing beach vacation and incredible sunsets. Sandals South Coast features Jamaica’s largest pool, plus all rooms are beachfront with oceanview.

Sandals Montego Bay beach resort

Picture: Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica.

No matter which of these resort you stay in, you can play at all 6!* That means you will have access to all restaurants, bars, swimming pools and beaches these amazing resorts have on offer.

See all Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.

Staying in the Bahamas

Some of the more popular islands in The Bahamas include New Providence Island (Nassau), Paradise Island, Abaco, the Exumas, Eleuthera & Harbor Island.

If you’re staying Sandals Emerald Bay on Exuma, you can expect a beautiful large beach with soft white sand – truly paradise. The food is incredible, and the resort comes with an award-winning Greg Norman's Championship golf course.

Sandals Emerals Bay in Exuma

Picture: Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, the Bahamas.

If you prefer to stay in Nassau, Sandals Royal Bahamian is a treat and a great resort for scuba diving. On top of that, this resort will give you access to a secluded private offshore island. Don’t forget to visit Kimonos, one of the amazing restaurants Sandals Royal Bahamian has on offer.

Both resorts are all-inclusive beachfront resorts and great for destination weddings and honeymoons!

See all Sandals all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas.


Getting around

While you won’t find Uber or LYFT in The Bahamas or Jamaica, there are ways to get around without much hassle. You can take a taxi, or a ‘jitney’ in The Bahamas, the latter of which is the local term for a bus. In Jamaica, you can take a street van or taxi to get to your destination. You can also catch a shuttle to and from your hotel or resort of choice via the local airports in both territories. If you book your vacation with resorts like Sandals, your all-inclusive package will come with complementary shuttle transportation both ways.

red plate cabs Sangster International Airport Montego-Bay

Photo credit: Debbie Ann Powell/Shutterstock.com

The best way to get around in Jamaica is by red plate taxis, as they are the only licensed taxies in Jamaica. If you haven’t made arrangements to get to your hotel (airport transfer is included when staying at any Sandals resort), you’ll find taxis just outside airports including Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ). Getting buses is a little more challenging in Jamaica, especially when you need them most. In some places you’ll have to wait anywhere from 10 mins, to a half hour or more, so you’re better off either spending on a rental car, or catching a cab.

Bahamas Taxi Cab Union Shuttle Van Nassau

Photo credit: TAH Media/Shutterstock.com

In the Bahamas you can catch a jitney from the country’s main airports, Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau and Freeport’s Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) to your destination. Jitneys cost $1-2 (Bahamian or US). Taxis can be found just outside the airport, downtown, or just outside your hotel or resort. You can expect to pay $32 from the airport to downtown Nassau, $22 to Cable Beach and $38 to Paradise Island, plus relevant toll fees.

In both The Bahamas and in Jamaica, be careful to negotiate taxi prices, and ask ahead of time what the flat rate will be for your trip. This helps to avoid being overcharged.


The verdict on getting around

The Bahamas wins in this area as it is generally much easier, as there are more opportunities, as well as public transportation, to help you get around. In Jamaica you will be mostly left to hiring taxis, or traveling by foot to get to where you need to go.


Economy & Currency

Most vendors in both Jamaica and the Bahamas will accept American Dollars (USD). The locals in Jamaica generally pay with Jamaican Dollars (JAM), where in the Bahamas payments are made with Bahamian Dollars (BSD). However, it’s not uncommon for people to pay with a mix of both currencies. The Bahamian Dollar is 1:1 with the American Dollar, which makes it easier to get a grasp of the value of the local currency.

Jamaican money

Photo credit: Janusz Pienkowski/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to purchasing power, you will find the American Dollar goes a long way in Jamaica. When you are going out for dinner and drinks, expect Jamaica to be ~ 20% cheaper than the Bahamas. When shopping for clothes, you’ll find you pay on average twice as much in the Bahamas as in Jamaica. You will find peddlers in both Jamaica, and the Bahamas. A simple “no thank you” will suffice in most cases.

Bahamian dollar

Photo credit: Janusz Pienkowski/Shutterstock.com


The verdict on economy and currency

The economies of both Jamaica and The Bahamas are quite different at a glance, and although the Bahamas is the richest country in the West Indies, and third Wealthiest in the Americas, for your wallet, you will find that Jamaica will give you superior value for your US dollar.

In general, you will find the cost of living in the Bahamas to be quite a bit higher, making things such as food, drinks and shopping more expensive than in Jamaica.

Don’t want to worry about bringing your wallet? Book a all-inclusive vacation and everything is taken care of. See the full list of inclusions at Sandals all-inclusive resorts.




Safety: Jamaica vs Bahamas

Safety in Jamaica

Generally, Jamaica is a safe place to travel to. As with any other trip, you’ll need to stay alert, especially if you are visiting the destination for the first time. Take some time to get your bearings right, and get as much information as you can before heading out to various places. Stick to recommended areas for your own safety. In Jamaica, as in most other countries, it is best not to head into places that are unfamiliar late at night, especially those in urban areas. A bit of common sense and you’ll be on your way to a peaceful vacation.

Safety in The Bahamas

The Bahamas is largely promoted as a tourist island, and quite a few visitors have reported that they feel slightly safer there outside of the resorts (compared to Jamaica). As a result of the island’s intensive touristic thrust, the Bahamian government places priority on ensuring the islands are safe, and you’ll notice this by the police presence which is on most days visible in downtown areas. To stay safe in The Bahamas, and any other vacation destination, do not stray too far into secluded areas.

nassau bahamas police officer

Photo credit: pablopicasso/Shutterstock.com


Verdict on safety

In general, you can say the Bahamas is a slightly safer place to travel to, than Jamaica. However, you can expect to return home safely from both destinations – especially if you are staying at a resort.

All-inclusive resorts are by design sectioned off from public access, with 24-hour strict private security. At Sandals, resort management performs background on potential staff during the hiring process, and the resorts work hard with local law enforcement and government agencies, in conjunction with the likes of local US Embassies, to ensure maximum safety and support for the guests.


So… Jamaica or The Bahamas?

There you have it, the best of both of these beautiful Caribbean islands. We’re happy to provide these details on the things that make the islands as unique as they are. Ultimately, the final decision is up to you. Who knows, you may one day have ticked both islands off your list, but for now, go with the island that best suits your idea of a Caribbean vacation!

Expert tip: Get a better 'feel' for both countries by looking at some of these amazing pictures of Jamaica and the Bahamas that should give a good idea of what to expect. Which paradise speaks most to you?

Getting Married In Jamaica: Insights From Wedding Planners

Love
June 28th 2019
Getting Married In Jamaica: Insights From Wedding Planners

Jamaica is one of the most exotic natural beauties that the Caribbean has to offer. Its physique of golden sandy beaches are boarded by sweeping mountain panoramas and lapped at by some of the most exquisite crystal-like waters found anywhere. These gorgeous backdrops are the perfect setting, and will make certain that your wedding day will be the one you never forget.

Key takeaways:

  • You don't have to be a Jamaican citizen to get married in Jamaica, and unlike many other countries Jamaica does not require a blood test before marriage. However, some documentation will have to be submitted to get a marriage license.

  • Marriages that take place in Jamaica according to Jamaican law, are recognized in the United States as legal marriages.

  • The consistency in the weather is a massive draw for U.S. citizens. There are, however, slightly better months than others. December to April are the best months to get married in Jamaica.

Let's dive in!

In this article on the Sandals Blog:

Why Jamaica?
How to complete the paperwork
How to plan a wedding in Jamaica in 12 steps
The marriage certificate
Sandals amazing wedding venues in Jamaica
Getting married at Sandals
Getting married in Jamaica FAQs


Wedding setting on beach patio

Picture: The Sandals Negril beachfront Gazebo: a great wedding venue!



Why you should say your “I dos” in Jamaica?

If the picturesque views, staggering sunsets, and romantic ambiance aren’t enough of a reason to get married in Jamaica, then here are a few more reasons why we think Jamaica is the perfect wedding destination:

  1. It’s unique and private: A customized wedding complete with all your specific requests, your special someone and those closest to you. The ultimate wedding escape.
  2. Jamaica is prepared for your big day: With extensive experience in planning and executing weddings, Jamaica is beyond equipped to help you execute your wedding vision.
  3. It’s a wedding and a honeymoon, all in one: It doubles up as a dreamy location for a wedding ceremony and you can spend your honeymoon there too. There’s no need to visit another expensive destination.

Expert Tip: Ensure that you have all the necessary legal documents in advance, so that your marriage license can be secured by the resort. You don’t want to have any hiccups with documents.


"When you think about a destination wedding, you think about the authenticity of the culture and the exotic appeal of the location. Jamaica has this to offer and so much more! The island is known for its warm and friendly people, its sunshine and its beautiful white sandy beaches. There are varieties of wedding locations to choose from, whether the lush gardens or the azure blue Caribbean Sea. The possibilities are endless…"


Caribbean breezes wedding ceremony setting

Picture: Caribbean breezes beach wedding at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica.



How to complete the necessary paperwork.

The excitement of engagement is at it's peak and while your special day in Jamaica couldn’t arrive any sooner, there are a few things you need to have in place before getting stuck into the nitty gritty of the perfect destination wedding.

Getting married at one of the Sandals' all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica? Your personal wedding planner will help you gather and complete all documents.


The following steps will need to be taken to acquire a minister’s (marriage) license in Jamaica:

1. Complete the declaration form.

Have a declaration form completed by a person (declarant) who has knowledge of the impending marriage. The form needs to be signed by the declarant in the presence of a justice of the peace (a special type of court officer that can perform civil marriages) in Jamaica. The declarant can be a friend or family member.

Declaration forms are available at the following address:

Customer Service Desk
Ministry of Justice
Commerce Gate
61 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica

or perhaps more convenient, can be downloaded here. Forms MUST be printed on legal size paper.


Tips for filling in the declaration form:

  • ‘Names in full’ mean first, middle, and last name.
  • ‘Condition’ means bachelor/spinster/divorced/widow/widower.
  • ‘Calling’ means occupation.
  • ‘Dwelling places’ and ‘parishes’ mean local address and parish of both parties. If either of the parties is residing abroad, twenty-four (24) hours residence on the Island is required at which time a local address can be used.

2. Collect a blank minister's marriage license form.

Collect a blank minister’s marriage license form at the the above mentioned customer service desk. Please note: this form is not available online nor can it be mailed out.

Beach in Negril Jamaica

Picture: Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica. Honeymoon anyone?


3. Get the blank minister's marriage license form stamped.

Make a stamp duty payment of four thousand Jamaican dollars (JMD $4,000.00 or approximately $50 USD) at the Stamp Duty Office located at 111 Harbor Street, Kingston, Jamaica. The blank marriage license form will be stamped after payment.

4. Submit both forms and supporting documents to the Ministery of Justice.

Return both the stamped minister’s marriage license form and the completed declaration form to the Ministry of Justice, along with the original or certified copies of the following supporting documents (for both groom and bride):

  • Passport or driver’s license.
  • Birth certificate, which includes father’s name.
  • Final divorce decree / decree absolute (where applicable).
  • Death certificate for widows (where applicable).
  • Certified documents supporting any change of name (where applicable).

