Welcome to Jamaican Vacations and Travel Information
the place for all things Jamaican. For vacationers and travelers, we will provide you with the information you need to learn more about Jamaica and Jamaican culture, geography and history to make your Jamaican vacations memorable ones.
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While in Jamaica Please Visit.
Montego Bay (or Mo’Bay, as it is more colloquially called) is the capital of Jamaican tourism and market town for a large part of western Jamaica. Dating back to 1492, Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second-largest city and one of the most modern in the Caribbean. From Gloucester and Kent Avenues, there are superb views onto the clear Caribbean waters and the long reef protecting the bay. Most of the hotels are found on a strip of coastline about 2.4km (1.5miles) long.
There are three main beaches: Doctor’s Cave Beach (so named because it was once owned by a Dr McCatty and had a cave that has since eroded away) which has beautiful white sand, and where the exceptionally clear water is believed to be fed by mineral springs; Walter Fletcher Beach, nearest the center and a short walk from the Upper Deck Hotel; and Cornwall Beach, which is a few yards from the local Tourist Board Office. A short way inland from the Bay is Rose Hall, a restored Great House on a sugar plantation. Montego Bay is the tourist gateway city to Jamaica and is served by Air Jamaica, Delta, American Airlines and all of the major international carriers. More on Montego Bay.
Ocho Rios lies roughly 108km (67 miles) east of Montego Bay. The name is said to have come from the old Spanish word for roaring river or, in modern Spanish, eight rivers. Ocho Rios was once a sleepy fishing village, and although there are now resort facilities, international hotels and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, the town has kept something of the sleepy atmosphere of small-town Jamaica (Jamaca Jamacia Jamica Jemaica Jemaca). One of the most stunning sights in Jamaica is Dunn’s River Falls, a crystal water stairway which leads to the nearby botanical gardens. Ocho Rios is known as the garden-lover’s paradise, and the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens exhibit the fascinating variety of the area’s exotic flora, for which the town is celebrated. Not surprisingly, two of the most popular tours available are to working plantations at Brimmer Hall and Prospect where sugar, bananas and spices are still grown and harvested, using many of the traditional skills handed down through generations. Any sightseeing itinerary should include a drive along Fern Gully, a road running along an old river-bed that winds through a 6.5km (4 mile) valley of ferns. Another tour is the Jamaica Night on the White River, a canoe ride up the torchlit river to the sound of drums. Dinner and an open-air bar is available on the riverbank (Sunday evenings). More on Ocho Rios.
Negril is 80km (50 miles) west of Montego Bay and has a beach stretching for 11km (7 miles) which offers sailing, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, parasailing and windsurfing. First coming to attention as an artists’ center, and later as a focus of alternative culture in the 1960s, it is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination which seems likely to preserve much of its original character – indeed, the law requires all buildings to be of modest proportions. Along the street, entrepreneurial Jamaicans sell a variety of craft goods from the many shanty-like shops in Negril. There is also a hectic nightlife in the many clubs that have, over the years, proliferated along the beach. Rick’s Caf�, located at West Point (which is as far west as Jamaica goes), is a favorite haunt both for Jamaicans and visitors and is famous as the place from which to observe the sun going down. More on Negril.
Set on one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful bays, Port Antonio is surrounded by the Blue Mountains. The town dates back to the 16th century, and sights include Mitchell’s Folly, a two-story mansion built by the American millionaire Dan Mitchell in 1905, and the ruins of the 60-room Great House. The surrounding sea is rich in game fish, such as kingfish, yellowtail, wahoo and bonito. Blue marlin, however, are the great prize and there is an annual Blue Marlin Tournament run alongside the Jamaican International Fishing Tournament in Port Antonio every autumn. Rafting is available on the Rio Grande, comprising two-hour trips on two passenger bamboo rafts, which begin high in the Blue Mountains at Berrydale, sail past plantations of bananas and sugar cane, and end up at Margaret’s Bay. The scenic Somerset Falls nearby are a popular picnic spot. Beaches in the Port Antonio area include San San and Boston (where the Jamaican ‘jerk pork’ is found), while the Blue Lagoon is a salt-water cove offering fishing, swimming and water-skiing and is considered one of the finest coves in the Caribbean. More on Port Antonio.
Mandeville is set amid beautiful gardens and fruits, at the heart of Jamaica’s citrus industry, 600m (2000ft) above sea level and the highest town on the island. Mandeville offers cool relief from the heat of the coast, and has a golf course, tennis and horse riding facilities. The town is the center of the bauxite industry, and is a good starting point for trips to the surrounding areas. More on Mandeville.
On the south coast are Milk River Spa, a naturally radioactive mineral bath with waters at a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius (86 F); Lover’s Leap in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a sheer 18m (60ft) cliff overhanging the sea; Treasure Beach and the resort of Bluefields.
Falmouth is a delightful harbor resort, 42km (26 miles) east of Montego Bay. From here, you can visit Rafters Village for rafting on the Martha Brae, and a fascinating crocodile farm called Jamaica (jumaica jamaeyca jamaeaca jameiica jamaeica jamuica jamaisa jamaice jemaica jameica jamaice jeimaica jameiica) Swamp Safaris. There is also a plantation mansion, Greenwood Great House, once owned by the Barrett Brownings. The Church of St Paul has Sunday services, where visitors can listen to the choir singing.
Kingston and Saint Andrew
Kingston is Jamaica’s capital city and cultural center. With the largest natural harbor in the Caribbean (and seventh-largest in the world), Kingston is also an industrial center where Georgian architecture mixes with modern office blocks while, on the outskirts, spreading suburbs house the hundreds of thousands who increasingly work in the city. Although most tourists head for the beaches and resorts, Kingston has much to offer in the way of sightseeing.
The National Gallery of Art has a colorful display of modern art and is recommended. Hope Botanical Gardens contain a wide variety of trees and plants and are particularly famous for orchids. A band plays here on Sunday afternoons. There is a Crafts Market on King Street and the Port Royal, on top of the peninsula bordering Kingston Harbour, is a museum to the time when Port Royal (Jamaica’s ancient capital city that was submerged under the sea after an earthquake in 1692) was known as the ‘richest and wickedest city on earth’ under the domination of Captain Morgan and his buccaneers. The White Marl Arawak Museum is also worth seeing; here, visitors can see artifacts and relics of the ancient culture of the Arawak Indians. The grounds of the University of the West Indies, built on what was once a sugar plantation, are open to the public. Caymanas Park is a popular racetrack, where you can bet on the horses every Wednesday and Saturday and also during public holidays. Air Jamaica has regular flights to Kingston. More on Kingston.
A short drive to the west of Kingston, Spanish Town is the former capital of Jamaica. The Spanish Town Square is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the Western hemisphere. The Spanish Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega is the oldest in the West Indies.