Despite its location almost smack in the center of the Caribbean Sea, the island of Jamaica doesn’t blend in easily with the rest of the Caribbean archipelago. To be sure, it boasts the same addictive sun rays, sugary sands and pampered resort-life as most of the other islands, but it is also set apart historically and culturally.
Today’s visitors will appreciate their trip to Jamaica all the more if they embrace the island’s unique character and the inherent ‘African-ness’ of its population. Aside from its people, Jamaica has much to offer, the curious, thirsty or weary traveller. The Blue Mountains boasts the world’s best coffee, try a cup in the century-old factory at Mavis Bank. There are world-class reefs for diving including those at Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios and great stretches of palm-fringed sand at Treasure Beach or Frenchman’s Cove near Port Antonio. There are offbeat bush-medicine hiking tours, congenial fishing villages, pristine waterfalls, cosmopolitan cities, wetlands harboring endangered crocodiles and manatees, unforgettable sunsets – in short, enough variety to comprise many utterly distinct vacations.
Nowhere else in the Caribbean is the connection to Africa as keenly felt as it is in Jamaica. Kingston was the major nexus in the New World for the barbaric triangular trade that brought slaves from Africa and carried sugar and rum to Europe, and the Maroons (runaways who took to the hills of Cockpit Country and the Blue Mountains) safeguarded many of the African traditions – and introduced jerk seasoning to Jamaica’s singular cuisine. St Ann’s Bay’s Marcus Garvey founded the back-to-Africa movement of the 1910s and ’20s; Rastafarianism took up the call a decade later, and reggae furnished the beat in the 1960s and ’70s. Little wonder many Jamaicans claim a stronger affinity for Africa than for neighboring Caribbean islands.
This is a country infused with pride in its unique history, stunning landscape and influential culture. Welcome to Jamaica.
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Best places to stay in Jamaica
How to choose a Caribbean island
The dozens of islands scattered across the Caribbean are a remarkably diverse lot. Pulsing Jamaica has little in common with group-filled Aruba, and even islands in plain sight of each other like St Kitts and Nevis are vastly different not just in appearance but in what they offer visitors.
Jamaica's best outdoor adventures
Jamaica's most unique resorts and hotels
Jamaica destination guides
Whether you approach it by air or by land, Kingston – sitting between the world’s seventh-largest natural harbor and the wall of Blue Mountains – simultaneously impresses you with its setting and overwhelms you with its sheer size, its noise and...
Top 10 Jamaica travel experiences
Jamaica’s lovely landscape, with its crystalline waters flowing over gardens of coral, lapping onto sand as soft as yellow butter, as dark as ash and white as rice, then rising past red soil and lush banana groves into sheer mountains; mixed with its confident, yet cool reggae demeanor, makes Jamaica the stuff of day dreams.
Jamaica's best live music and nightlife
Swing through the trees with the greatest of ease on this adrenaline-charged Jamaica zipline tour! Ride a zipline in Jamaica - soar from one platform to the next amongst the tree-tops 45 feet (14 meters) above the ground! You'll feel like Tarzan or George of the Jungle as you ride through the canopy of a tropical paradise! Your Jamaican nature adventure takes you over a series.
Dunns River Falls and Ocho Rios Shopping Tour
A shopper's paradise and home to the world famous Dunns River Falls, Ocho Rios has become one of the most energetic cities in Jamaica. Leisurely browse through the town's many craft markets before venturing to Dunns River Falls cascading down 600 feet (180 meters) into the sea.
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Bond, James Bond that is, turns 50 on the silver screen this year. For those of us who leave room for a little glamour into our suitcases, he's the ultimate travel guide, shaking it up in classiest hotels, casinos and worldwide settings mostly linked to a map of a once-was British imperial world.