If you are under eighteen years of age, a letter of consent is required from your legal parent/guardian signed in the presence of and certified by a justice of the peace.

Customer Service Desk
Ministry of Justice
Commerce Court
61 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica

Special note: All documents that are not issued in English must be translated by an official translator and subsequently certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of residence and by the nearest Jamaican mission or honorary consulate.

Night time wedding reception setting

Picture: White Romance Reception on the beach at Beaches Resort Negril.



5. Collect the minister’s (marriage) license.

Once the documents are found to be satisfactory the license will be issued.

There is a three hour same day processing time for walk-in applicants, when applying for a marriage license. Visitors can be married 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica, providing application is completed.

The minister's marriage licence expires 90 days after the date it was issued.


How do I plan a wedding in Jamaica?

Tying the knot with your loved one in Jamaica is one of the most exciting adventures of your life. The sooner you get started, the easier it will be. Give yourself plenty of time to carefully orchestrate the dream destination wedding of your lifetime. The average wedding takes between 13 - 18 months to plan. Your timeline can vary depending on a number of factors such as your guest list, the vendors you work with and the ambience you wish to create.

Row of chefs with cakes

The best way to keep abreast of all your plans is by building a wedding folder or binder (your wedding ‘Bible’) which would include the 12 steps below.

Getting married in Jamaica in 12 steps:

1. Consider your budget
2. Create a guestlist
3. Choose a wedding venue
4. Pick a date
5. Book accommodation and flights
6. Make arrangements for your honeymoon
7. Plan the ceremony
8. Plan the reception
9. Decor: set the mood with color
10. Select the flowers
11. Compile a wedding playlist
12. Pick the perfect dress

Let's get started!

Sandals South Coast overwater chapel

Pictures: Sandals South Coast over-the-water wedding chapel.



1. Consider your budget

Planning ahead can save a lot of money. This is probably your biggest party you've ever hosted. Consider your wedding budget as your first major purchase as a couple.

Keep track of your spend

A spreadsheet is the best way to keep track of your spend. Compile a budget including line items of all the specifics which will bring the big day together. Preceding the big day, you will include line items such as the paperwork, flights and accommodation. For the day, include items such as the ceremony and the reception. After the big day you want to budget for things such as your honeymoon.

Your budget should include a column for ESTIMATE for the quoted cost estimates from various vendors, ACTUALS for the actual spend, and a SAVINGS column for whatever you manage to save. Start to input the bigger or most important costs as soon as you receive them such as venue hire, wedding fees and ceremony costs.


Nautical blue beach wedding setting

Picture: Coastal living beach wedding at Sandals South Coast.



Be prepared for surprise costs

To cover yourself for future surprise costs it’s best to include a 15 to 20% contingency of your overall budget, which should cover you for any unforeseen costs.

Don't like surprise costs? Book your wedding with one of Sandals' all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and get a free wedding with your stay of three nights or more! Unlimited gourmet food and drinks are included in your booking.


Palm leaf beach wedding setting

Picture: Tropical beach wedding at Beaches Negril.




2. Creating your guest list

Don’t leave creating your guest list too late, especially if you want your nearest and dearest to attend your big day. They too will need to budget for their trip to Jamaica and schedule some time off.

"One of the first things on the to do list, it to figure out who you will be inviting. Destination weddings are a win-win for everyone! Send out your save-the-date early, so you can know what size wedding you will be having - the more the merrier with group perks. Depending on which venue you choose, the more people you bring, the more perks you get at no additional costs!"

Over water villa Sandals suite

Picture: One of the luxurious over water villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean.


3. Pick a wedding venue

Your wedding venue will largely depend on your guest list. Will you be planning a big white wedding in Jamaica, or are you and your loved one going for an elopement wedding with just the two of you?

Get inspired: See Sandals' beautiful wedding venues in Jamaica.

If you can dream it, you can make it happen in Jamaica. It’s one of the most beautiful destinations for weddings in the world. Whether amidst lush tropical gardens, overlooking the vast aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea, or in a European garden setting backdropped with manicured lawns, all of it can be found in the Caribbean.


Couple getting married on beach

Picture: Crystal white beach wedding at Sandals in Jamaica.



4. Choose a date for your wedding in Jamaica

Jamaica is gorgeous, and its magnificence is reflected in its weather. The best time to get married in Jamaica is from December to April.

Two important factors to check when booking a wedding venue in Jamaica are:

  1. Check if the wedding venue has capacity for your group size.
  2. Check availability of the wedding venue.

It’s easy to fall in love with a location and then find out they are already booked for your special day. Try to tentatively book it, if the venue will allow. As soon as you are 100% sure you want the venue, complete your booking immediately.

Pink and black beach setting

Picture: A modern love beach wedding at Beaches Negril in Jamaica

Send out a ‘Save the Date’ shortly after picking a date. The invitations for your wedding in Jamaica will still need to be designed, created and sent out. This will take some time. A 'Save the Date' will give your guests some time to plan accordingly.


5. Accommodation and flights

In usual circumstances it’s best to book your flights sooner than later, to avoid a hike in flight costs. Most of the high-end resorts in Jamaica will allow you to book flights through them, as well as travel insurance - Sandals is no exception, even airport transfer to the resort is taken care of.

The next question is, when do you arrive? While it’s possible to get married within 24 hours of your arrival in Jamaica (provided all your paperwork is in place), you might want to plan your arrival in Jamaica at least 48 hours prior to your big day. Flight delays can happen at the most inopportune moments and you don’t want your wedding day to be among them.

Accommodation in Jamaica tend to fill up quickly, especially with bigger groups. Make sure to book your accommodations as early as possible, to ensure availability. If you are traveling with a group, make sure to ask your resort if there are special group rates. Some resorts, like Sandals, will offer additional perks, upgrades or discounts depending on how many rooms your group books.


Expert Tip: Planning your dream white wedding? Book 5 rooms with any Sandals resort and get the 6th room free, or book 11 rooms and get the 12th room free as well! Plus, a complimentary upgrade to a butler level suite!


Sandals over water villas Jamaica

Picture: The exquisite overwater bungalows at Sandals South Coast.

Getting everyone to the wedding venue

Have you considered how you, your spouse and your guests will get around once you all descend on Jamaica? It's a good idea to arrange transport for your guests if they are not staying at the wedding venue.

Ask your wedding planner or resort if they can assist with transfers or know of a reputable transfer company to assist. If you would prefer your guests to find their own way around, perhaps you could just give them a list of transfer companies to assist them making their own plans.

If you and your spouse are not staying at the resort, consider if you want a special limousine or car to transfer you from the ceremony to the reception and again from your reception to your hotel.


Expert Tip: Thinking about booking your wedding at a Sandals resort? Wedding parties can book their own private luxury coach bus, accommodating a maximum off 44 guests with three flat screen TV’s, complimentary Wi-Fi and fully reclining seats, ample leg room, foot rests, food trays and cup holders.


Couple on beach drinking cocktails



6. Make arrangements for your honeymoon

If you’re seeking luxury, seclusion and jaw-dropping scenery, look no further - Jamaica is the perfect honeymoon destination! You and your spouse can relax on stunning beaches, hike to spectacular waterfalls or get an up-close glimpse of the Jamaican lifestyle.

Expert Tip: Book a minimum 3 night vacation at the Sandals Resort of your choice, within 30 days of your wedding date, and get a free honeymoon package!


could walking to beach chapel

Picture: The overwater chapel at Sandals South Coast.



7. The wedding ceremony: moment of a lifetime

The wedding ceremony in Jamaica can be as unique as you are. It is completely customizable. It's your big day! Make your dream wedding come to life in the Caribbean.

If you are using the services of a wedding planner, you are likely to get advice on best practice for your wedding ceremony, which will take into account your personal requests and religious obligations. Should you be planning the ceremony yourself, there are a number of things you will need to take into consideration. Below are some guidelines to help you plan the perfect ceremony:

Who will marry you?

A good place to start would be to understand the difference between a wedding officiant, a minister, and a Justice of the Peace.

A minister can officiate a wedding. Most ministers will be restricted in what they can or will officiate, due to their religious affiliation with the church they belong to.

A Justice of the Peace is a special type of court officer that can perform civil marriages. These are a simple option for individuals who want nothing more than a marriage certificate, but they are limited in terms of schedule and location, and are strictly no-frills marriage ceremonies.

A wedding officiant is anyone who can legally officiate a marriage ceremony. In wider use, a wedding officiant often refers specifically to a non-denominational and sometimes non-religious official who carries no affiliation with a church. Couples who don’t regularly attend a religious service or church often find this sort of wedding officiant ideal because of the flexibility this approach affords.

Your wedding planner will be able to arrange a locally recognized marriage officer, unless of course you have someone special in mind to officiate your wedding. Should you be planning your own ceremony, marriage officers are available throughout the island and may be requested through the below channel:

Registrar General's Department
Twickenham Park
St. Catherine
Tel: 876-749-0550 or 876-619-1260
Email: information @ rgd.gov.jm
Website: www.rgd.gov.jm

A one hour in-person planning session with your officiant is recommended. During this time you can give them details of how you wish the ceremony to run.

Note: The marriage must be performed before 8:00 PM and two witnesses must be present at the ceremony to sign off the marriage certificate.


Green garden wedding setting

Picture: Love is in bloom garden wedding at Sandals South Coast.

The ceremony location

Will you have a beach wedding overlooking the ocean, a garden wedding overlooking sweeping views of your lush surroundings, or perhaps an intimate chapel wedding? Everybody has different preferences all of which can be met in Jamaica.


Green and yellow beach wedding

Picture: Green and yellow beach wedding at Beaches Negril.

The wedding rehearsal

It’s advised that you have a wedding rehearsal. Set a realistic time and date for this. You don’t want anyone to be late or miss it completely. Make sure the wedding officiant is aware of the rehearsal.

Wedding party at wedding site



The prelude music

The wedding prelude is the start of the ceremony. During this time, you may want to have music playing as your guests are being seated. Choose 2 to 3 songs and inform the venue or wedding planner before hand. Will your prelude songs be performed live with instruments or will they be pre-recorded?


White wedding gazebo flowers



Lighting of the candles

Will you be lighting candles during the prelude? Who will be responsible for this?

Wedding Palm leaves and flowers



Seating arrangements

Who will be seated where? Will there be a designated area for V.I.P’s? Where will your grandparents and parents be seated?

Garden wedding reception seating

Picture: Love is in bloom wedding reception at Sandals South Coast Jamaica



The processional

The wedding processional is the parade of people who will walk down the aisle in Jamaica. Let's start with the wedding officiant. Traditionally, the officiant and the groom will walk out first together, followed by the wedding party. However, there are many options. Will you be preceeded by flower girls? Will there be a ring bearer?

Wedding couple in gardens kissing


Greeting of the guests

How will the officiant greet the guests? Will it be formal? “We are gathered here today to celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, the joining of two hearts”. Or informal “Friends and family, thank you for coming together to celebrate the love of (Groom) and (Bride)”.

