In Jamaica, we do it big! So imagine the challenge shortlisting only 17 things to do on the island before you die.
Internationally, The Rock is known for our white sand beaches, breathtaking scenery and reggae! But the homeland of Usain Bolt, Bob Marley, and Jerk chicken is a hotbed of various ethnicities fused into 4,213 square miles of palpable culture.
For starters, we have more than 14 spectacular waterfalls and over 100 rivers and lagoons. Among the most popular are Dunn’s River Falls in St Ann, YS Falls in St Elizabeth, and Reach Falls in Portland. Therefore, endless options!
Here’s a list of 17 reasons to make a bucket list and why you should #visitjamaica ASAP!
1. Spend a weekend luxuriating at Goblin Hill Villas in San San, Port Antonio. Go for the beach and stay for the relaxing ocean sounds. With 11 acres of lush landscape overlooking the San San Bay, the views are endless. Oh, and who can forget a dip in the world-famous Blue Lagoon! (See point 16) What more could you ask for?
2. Take the trek to Mount James in St Andrew for Street Food Saturdays. The foodie affair conceptualised by executive chef, Simone Walker Barrett is guaranteed to transport you on a culinary cruise with Barrett’s most unexpected concoctions. It’s so good it only happens once every month.
3. Pop over by Stush in the Bush at Zionites Farm in St Ann to meet Chris and Lisa Binns and enjoy the whole naturalista vegan vibe the couple endorses. Running around with their pups Femi and Stout is the bonus.
4. Plan a staycation at Trident Hotel in Port Antonio, a high-end small boutique hotel that offers views over the Caribbean sea. Oh, and it boasts its own beach and castle!
5. Book an Airbnb away from the towns of our popular tourism hotspots in Kingston, Montego Bay, St Ann, or Negril to get the true Jamaican cultural experience.
6. Sign up for the Appleton Rum Estate tour in Nassau Valley to imbibe fresh-from-the-barrel Appleton Estate Rum at one of the Southcoast’s biggest tourist attractions.
7. Go brunching in the hills, be it Belcour Lodge in Irish Town, Strawberry Hill in Newcastle, or our personal favourite EITs cafe! Sunday’s new mood is brunching in the hills, who has time to cook anyway?
8. You can’t come to Jamaica and not visit the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road in Kingston.
9. Try to schedule your trip around the last Sunday of the month to catch Kingston’s art scene on full display. You can choose Kingston Creative Artwalk, Last Sundays at the National Gallery of Jamaica, or end the night at Skyline Driver at Kingston Dub Club – a hotspot for up-and-coming and established Reggae/Dancehall artistes and creatives.
10. Indulge in one of The Rock’s most haunting tales: the story of Annie Palmer at Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, St James.
11. You haven’t truly experienced Jamaica if you haven’t gone rafting on the Martha Brae River, taking selfies with your friends and tour guide and posting pics on the gram.
12. Perhaps two of our most renowned jerk vendors lie along the Red Hills Road belt in Kingston and the Boston Jerk Centre in Portland. Tasty traditional fare guaranteed…spice is inevitable.
13. A day trip to Nine Mile in St Ann – the birth and final resting place of music legend Bob Marley will sate the appetites of history lovers, reggae fans, and culture buffs.
14. In the cool-cool hills of rural St Elizabeth, you can find the farming community of Accompong Maroon Town and bask in the crisp mountain air while learning how our ancestors kept the British soldiers at bay during their time of war. Kenroy Cawley is your go-to guide, he knows everything!
15. Go cliff-diving at Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Westmoreland. And, if that’s not thrilling enough, experience the untapped underwater gems of the parish with snorkelling excursions. Then sail into the sunset on the Sun Shine Catamaran Cruise.
16. Go swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Portland. The clear bluish-green waters of Portland’s Blue Lagoon is also a celeb magnet.
17. Though slightly terrifying, the Black River Safari tour is a must-do. It takes the course of one of the longest rivers in Jamaica and is home to several indigenous mangroves. The plus? You get first-hand experience with exotic birds, plants, and wildlife including endangered crocodiles.