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Jamaica feature image
Jamaica feature image
Jamaica feature image

Jamaica

Enveloped in lush foliage, skirted by exquisite beaches, kissed by warm sunshine, caressed by the sea, and watched over by the beautiful Blue Mountains, Jamaica is an island of intoxicating beauty.

The warm, clear waters and sandy beaches host a full array of water and beach sports, from volleyball to deep-sea fishing. Extreme hikers are drawn to Jamaica's famous Blue Mountains, with its jungles, mountain streams, and waterfalls. Rafting, sailing, golfing, diving, and horseback riding round out the roster of island-wide activities.

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Once the crown jewel of the British sugar empire, Jamaica's coastal plains and lofty jungles are still dotted with colonnaded mansions and thriving plantations (and ruins of others that did not survive the slave rebellions). Many of the remaining mansions are now opulent inns flanked not only by sugar fields, but also by golf courses, while beaches that once harbored notorious pirates now harbor vacationers seeking the perfect tan.

Jamaica is also the land of reggae and rum, wearing a mantle of roughshod romance that attracts travelers the world over looking to escape the routine of daily life. Music is the heartbeat of Jamaica, its reggae rhythms in the air nearly everywhere you go.

For vacationers with a free and festive spirit, Jamaica is your place to shine!

 

World-class resorts

Resort life centers on three of the Caribbean’s most alluring destinations:

Pulsing with the famous rhythms of reggae, Montego Bay is a popular resort nexus boasting numerous beaches and golf courses, duty-free shopping, good restaurants, discos, museums, and tours of nearby rum distilleries. It also boasts several historical sites and hiking trails that lead into the highlands. Located on the northwestern side of Jamaica, "Mo Bay" is the country’s second largest city and serves as a tourist capital with its busy international air and cruise ports.

Carefree Negril, once a haunt of notorious pirates, encourages laid-back living with endless beaches, lazy horseback rides through banana and coconut groves, and unforgettable sunsets. Situated along Seven Mile Beach, this is one of the best strands of sandy beach on the island.

Called "the fairest land my eyes have ever seen” by Christopher Columbus, Ocho Rios hosts luxury resorts, exciting nightlife, scuba diving, and slippery fun at Dunn's River Falls — one of Jamaica's most famous attractions. Its deep-water harbor serves as a cruise port with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Nearby, the scenic caves and quieter white-sand beaches of Runaway Bay beckon.

 

Our favorite beaches

Seven Mile Beach

Also known as Negril Beach, this is indeed a miles-long stretch of clear water, sugary soft white sand, and swaying palms, mostly lined with resorts. Here, you can eat, drink, shop, sunbathe, swim, hop on a kayak or a WaveRunner, and much more!

Doctor's Cave Beach

The strip of sand that put Montego Bay on the international map, Doctor's Cave is a lovely, calm cove with crystal waters preferred by swimmers and snorkelers. A clubhouse, food court, and beach bar provide a variety of meals and drinks; there's also a cyber-cafe as well as changing facilities.

Boston Bay Beach

Located near Port Antonio, Boston Bay Beach is a small, rocky cove with bright blue water that attracts surfers when the tide is high. More famously, it is the home of jerk cuisine, and you'll find the world's most authentic jerk at any number of nearby stands.

Treasure Beach

This south coast community, known for fishing and farming, offers six miles of uncrowded sandy beaches, private coves, and rocky shorelines, as well as laid-back resorts, dining, and nightclubs. Swimming, snorkeling, and body-surfing in crystal-blue waters are popular diversions.

 

Local cuisine

From hot to haute, and everything in between, Jamaican cooking is a culinary melting pot that combines a hint of Spanish and English, a good dash of Indian and Chinese, and a wallop of African ingredients that together cook up the Caribbean's most creative cuisine. The Jamaican national dish is ackee and salt-fish — a concoction made from imported salted cod and the fruit of the ackee tree, mixed with onions, peppers, and tomatoes.

Jamaican food is a living testament to the island's history and natural abundance. For example, the Arawak Indian cassava is used today as "bammie," a toasted flat cake eaten with fried fish. The Maroons — escaped slaves always on the run from the British after the 1655 invasion — devised a way of spicing and slow-cooking pork that they called "jerking," recognized worldwide as the definitive Jamaican flavor. The native pimento tree, the source of allspice, is used in numerous Jamaican dishes, and there's a fair bit of intrigue regarding whether it is, or is not, a key ingredient of the famous Pickapeppa Sauce, a recipe that's closely guarded.

