Among the few places that you can get that fairy tale vacation include Jamaica, the jewel of the Caribbean. The island has some of the most stunning sites, beautiful beaches, and fantastic luxury hotels. The friendly locals are also an added perk for visitors who choose to stay on the island.
However, navigating around the country, famed for having its own soundtrack may not be easy for new visitors. The following is a brief guide on travel tips, hotels, and sights to check out if you do hop on over to the island.
Timing, when it comes to vacationing, is everything. Jamaica is a tropical country and so the weather is hot and humid but relatively temperate as you go inland. The best time for a Caribbean vacation is between November and mid-December.
Room rates, flights, and everything else has favorable pricing. The peak season is between January and March when the flights and room rates go up significantly.
You may need to avoid the hurricane months between June and November. September is the most active month.
There are various ways of getting to Jamaica. Mainly, you can fly there as there are two international airports for that purpose; Donald Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay and Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston. The majority of visitors prefer the Montego Bay route because of the airport’s proximity to high-end properties. You can as well reach other areas within 90 minutes.
You can also use a cruise ship and dock at any of the three main ports: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Falmouth.
Getting around Jamaica needs not be so much hassle, which it can be if you choose to hire a car and drive yourself. Ideally, it’s best to get a personal driver with good knowledge of the country, its main attractions, and the best routes. You can choose to sign up for group tours in your resort’s concierge desk. However, this option will only get you around some of the most popular spots, which often feature big crowds.
Hotels and Food
There are numerous all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica and they are a good option to consider if you are a first-time visitor. However, they may feel a bit limiting for the adventurous folks. If you are planning on having the time of your life sightseeing and enjoying all that the land of reggae has to offer, then shun the all-inclusive resorts.
Jamaica has no shortage of excellent luxury hotels, with loungers, pools, balconies with beach views and award-winning la carte restaurants. But you may want to sample what local restaurants and shops have to offer. The top hotels may be a little too westernized to get the real Jamaican experience.
You shouldn’t fly out without experiencing the tasty dishes with a local touch that Jamaica has to offer. Yes, there’s jerk chicken, prepared expertly with spices and herbs, but that’s not all there is. Pudding, for example, is local food enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It resembles a pie and is cooked in a pot over coals, outdoors. You won’t typically find this sort of food at resorts.
Your holiday can never be complete either without sampling ackee and salt fish, a staple on the Caribbean island. Resembling scrambled eggs, the local cuisine has a distinctive taste that you will remember for a long time. But the dish is miles away from being at par with the island’s famous jerk pork. It features pimento berries, scotch bonnet peppers, and other herbs and simmered over coal heat. Legend has it that Boston Beach is the cradle of the best jerk here.
The fiery pepperpot, a blend of callaloo, salt beef, salt pork, and okra, has a reputation of its own that you must use your taste buds to find out more about.
Jamaica is a big country, blessed with sights and activities scattered around four big cities. The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, for example, is where you can go on a reggae culture pilgrimage. The museum is one of the central and most popular attractions. So too is Trenchtown Culture Yard which is the exact birthplace of reggae and where Bob Marley spent the majority of his youth years.
The famous tourist district of Ocho Rios has its share of vibrant sights and activities starting with the famed Dunn River Falls beach, where you will always find a large crowd of vacationers. Dolphin Cove (located a stone’s throw away) is an ideal spot for swimming in the company of dolphins. Other great sights here include Mystic Mountains (where you can ride the Jamaican bobsled), Mahogany Beach, Fern Gully, where the sun never penetrates the canopy, and the Blue Hole.
Montego Bay has Doctor’s Cave Beach, Martha Brae Rafting, Aqua Sol and Rose Hall. All fun attractions that draw in thousands of visitors every year. The Rockland Bird Sanctuary is rich with a wide variety of endangered and rare birds. Montego Bay is also an excellent place for ziplining.
Some of the top sights in Negril include Rick’s Café where you can watch daredevils plunge from a cliff into the water below. Negril also has the Pelican Bar and Blue Hole Mineral Springs where you can jump approximately 22 feet into some refreshing waters below in the heat of the day.
Port Antonio is the home of Blue Lagoon, reputed for its azure waters. Legend has it that the lagoon is bottomless, but it measures about 180 feet deep. At the eastern harbor of Port Antonio is Folly Lighthouse, a popularly photographed site.
Jamaica is a slice of paradise with a rich culture, delicious food and friendly set of people. There’s so much to see and do here. For more information, and a detailed guide on Jamaica check out https://www.jamaicahotelreview.com/