Prayers and personal readings

Will you include prayers in your ceremony? Many couples opt for alternate pieces to be read at this time such as a poem. Would you like to honor parents or grandparents during the ceremony? Consider whether you would like to honor deceased family members or friends during the ceremony?


White Wedding Gazebo

Picture: Wedding gazebo with beach view at Beaches Negril



Marriage invocation or explanation

At this point, the officiant will speak to everyone about marriage. The invocation is like a short sermon. It references The Bible and God as the Creator of Marriage. The explanation has a non-religious option. Once again, this is totally up to the couple.

The vows

Will you have traditional or personal vows? Double-check if you need to share these with the officiant. All officiants are required to know the traditional vows so they will have these for you, should you require them.

Exchanging the rings

There are a number of traditional options for the exchanging of the rings. However, this is completely dependent on the couple. If you have your own version you will need to share it with your officiant.


Wedding couple running on beach



8. The reception: it’s party time!

After that beautiful ceremony in Jamaica, relaxation sets in as you can still smell the ocean air from the beach. Everyone is bursting with excitement and waiting to celebrate with you. You walk together holding hands across the beach and amongst the tropical gardens. You're introduced as the new Mr and Mrs. Everyone cheers and wishes you congratulations, speaking to you in love. A waiter brings you something cool and refreshing, and it tastes fruity and delicious. Everyone gets seated and the waiters begin bringing all of the amazing Caribbean food that you picked for your menu. The cake is waiting to be cut and it's perfect.

Your dream reception will require careful consideration and planning. Below are a few ideas you may want to consider:

Proximity to the wedding ceremony

If not at the same venue, try to keep the reception as close to the wedding ceremony venue as possible. This will keep the momentum and possibly keep your transport costs down if the distance is too far to walk.

Will the reception be indoor or outdoor?

Your wedding planner or venue will be able to advise on the weather patterns during the time of year you decide to do the nuptials. Jamaica is great for beachfront weddings!

If you decide to tie the knot over the unpredictable rainy season (June to November), it might be a good idea to have an alternative plan up your sleeve. You will also need to consider the time of day. The time of day will determine the temperature, which may also determine your menu considerations.


Beach reception seating and tables


Sit-down or cocktail?

A sit-down reception is traditional, but nowadays many prefer a cocktail reception. There are upsides to both options. Your guests will be more appreciative of the sit-down option, especially during the speeches. If the formalities are short and sweet however, the cocktail option encourages more interaction amongst the guests. Other options to consider when in Jamaica include a beach reception, a garden reception or even a yacht reception.


Beach wedding cocktail bar

Picture: Gold themed cocktail reception stand at Beaches Negril.



The menu

Some of your guests may have specific dietary requirements so consider having a vegetarian option, salads for vegans or Halaal meals should that be a request. Your seating arrangements may also affect your menu. A cocktail reception may call for finger foods or a tapas menu. There are also variants such as placing larger servings on the table for guests to help themselves, or Russian service where the waiter holds the food.


Expert tip: Unlimited gourmet meals and premium spirits are included in your stay, should you decide to tie the knot at a Sandals resort.


Garden wedding reception tables



A receiving line

Consider whether or not you'll have a receiving line. Having a receiving line allows guests the opportunity to congratulate. Nowadays, most couples prefer to gradually move around the room, meeting with guests during the course of the reception.

If you do have a receiving line, the order is as follows: bride's mother or parents, groom's mother or parents, bride, groom, maid of honor, then bridesmaids.

Will the couple be announced?

Would you like to be announced as you enter the reception? This can be quite fun - the first time the newlyweds are announced as Mr & Mrs. After this you can quickly take your seats for dinner.


Couple walking on grass


Toasts and speeches

Decide when you will have toasts and speeches. Ask your speakers to keep it short and sweet. You could even appoint a timekeeper. The bride and groom can do their speeches just before the cake cutting ceremony.

The opening of the dancefloor

The tables and chairs start to clear, everyone is feeling nice and irie from their tropical cocktails, and the DJ turns up the volume on a slow Caribbean bassline, signaling it's time to for everyone to loosen up and sway their hips in celebration.

Couples often leave opening up the dancefloor until everyone has had a chance to enjoy a few cocktails and their meal. Before your Caribbean party begins, the opportunity arises for the traditional father and daughter, mother and son and newlywed dances. Each is a good prelude to opening the dancefloor for the wedding guests to join you on the dancefloor.


Wedding reception party group toasting


Photos of the reception

Some of the best candid photos are taken at the reception. Consider whether you want group table shots or whether you will request groups to make their own way to the photography area. Some couples like to have a photo booth with props to add to the fun. Other couples may ask guests to upload all their photos to a central place online, where they will instantly be shared with all the guests.

Band of gold reception setting

Picture: Gold themed wedding reception place settings at Beaches Negril


The garter belt removal and the bouquet toss

Another ceremonial aspect to consider is the the garter belt removal and the bouquet toss tradition. Will you have one and when will this take place? Traditionally the garter is a family heirloom so many brides use a different garter for the removal. Similarly to the garter, some brides prefer to use a separate bouquet.


White and yellow flower cake


Cutting of the cake

Assuming you will have a wedding cake, there are plenty of bakeries to choose from in Jamaica! The cutting of the cake is traditional. Some couples, however, prefer to have a tiered cake made from different cheeses. If you decide to go the non-traditional route, you might want to consider dessert for your guests.

The wedding favors

Traditionally guests would receive a small bag or box containing five sugared almonds representing the five blessings of Health, Wealth, Happiness, Long Life and Fertility. Now, of course, your wedding favors can be almost anything to reflect your own taste, budget and personality.

Coastal living wedding reception setting

Picture: Coastal living themed wedding reception at Beaches Negril



9. Decor: set the mood with color

You’ve seen a million wedding photos and have fallen in love with so many color patterns, and now you’re torn between options. Fear not, we’ve gathered the most important tips you need to choose the perfect color combinations for your wedding in Jamaica.

Create a mood board

Your mood board is a visual representation of your wedding design. The colors you choose will set the tone and spirit of your big day in Jamaica. From your invitations to your decor to your bouquet, every element will encapsulate your color theme.

Looking for inspiration? Check out these cool Caribbean wedding ideas.

Physical things such as fabric swatches or digital imagery are great sources of inspiration. Pinterest is great place to start. After a while, you will start to see some patterns. Hopefully you are now able to highlight the ones that blend, and your concept is starting to feel visually aligned. If there are colors that don’t fit in, scrap them, and before you know it you will have your very own color theme.

Consider skin tone

While you won’t be wearing your color theme on the big day, your bridesmaids probably will. It would be good to make sure the color theme is suitable for their skin tone. Your future hubby and his groomsmen will also need to fit into the color theme, so take that into consideration as well.

Share your color theme

Once you are set on the color theme, you can now coordinate with your wedding planner or vendors. Share your color theme ideas with them and ask them to share their ideas on decor. Ensure they consider the venue to incorporate appropriate textures and to always have a visual or physical representation of their ideas.

Hanging wedding purple green orchids



10. Organizing the flowers

A wedding in Jamaica would just not be the same without flowers. Here are a few thoughts to consider when finding the right flowers for you:

Decide on a color theme for your flowers

The flowers you decide to use are your personal choice. There is no right or wrong choice. Remember: less is more when it comes to flowers. They should be a splash of color to enhance the features of your wedding, not the centerpiece.

Hire the right florist

If you’re using the services of a wedding planner, they should be able to advise on a variety of preferred suppliers in Jamaica. If you are doing it on your own, do some research so you know what you are talking about before you contact the florist. Ask to see a portfolio of their previous work. If you’re not entirely happy, then find a new florist. Life is too short for bad flower arrangements.

Yellow rose bridal bouquet


Start with the bridal bouquet

You’ll be tempted to start with the smaller flower arrangements, such as the table arrangements or the aisle markers. However, it is best to start with the most important one, the bridal bouquet. Why? It will set the tone for the rest of the arrangements, and in turn make your life easier. There are many flower arrangements a couple could have at the wedding.

Flowers for the bridal party: think about the bridal bouquet, hair flowers, the groom's boutonniere, the maid of honor bouquet, bridemaids bouquets, the groomsmen boutonnieres and other boutonnieres and corsages.

Sandals colorful flower wedding cake

Flowers for at the ceremony: think about the ceremony entrance, aisle runners, chair decorations, candle decorations, the altar, flower girl basket decorations and flower girl petals to toss.

Flowers for at the reception: think about the entryway arrangements, table centerpieces, buffet table flowers, flowers for on the bar, cake flowers, flowers for on the guestbook table and the toss bouquet.


White romance beach wedding setting

Picture: Gazebo garden wedding with beach view at Beaches Negril



11. Compiling the wedding playlist

You’ve probably been streaming music for years and have finally built up a playlist millions would be proud of. This only makes the job of creating the wedding playlist that much more difficult. Where do you even start? Underneath you'll find a few tips to help you get your head around this:

DJ or live music?

Some couples prefer a DJ, some prefer live music, and some even do both.

The important thing is that someone is managing the smooth transitions between the different stages of the wedding and that the music reflects the mood of the different stages. The correct music can create the perfect ambience.

Contact your venue in Jamaica or wedding planner and ask them if they have a list of local DJ's or bands. Make contact with them and share your music requests. We would recommend a chat or a Skype call before the big day to discuss your ideas and to get a feel of their style.

Choose the big songs first

Start off by selecting the music you need for the big moments. Once you figure out what music you will have for the processional, ceremony, reception and other ceremonial events, it will make it easier to find the music that fills the rest of the gaps.

What’s your love story?

Choose songs which are sentimental to you and your fiance. Maybe it’s the song that was playing when you first clapped eyes on eachother. Or the song that was playing when you shared your first dance or kiss. As long as it carries sentimental value, it will evoke all the happy emotions on your big day.

The first dance

The anticipation in the air is thick, and even before you begin, the tears start to sparkle in the eyes around you. Maybe you are still standing with your toes in the warm sand, and your spouse is staring back into your eyes, their arms around you. The music starts and nothing exists for you beyond the music, those arms embracing you, and the cool Jamaican breeze kissing you both.

Preceeding the opening of the dance floor, you will raise everyones' excitement for the remaining dancing to come, so consider your parents and grandparents with this one too. They may want to celebrate with you on the dancefloor after the dance, so selecting some slower, sweeter, and older songs might be a good choice. When the dance is concluded, you can ease everybody onto the dancefloor with a well known sing-along song with an even tempo (Red, red, wine anyone?).

Bride on beach chapel dock



12. Say yes to the dress!

A lot of brides-to-be may find “Saying YES to the dress” is not as easy as it sounds. You’ve been dreaming about this moment for as long as you can remember, but now that it’s your turn, and you can’t seem to make a decision. Remember that each bride's journey to finding her dress is unique, so don’t let the stress of finding the perfect dress get in the way of all the excitement. Follow the following simple steps and you will undoubtedly find the wedding dress of your dreams:

The perfect fit

It’s unlikely that you’ll walk into a bridal shop and find a dress that fits perfectly. Wedding dresses are easily tailored. Try to find a dress that is 90% your preference as major alterations will increase the costs of your dress. If budget is no issue, then consider having one made.


