Jamaica is a Caribbean island in the West Indies which is situated in the Caribbean Sea.
Known for its stunning beaches, reggae music, rum and being home to the fastest man on earth, the island is a popular holiday destination thanks to its year-round sunshine and hot weather.
Need to Know:
Local currency – Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Language – English
Transport – Taxi
Adaptor – 2 flat pin
My trip was a 14-night all-inclusive package holiday – I booked the flights and hotel together.
Where to stay
There are many places to stay in Jamaica – popular tourist destinations include Negril, Montego Bay, Ochi Rios and Port Antonio.
Negril – Situated in the west of Jamaica and is known for its beautiful white beaches.
Montego Bay – Mo Bay is the tourist capital of the country, it is energetic and lively, visited for its nightlife, lux resorts and activities.
Ochi Rios – Another popular tourist destination on the island which boasts some of Jamaica’s most stunning beaches.
Port Antonio – Perfect for those that like quiet trips as PA is not as busy as the other tourist cities.
Wherever you decide to stay you’re guaranteed beautiful scenery and a great stay. As this was a girls trip we opted for Montego Bay for the tourism and nightlife.
We stayed in the Riu Reggae which was a brand new hotel adults-only resort. Staying at the Riu Reggae meant we could access the grounds of its sister hotels; Riu Palace and Riu Montego Bay. Between the three resorts, there was more than enough going on to keep us occupied for two weeks.
The hotel was very new and clean, the food was good and I was kept happy with the endless supplies of frozen slushies.
The main highlight of the food was the Jerk Hut which was open for lunch every day – authentic jerk chicken barbequed on the beach.
Staying in a resort for my first trip to Jamaica was a good way to get a feel of my surroundings however for my future trips to Jamaica I would love to stay in a private villa.
Other hotels that I had shortlisted included:
- The Cliff Hotel
- The Caves
- S Hotel Jamaica
- Breathless Montego Bay
- Sensatori Resort Azul Jamaica
What to Eat
Staying at an all-inclusive resort didn’t stop me from trying some of my favourite authentic Jamaican dishes.
I can see why Scotchies was recommended to get authentic traditional jerk. Their jerk chicken did not disappoint, paired with rice and peas and festival bread. Highly recommend.
Our hotel served a selection of patties every day but we still had to get the real deal. Juici Patties is popular with the locals and serves a choice of fresh meat, shrimp and veggie patties.
Floyds Pelican Bar
Pelican Bar is a unique bar on a sandbar in the ocean. To get there you need to take a 10-minute boat ride from Treasure Beach, Falmouth.
Also highly recommended were:
- Miss T’s Kitchen
- Fireman’s Lobster Pit
What to do
Jamaica is filled with different activities, I did so much and I still didn’t manage to get round to everything – even after a two-week stay.
Ricks Café is a Negril hot spot, it’s a bar and restaurant which offers stunning sunset views and cliff jumping if you’re brave enough. If not, you can always watch others cliff jump whilst you sip on a cocktail and listen to the live band. If you visit, try to make sure you time it to see the beautiful sunset view.
Seven Mile Beach
Situated in Negril, 7 Mile is a famous endless stretch of powdery white sand and crystal clear water beach. There are plenty of water sports on offer and you can even do shark diving (at your own risk).
If you visit Negril, you can do Seven Mile Beach and Ricks Café on the same day.
Dunns River Falls
Visiting the Dunn’s River Waterfall was the highlight of my trip to Jamaica. The magnificent sight of the falls had me in awe of God.
The falls are situated in Ochi Rios and is one of Jamaica’s national treasures. It was rated the number 1 best thing to do in Jamaica and after visiting I can see why.
You can climb the falls guided or alone – we went in a big group with a guide which was the right option as it’s a slippery climb and can be a little bit dangerous.
Top tip – wearing water shoes is a must to protect your feet from the sharp rocks and to help your grip as you climb – I purchased mine from Amazon.
Bob Marley Museum – Nine Miles
The Nine Miles tour is a trip to the home and resting place of the legendary Bob Marley.
The guided tour takes you around the grounds of where Bob Marley grew up, and ends with his resting place and included a live band playing some of Bob Marley’s hit songs.
The tour isn’t to everyone’s taste but I really enjoyed it and I recommend, especially to any fans of Bob Marley.
Rafting on the Martha Brae
The Martha Brae River is in Falmouth which you ride down on a large bamboo raft – lasting for around an hour. The captain guides the raft with a 30ft bamboo pole and gives information about the river and the surrounding wildlife.
The captain also let us punt which was more difficult than it looks. Be careful if decide to steer the raft as depending on the time of year the river can be aggressive and is deep.
This is a must-do if you love absolute scenes. The river rafting tour was stunning and is one of the most tranquil excursions that I have been on – definitely at one with nature.
Dolphin Cove is a marine interaction attraction in Ochi Rios. You can swim with dolphins, and interact with stingrays and sharks.
Swimming with dolphins was one of my childhood dreams and it was great to tick it off the bucket list.
The glistening waters occur in the Luminous Lagoon in Falmouth. It is a phenomenon that occurs in only four places in the world. There are millions of glowing microscopic organisms which light up the waters and create bioluminescence.
The experience was fascinating and is worth going to if you’re near Falmouth. Other than that I wouldn’t recommend as the lagoon was grimy and the entertainment (a fire show) was disappointing.
Horseback riding isn’t a particularly fascinating activity but there is something different about riding through the beach and into the Caribbean Sea.
The trail started in the Jamaican countryside and continued with a ride ‘n’ swim in the warm sea.
The Caribbean is known for its festivals but unfortunately, there weren’t any major festivals on during my trip. Some of the best include Dream Weekend, Jamaica Rum Festival, Jamaica Carnival and Reggae Sumfest.
Even though did a lot, there were some other activities that I didn’t have time to fit in:
- White water rafting
- Mystic Mountain
- Blue hole
Montego Bay is said to have the best nightlife in Jamaica and you’ll find the best nightclubs on ‘the hipstrip’ in Montego Bay. I partied at:
Pier 1 holds a party every Friday which is filled with locals; if the locals attend that’s when you know its a good event. Dancehall music is played all night, to a crowd of over 1000 people, overlooking a view of the bay.
The nightlife was good but I did get a touristy feel and would have loved to have gone to a locals-only club.
I loved my time in Jamaica – it had a real authentic and relaxed island feel. The people, the food, the scenery and the activities were all amazing and I would visit again in a heartbeat.
Comment below if you have any questions or suggestions from your own time in Jamaica.