Things you need to know about Jamaica

If you’re in the mood for a Caribbean getaway, you have dozens of choices. Jamaica, however, offers a unique and special atmosphere that many people love. From the incredibly beaches to the reggae music and warmth of the people, this island attracts many visitors who return time after time. Let’s look at some of Jamaica’s most appealing beaches, activities and attractions.


Highlights of Jamaica

If you love nature, white sand beaches, water sports and wildlife, you will certainly not be disappointed by Jamaica.


  • Bloody Bay, a great spot for snorkeling, is the site of several hotels and resorts. It has the reputation for being quieter and lower-key than other beaches, but this is changing as word spreads.


  • Seven Mile Beach is one of Jamaica’s most famous and popular beaches. As the name suggests, it provides 7 full miles of exquisite beach. This is a lively area with lots of tourists, musicians and people having fun. There are also many bars, restaurants and shops nearby.


  • Dunn’s River Falls -A waterfall that is popular for climbing. This is usually done with the help of guides. If you want to make the climb without a crowd, you should start early in the morning.


  • Rose Hall Great House -If you want to see some of Jamaica’s history, this building is a well-preserved plantation near Montego Bay. It’s reputed to be haunted.


  • Bob Marley Museum -For fans of Bob Marley and reggae, this is a must-see stop on your tour of Jamaica. This museum, which is located in Marley’s actual former home in Kingston, has lots of information, exhibits and artifacts dedicated to this iconic musical genius. If you want to complete the Bob Marley tour, you can also visit the Bob Marley Mausoleum on St. Ann’s Bay.


  • Negril Cliffs -If you want to see some of the Caribbean’s most dramatic cliffs, come to this spot in Negril. Adventurous visitors leap from the cliffs into the water, supervised by lifeguards.


Dining and Nightlife

Jamaican food is an interesting and delicious fusion of many different influences, and this cuisine continues to evolve today. Among other things, it’s been influenced by Spanish, Chinese, African and English cultures. Of course, the native fruits, vegetables, fish and meats also play a major role. Some of the most popular dishes include rice and peas, curried goat, dumplings and fried plantain. But you can find all kinds of ethnic and fusion cuisine on the island. The following is only a small sampling of some of the best places to eat in Jamaica.


  • For authentic Caribbean barbecue and Jamaican specialties. Scotchie’s, which has locations in both Montego Bay and Ochos Rios, is a great choice. The jerk chicken is especially popular.


  • Another savory place in Ochos Rios is Juici-Beef Patties, which specializes in another Jamaican favorite. The beef patties are not only delicious but also very reasonable.


  • While Murphy’s West End Restaurant might sound more like a London or Dublin pub than a Jamaican restaurant, it actually serves terrific and authentic Jamaican cuisine in Negril. This place is known for its fresh seafood and produce and for its superb presentation of dishes.


  • The Houseboat Grill, on Montego Bay, is actually on a houseboat, which guest must be rowed to, providing for a distinctive experience. The food is also great, though the focus is more in the direction of American seafood than traditional Jamaican dishes. You can get fresh lobster, pork tenderloin and a variety of well-prepared fish and meat dishes.


  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville , with locations in Falmouth, Negril, Montego Bay and other spots, is popular among cruise ship passengers and other visitors as well. This festive place, named after the famous song, has a variety of American, Mexican and Caribbean dishes, including burgers, BBQ chicken, shrimp. quesadillas and a good selection of appetizers.    


For nightlife, you can find many lively bars and nightclubs. The aforementioned Margaritaville always has something happening, from music to contests. Other clubs worth checking out include The Jungle on Beach Road in Negril, Rick’s Café, on West End Road in Negril, The Dub Club in Kingston and The Runaway Sports Bar & Grill in Runaway Bay.


Where to Stay

You can find a wide range of accommodations in Jamaica. Once you decide where you want to be situated, you can choose among small inns, larger hotels and all-inclusive resorts.


Resorts can be a fun way to experience Jamaica. They generally include most of your needs and entertainment, making it easier to set your budget. Some good choices are Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Lucea, which is more of a family oriented rather than party type resort; Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ocho Rios, which is a sprawling resort with its own transportation system to get you from place to place.


If you want to stay at a resort in Montego Bay, you might like Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, a luxurious resort that’s popular with honeymooners and other seeking a romantic getaway.


For budget-minded travelers, some of the best choices for hotels and resorts include Montego Bay Club Resort, which is made up of condos in a high rise building. Chrisanns Beach Resort provides good value if you’re looking for a hotel in Ocho Rios. Hidden Paradise Resort Hotel in Negril is a reasonable hotel/resort (not all-inclusive) close to shops and entertainment.


For more of a B & B or guest house type atmosphere, Jamaica also has lots of options, such as Polish Princess Guest House, a friendly B&B in Port Antonio; Teresinajamaica in St. Ann’s Bay, which is in a scenic area near plantations but is a ten minute drive to the bay. If you want to stay at a quiet guest house in the less busy southern part of Jamaica, try Treasure Beach, a guest house in the area also called Treasure Beach.