What To Do In Jamaica
Top 7 Must Do Activities
Planning a special time and is considering where to go and what to do in Jamaica? Below are 7 great ideas you'll bound to love!
- BE ADVENTUROUS:
For the visitor with a hunger for excitement, the daredevil who has no qualms being swung from great heights across a tight rope; with the only restraint being a harness; or maybe an exhilarating ride in a canoe downstream, or even a nice dune buggy ride, the likes of Chukka Adventure Tours in Negril or Mystic Mountain Rainforest in Ocho Rios are perfect for you.
If you prefer a nice hike instead, you may climb the famed Blue Mountains and get a sample of the esteemed Blue Mountain coffee at the top (taking advantage of the opportunity to tour the coffee mill).
Or you could up the ante by challenging yourself to reach the top of the Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios or the YS Falls in St Elizabeth.
Not enough for you? How about a thrilling dive off the cliffs at Rick’s Café in Negril (a height of up to 35 feet above ocean level) into the cool ocean water below? I am sure you are getting excited just thinking about it.
- GO CULTURAL/ HISTORICAL:
Maybe you want to get to know a bit about the island heritage, exploring it’s past history.
If so, there are several great houses/plantations with guided tours available that will take you back to the years before Jamaica’s emancipation.
Rose Hall Great House in St James, Tryall Great House in Hanover or Halse Hall Great House in Clarendon are just a few of these preserved landmarks, that are both picturesque and historical.
If the great houses have peaked your interest and you are salivating for more history, the likes of Fort Charles in Port Royal, Fort George in Port Antonio and Morant Bay Fort in St Thomas are bound to intrigue you.
These are just a few of the various naval forts around the island that bring you back in time to the great wars between the English and the Spanish for control of the island.
Then there are the various Maroon festival that delve into the culture of the most resilient slaves, who became the first freed slaves in Jamaica.
They formed their own communities, which to date are still governed by their own laws and government. Held once a year, the festivals in Nanny Town, Accompong Town and Maroon Town; among others; are full of historical and cultural activities, steeped in African traditions.
Outsiders are allowed to visit at other times of the year as well, but this has to be approved beforehand.
The various craft markets around the island showcase the talent and skill of the Jamaican people, so be sure to visit at least one and bring home a nice handmade Jamaican souvenir.
- DINE WITH A DIFFERENCE:
The Jamaican cuisine is a melting pot of African and Indian-inspired culinary tastes and styles, with other cultures thrown in here and there.
As such, visitors to Jamaica always enjoy the delectable meal options available at the various restaurants, cook shops and food joints around the island.
For the connoisseur who wants a bit more ambience, however, the likes of Ruins at the Falls in St Ann and Day O Plantation in Montego Bay offer fine dining with a difference.
The famed Little Ochi Restaurant in Manchester offers a variety of seafood choices, made to order, right by the seashore.
This offers the diner the luxury of enjoying a delicious meal, and relaxing with the cool sea breeze blowing and the calming symphony of the ocean nearby.
The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay is (as the name suggests) a converted houseboat moored near the Montego Freeport Lagoons on a “floating bridge”. Such a delightful and unique dining experience!
Another delightful location is the Glistening Waters Restaurant in Falmouth, Trelawny, which offers a boat tour of the Luminous Lagoon. Here, the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea, and the combination of fresh water and sea water is a perfect breeding ground for microorganisms known as dinoflagellates, which glow when the water is disturbed.
The 45 minute boat tour allows the visitor to view this phenomenon first hand, with the option to swim in the water and get a closer view and feel of it. Such a marvelous pre-dinner activity, followed by fine dining.
Jamaica is also famous for it’s various food festivals, such as the Boston Jerk Festival in Portland and the MoBay Jerk Fest, which highlight various foods being smoked in a special “jerk pan” (similar to a grill) with the unique Jamaican “jerk sauce”.
There is also the Mobay Seafood Fest, which highlights seafood creations of varying types and tastes, as well as the Westmoreland Curry Festival, which highlights various preparations using the Indian curry flavoring, tweaked according to the preparer’s preference.
I know you are salivating just thinking of the many possibilities.
- BE ENTERTAINED:
So you've gotten a fair idea of what to do in Jamaica right? But we haen't even mentioned entertainment as yet!
Yes, there are various original, local, cultural plays and pantomimes (musical comedy stage productions), which are written, produced and acted out by Jamaican play writes, producers and actors/actresses.
These are very entertaining and can be seen at any of the various theatres or side shows, according to schedule.
Depending on the time of year, you may also enjoy the various Fashion Week or Restaurant Week activities.
For those who are more into the night life/clubbing scene, locations such as: Margaritaville in Montego Bay and Jungle Night Club in Negril will be right up your ally, as they offer clubbing at its best.
For the more adventurous, the Taboo Night Club in Kingston and Montego Bay offers more risqué-type entertainment.
- ENJOY FAMILY ACTIVITIES:
An island surrounded by the ocean, with various flora and fauna affords many opportunities for family fun when looking for what to do in Jamaica.
Rocklands Bird Sanctuary in St James, Hope Zoo and Gardens in Kingston, Jamaica Zoo in St Elizabeth, Alligator Pond in Manchester and Swamp Safari in Trelawny offer a feel of the various animal life on the island, with a variety of tropical wildlife, some of which are indigenous to Jamaica and/or the Caribbean.
For more interactive locations, the Dolphin’s Cove, Turtle River Falls and Gardens and Prospect Plantation in St Ann, offer a variety of activities for every member of the household, from horseback and camelback riding, to swimming with the dolphins, these locations offer a unique family experience.
The newly opened WataLand in St Ann offers hours of water fun, with slides, rivers, pools, etc, and there are many beaches and rivers to be enjoyed throughout the island.
For the explorers, there are various limestone caves, with guided tours, such as the Green Gratto Caves in St Ann.
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- GO SIGHTSEEING:
For a scenic tour, you may visit the Appleton Estate in St Elizabeth for an engaging tour of the rum factory, where you will see the end to end process for making the world famous Appleton rum.
You may also visit the Negril Lighthouse to view this ancient architectural wonder, climbing to the top to get a bird’s eye view of the west end of the island.
The majestic view from atop Lover’s Leap in St Elizabeth is like none other. Approximately 1700 feet above sea level, it affords a vantage point from which to bask in the beauty of the island for miles.
So do you think you have enough of where to go and what to do in Jamaica? Great! And if you've done them all or just want to 'chill' and take it slow, that's fine too.
- JUST RELAX:
For the more leisure minded visitor, a nice stroll through Cranbrook Flower Forest in St Ann or Castleton Gardens in St Mary will prove very relaxing indeed.
You may bring along a picnic basket and/or swim wear to enjoy both the ambience, as well as the refreshing rivers and springs that flow through the gardens.
For a more romantic setting, you may go rafting on the Rio Grande in Port Antonio or watch the sun set at Rick’s Café in Negril, which is said to have the best view.
Or maybe a nice hot spring is more up your ally. Milk River Bath in Clarendon, Bath Mineral Springs in St Thomas and Bubbling Springs in St Elizabeth are fabled to have medicinal/healing properties.
This is due to the fact that the water originates from underground hot springs, passing through various mineral rocks before ending in the pools that you have available. Nature’s own sauna and spa.
Great ideas for what to do in jamaica
Editor's Note: If you are looking for help to get around Jamaica? Whether a driver or tour guide, be sure to read my recommendations.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to where to go and what to do in Jamaica; there is something for everyone. So don’t delay, I hope to see you soon someplace in JA!
-Contributed by Arriel Bullock
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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.
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