When most people think of Jamaica, the first thing that comes to mind is white sand beaches lined by palm trees.
However, this small Caribbean island of 3 million people packs quite a punch on the world stage. Jamaica is the home of the world’s best coffee, the fastest sprinters in the world, and the birthplace of reggae music.
Pack your bags and start dreaming of a Caribbean paradise. We will give you an insider’s view of the best things to do in Jamaica.
If you are traveling to Jamaica, you will likely be based in Ocho Rios, Trelawny, Montego Bay, Negril, Port Antonio, Kingston, or the South Coast. Below you will find a sample of what each region has to offer.
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Ocho Rios has originated from a sleepy fishing village into one of the main tourist regions in Jamaica. It is also one of the best places to visit if you are traveling with your family since it has many family-friendly activities.
The most famous waterfall in Jamaica is Dunns River Falls. These majestic 180-foot waterfalls are 600 feet long and empty into the Caribbean Sea. It takes around 1.5 hours to climb these waterfalls. Make sure you arrive early to beat the crowds.
Konoko Falls is not as immense as Dunns River Falls, but they are just as picturesque. A museum on the premises provides information about Jamaica’s history, from the Taino Indians to today’s inhabitants. There is also a mini zoo on the premises.
The blue hole is one of the most popular attractions in Ocho Rios. Imagine a turquoise blue river with scenic swimming holes and mini waterfalls.
The act of riding on a horse has a magical quality to it. However, riding a horse on a white sand beach into the blue Caribbean Sea is a dream come true for many people.
The famous Jamaican Bobsled team that debuted in the 1988 winter Olympics inspired this attraction. Mystic Mountain has not only a bobsled ride but also a zip line and sky explorer.
This attraction provides you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with dolphins and stingrays. A bonus is the jungle trail, waterslide, pool, and beach on site.
This cave tour will take you on a journey of Jamaica’s history from the Tainos, the first inhabitants of Jamaica, to the present day. Not only will you learn about Jamaica’s history but also about the caves and how this natural phenomenon evolved.
Montego Bay is the tourism capital of Jamaica and the main entry point for most visitors to Jamaica. It is at the most 2 hours from most attractions in Jamaica and is an ideal home base if you want to explore Jamaica.
Nothing is more relaxing and romantic than river rafting with a loved one. Jamaica first used rafts to transport agricultural goods from the hinterlands to the coastline. Today river rafting is now a popular tourist attraction.
Jamaica has several great houses, but the White Witch of Rose Hall Great house is the most infamous one. Legend has it that Annie Palmer, the white witch of Rosehall, haunts the great house.
The luminous lagoon is home to millions of microorganisms that emit a flash of light when touched. If you swim in the water at night, it looks like a blue glow surrounds you. This rare phenomenon occurs in only four places worldwide.
Montego Bay is home to not one but four world-class golf courses and is the perfect location for golf addicts.
Remember to bring your camera when visiting the White Witch golf course; the scenic views alone are worth the visit.
This attraction is a nature lover’s paradise in the hills overlooking Montego Bay. You will learn about flora and fauna native to the island.
Negril is well known for its laidback lifestyle, and if you want to relax on a beach for a few days, this is the perfect location.
You can’t come to Negril and not see the cliff divers at Ricks Café. Ricks Café is also ideal for a few drinks and watching the beautiful Jamaican sunset.
Seven Mile Beach is one of Jamaica’s longest stretches of white sand. You can explore the beach by visiting the many bars and restaurants that line the shore.
The fact that you can see a part of Jamaica that few tourists experience makes the visit well worth your time.
Port Antonio is one of the most beautiful regions in Jamaica. Imagine a lush rainforest leading down to white-sand beaches.
Rafting on the Rio Grande is one of Jamaica’s most scenic rafting routes; it will take you through the picturesque Rio Grande valley.
Surfing is not one of those things you would associate with Jamaica. Surfing was introduced to Boston Bay when visitors noticed fishermen returning from sea, surfing their boats in on the surf rolling into the cove.
Frenchmans Cove is not the largest beach in Jamaica; however, it is one of the most scenic beaches. The stream leading into the Caribbean Sea makes a visit to this idyllic spot worthwhile.
Reach falls is one of Jamaica’s hidden gems. This scenic 30-foot waterfall cascades into several pools surrounded by lush rainforest.
The southern coast of Jamaica is referred to as the bread basket of Jamaica due to the proliferation of farms in the area. This region has not been spoiled by mass tourism. You can spend a day with a farmer while they tend their crop or take a trip out to sea with local fishermen.