 

Things to see and do

Jamaica is filled with must-see attractions and wonders. Items marked with a (*) are Liberty Travel Insider Experiences, handpicked tours (some exclusive to Liberty Travel) that can be booked as part of a Liberty Travel Escape.

Appleton Rum Tour*

Take a private tour of one of the world’s most renowned rum distilleries. You’ll enjoy premium upgrades like a wider variety of rum samplings, and take home a complimentary bottle of Appleton Estate Reserve Rum.

Appleton Rum & YS Falls*

Extend your experience by taking the full Appleton Rum tour and then continuing along to the spectacular YS Falls, a system of seven waterfalls, some of which cascade into natural pools.

ATV Safari

Get ready for the ride of your life as you drive an ATV through the glorious Jamaican landscape, explore hidden villages nestled in the tropical forests, and hear your guide share the history of this fascinating region.

Blue Mountain Coffee Plantation*

Head to the Blue Mountain Range for an experience that starts with the Hardware Gap in New Castle, a great spot for panoramic views of Kingston. Then visit the Blue Mountain estate, 6,000 feet above sea level, to learn about Jamaica’s coffee production, sip a brew, and enjoy local cuisine.

Bob Marley Life & Legacy*

Journey into Kingston, the bustling heart of Jamaica and home of Bob Marley. You’ll head to Tuff Gong Records to see how music is made, participate in an exclusive reggae experience, and tour Marley’s former home, now the Bob Marley Museum. Every little thing really is gonna be alright.

Cave & Swamp Safari*

Journey to the Jamaica Swamp Safari, located in a natural mangrove habitat. You’ll see Jamaica’s only walkthrough bird aviary and more, and end the day with a traditional Jamaican lunch in a rural farm setting.

Deep Sea Sport Fishing

Head out onto the open waters off the coast, renowned as one of the most thrilling fishing grounds in the entire Caribbean, and brag about your own amazing catch from a fleet of customized fishing boats.

Dolphin & Negril Must Do’s*

Swim with dolphins as they frolic in a natural lagoon, then receive a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the dolphin facility! You’ll also see and pet stingrays, meet gentle camels, and watch a hilarious Shark Show.

Dunn’s River Falls

Enjoy a leisurely ride along the scenic north coast to Ocho Rios, and experience the challenge of climbing 600ft. of cascading waterfalls, easily one of the country’s most heart-stopping attractions.

Horseback Ride’n Swim

Saddle up for a spectacular ride through a tropical rainforest and the Jamaican countryside to the water's edge where you can experience the warmth of the Caribbean on horseback.

Jamaica Culture & Culinary*

Spend a full day at one of Jamaica’s oldest plantations. You’ll take an open-air tractor-drawn carriage around the property and see the White River Gorge. Then you’ll learn all about Jamaican cuisine like jerk chicken, festival, callaloo, and more – and get to eat it too!

Mystic Mountain Adventure Park

Explore the unique seaside and a tropical forest ecosystem, located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This environmentally-friendly park boasts over 100 acres of land stretching from the coast road entrance near Dunn’s River Falls to over 700 feet above sea level at the peak of Mystic Mountain.

River Bumpkin Tube & Bike*

Take a picturesque bike ride along the Martha Brae River, spotting cascading waterfalls and historic ruins. Break for lunch at the Jerk Hut, then tube down the river, taking in the exotic animals and luscious natural habitat along the way.

True Blend of Tranquility*

Float down the Martha Brae River on a 30-foot bamboo raft, and enjoy a lunch of classic local cuisine. Then an onsite guide will escort you on your visit to Konoko Falls, where you can swim in the natural pools and climb to the top of the falls.

Jamaica fast facts

Approximate flight times

  • NYC/Newark 4 hours
  • Philadelphia 4 hours
  • Boston 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Chicago 4 hours
  • Miami 1 hours, 30 minutes
  • Los Angeles 6 hours, 30 minutes

Some flights may require connections

Entry/departure requirements

A valid U.S. passport and return tickets are required. The departure tax for Jamaica is $27.

Climate

Jamaica has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 77°F in the winter and 82°F in summer. Average annual rainfall is 50.7”.

Official language

English

Official currency

Jamaican dollar, although the U.S. dollar is widely accepted.