10 Best Places to Visit in Jamaica

by Zara Rashad
Arial view of Ocho Rios beach in Jamaica

There are green mountains, lush jungles, spectacular coral reefs, powdery beaches, and a stunning blue sea on the island country of Jamaica in the Caribbean. It is filled with character, Caribbean rum, and African charm and is well recognized as the spot where reggae music was first performed. Just about nothing beats a trip to the beach.

We couldn’t possibly choose just one amazing feature of this island since there are so many. To help you plan your trip to Jamaica, we’ve compiled this list of must-see attractions:

10. Falmouth

Falmouth, located on the northern coast of the island, is one of the best-preserved Georgian towns in the Caribbean. Falmouth was established in 1769 as a sugarcane plantation town and was called after Trelawny, the birthplace of Jamaica’s then-governor.

Falmouth has developed into a city with coconut and sugar plantations, verdant woods, cascading waterfalls, and buildings from the nineteenth century. One of the best ways to learn about the history of the slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries is to take a heritage walk through Falmouth, which was one of the key centres in the region.

Pay a visit to the newly renovated courthouse, the Albert George Market, and the Baptist Manse (the first mason temple erected in Jamaica). You may zip line or tube down the Martha Brae River while touring the Great Hall estates, especially the Greenwood Great House and the Good Hope Great House. In addition to the amazing phosphorescent marine life seen in the Luminous Lagoon, other highlights include open-air markets selling a wide variety of locally manufactured goods and crafts.

9. Port Antonio

Port Antonio, a picturesque fishing community with two ports on Jamaica’s north-eastern coast, was once the bustling “Banana Capital of the World.” Part of its allure is that it has become a much more laid-back vacation spot in recent years.

In this charming community, there are plenty of colorful marketplaces, beautiful examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture, and relaxing cafés where you can people-watch. However, the magnificent scenery is what draws most visitors. Just picture breathtaking rainforests, gushing waterfalls, azure lagoons, stunning beaches, and challenging trekking paths.

While it’s easy to find time to unwind in Port Antonio, the city also encourages visitors to get up and about. Experience the thrill of bamboo rafting down the Rio Grande; swing into the turquoise lagoons of Frenchman’s Cove; catch some waves at Boston Beach; and relax in the Blue Lagoon, a real-life freshwater spring featured in the film of the same name.

This seemingly unremarkable town really has a rich past. Titchfield, an English settlement established in the 1700s, gained widespread attention in 1946 when Hollywood star Errol Flynn was swept ashore there after a cyclone. Explore the remnants of Folly Mansion and Fort George, as well as the nearby Navy Island.

8. Nine Mile

Located a short distance south of Brown’s Town in Saint Ann Parish, Nine Mile is a small town with a close-knit population. There isn’t much that makes this city stand out, but it is the birthplace and last resting place of reggae legend Bob Marley, so it automatically gains some measure of uniqueness.

Many of Marley’s compositions were inspired by his experiences growing up in the little farming community of Nine Mile. The house where Marley spent his childhood is one of the most famous landmarks in Nine Mile, and it has been preserved with all of its original furniture. There are two mausoleums on the site; the one belonging to Bob Marley’s mother, Cedella Booker, affectionately known as “Mamma Marley,” is administered by his family.

Bob Marley lovers should make a journey to Nine Mile. Visits to his gravesite are accompanied by Rastafarian escorts who show visitors through the grounds. Numerous artifacts such as guitars, trophies, and pictures will be on display. Watch out for the “rock cushion” in Rasta colors that Bob Marley used to rest his head on when he needed musical inspiration.

7. Treasure Beach

Reggae music, relaxation, and rum drinks are the order of the day on Treasure Beach, which spans six lovely golden miles through four picturesque fishing communities on the south coast: Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay, and Great Bay.

Over twenty-five years after Jakes Hotel first placed it on the map, Treasure Beach still provides the ideal place to escape the rat race. Despite its recent surge in popularity, it has managed to maintain its humble allure; unlike the north coast, there are no obvious tourist traps or overcrowded beaches here.

Tennis, cricket, football, and other watersports instead attract a large number of sports fans. There are several beautiful coral-colored beaches for people who want to take it easy. You may go ziplining, hiking, or biking, or spend your time swimming, snorkeling, body-surfing, or looking for dolphins. Don’t leave without experiencing a Black River safari cruise and stopping at Floyd’s Pelican Bar, “the coolest bar in the world,” accessible only by boat.

6. Kingston

The capital is the most populous city on the island, and it can be found along the southeast coast. Kingston, which dates back to 1692, was founded following the earthquake that destroyed Port Royal at the mouth of the harbor.

Learn about the background of the capital by seeing historic Fort Charles. Explore the Bob Marley Museum and the National Museum of Jamaica, the oldest public art gallery in the English-speaking Caribbean, as well as the colonial-era Devon House, one of Kingston’s most recognized cultural sites.

Indulge your love of nature with an outing to Hollywell National Park, a trip to Hope Botanical Garden, or a walk along the waterfront. One of the biggest farmer’s markets in Jamaica is called Coronation Market, where you can also practice your haggling skills, salsa dance, and attend a Sunday reggae party at Dub Club.