Expert Tip: If you are having your wedding in Jamaica on the beach, or even outside, remember that the Jamaica can get quite warm and beaches can be windy. It may serve you well to wear a dress that doesn't have a train, and is generally sorter and more light-weight. This will help to keep you cool on your big day. If you have your heat set out on wearing a dress with all the bells and whistles, consider having a swap-out dress that you can change into for the reception and after party, to make sure you are comfortable the rest of the night.



Pick one feature

It becomes tricky when you try to incorporate all your favorite features into one dress. We recommend that you pick one feature and focus on that particular one. For example, perhaps you would like to accentuate the shoulders. Then maybe a sweetheart style dress would be suitable. If you feel too exposed, you can always add sleeves or a little lace to the shoulders.

It’s about how it makes you feel

There’s no doubt that you want to feel like a million bucks on your big day in paradise. You know what they say, “wear it like you own it”. There is no use finding a beautiful dress that looks sensational on the mannequin, but makes you feel uncomfortable or self conscious on the big day. The perfect dress will make you feel like you're on top of the world.

Don’t be easily swayed

It’s all part of the excitement to go wedding dress shopping with your bridesmaids or nearest and dearest, but don’t let their opinions sway your feelings on your dream dress. We all have different styles and different body shapes. If you have your heart set on a dress, follow your gut and take the plunge. If you have the luxury of time, sleep on it and come back tomorrow.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

If you know what accessories you’ll be wearing then take them along with you when you go shopping, or ask the consultant to assist you with a veil or some accessories from the bridal shop. This could turn a simple style dress into the wedding dress of your dreams.

White gem crusted wedding cake


Traditional vs non-traditional

If you’re not a traditional gal, then forget traditional style dresses. You may have had your eye on a traditional style dress. That’s ok, you can always spruce it up with some non-traditional style alterations. This way you’ll get the best of both worlds.



Is there such a thing as perfect wedding dress?

You found the “perfect man”, so you’ll find the “perfect dress”. Look for the dress that makes you feel like never before. It's your BIG day!

Expert Tip: Any arrangement for transportation of a wedding dress to Jamaica should be discussed directly with your airline carrier.



The marriage certificate

Following your ceremony, you are given a copy of the marriage register which shows proof of marriage. This is signed by the marriage officer, yourselves and your witnesses (you don’t have to bring your witnesses with you, as this can be arranged for you). The marriage register is not a legal document and as such cannot be used to conduct any business!

With the signed marriage register, given to you by the marriage officer, you can obtain a copy of your official marriage certificate online through the Registrar General’s Department by contacting them at http://www.rgd.gov.jm/.


wedding couple on ocean rocks



Bonus: Sandals amazing wedding venues in Jamaica

Not set on a wedding venue yet? Pick the perfect Sandals Resort to celebrate your big day!

Over-the-water wedding chapel

Sandals South Coast overwater chapel

Sandals South Coast chapel interior

Pictures: Sandals South Coast over-the-water wedding chapel.

Available at:
Sandals Ochi
Sandals Montego Bay
Sandals South Coast

Beachfront wedding

Beachfront wedding in jamaica

Available at:
All Sandals resorts

Oceanfront gazebo

Beachfront wedding gazebo Negril Jamaica

Picture: The Sandals Negril beachfront Gazebo.

Available at:
All Sandals resorts

Garden gazebo

Beaches Negril garden wedding gazebo

Picture: Gazebo garden wedding with beach view at Beaches Negril.

Available at:
Most Sandals resorts

European garden wedding

European-Garden

Picture: European garden wedding setting at Sandals Ochi

Available at:
Sandals Ochi

Intimate resort chapel

Sandals Montego Bay Resort Chapel

Picture: The Sandals Montego Bay wedding chapel

Available at:
Sandals Montego Bay


Getting married in Jamaica at Sandals

Sandals Ochi resort and pools

If you can dream it, the Sandals team can make it happen for you! Getting married at any Sandals resort in Jamaica, gives you access to a full-service wedding boutique, made up of a team of professionals responsible for coordinating your wedding from planning to execution.

Below are just a few benefits of the assistance of a Sandals wedding planner:

  • Reserve accommodations, wedding date, and wedding time.
  • Gathering the documentation required by the local government to apply for your wedding license and marriage certificate.
  • Submit your application, documentation and mandatory fees to the local government office and deliver your marriage certificate to your home.
  • Schedule a local non‐denominational marriage officer to officiate your wedding.

"A wedding planner is the expert and usually takes on various roles during the wedding planning journey – inspirer, motivator, therapist, counselor, listener, and advisor. Depending on what you want during your journey, your wedding planner will be there as your direct guide and support."

  • Organize all of your wedding plans and communicate your wishes to your Resort Wedding Planner in preparation of your arrival.
  • Schedule onsite wedding consultations with your resort wedding planning team, which includes a Wedding Manager and your personal Resort Wedding Planner, on resort wedding photographer, and the Red Lane® Spa boutique hair and makeup stylists.
  • Setup of your customized wedding ceremony, wedding reception, and any additional reserved functions by your dedicated wedding team.

Black and white striped cake



Getting married in Jamaica FAQs

Are you legally married if you marry in Jamaica?

Yes, marriages that take place according to Jamaican law are legally binding, and are recognized in the United States as legal marriages. You should, however, inquire with your local government regarding name change procedures.

Important notice: If you do not live in the United States of America, your country may require the document to be legalized, in order for your marriage certificate to be accepted. In such cases, please contact the embassy which represents your government in Jamaica to have this done. The hotel or Marriage Officer can assist you in this regard. If your country does not have an embassy or consulate in Jamaica, please find out from the Ministry of Foreign (External) Affairs of your country.


What government fees will I have to pay, and when do you have to pay them?

If you are not getting married at a resort the main government fee you will need to pay is the stamp duty for the marriage license application. This is roughly $4000 Jamaican dollars (JAM), approximately $50 US Dollars (USD), depending on the exchange rate at the time. This will need to be paid when you take the filled out application for the marriage license to the Jamaican Stamp Duty Office. The only other fee you could consider as a government fee is if you hire a marriage officer to preside over the marriage ceremony. Marriage officers can charge anywhere from $50 to $250 USD for their services. You will likely need to pay the marriage officer for their services prior to the ceremony.


What is a minister’s/marriage license?

A minister’s (marriage) license permits the marriage officer to perform the marriage ceremony and is valid for three months. The application is a same-day process.




What is a marriage certificate?

The marriage certificate is proof that the marriage has taken place and is issued after the marriage by the Registrar General’s Department. It should be applied for by the couple.

Applicants may visit the Registrar General’s Department’s website www.rgd.gov.jm or telephone +1 876-749-0550 or +1 876-619-1260 for further information on how to obtain your Marriage Certificate.




Is a blood test required to get married in Jamaica?

The islands of Jamaica, Antigua, Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Barbados do not require a medical or blood test to be performed.

Oceanfront-Gazebo

Picture: Oceanfront Gazebo at Sandals Royal Caribbean.

The beach, the water, the breeze, and all the natural beauty that is the Caribbean is what makes Jamaica the perfect location for a destination wedding. Wedding planner or no wedding planner, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful setting. Jamaica will truly embody all the characteristics of your perfect wedding day, and the beginning of your happily ever after.

Call Sandals’ bridal team on 1-877-726-3257 to start planning your own wedding Jamaica!


Disclaimer: All information on this article was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Sandals is not affiliated with the relevant authorities or their application centres and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information. Please double-check all information provided with the relevant application centres, before making any final decisions.

Treasure Beach in Jamaica: 10 Tips For An Awesome Experience

Island Life
June 26th 2019
Treasure Beach in Jamaica: 10 Tips For An Awesome Experience
Photo credit header image: Stan Sobo/Shutterstock.com


A contrast to the usual trademarks of the Caribbean, Treasure Beach in Jamaica is a unique and refreshing contribution to the region. This string of sleepy fishing villages welcomes visitors from around the world and is located off Jamaica’s south coast.

Serving up six miles of coral-colored beaches, gem-like private coves, rocky shores and lush waterfalls, Treasure Beach is true to its name. Have a snorkeling adventure at Frenchman’s Bay and have a chance to see dolphins. Zipline through the forest over the YS Waterfalls, or explore the Santa Cruz Mountains. Fancy a slower pace? Then sidle up to a shady palm tree with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer, and set the tone for a day of beach-bliss.

Arid like the East-African Savannas, Jamaica’s landscape is home to a rare breed of trees that bloom with canopies of bright purple blossoms. Produced by the ornamental Lignum Vitae tree, Jamaica’s national flower is a rare and gorgeous sight.

Treasure Beach is a world unto its own with a wealth of natural beauty, a backbone of humility and a stream of lesser-known gems. Discover 10 local tips on how to enhance your vacation experience in and around the Treasure Beach area, and why its people will continue to preserve it’s mystique.



In this article on the Sandals Blog:

History
Things to do in and around Treasure Beach
When to visit Treasure Beach
How to get to Treasure Beach
Getting to Treasure Beach from Sandals
Pack for your day trip
Safety tips


Coast Treasure Beach

Photo credit: Paul W. Henry/Shutterstock.com



How Treasure Beach appeared on the map

Endowing romance to adjectives such as “boho”, “barefoot” and “off the beaten track”, Treasure Beach Jamaica found its way onto the tourism map almost 27 years ago.

The secret of Treasure Beaches’ monopoly on authentic island bliss was out and growth was inevitable. Still, even after the installation of a convenient cashpoint, reliable wifi and a luxury spa, Treasure Beach was able to retain its authenticity.

In the destinations more ancient history, 700 AD saw the arrival of the peaceful Taino Indians. These were the first inhabitants of Jamaica. A creative society, the new island-dwellers were skilled potters, carvers, weavers, boat builders and farmers; all traditions the Tainos retained for centuries.

A large population of the Taino people made their way to Treasure Beach, setting up camp around 1494 AD. Remnants of Taino pottery can still be found lying around the island, particularly spottable after a heavy rain. It was not long after they settled, that the Spanish made their arrival to the Jamaican waters, spelling the doom of the Taino people. Captured and enslaved, the Tainos quickly became extinct across Jamaica.

On the brighter side, some Taino Indians managed to flee Jamaica in boats, making their way to the shores of the Americas, where small Taino communities can still be found today.


Interesting fact: Popular Taino words you may recognise are: canoe, hammock, hurricane and tobacco.


Centuries later, around mid-1600 AD, a Scottish ship sank off the shores of Jamaica. The survivors swam to shore and became new inhabitants of the island. Instantly recognized as "brownin's" or "red men" from Treasure Beach, the inevitable intermixing with the local population led to the widespread presence of striking and handsome people.


Things to do in and around Treasure Beach

From swimming, to biking and hiking, Treasure Beach Jamaica has got them all. In case you’re still unsure that it’s an amazing destination, below are ten more great reasons to visit Treasure Beach:


Couple looking at Rum in Jamaica


1. Embrace Jamaica’s vibrant culture - unpolished.

Treasure Beach encourages community-based tourism practices, where all of the locals are actively involved in sustainable local development.

