Beautiful Jamaica is a Caribbean island nation that lies to the south of Cuba. Populated initially by indigenous South Americans, it was conquered first by the Spanish in the late 15th century, and then the British in 1655. It retains status as a Commonwealth state until today.The climate on the island is tropical, with a hot and humid rainy season from April until September (meaning it usually will rain for a while late afternoon or early evening), and a dry season of less hot and humid weather from December to April. The hurricane season, which starts in June, peaks in August and runs until October, is the time most likely to have storms. Jamaica is divided into three regions; Cornwall County, Middlesex County and Surrey County. Kingston on the southeastern coast is the island´s capital, with other large cities including Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios.
- The author Ian Fleming built his home “Goldeneye” in Jamaica and wrote 10 of the famous James Bond novels there.
- Jamaica´s Blue Mountains are often covered in a mist which looks blue from a distance...hence the name!
- Jamaica has won the second-most number of world and Olympic medals after the United States.
- There are numerous hot springs and mineral baths in Jamaica that are meant to have healing properties.
- Most Jamaicans don´t actually smoke marijuana, and possession of the drug is illegal on the island.
- Jamaica´s telephone system was so good that AT&T copied the model!
Things to See and Do
If you like relaxing on beaches, hiking in the forest and a generally laid-back atmosphere, then you´re in the right place on Jamaica. The island is also known as the “land of wood and water”, and offers lush forests great for hiking and bird-watching, breath-taking waterfalls and beautiful ocean cliffs. There is so much to do that we´ve decided only to list a few of the highlights below.
Head to the Blue Hole in Ocho Rios, which according to some visitors is a waterfall even more spectacular than the Dunn´s River Falls, which are also located in the region. You can hike right up to the top of the falls for an amazing and giddying view, or spend your afternoon cliff-jumping and swimming in the pools below.
For an adrenaline rush take rainforest bobsled ride at Mystic Mountain, where besides bob-sledding you can zipline, waterslide or take a ride on the aerial tram.Get a feel for the nightlife in Jamaica by stopping into Colette´s Bar in Negril. This establishment has great drinks, cool reggae and amazing atmosphere. Want to catch the ocean sunset from bar on a treehouse on stilts? Get yourself over to Floyd´s Pelican Bar, also in Negril, where you can enjoy a cool drink, go for a swim and relax to the lapping of waves.
Jamaica´s Food Delights
There are certain dishes in Jamaica you must try when you are over there, as these are unique to the island. Ackee and saltfish, made with the local fruit ackee, is regarded as the national dish of Jamaica. Another local dish is bammy, a flat pancake made with cassava flour and traditionally eaten for breakfast. The local hard dough bread tastes especially good toasted. If you´re craving some meat or fish, try the curried goat or curried fish, or anything with jerk seasoning (such as jerk chicken, pork or conch). A refreshing drink you can get anywhere is a coconut water, drank straight from a green coconut with the top lobbed off, and a straw inserted.
Murphy's West End Restaurant in Negril is a small family run restaurant that gets rave reviews for its jerk dishes and other Jamaican cuisine. Also in Negril is another great Jamaican restaurant, Presley´s, that is highly praised for its Jamaican atmosphere, the delicious food and good prices. If you fancy some really good Italian food, head to Toscanini´s in Ocho Rios.
Getting To and Around Jamaica
There are two main airports in Jamaica, the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, and the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Transportation around the island is limited to pretty much taking buses, taxis or renting your own car. Either way, the state of the roads isn´t the best, so if you are planning long trips around the island, bring some motion sickness tablets! Local taxis are much cheaper than tourist taxis. They will usually look just like a local´s car, maybe with the word “taxi” painted on it, and often already have passengers. However everyone is more than happy to have you along, just give them and the driver a friendly greeting.
As Jamaica is a Commonwealth state, vehicles drive on the left. It´s important to remember this when crossing roads and especially if you are hiring a car or bike yourself to get around.
Accommodation and Apartments for Rent in Jamaica
There are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels to be found in Jamaica, but if you want to check out how the locals really live, head over to Wimdu and check out the offers we have there on self-catering rentals. Be it a beachside apartment or a luxurious seafront villa, or maybe even a cosy cottage, take the opportunity to experience this unique way of overnighting, and benefit from insider tips on the surrounding area that your host is bound to have plenty of!