Pelican Bar is rated as one of the coolest bars in the Caribbean. It is located on a sandbar 1 ½ kilometers offshore. The boat ride to get there makes the trip worthwhile. If you are lucky, you might see dolphins swimming alongside your boat.
The black river is the longest navigable river in Jamaica. You can take a boat trip up the river to see crocodiles in their natural habitat and view some of the 100 species of birds in this unspoiled wetland.
The Appleton Rum tour allows you to explore a working rum factory. An added plus is the tasting session at the end of the rum tour.
This scenic spot, located 1,600 feet above sea level, provides you with surreal views of the Jamaican coastline. Legend has it that two star-crossed lovers preferred to jump to their death rather than be separated by a jealous plantation owner.
YS Falls is a series of tiered waterfalls located on the southern coast of Jamaica. This scenic spot is not as touristy as its more famous namesake Dunns River Falls. If you are feeling brave, you can go zip lining over the waterfalls.
Kingston is the heartbeat and cultural capital of Jamaica. Tourists rarely visit, but I highly recommend a day trip to Kingston.
Port Royal was once known as the pirate capital of the Caribbean and the wickedest city in the world before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. Remnants of Port Royal still exist today, and it provides a great insight into Jamaica’s pirate history.
The Bob Marley Museum was the former home of reggae superstar Bob Marley. This tour takes you on a journey where you learn about the musical history of Jamaica, Rastafarianism, and the political history of Jamaica.
Devon House is the former home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire. His home has been perfectly restored and provides some insight into Jamaica’s history. However, the main draw is the bakery at the back. It has some of the best patties in Jamaica. If you plan to visit, make sure you order the lobster patty.
The Blue Mountain area is the first location in the Caribbean to be awarded the UNESCO world heritage mixed site.
The world-famous Blue Mountain coffee is grown in this area, and you can visit a working coffee plantation. You can also hike to Jamaica’s highest point, Blue Mountain peak.
Jamaica has a thriving food scene. You will find dishes influenced by the African, English, Spanish, Indian, and Chinese immigrants that arrived in Jamaica. Below you will find our top must-try foods if you visit Jamaica:
- Jerked (Chicken, Pork, Lamb, etc.)
- Jamaican Patty
- Escovitch Fish and Bammy
- Ackee and Saltfish
- Curry Goat
Not many countries can boast that they have created more than four musical genres. Jamaica is home to international reggae stars such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Shaggy, Bunny Wailer, and Jimmy Cliffs. If you visit Jamaica, try attending one of the major music festivals. The two main festivals are Rebel Salute and Reggae Sumfest.
Jamaica is one of those places where, when you scratch the surface; you discover something new. Our list of the best things to do in Jamaica is a small sample of what the country offers. Hopefully, it will tempt you to return for more.
Rent a Car: Driving in Jamaica is not for the faint of heart, but this option offers the most freedom. Island Car Rentals and Avis Car Rentals are the leading car rental companies.
Knutsford Express: Knutsford express is the top luxury coast service in Jamaica. It is also one of Jamaica’s most economical ways to travel between cities and towns.
Juta Tours: This tour company is the best way to get around the various towns in Jamaica.
Chukka Tours: This is the largest local tour operator in Jamaica.
- Sandals Resorts – Ocho Rios
- Gran Bahia Principe
- Couples San Souci
Montego Bay & Trelawny
- Sandals Montego Bay
- Secrets Wild Orchid
- Jewels Grande
- The Hilton
- Iberostar Rose Hall Suites
- Couples Negril
- Sandals Negril
- Grand Palladium Jamaica
- Trident Hotel
- Great Huts
- AC Marriott
- Spanish Court Hotel
- The Jamaica Pegasus
- Sandals Whitehouse
- Norman Manley International Airport
- Sangsters International Airport
- Ian Fleming International Airport
Final Thoughts on Things To Do In Jamaica
Jamaica is a beautiful island with plenty of things to see, eat, and do. The island is big enough that it can take a week to appreciate it fully. A short stop from a cruise ship is probably not enough.
Author Bio: Charmaine Allen is the blogger behind LuvMeKitchen. She is extremely passionate about travel, cooking, and wellness. When she is not traveling around her home country Jamaica, you can find her tinkering around in the kitchen. She loves working out, hiking, and being anywhere near the water.
Thanks for reading Thing To Do in Jamaica: A Comprehensive Guide.
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