“IN THIS PARISH, WE WORK, NOT SHIRK”, is the sign that welcomes visitors as they arrive at the Parish of St. Elizabeth. A work ethic distilled across 200 years, upheld by generations of fishermen and farmers. It is the foundation of this communities’ well-deserved reputation, setting Treasure Beach apart from the rest of the island.

While this unpolished fishing village may not epitomise a paradise notorious for parasailing and speedboats, located just 60 miles off Jamaica’s South Coast are a number of cays surrounded by fertile fishing banks. The fisherman of Treasure Beach cast their nets and return daily with an array of delicious and colorful fish, crabs and lobsters. Searching for the perfect morsel to buy and eat that day, the beach fills up with hungry locals who watch the fisherman offload their hauls, weigh them, sort them and ice the fish before sending them off in trucks to be sold.

What better way to enrich yourself than with such an immersive experience? A trip to Treasure Beach Jamaica presents the perfect opportunity to embrace the islands vibrant culture and rich history upheld by the laid back inhabitants who are friendly, and above all, proud to be Jamaican.



Jamaican man dropping anchor


2. Enjoy any of the beautiful Four Bays.

Treasure Beach is the generic name for four of the main coves across this part of the island’s shores:

Billy’s Bay

Billy's Bay is a beautiful natural site located on the south-west coast of Jamaica. Though the white-to-grey sand is peppered with rocks and shells, you will easily find a number of places to throw down a towel and enjoy a peaceful day of basking in the sun. Billy’s Bay aquamarine waters have just enough waves to enjoy a bit of body surfing.

Calabash Bay

Dotted with private villas, hotels, bars, and restaurants, visitors are commonly seen hopping from one beach shack to the next, sipping refreshing rum cocktails. Swimming is also possible on this beach, but the waters can be rather choppy.

Treasure Beach Jamaica

Photo credit: Stan Sobo/Shutterstock.com


Frenchman's Bay

Burrowed in the shadows of the Santa Cruz Mountain range, Frenchman's Bay is slightly greener than its neighboring beaches. The delightful mix of golden beaches and crystal-like turquoise waters draws a consistent flow of tourists. Currents tend to be strong here, so be sure to check before you wade in.

Great Bay

Home to a Fishermen’s Co-op building, the beachside is lined with beach shacks serving up fresh seafood and ice-cold beers. Pop into The Lobster Pot, one of the area’s best restaurants, serving simple-yet-delicious made-to-order seafood. While Great Bay is the least visited of the beaches, visitors can still be seen bathing swimming in its waters.


Expert Tip: Most of these beaches don’t have bathrooms or places where you can wash the salt from your skin, so look out for a nearby restaurant or local business should you need the bathroom.


3. Zipline at the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park.

In line with Treasure Beach Jamaica’s quest for simplicity and sustainability, the fishing village has become a sports tourism destination. Across the street from one of the predominant Treasure Beach hotels is the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park & Academy, a 17-acre community hub where over 1,500 local athletes play sports.

Visitors regularly head to the park to cheer on cricket, football and track groups at meets between Jamaican and foreign teams. Saturday nights draw a big crowd, due to the commentator who doubles up as a DJ, blasting dancehall between games. During the summer the academy hosts local and international camps with coaches and big-name athlete mentors that visit from around the globe - like Venus and Serena Williams. Visitors are encouraged to join in the fun.

Face your fears on the 400-foot zip-line, or hit a tennis ball on one of the park’s many courts. No matter when you visit, there’s always something going on.

4. Experience a Black River safari.

Group on Black River safari tour

Enjoy breathtaking views while cruising down Jamaica’s largest navigable river on a Black River safari tour. A quiet 1.5 hour cruise along the Black River and lower morass. Towards the Caribbean sea, the tour explores remote wetlands and mangroves, where you will see much of the local wildlife, including the endangered American crocodile. Also home to more than 300 species of tropical birds, the Black River lower morass is a birders paradise.

5. Rejuvenate your spirit at YS Waterfalls.

Woman at Ys Falls

Surrounded by lush gardens and magnificent trees, seven waterfalls make up the YS Falls, all cascading through an idyllic natural setting. Though some areas are fairly rocky and do not allow swimming, being able to swim is a requirement when traversing the falls. For children or those unable to swim, there is a natural pool available, fed by underground and above-ground springs.

After traveling inland across a working cattle and stud farm, guests can opt to zipline across the breadth of the falls, river tube further downstream of YS Falls, or relax in one of the cabanas next to a natural spring.

Bathrooms can be found at the ticket office, and at the waterfalls there are also changing rooms and an environmentally friendly toilet.

6. Grab a lunch at one of the local eateries.

Caribbean style jerk chicken

Photo credit: Rohit Seth/Shutterstock.com

Beach cafes and roadside stands line the streets and shoreline of Treasure Beach, offering freshly prepared local favourites, including:

  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Ackee and saltfish
  • Jerk chicken and pork
  • Curried goat
  • Fresh lobster, fish and crab
  • Conch

With the slow commercial growth in recent years a few of the newer spots about town offer more international options such as pizzas, hamburgers or fried chicken.

7. Carve your name at the Pelican Bar.

island routes catamaran cruise with guests at floyd's pelican bar

Surrounded by seemingly endless turquoise waters, and serving up ice-cold beer and fresh fish, Floyd’s Pelican Bar in Jamaica has earned its reputation as “the coolest bar in the world”. The rickety wooden structure, erected in the middle of the water, is only reachable by boat. To get there you will need to visit one of the few landings that offer rides to Pelican Bar. Boats leave daily from Black River, Treasure Beach, Parottee Point and some nearby resorts.

Tip: Stay at all-inclusive resort Sandals South Coast and book a luxury catamaran trip out to the Pelican Bar, arriving in style.

Pelican's menu consists out of only 4 items: chilled beer, rum punch, fish and lobster. The fish and lobster are both fresh and tasty. However, if seafood is not your thing, then we advise you to carry a snack of your own.

Some house rules:

  1. Pelican Bar does not take credit cards so cash is king at this establishment. Jamaican dollars are first prize but USD is also acceptable.
  2. A trip to Pelican Bar is incomplete without carving your name into a wooden plank.

Expert Tip: To avoid disappointment, ask your resort or driver to call ahead if you are planning to eat off the menu. Fresh fish and lobster tend to run out quite quickly. Also, don’t forget your water shoes. You’ll need then when you take a dip in the water.


8. Dine at Frenchman’s Reef.

Caribbean style curried Oxtail

Photo credit: Rohit Seth/Shutterstock.com

The owners of Frenchman's Reef are warm and welcoming people, who’s establishment offers a vibrant selection of local dishes that keep guests coming back. Fresh produce, expertly seasoned meats, and a healthy serving of starches make their menu so moreish that you will be full and happy in no time. There is something for everyone at Frenchman’s Reef, including favorites such as burgers, pizzas fresh seafood, and Red Strip beer.

Located on the edge of Trasure Beach, Frenchman’s Reef delivers a friendly and relaxed dining experience. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

9. Join a day tour.

Group on Appleton Estate tour

Untainted, Jamaica’s south coast is full of natural wonder waiting to be explored. If you’re limited on time, joining a tour can help you see the best of your destination.

Choose a tour which suits your preference and pace. Ease into your vacation by heading to Appleton Estate, a rum distillery that dates back to 1749, and is known for creating one of the world’s smoothest and most sought-after rums. Turn up the heat and saddle up atop a sleek horse and trot along a lush tropical trail to a beautiful remote beach on the south coast.

Expert Tip: Island Routes is Sandals' go-to tour operators and runs over 43 tours along the south coast alone. Put in your tour requests at your Sandals resort, and let the adventures begin.

10. Shop at Africa Village Arts.

One day Spirit said, "Go home to your roots!" And so I did.

Sharon Martini created the Africa Village Arts establishment, which is known as a creative enterprise located in Treasure Beach — the home of her ancestors.

Inspired by her forefathers, Sharon Martini has single-handedly created a ‘divine creative haven’ where she is able to be inspired, and in turn inspires others through her works of art, music, designs, paintings and songs.

When she’s not volunteering in the community, you can find Martini creating, sanding, sawing, singing, painting, sewing, strumming her guitar and digging in the soil.

Pop into the Mud Palace Gallery, the creative hub where you will find, and be able to purchase arts of all kinds - children's’ books, cards, original paintings, handmade jewelry, t-shirts and a smorgasbord of goodies and gifts.

Treasure beach sunset Jamaica

Photo credit: ellimar83/Shutterstock.com



The best time to visit Treasure Beach

The weather in Jamaica is spectacular year-round, even during the rainy season, making it the ideal destination to enjoy a beautiful island getaway.

Temperatures average 80°F during the months of mid-November to mid-December making it the best time to visit Jamaica. This sweet spot is just after low season, but just before peak season. The winter months from mid-December to April are known as peak season in Jamaica. The weather is slightly cooler over these months inviting an influx of tourists from around the globe.


How do I get to Treasure Beach?

Location of Treasure Beach Jamaica


Location: Treasure Beach, Jamaica.

Roads in the area are narrow, winding and moderately potholed. Finding a taxi or renting a car would be your best bet. If you rent a taxi, make sure to negotiate a price before you take off to get the best price. Most accommodations can assist with car rentals, should you choose to drive yourself. If you’re driving to Black River, it's best to go via Pedro Cross. This is the more direct coastal route, the road via Parrotee is badly cratered.


Get to Treasure Beach from your Sandals resort

Below is the estimated time it will take you to travel from each Sandals resort to Treasure Beach:

Couple at Sandals overwater bungalows

Picture: The luxurious over the water bungalows at Sandals South Coast. Here you can have a vacation of a lifetime.



Travel times by taxi:

  • From Sandals South Coast to Treasure Beach: 1 hour
  • From Sandals Negril to Treasure Beach: 2 hours - 2.5 hours
  • From Sandals Montego Bay to Treasure Beach: 2.5 hours - 3 hours
  • From Sandals Inn to Treasure Beach: 2.5 hours
  • From Sandals Royal Caribbean to Treasure Beach: 2.5 hours - 3 hours
  • From Beaches Negril to Treasure Beach: 2 hours - 2.5 hours




What should I pack for my day trip?

Apart from big smiles and your sense of adventure, below is a list of things to consider packing for your day trip to Treasure Beach:

  • Sneakers
  • Change of clothes
  • Towel
  • Swimsuit
  • Cash (Jamaican Dollar or US Dollars)
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Water shoes
  • Insect repellent



Securing your belongings & safety tips

Misplacing or damaging your belongings can be a dampener on any holiday.

  • Make sure that your camera or other electronics are secured somewhere dry, or packed in a plastic bag to protect it from spills and ocean water or sprays.
  • Loose articles should be kept on, or preferably secured in a bag or at your resort when not in use. Don't wear jewelry you are afraid of losing.



Whether you have a yearning to pursue the simple life of sustainable local development, or a nature-lover of all things exotic, or you’re simply looking to be temporarily freed from the clutches of everyday life, Treasure Beach in Jamaica has got it all.

Couple walking down Jamaican beach

Picture: The gorgeous beach at Sandals South Coast Jamaica makes for some of the most romantic walks, for couples in love.

