Jamaica

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.

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.

Jamaica

Jamaica

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.

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.

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