Paddle out to Lime Cay, an island paradise off the mainland, to bask in the sunlight of this Caribbean village. Jamaica is the rum capital of the world, so why not learn to surf while you’re there, relax in the healing Rockfort Mineral Baths, or just drink rum cocktails?

5. Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a beautiful area teeming with opportunities for outdoor recreation, including several hiking and biking paths, stunning waterfalls, and quaint coffee farms. The Blue Mountains are well named. They are the longest in Jamaica at 45 kilometers and one of the longest in the Caribbean due to the blueish fog that hovers around their summits. On a clear day, visitors may see all the way to Cuba from the top, which is the ultimate destination for adventurers.

A network of dirt roads winds its way up the mountainside, providing access for hikers, cyclists, and 4×4 drivers alike. There are over 500 varieties of floral plants and trees, as well as a succession of traditional mountain towns, that you’ll pass on your route up.

Numerous small towns and villages may be found in and around the Blue Mountains since they were originally settled by Taino slaves and Maroons who fled Spanish captivity in the 1600s. The famed Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is best enjoyed on a coffee tour or while out on a birding excursion.

4. Ocho Rios

The northern coast of Jamaica is home to the vacation town of Ochos Rios. Once a quiet fishing hamlet inhabited by the English, the Spanish, and the occasional pirate, it is today a thriving cruise port surrounded by five-star hotels and mountains covered in lush vegetation. It’s a more peaceful option to Montego Bay while being one of the more upscale resorts with its share of reggae nights, clubs, and artisan markets.

Ochos Rios is less of a beach town and more of a wilderness getaway. The ‘Garden Parish’ is home to some of Jamaica’s most well-known natural attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls and other tropical rainforests (more on that later). Adventure seekers may go white water rafting or tubing down the scenic White or Black rivers; swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove; or ride horses along the beach.

Visit the shooting sites of Dr. No (1962) and Live and Let Die (1973), and enjoy wonderful duty-free shopping and a wild night out in Margaritaville, the town’s primary entertainment zone. In fact, Bond enthusiasts may stay in the same house that Ian Fleming used to create James Bond novels: Goldeneye.

3. Montego Bay

You’re in luck if a beach getaway is what you’re craving. It’s no secret that Montego Bay is home to some of Jamaica’s most popular attractions and beaches. Aside from being a significant port of call, it also has opulent hotels, rolling golf courses, and beautiful beaches where Hollywood stars like to relax.
In the 1920s, Montego Bay became more well-known when an English osteopath claimed the water there had curative properties. Tourists descended on the once-quiet community, changing its status to that of Jamaica’s most popular tourist spot.

Sunbathers may now choose between Walter Fletcher Beach, a popular destination for families thanks to its amusement park, and Doctor’s Cave Beach, widely regarded as one of Jamaica’s greatest beaches. Montego Bay Marine Park is home to some of the finest coral reefs for scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. Other options include golfing at the Cinnamon Hill Golf Club, a former sugar plantation with breathtaking vistas, swimming with horses, touring the Green Grotto Caves (where Bond’s Live and Let Die was shot), and more.

Rose Hall Great House is a historic home in Jamaica built in the Georgian style that you shouldn’t miss seeing. Croydon in the Mountains is a functioning plantation that produces coffee, pineapple, plantain, honey, and citrus.

2. Dunn’s River Falls

One of Jamaica’s most popular sights, Dunn’s River Falls, is a must-see for every visitor. You’ll quickly see why millions of people annually make the 90-minute trek to get here because of how stunning it is. The tiered waterfalls are the most Instagrammable you can get at 180 feet in height and 600 feet in length.

Dunn’s River Falls is the most well-known of the several waterfalls on the island. One of the few travertine waterfalls on the planet is Little Dunn’s River Beach in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. They are also one of the few waterfalls whose rock pools may be accessed by climbing.

From Ochos Rios or Montego Bay, you may take a guided trek to the falls or a catamaran excursion to the falls. If you’re going to be seeing the waterfall on your own, it’s a great idea to bring a picnic to enjoy while you’re there. You should bring a swimsuit and water shoes since you will get wet. If you want to escape the tourists from the cruise ships, plan your visit for the wee hours of the morning or late afternoon.

1. Negril

You have arrived in Negril, the most picturesque beach in Jamaica, with its powdery white sand, majestic cliffs, and clear blue water. In western Jamaica, Negril extends from Bloody Bay to Long Bay and is widely regarded as one of the Caribbean’s finest expanses of sand. Negril is paradise for beach bums, what with its sprinkling of coconut trees and posh resorts.

Every day of your vacation might be filled with a new adventure on the water, whether it be scuba diving, parasailing, paddleboarding, or even cliff jumping from the world-famous Negril Cliffs. Even though it’s just four miles long, Seven Mile Beach seems like an infinite stretch of heaven. Long Bay is perfect for a snorkeling excursion along the reefs, as are the nearby waterfalls of Ys and Mayfield and the Blue Hole Mineral Springs. Kool Runnings Adventure Park is the biggest water park in Jamaica, and it is a hit with kids.

If the allure of its sunset catamaran tours isn’t enough, Negril also has superb nightlife, a natural reserve, and golf courses. Negril’s new floating tiki bar, Tiki Pon Da Sea, offers limitless drinks, as does Rick’s Café, where you can watch the cliff divers while sipping a cocktail, and the One Love Bus, where you can party all night on a reggae pub crawl.

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