If you’ve been daydreaming about relaxing in the shade of a swaying palm tree on a pristine white, sandy shore overlooking the sparkling, turquoise ocean, then a holiday to Jamaica is the answer. On this idyllic island, unspoiled countryside filled with tropical mangroves and rolling, jungle covered mountains exists side by side with colourful, character filled cities and towns. Whether your idea of the perfect holiday is a well-deserved serene escape and an opportunity to truly get away from it all, or you’re looking for an exciting, fun-filled cultural excursion, you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for in this picture perfect Caribbean island nation.
No matter how long you spend in Jamaica, your holiday time will almost certainly fly by. It’s essential to make the most of each and every day of your Caribbean escape, so why not have a look at our tips on what to do and where to go on your Jamaica holiday?
History lovers will want to head to Spanish Town, the oldest continuously inhabited city in Jamaica. Dating from 1534, Spanish Town was the seat of power for Spanish Jamaica until it was captured by the English in 1655, it remained the island’s capital until 1872.
Many of the city’s highlights are situated around Emancipation square and include the ruins of the Old Courthouse and the Old King’s House as well as the House of Assembly. The Rodney Memorial dominates the square, built for Admiral George Rodney who defended the island from a combined French and Spanish invasion in the 18th century.
Dunn’s River Falls
The world famous waterfalls of Dunn’s River are by far Jamaica’s biggest tourist attraction. Situated 3km west of the beautiful town Ochos Rios, these thundering falls stand at an impressive 55m tall and 180m long. Friendly guides can help guests to clamber up the rugged tiers of limestone to the top of the cliff, overlooking the water cascading into crystal clear pools.
Huge crowds of people make the exhilarating climb to the top of the waterfalls every day without fail, and a handy way to avoid the bustling crowds is to visit the falls at dawn; this is also when the scenery is at its most spectacular. There’s no better way to spend a morning than to wake up and make the invigorating journey to the top of Dunn’s River Falls.
White Witch of Rose Hall
Rose Hall Great House is one of the most popular tourist sites in Jamaica. The picturesque Georgian mansion sits on a beautiful plantation and is home to a museum that displays the long history of the slave trade in the Caribbean. However, the hall’s big draw is its guided tours which tell the story of Annee, the ghost of Montego Bay.
Many accounts of the ghost are given but one of the enduring is that of a local girl named Annee who fell afoul of a voodoo practitioner named Takoo and met an untimely end. Since then her ghost is believed to roam the grounds of Rose Hall, and many locals have reported seeing a shadowy, ghost-like figure riding a horse across the estate grounds.
The tale of White Witch was so feared that for 130 years the stately home went unoccupied, but a renovation in 1977 has restored it to a state of splendour. A night tour of the Hall is a great way to get to know the island’s history as well as one of its best ghost stories and anybody left with a bit of a chill can head down to the dungeon tavern and enjoy a signature ‘witches brew’ cocktail.
After a full few days of exploring and sightseeing, what could be better than sitting back and relaxing on a pristine, West Indian beach? Known as the jewel of Jamaica, Duncan’s Bay is one of the most serene and secluded beaches in the country. This is the perfect place to truly escape and unwind with an ice cold Caribbean cocktail, soaking up the seemingly never ending bright sunshine and the breathtaking sights of the glittering sea. Duncan Bay is a great place to get away from the tourist crowds. There are some private beaches along this extensively long stretch of pink sand, which leaves the bay much quieter than the majority of beaches in Jamaica. Diving and snorkelling are popular off the coast of Duncan’s Bay, thanks to the rich abundance of colourful aquatic life residing beneath the surface.
As the sun begins to set over the calm waters on the horizon, head to one of the atmospheric, waterfront bars and try out some of the renowned regional rum and beer. As well as this, there are also some excellent places around Duncan’s Bay to taste some delicious, authentic local cuisine. The friendly, laid back restaurant Leroy’s Reggae Spot is a short walk from the sea and serves an amazing array of locally produced, traditional Jamaican dishes.
If you really want to get away from it all, Port Antonio is the ideal destination. A laid back feel and friendliness combined with brilliant natural amenities such as jungle walks and the secluded Frenchman’s Cove beach make it a perfect place to recharge.
The highlight for many is the Blue Lagoon, a stunning azure lagoon fed by freshwater springs where swimming or kayaking is simply bliss. Local folklore says the Lagoon is bottomless and home to a dragon – a famous Jacques Cousteau dive dispelled the myth and found that it reached a depth of 180 feet (and no dragon sightings were reported). Scuba divers can follow in Cousteau’s footsteps and dive in from the original site.