Picture Perfect Scenery 2: Famous Film Set Locations In Jamaica

Culture
May 21st 2019
Picture Perfect Scenery 2: Famous Film Set Locations In Jamaica

Is there anything Jamaica isn’t famous for? The Caribbean island has some of the most renowned athletes, including now retired sprinter Usain Bolt and sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and is home to some of the biggest Reggae and Dancehall acts in the world. Much like other developing Caribbean nations, Jamaica has more to be proud of than just super-talented people. The landscape and overall beauty of the island sets a tone of adventure captured only on the silver screen, so much so that Jamaica has been featured in multiple international blockbusters over the years. If you’re hearing this for the first time, read on to find out which famous flicks are set in Jamaica, and which celebrities made special appearances.

Some of the most famous movies shot in Jamaica include, ‘Knight and Day’,‘How Stella got her Groove Back’, ‘Cocktail’, and ‘Papillon!’.

Also read our article on famous movies shot in the Bahamas.



Dr. No

1962 | Sean Connery, Ursula Andress

Dunn's River Falls

Picture: Dunn's River Falls.


There’s something about Jamaica and spy films, and this old British film was one of the first to feature the island in this light. Dr. No is the first James Bond film ever made, and details a mission to Jamaica where lead characters investigate the death of a British intelligence agent. Ursula Andress, Honey Rider in the film, makes a memorable appearance dripping wet as she walks out from the Laughing Waters Beach in front of Dunn’s River Falls, singing Cibelle’s famous ‘Under the Mango Tree’. In the movie, she is pure perfection in a white bikini, and since that time, ‘Bond Girls’ have had quite a high bar to reach. That same bikini was later auctioned for over 60,000 USD!

WATCH: Honey Rider meets James Bond on the Laughing Waters Beach in Jamaica (video opens in new tab)



Cocktail

1988 | Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon

sandals royal plantation

Picture: Sandals Royal Plantation.


Cocktail is one romantic drama that just might have you packing your bags and heading straight to the Caribbean. This movie is romantic beyond belief… it’s almost as though its director’s knew the sort of romance and charm they’d get out of Jamaica, and found just the right actors to bring that to life.

A bartender is the star of this flick. He learns on the job, and becomes a master at his craft. The jet-setting benefits of his job take him to Jamaica, where he is swept off his feet by a beautiful bombshell. Will he choose to let go, and love to the fullest?

If you haven’t yet, now’s a great time to kick back and watch this movie straight from the 80’s. While watching, look out for scenery including Dunn’s River Falls and Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios. Despite not-so-great reviews, the movie earned more than $170 million, a lot in its time. Likely attributed to the beauty and charm of Jamaica, and a young and dashing Tom Cruise!

WATCH: Tom Cruise bartending in Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios (video opens in new tab)


Tip: Planning on visiting Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica? Find out everything you need to know in our exclusive guide: 'Dunn's River Falls: The Complete Guide'.



Papillon

1973 | Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman

cliffs in negril

Photo credit: mbrand85/Shutterstock.com

Based on the international best-selling novel, Papillon is one of the greatest tales of adventure to ever make it to the big screen. It brings together legends of film in a way that solidified their reputations in the entertainment industry, particularly Dustin Hoffman. Both he and McQueen were incarcerated at the French penal colony (Devil’s Island), near French Guiana. The movie follows their failed attempt to make a prison break, and later, McQueen’s epic cliff jump to freedom. Some scenes in this movie were filmed in Falmouth, Jamaica. Falmouth is the capital city of Trelawny Parish on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Other scenes from this movie were shot in Negril’s coastal Cliffside. This movie has since been remade, but as with everything else, there’s nothing quite like the original.

WATCH: Steve Mcqueen's cliff jump to freedom (video opens in new tab)



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

1954 | Kirk Douglas, James Mason

caves in negril

Photo credit: Jason Benz Bennee/Shutterstock.com

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of the most unforgettable movies ever made. Still today critics admit that it is one of those films that have stood the test of time. Since being produced by Walt Disney Productions, the film has won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. Notably, parts of this popular movie are shot in the Bahamas, and Jamaica also makes several prominent appearances. Caves in Negril, Jamaica receive particular attention in this production. This movie opens the doorway to adventure for visitors heading to both Jamaica and the islands of the Bahamas, as tours in both countries will take you to the filming sites, and we’re certain that’s not something you’ll want to miss!

WATCH: The 20,000 leagues under the sea trailer (video opens in new tab)


Tip: Jamaica is popular for scuba diving for both experienced and newbie undersea adventurers. Negril and Montego Bay are two of the best spots for great sightings! All-inclusive resorts Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Negril, includes free scuba diving and top of the line equipment.



How Stella Got her Groove Back

1998 | Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs

Based on a true story, this feel-good romance is one of the must-see movies filmed in Jamaica. The romantic comedy is directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, and was adapted from Terry McMillan’s bestselling novel which goes by the same name. In the movie, Stella is a high flying American stock broker, who is convinced by a close girlfriend to go on vacation in Jamaica. She is swept off her feet by a much younger stud muffin, and the rest is history. ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ proves that there is nothing better than a Caribbean getaway that ends with love.

WATCH: How Stella meets Winston in Montego Bay (video opens in new tab)



Cool Runnings

1993 | Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, and John Candy

No listing of movies shot in Jamaica is complete without mention of the hit movie, ‘Cool Runnings’. A Disney film, ‘Cool Runnings’ features a Jamaican underdog bobsledding team’s journey of perseverance and triumph. It’s all worth it in the end when they walk away with a major win at an international competition. This movie is one of those that put the Caribbean island on the map showcasing the beauty of the island and the easy going nature of the people who live there, and summing it all up in an inspirational flick.

WATCH: Introduction to the 'bobsled' (video opens in new tab)



Knight and Day

2010 | Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz

Frenchman cove jamaica

Photo credit: Travelling Thilo/Shutterstock.com

With Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz at the forefront, what more incentive do you need to watch a movie? Add the island of Jamaica into the mix and it’s a sure recipe for pure magic. Hang onto your seat for this action packed movie where spontaneity meets romance in the most unforgettable way. Jamaica comes alive in the beach scenes of this flick, where you’ll see possibly the hottest screen couple alive frolicking on a local beach - filmed at the Frenchman cove. From casting, to location and storyline, the directors certainly got it right for this film!

WATCH: Knight and Day beach scene (video opens in new tab)


Tip: Jamaica is filled with great beaches. The beach resorts of Ocho Rios is especially appealing for honeymooners.



Legends of the Fall

1994 | Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond

Jamaica (Saint Ann, Ocho Rios to be more specific) stands in for Polynesia in this film, which tells a World War 1 tale and the consequences thereafter. The lives of the main characters are forever changed after deciding to fight with the Canadian army. A love story happens behind the scenes, but doesn’t quite end how viewers would expect. Amid all of the drama, the beauty of Jamaica is unmistakable to those who know it best, proving that sun, sea, and sand aren’t the only way to recognize Caribbean islands in all their blockbuster glory!

WATCH: Legend of the Falls movie trailer (video opens in new tab)



One Love

2003 | Idris Elba, Ky-Mani Marley, Vas Blackwood

Jamaica is sometimes known as the land of wood, water and variety. While we have no idea why that is, at least the variety aspect translates into the value of the movies which are filmed there. You’ll be dancing and shimmying from start to finish as you watch this film that tells a love story shared between a Rasta man (Ry-Mani Marley) and a Pastor’s Daughter. The movie literally starts with the groovy Reggae hit ‘One Love’, and things progress from there into what is probably one of the most compelling story lines you’ll see in a while. This movie will give you a sense of life on the ground in Jamaica, while you enjoy the best of Roots Reggae music, in some places fused with traditional gospel.

WATCH: One Love movie trailer (video opens in new tab)


A Perfect Getaway

2009 | Milla Jovovich, Chris Hemsworth, Timothy Olyphant

Much like many other movies with optimistic names, ‘A Perfect Getaway’ doesn’t waste time in turning into a complete nightmare. The beginning is blissful enough though, with lovers on honeymoon getting set for the vacation of a lifetime. Although the movie takes place on the volcanic islands of Hawaii, the Sea Cave scene shows limestone rocks - which cannot be found on Hawaii. This scene is actually shot in Jamaica.

WATCH: Perfect Getaway movie trailer (video opens in new tab)


License to Wed

2007 | Robin Willams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski

sandals ochi

Picture: Sandals Ochi, featured in the ending scene of 'License to Wed'.


Directed by Ken Kwapis, this movie featuring the late Robin Williams is one of those feel-good love stories that will have you laughing along the way. A warner Bros film, ‘License to Wed’ stars Ben and Sadie are about to get married, but first they have to pass Reverend Frank’s (Robin Williams) marriage preparation course. Things get challenging for the couple, and after a huge argument, their decision to wed comes into question. Sadie decides to use her honeymoon tickets regardless, and that’s where the Jamaica connection comes in. The movie ends with Ben and Sadie finally getting married at Sandals Ochi, a resort that features prominently in the film. A perfect love story, if there ever was one!

WATCH: License to Wed movie trailer (video opens in new tab)


Tip: Looking for the most romantic island getaway of your life? You will surely fall in love all over again at one of the romantic luxury resorts in Jamaica!



Why Jamaica?

It is hard to describe the Caribbean without speaking of its breathtaking natural beauty. While the islands are all similar, in that most feature the perfect mixture of sun, sea and sand, there are notable differences to the sort of landscapes one can find on each. Some islands like Barbados are flat and made of limestone; others like Saint Lucia and Dominica are volcanic and somewhat mountainous.

Jamaica is one of the biggest islands in the Caribbean; with a melting pot of cultures and just the right blend of rolling hills, more mountainous terrain, and flatland. The people are super-talented in this part of the world, and always willing to help. This may be part of the reason film crews descend upon the island, because they are sure to get more bang for their buck on an island where their presence brings excitement, and lures people in who wholeheartedly want to see their island being acknowledged for all that it is.

jamaica

Even the film Commissioner in Jamaica, Dell Crooks, notes that there is enough talent on island so crews can come with less people. This means that even low-budget film crews can consider making Jamaica their location of choice, with lower overheads as relates to travel, and perhaps even the costs associated with the transportation of equipment, as Jamaica is one of the most technologically advanced Caribbean islands. The landscape in Jamaica is also very versatile, from luxury settings, to rugged outback locations, meaning that scenery in Jamaica can resemble pretty much anywhere on earth!

Tip: If you’re planning on visiting this tropical paradise, read also our article to find out when it is the best time to visit Jamaica.



What a list!

The films mentioned are some of the best of the best, but they are just a few of the productions that get underway in Jamaica annually. The island has a robust entertainment industry, and makes big bucks from film companies who choose to use the island as their location of choice. Other productions that come together on the island include music videos, reality shows, documentaries, photoshoots and commercials.

If you want to see for yourself what’s so special about the island, book your all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica today!

An Introduction To Jamaican Culture & Traditions

Culture
July 2nd 2018
An Introduction To Jamaican Culture & Traditions
Image credit: KKulikov/Shutterstock.com

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is known for its colorful culture and long list of traditions. If you’re booking a last-minute vacation or looking far into the future, it's time to add Jamaica to your list.

