Jamaica Vacations: Where to Stay, What to See, and Who to Take
Jamaica, the third largest island in the Caribbean, is known for its bright sun, pristine sand and sparkling sea. With so many amazing locations and fun things to do, it can be difficult to narrow down where to stay, what to see, and even who to take along for the ride. Make sure that you do your research in advance to make sure that your visit to this island paradise fulfils all of your requirements. Often being well informed about group discounts, booking in advance and planning ahead before your arrival can save you money. Aside from doing your wallet a favour, knowing a few things about this island before you go will also help you in the long run and ensure that your vacation is everything you were looking for…and more.
WHERE TO STAY
Chief towns and cities of Jamaica include the capital Kingston, as well as Portmore, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Negril, and Montego Bay. Each Jamaican township is different from the next, offering visitors a unique experience based on where they stay. The best vacation deals are typically offered when staying in the better-known cities. However, you can still get discounts on tours and other extras by booking them before your arrival.
Discover Lively Jamaica
Montego Bay, also known as Second City, is the capital of St. James and the second largest city in Jamaica. This area is replete with hotels, boutique resorts, all-inclusive resorts, restaurants, tourist attractions, duty free shopping, a cruise line terminal, several beaches, and more. The bustling “Hip Strip” is decorated with shops, restaurants and clubs. Whilst it’s lively here, there are also picturesque low-lying mountains, championship golf courses, and historical and great Colonial houses, making Montego Bay the type of place that everyone can enjoy.
Discover Natural Jamaica
Ocho Rios is located in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast. It is believed that this is the place where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Jamaican land. This region is made up of waterfalls and parks, including Columbus Park. It was once a fishing village but now is a port of call for cruise ships. The region’s most notable claim to fame is when the area was featured in Dr. No, the very first James Bond film, which was released in 1962. Ochi, as it’s often called, is a favorite destination of lovers of scuba diving, eco-tourism, grand, all-inclusive resorts, and natural, outdoor beauty.
Discover Casual Jamaica
Negril’s charming coast is lined with towering cliffs and pristine white sand beaches. A lively nightlife and famed hotspots such as Rick’s Café and a stunning seven-mile beach make this region ideal for those who like to sit back and enjoy the Caribbean sun and local people. Negril is most known for its picturesque setting and casual vibe but what many people don’t know is that this one-of-a-kind gem tenders some of the best cuisine on the island, with offerings from all over the world including pan-Asian, Italian, and Thai food. No trip to Negril would be complete however, without a roadside sampling of jerk chicken or pork!
Discover Rustic Jamaica
Hidden treasures, like YS Falls, Black River and the Appleton Estate adorn this unspoiled coast. Even the drive to these amazing hotspots is a treat in itself, as you wind past beautiful, tropical countryside and marvel at the breathtaking views, quaint fishing villages, and natural waterfalls. Take a trip off the beaten path to discover a world of rustic charm and elegant, natural beauty.
Discover New Jamaica
Falmouth was once an essential port of call in the Caribbean during a time when Jamaica was the world’s leading sugar producer. Nearly one hundred plantations were actively manufacturing sugar and rum for export to Britain. Falmouth was so flourishing and dynamic that it even had piped water before New York City. Now, the quaint township is known for being one of the Caribbean’s best preserved Georgian towns, with wide streets and awe-inspiring architecture. New and exciting outdoor adventures and a new cruise ship port are giving the town back its original bustling fervor.
WHAT TO DO
With stunning white sand beaches, lush foliage, mountains, and tropical weather all year round, Jamaica offers the perfect backdrop for thrilling outdoor adventure.
Depending on where you decide to stay, there are plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy, including tours to historical, 18-century Great Houses and age-old sugar plantations with original sugar mill remains. Devon House in Kingston offers delectable ice cream, pastries, and gourmet cuisine for foodies. There are also remarkable art galleries and a rich cultural heritage for art and history buffs. Get deals during your vacation on tours and attractions by booking your excursions before your arrival. Here are some of the most popular activities to do on this beautiful island:
Catamaran Sailing Dunn’s River Falls
Swimming Negril Lighthouse
Rose Hall Great House Bird Watching
Picnics on the Beach Golf
Good Hope Estate Blue Lagoon
YS Falls Lover’s Leap
Rick’s Café Scuba Diving
WHO TO BRING
If you’re deciding whom to take with you on your vacation, keep these things in mind:
Friends & Families
For the best deals when booking your vacation, look for resorts and hotels that have all taxes, fees, and tips included. All-inclusive resorts are typically the best way to go for groups as guests can receive bulk booking discounts. Villas are another option for groups, as the cost can be split several ways. Many villas in Jamaica also offer the extra-special service of a personal chef!
Your Significant Other
Many hotels and resorts in Jamaica cater specifically to couples so bring your significant other along to get away to one of the most romantic getaways in the world. Because of its proximity to the US, you can often find great deals for a vacation for two, especially if you bundle your flight and hotel or resort.
Kids and Babies
Some hotels and resorts charge additional fees for babysitting and day care while some family resorts and hotels include these services in the cost of your booking. If you do your research beforehand, you will be able to make a booking most suited to your childcare requirements. Be sure to research local attractions in the region that you choose to visit in order to guarantee there is something fun to do for every age group.
Amy Fry is a writer specialising in the travel industry, covering topics such as currencies, summer and winter holidays. Amy has previously written for several lifestyle blogs, and currently lives and works in London.