Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae music, the Rastafari movement, and all-inclusive resorts, is the heart of the Caribbean. While it’s tempting not to leave your all-inclusive resort, there’s so much to see in the Caribbean’s third-largest island. So much so that it’s hard to see everything in one trip. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered with all things related to your Jamaican vacation. Here’s what you should know before planning your trip.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Jamaica is from November to mid-December since the weather is nicest during this time of year, ranging from the mid-70s to the high 80s, and you’ll get better hotel and flight deals. Rates are cheap during the summer, but you’ll be competing with hurricane season. Peak travel season is from January to March, but it’s also when hotels are the most expensive.
How to Get Around
The best way to get around Jamaica is by taxi or by renting a car. Keep in mind that in this Caribbean country they drive on the left side of the road, which can be confusing, and there are tons of potholes and aggressive drivers.
Where to Stay
Located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica Inn, a 4.5-star hotel, has both an antique and modern feel as well as a private Jamaica beach. There’s free snorkel gear, kayaks, paddleboards, and Sunfish sailboats. Be sure to check out the hotel’s open-air restaurant and their Ocean Spa.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas
This 4.5-star Montego Bay hotel has hosted Grace Kelley, Cole Porter, Jackie Kennedy, and other celebrities. It’s located on a tropical hillside along a private bay. Some of the amenities include rain showers and open-air living rooms and verandas. For an extra fee, you can hire cottage housekeepers who will cook your breakfast. There are also a restaurant, three bars, tennis courts, water sports, and spa treatments.
Half Moon, a 5-star hotel in Montego Bay’s views either overlook the ocean or the hotel’s pool and garden. There are tennis courts, squash courts, and a golf course. Animal lovers can swim with horses from the on-site equestrian center or watch recently hatched sea turtles return to the ocean. The hotel also has three restaurants to choose from.
What to Do
Dunn’s River Falls and Park
Located in Ocho Rios, make sure climbing the Dunn’s River Falls and Park is part of your itinerary. Take a guided climb of the waterfall, hike a trail, or soak up the sun on the beach at the bottom.
Less than 10 miles east of Port Antonio’s town center is Boston Beach, which is known for its clear waters and powder-white sands. The beach claims to be the birthplace of Jamaican jerk seasoning, which can be tasted at the nearby Boston Jerk Center. You may even hear some live music while you sample the dishes.
Bob Marley Museum
Head out of the sun for a bit and check out the museum which pays homage to the music icon. The Bob Marley Museum, which is where the musician used to live, is located in Kingston. You’ll see artifacts and Marley’s recording studio and bedroom.
What to Eat
Ackee and Saltfish
The national dish of Jamaica is served for breakfast or brunch and it’s served with yam, green banana, or johnnycakes. Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica fruit and saltfish is cod.
This dish is great for vegans and vegetarians and callaloo is a leafy vegetable similar to spinach. It’s usually served cooked with onions, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes and it’s commonly served with saltfish.
Fried plantains are a Jamaican staple and they’re eaten as a a side dish with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Some people prefer them fresh or boiled, while others like them fried.