And if you're already going there, you’ll definitely want to read up on Jamaican culture, from the music that makes the perfect beach playlist, to the food that you’ll love sampling while you’re there, like jerk chicken and other Caribbean recipes.

In Jamaica, there’s a rich culture waiting to be explored, so check out our guide to the best things about Jamaican culture to ensure you don’t miss a thing!



Top elements of Jamaican culture

1. The language of Jamaica

When it comes to discovering facts about Jamaican culture, language is the first thing you might ask about.

Jamaican language is a wonderful manifestation of the melting pot of cultures that make up this island’s populace. The official language of the island is English, so you’ll have no problems communicating with local people, if that's your native language. However, Jamaican residents have a distinctive linguistic style that you’ll likely have heard before.

The local dialect combines elements of other languages, from Spanish and African dialects, to Irish, British and American phrases. If you're looking to get some more intimate knowledge of how people in Jamaica speak, check out this list of common Jamaican sayings and phrases.

Some elements of the Jamaican language can be traced back to the island’s past in slavery, where African languages mixed with the native language of slave owners.



2. Jamaican Cuisine

The cuisine of Jamaica is now well known throughout the world, and there’s a good reason why. It’s absolutely delicious! Jamaican cuisine focuses on huge flavors, with plenty of Caribbean spices that really pack a punch.

Jamaica-street-market

Image credit: byvalet/Shutterstock.com

One of the most famous dishes in Jamaica is Jerk Chicken, a fiery chicken dish that combines the heat of scotch bonnet peppers with other spices like thyme, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Another popular dish to try while you’re in Jamaica might require a bit of courage, but if you want authentic cuisine you’ve got to sample the local Goat’s Head Soup, and the Cow Foot Stew.

Don’t be put off by their names. These dishes really are tasty!



3. Traditional Jamaican clothing

When you travel around Jamaica, you might notice people adorned in the bright, bold traditional clothing that the country is known for. Traditional Jamaican clothing is made of calico cloth, with dresses handmade in amazing bright prints that definitely draw the eye. The traditional outfits are often completed with a head scarf, wrapping up the wearer’s hair.

In addition to traditional Jamaican dresses, you’ll also notice plenty of eye-catching Rastafarian clothing in Jamaica. Rastafarian clothing is often made of red, green and gold fabrics, inspired by the three colors that make up the Ethiopian flag.

These items of clothing are always natural, as their being made from natural fibers is incredibly important to Rastafarians. The Rastafarian outfit is also completed with a hat, which the wearer will use to contain their dreadlocks. The traditional Rastafarian hat is known as a “tam”.



4. Religion in Jamaica

Religion goes hand in hand with Jamaican family culture, and you’ll notice as you travel around the island that there are churches almost everywhere you look. In fact, there are more churches per square mile in Jamaica than just about anywhere else in the world!

Jamaica is a mainly Christian nation, and you’ll find that the vast majority of locals are deeply religious and attend church on Sunday with the whole family. This weekly celebration is really a sight to behold, so if you’re able to attend a local church service, you should try to do so.

In Jamaica, there are a wide range of different types of Christianity being practiced. As well as Anglicans, Catholics and Baptists, you’ll find Presbyterians, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists. Not only that, Jamaica is also home to many communities of Jews, Muslims, Hindus and of course Rastafarians.



5. Jamaican culture and people

In Jamaica, there are many different beliefs and customs that you might not find anywhere else in the world. These are the cultural beliefs that make Jamaica the nation that it is, and they’re incredibly important to local people.

Jamaica-rasta-band

Image credit: Lost Mountain Studio/Shutterstock.com

Specific examples of Jamaican beliefs include the local practice of burying newborns’ umbilical cords beneath trees, which is said to give the infant a permanent connection with their homeland.

Like many of the world’s communities, Jamaicans also practice traditional funeral ceremonies which are distinctive to their culture. For example, Jamaican people gather at the home of the deceased person for eight nights following their passing.

During these eight nights the friends and family of the deceased will celebrate their life, drinking and dancing all night long. On the ninth night, they sing farewell songs to the deceased person, and rearrange the furnishings. The idea of this is that the house will look different to the person who has passed, so their spirit won’t return. The friends and family then serve a meal to the deceased person, placing it under the silk-cotton tree, where Jamaicans believe that spirits dwell.

Marriage culture in Jamaica is a massive celebration, with Jamaicans pulling out all the stops to send the newlyweds on their way to a wonderful life together. Wedding parties are huge, and if you’re lucky enough to be invited to one we guarantee you’ll have an amazing day!

This is the place to see Jamaican dance, and when you do we bet you won’t be able to resist hitting the dance floor with them. Like Western marriage celebrations, the cutting of the cake is an important part, and signifies the closing of the wedding party.


Visit Jamaica Ready To Embrace Culture

If you’re headed to Jamaica in the near future, we hope you’ve found our guide to Jamaican travel and culture useful. Jamaica is such a vibrant and exciting island, with so much to experience. We bet you’ll love seeing the traditions of the Jamaican people and culture firsthand. Prepare to make some amazing memories.




How to Make An Authentic Jamaican Oxtails Recipe

Food & Drink
August 21st 2018
How to Make An Authentic Jamaican Oxtails Recipe

When we think of Jamaican cuisine, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the punchy, spicy flavor of our favorite jerk chicken recipe. But that’s not the only fabulous food that Jamaica is famous for.

Take oxtail for example. If you’ve never tried the rich, meaty goodness of Jamaican oxtail, you are certainly missing out.

If you’re lucky enough to have a vacation to Jamaica planned, make sure you try authentic Jamaican oxtail for yourself. You’ll have no trouble finding the dish, it’s a point of pride on the menus of all Jamaica's best cafes and restaurants.

But if are at home and want to learn a savory Jamaican oxtails recipe, you are in the right place. In this article, we're going to show you how to cook Jamaican oxtail, but first, we're going to tell you what it is.

What is Oxtail?

If you haven't come across oxtail before, you are forgiven for wondering what it actually is.

Well, quite simply, oxtail is the meat from the tail of an ox or steer. It’s rich in gelatin, which is why you’ll often find oxtail in recipes which require long, slow cooking. Oxtail is particularly good when cooked in stews and soups. Recipes like these really bring out the flavor of the meat, which is so rich and delicious!

Oxtail isn’t just a popular in Jamaican culture. In fact, you’ll find the meat being enjoyed throughout the world. It’s really popular as a soup in South America, West Africa, Spain and China, and it’s heavily prevalent in Indonesian cuisine too.

The West Indians prefer to cook oxtail as a stew, and you’ll find it done this way in Jamaica as well as Trinidad and Tobago. In Africa, people also cook their oxtail in a stew, and serve it with locally grown vegetables and a maize meal called sadza.

How do I Cook Oxtail?

There are many different oxtail recipes used by the Jamaican people. But, if you want to know where to get the best oxtail recipe, you’re in luck!

Our authentic Jamaican oxtail recipe is so packed full of flavor, you won’t need to try any others. Follow this recipe and you’ll soon know how to make the dish for yourself. Before long you’ll be teaching friends and family how to do it, too.

Jamaican Oxtail Ingredients:

-2 ½ pounds of oxtail

-1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

-1 tablespoon of soy sauce

-1 tablespoon of salt

-1 tablespoon of garlic and herb spices

-1 tablespoon of sugar

-1 teaspoon of Grace browning sauce

-¼ teaspoon paprika

-¼ teaspoon pepper

-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

-2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-2 carrots

-2 celery stalks

-1 chopped onion

-4 cloves of garlic

-3 cups of beef broth

-1 bunch of thyme

-1 sprig rosemary

-1 bay leaf

-2 tablespoons butter

Steps To Make The Best Jamaican Oxtail Recipe:

Step 1: Take a shallow baking dish, and add the oxtail first.

Step 2: Mix up Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, garlic and herb seasoning, browning sauce, sugar, paprika and both types of pepper to create a sauce. Rub the oxtail with the sauce and remove any excess from the dish.

Step 3: Place a large pan over a high heat and sear the outside of the oxtail in vegetable oil until it changes color to a golden brown hue. This should take around three minutes. Then, take your oxtail out and place it on a plate.

Step 4: In the same pan, saute your carrots, garlic, celery and onion until they begin to go soft. It’ll take around five minutes. Once they’re softened, start to add your beef broth, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring the mixture up to the boil and then, as soon as it’s boiling, you can add your oxtail.

Step 5: Reduce the heat on your pan and cover. Then simmer at a low heat until the oxtail is completely tender and falls apart. This will take around three hours. It’s worth the wait!

Step 6: Once the oxtail is tender and succulent, you can remove the lid and increase the heat. Stir the mixture from time to time and wait for the sauce to thicken. It’ll only take five minutes or so.

Step 7: Your authentic Jamaican oxtail is now ready to serve! You can serve this dish as it is, for a comforting stew, or accompany it with typical Jamaican sides like rice and peas or baked plantain.

After you try this oxtail recipe, go to try the real thing

So, now you’ve heard all there is to know about the art of making a real Jamaican culinary classic. If you are cooking at home, we hope you absolutely love this flavorful dish.

If you want to try a local version for yourself and experience more Jamaican culture, book a vacation at one of Jamaica's wonderful all inclusive resorts.

There’s a reason why they call it comfort food, and when you dig into your first plate of Jamaican oxtails you’ll soon see why. So, grab your ingredients, read up on the method and hit the kitchen!

Before you know it the rich aroma of fabulous Jamaican cuisine will be filling your home. Make sure you make enough for the whole family, as well as a few unexpected visitors - that amazing smell will soon draw them in!

If you want to learn how to make more Jamaican food, follow our guide to cook jerk chicken.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make Jamaican oxtails with us, and we can’t wait to hear what you think of this authentic and delicious Jamaican recipe. It’s a real taste of the Caribbean!

5 Most Beautiful Caves in Jamaica

Guides & Tours
February 23rd 2018
5 Most Beautiful Caves in Jamaica

Jamaica is well-known for its beaches and natural attractions around the world. With the likes of Negril and Montego Bay, this Caribbean island nation is a top destination for beach-goers and vacationers, especially for those interested in all-inclusive resorts.

Jamaica’s peculiar landscape stems from its volcanic nature and a large lime-stone plateau covers almost 70% of the island. Thanks to this, there are hundreds of Jamaican caves and caverns scattered throughout the island and ready for visitors to explore.

Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful caves in Jamaica.

1. Blue Hole Mineral Spring

True to its name, the Blue Hole Mineral Spring is well, a hole encased by Karst limestone and filled up with clear blue waters.

The spot is located about 30 minutes away from Negril and tour companies take groups of visitors here on a regular basis. At 24 feet below the ground, this Jamaica cave is a fun activity for the adventurous and the laid-back alike. Visitors can either jump into the chilly water of the spring – it’s safe since it is 35 feet deep - or they can descend using the ladder installed on one of the sides.

There are areas for sitting around the spring and the mineral water is considered to have therapeutic properties. Where the sun shines through the whole, the water turns a striking blue-green color, making it almost impossible not to get in for a swim. However, for those who are feeling a little off climbing into the cave, you can also enjoy the mineral waters in the pool located just beside the Blue Hole.

