Bob Marley’s lyrics “Don’t worry about a thing” reverberate in the carefree smiles of the Jamaican people, whose top local and luxury experiences keep visitors coming back. This Caribbean island offers the best mix of luxury and adventure activities along its cerulean waters and white sand beaches. Some destinations specialize in luxury with little to do outside the resort walls, but Jamaica offers something for every type of traveler! It is the birthplace of reggae, Blue Mountain coffee and aged rum. Tour the beautifully landscaped Appleton Estate, the oldest sugar cane estate and distillery still in continuous production. Stay on a 400 acre resort complete with golf course and equestrian center or at the private villa where all the James Bond novels were written.
Thank you to the Jamaica Tourism Board for hosting my stay, but as always all opinions are my own.
When to visit: There is no bad time to visit Jamaica. The average temperature in Jamaica ranges between 75F to 88F year-round making Jamaica the third most popular islandin the Caribbean. Look to visit just after hurricane season, between November to mid-December when flight deals can be found or travel to Jamaica from January through March for beautiful weather and the lowest cumulative rainfall.
Currency: The official currency is the Jamaican dollar but the USD is widely accepted.
Transportation: Local transportation includes buses and taxis, though many luxury resorts offer private pickup services and helicopter transfers.
What to do:
1. Rafting on the Martha Brae: This unique Jamaican experience is a must for couples and friends alike. Relax under the dancing light between the leaves. A raft captain will navigate the thirty-foot long bamboo rafts over a three mile stretch of the Martha Brae river allowing you to give it a try perfect for photo opportunities.
2. Y.S. Falls in St. Elizabeth: Visit the Y.S. Falls for adventure activities like ziplining or rope swinging over the cascading waters. It is worth hiring a guide to show you the best spots to walk along the falls for photos or help push you as you swing on the rope to jump into the water.
3. Cliff Diving at Rick’s: This bar and restaurant in Negril is known for some of the best sunset views and a show by talented cliff divers. Food and drinks can be pricey but customers are allowed to dive off the cliffs for free from different heights (start with the smallest one first). When the sun begins to set live reggae music resounds with Bob Marley and local tunes.
4. Pelican’s Bar: For a fun excursion dine on a private island. Note: the restaurant is surrounded by ocean so there are no bathrooms available.
5. Horseback riding on the beach: At Half Moon trained riders help you feel confident riding before leading you to the beach. You go pretty far in the water with the horses so that you are actually swimming with the horses, a truly incredible experience. The leaders are very strict when it comes to cameras and safety so try to bring a waterproof camera with strap for the water portion and a camera with a neck strap for the rest of the ride.
6. Hampden Estate: One of the oldest and prettiest sugar estates in Jamaica, the entrance is lined with white trimmed palm trees and peacocks greet you on the front lawn. Taste some of the first ever aged rum and their overproof rum: Rum Fire.
7. Ocho Rios: There are fun adventure activities for everyone in this north coast port. Climb Dunn’s River Falls, explore the green grotto caves or even go bobsledding at Mystic Mountain.
8. Bob Marley Museum: The colonial home where he lived and recorded music for the last six years of his life is now the most popular attraction in Kingston.
What to eat/drink: Start your day with Blue Mountain coffee. This famous coffee grows in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and can be expensive for its smooth, non-bitter taste. Traditional Jamaican breakfast scrambles saltfish with the ackee fruit for a sweet and salty combination. Top Jamaican dishes include jerk chicken, fish and Jamaican patties. Jamaican patties, which look a lot like empanadas, are also often eaten inside coco bread. For the best Jamaican patties, visit the two main chains are Tastee and Juici. Don't forget to try Red Stripe beer, which has acquired the motto, "Jamaican pride in a bottle."
Where to stay:
1. Half Moon: This luxury resort spans 400 acres and includes a golf course and an equestrian centre. Get lost along the 2 miles of beachfront property or explore by golfcart or blue bicycle. Read more here: http://www.thetravelwomen.com/blog/half-moon-jamaica-luxury-resort-review
2. Goldeneye: Goldeneye is the famous location where Ian Fleming wrote all 14 of the James Bond novels. Stay in the Fleming Villa with a private beach and pool!
3. Bluefields Bay Villas: This “retreat on the sea” is a fully inclusive resort with a variety of custom Villa options from 2 bedrooms to 6 bedrooms allowing you to feel secluded in your own private villa. The staff is very attentive to every need and the kitchen serves delicious local dishes. Read more here: http://www.thetravelwomen.com/blog/bluefields-bay-villas-jamaica-resort-review
Have you ever been to Jamaica? More than once? What are your favorite things to do in Jamaica? Comment below!