2. Green Grotto Caves

Located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Green Grotto Caves are quite a different experience from the Blue Hole, and get their name from the green moss that grows on these island caves walls. Some of the most visited caves in Jamaica, the Green Grotto is a large complex of caves interconnect among each other and offering a top notch attraction for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

The tour through the actual caves typically last about an hour or two and takes visitors to see the fascinating stalagmites and stalactites, as well as other rock formations. You might also catch a glimpse of one of many species of bats that live inside, among other fauna.

The interesting bit about the Green Grotto is the fact that it’s had many names and uses in the past. The first indigenous peoples of Jamaica are said to have used this as a hiding space, as did the Spanish when the English took over the island, as well as runaway slaves later on. Another point of historical significance of the Green Grotto Caves was their use in providing a hidden spot for arms smuggling into Cuba between the two world wars.

3. The Throne Room

For our next Jamaica cave, we head back to Negril, this time for some diving. The depth here can range between 40 to 70 feet, and divers will begin their journey to the Throne Room at a crack in the reef formation.

Through it, you enter a cavern that’s about 25 feet long and 8 feet wide. Inside, all sorts of wonders await. Colorful sponges, eels, octopus, barracuda, turtles, nursing sharks, snappers, sting rays, and varied tropical fish all live in the reef.

However the main attraction, and the reason the dive spot got its name, are the large orange sponges called the orange elephant ear sponge, whose shape somewhat resembles a throne. These inhabit the inner part of the cavern – hence The Throne Room. After enjoying the views, divers can swim out the other side of the cavern and come up into the open air.

4. Widowmaker’s Cave

If you are in Montego Bay, there is no shortage of dive sites either. While the name Widowmaker’s Cave may not be the most appealing, it’s definitely an exciting site for all levels of divers.

Those who choose to venture out here will be rewarded with stunning views of soft corals, red polyps, sponges and numerous schools of fish, including angelfish, snappers, groupers and others. The shape of the cave means that you can dive in from the top or the bottom depending on your level of experience in diving, and to come back up, you’ll need to go through a 10-foot chimney-like tunnel.

5. Cave of Refuge

Our final destination is the Cave of Refuge, located near the Green Grotto Caves between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, not far from Duncans.

This cave is located on land and offers some interesting insight into the history of Jamaica. The name stems from its connection with runaway slaves, who used the extensive cave network in Jamaica to find refuge and hide from the authorities. To reach the Cave of Refuge, you’ll have to go on a short hike and later descend into the cave, to find a spacious and beautiful interior of the cave.

There is no shortage of caves in the Caribbean, due to the volcanic nature of many of the region’s islands. Jamaica offers up a good selection for caving, from hiking and trekking through land caves to diving under the water to explore marine life inside the reef caves.

Top 10 Cultural Landmarks in Jamaica

Culture
May 25th 2018
Top 10 Cultural Landmarks in Jamaica

The Caribbean island of Jamaica is known for its stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and incredible food, but did you know it’s home to some of the world’s most exciting landmarks too?

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the history of this unique island nation, or you’re looking for the best views around, you’ll find the perfect day out when you check out these amazing places.

Here are 10 of the most exciting Jamaican landmarks:

1. Bob Marley Museum

Cultural icon and reggae star Bob Marley is arguably the most famous Jamaican there’s ever been, and as such there’s a whole museum dedicated to the singer.

You’ll find it at his old house, on the legendary Hope Road. With his distinctive style, laid back attitude and incredible songwriting talent, it’s easy to see why the world fell in love with Bob Marley. He belongs on every beach playlist as his songs fit the mood and style of the Caribbean. Find out all there is to know about him at this museum, which remains one of the most famous attractions in Jamaica.

2. Devon House

When we think about Jamaican landmarks, Devon House always comes to mind. Dating back to 1881, Devon House was the home of George Stiebel, a famous Jamaican millionaire who once held the position of Custos of St. Andrew.

The house is a National Heritage Site and it’s well worth a look if you’re in the area. The public are welcome to tour Devon House - there’s even an ice cream kiosk serving up some delicious frozen treats.

3. Appleton Estate

As any rum lover will know, Appleton Estate is a name synonymous with the delicious tipple. You’ll find the estate where this rum originates from in the Nassau Valley, a beautiful region in the heart of Jamaica.

One of the most famous places in Jamaica, the Appleton Estate is open to tourists, who can enjoy an amazing multi-sensory rum experience. Of course there’s a bar, where you can enjoy your favorite rum cocktails, including rum runners, strawberry daiquiris, rum and coffee and more. There is also a jerk pit serving up that old Jamaican favorite: jerk chicken.

4. Good Hope Plantation

Good Hope Plantation dates back to the 18th Century, when it was one of Jamaica’s original sugar estates. The property is a fine example of colonial architecture, and was once owned by John Tharpe, one of Jamaica’s biggest land and slave owners.

Nowadays, Good Hope Plantation remains one of the most important landmarks in Jamaica. It has been transformed into a luxurious destination, where guests can enjoy stunning sunrises from a renovated complex. You absolutely must visit.

5. Noel Coward's Firefly House

Famous playwright Sir Noel Coward is buried at Firefly House, which was once his holiday home. The house had hosted plenty of famous faces in its time, including the Queen Mother, Sir Winston Churchill, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few.

Now a writer’s museum, the house is open to the public and we’d highly recommended you take a look.

6. Fort Charles

In Port Royal you’ll find Fort Charles, an impressive and historic fort which dates back to the 17th Century when it was built by the English following a successful invasion. The site has been well preserved to this day, and tourists are welcome to wander around the fort. There’s even a guided tour if you’d like to learn all there is to know about this interesting piece of Jamaican history.

7. Discovery Bay

There are so many incredible bays in Jamaica, it can be hard to pick just one. But if you’re only going to see one Jamaican bay, we’d recommend you head to this one.

Discovery Bay is an incredible natural harbor, which features a great open-air museum with some of the finest examples of monuments in Jamaica, as well as a lovely park for visitors to enjoy.

8. Seville Great House and Heritage Park

Those who are interested in Jamaican history should not miss a trip to the Seville Great House and Heritage Park. This is a place where Jamaican culture and history come to life.

In fact it’s fondly known as ‘the birthplace of modern Jamaica’. The property spans no less than 300 acres, and offers a brilliant, informative tour to visitors. It’s also often used as the setting for occasions such as weddings, graduations and formal dinners.

9. Spanish Town

From 1534 to 1872, Spanish Town was named the capital of the island by Spanish and British colonialists. Spanish Town is one of the most famous places in Jamaica, for good reason.

When you take a trip to Spanish Town you’ll discover a whole host of fabulous pieces of Jamaican history, from beautiful memorials to one of the island’s oldest Anglican churches. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more rewarding day out in Jamaica.

10. Montego Bay Cultural Center

To really immerse yourself in Jamaican culture, you can’t go wrong with a day out at the Montego Bay Cultural Center. This is a place dedicated to the preservation of the island’s history, and it houses many of Jamaica's most impressive pieces of art and many a Jamaican monument.

In the building’s courtyard you’ll find Ol’ Joe Restaurant, where you can try authentic Jamaican dishes in a breathtaking setting.

Which Jamaican landmark do you want to visit?

Are you heading to Jamaica soon? Make sure you don’t miss out on a trip to one of these beautiful sights. Talk to the staff at your all-inclusive resort about how you can experience the best landmarks in Jamaica. You won’t regret it.

We also want to know where you're dying to visit in Jamaica. Please use this comments section as a forum for discussion on which of these destinations appeals to you most.

How To Cook with Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Food & Drink
April 2nd 2018
How To Cook with Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Anyone who has been on vacation in Jamaica has probably encountered Scotch bonnet peppers.

This is the pepper of choice in Jamaica, but they are often referred to as the Caribbean Red Peppers because they can be found in many areas throughout the Caribbean.

Vacationers often wonder what makes the peppers so intriguing, and they become a topic of conversation. One of the questions visitors frequently ask about cooking with Scotch bonnet peppers is how much is too much?

Of course, you want to experience the taste and flavor of the peppers as you're meant to, but you also want to make sure you're not running your tongue and mouth under cold water for an hour afterwards.

So let's dive in and learn everything there is to know about cooking with Scotch bonnet peppers.

Scotch Bonnet vs. Habanero

Both Scotch bonnet and Habanero peppers are widely used in Caribbean’s cuisine. However, the Scotch bonnet is the used most commonly in local recipes.

If you hear someone talk about hot peppers in Jamaica and most of the Caribbean, he or she is likely talking about Scotch bonnet peppers. If you ask to try a hot pepper during your vacation in the Caribbean islands, (English-Speaking Caribbean Islands in particular) it’s likely that you’ll be pointed in the direction of a the Scotch bonnet pepper.

Scotch bonnet and habanero peppers are both seriously hot peppers with a similar fruity taste. The difference is that Scotch bonnet peppers have an additional sweetness that contributes to the overall flavor.

When it comes to the Scoville Heat Scale, both of these peppers have relatively the same amount of kick (from 100,000 to 350,000). The two are close cousins. Since Habanero peppers are more widely available outside Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands, they can often be used as a substitute for Scotch bonnet peppers.

Habanero pairs better with a wide range of ingredients due to the fact that it’s slightly less sweet. However, the Scotch bonnet is known for its high level of sweetness, which makes it a key ingredient in some of the tastiest tropical hot sauces around the world.

It’s this sweetness that makes scotch bonnet peppers a favorite when it comes to preparing Caribbean food and hot sauces. If you love tropical hot sauces and Caribbean foods, Scotch bonnet chili is one of the ingredients you might want to take a good look at.

Cooking with Scotch Bonnet Peppers

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: Jamaican Scotch bonnet recipes make some of the tastiest tropical hot sauces and salsa you can find anywhere.

When cooking with Scotch bonnet, one must take precaution and wear gloves and ensure protection of the eyes. It’s recommended not to touch any sensitive part of your skin or your eyes when preparing chilies. Wearing gloves can help protect your skin when chopping scotch bonnet peppers.

After slicing the pepper, use cold water to wash your rubber gloves, the chopping board, knife, and any other utensils that came into contact with the pepper or its seeds. This is important: the Scotch bonnet pepper is one of the world’s hottest chili peppers — if you're not careful, they can cause some serious irritation.

However, the distinct sweet-heat flavor that comes with these peppers is what people love. Removing the membrane and seeds inside the scotch bonnet pepper can help reduce a lot of the heat. These are the two places where most of the heat in the pepper is stored. Mincing or chopping the pepper into finer pieces ensures that the heat spreads in the dish.

When preparing the Scotch bonnet pepper sauce, you will need garlic cloves, chopped carrots, chopped onions, juiced lime, sea salt, water, coconut sugar and sliced Scotch bonnet peppers.

The hot pepper sauce is usually used to season chicken, fish and meat. It may also be used as a condiment. Of course, you can find lots of great and tasty scotch bonnet pepper hot sauces on the market, but it's more fun to make yourself. You can also make your own deliciously spiced Jamaican chicken with Scotch bonnet peppers.

Where can I Buy Scotch Bon