Diving & Snorkeling
Major dive centers are concentrated on the northwest coast; snorkeling opportunities can be found almost anywhere. Dive or snorkel and you’ll soon discover a plethora of vibrant small fish and good visibility.
Montego Bay Gets green points due to protected waters at Montego Bay Marine Park & Bogue Lagoon.
Ironshore Shares operators with Montego Bay. Sights such as the Point and the underwater tunnel at Widowmakers Cave are highlights.
Negril The calm waters that characterize Negril make it a good place for newbies seeking scuba certification.
Ocho Rios A reef stretches from Ocho Rios to Galina Point, making for fine diving and snorkeling expeditions.
Jamaica is, per capita, one of the most musically influential nations in the world. From local sound-system parties to international festivals, beats and bass are always in the background here.
Kingston parties Downtown Kingston’s sound-system parties are the stuff of legend, with the brashest dancehall on the streets.
Reggae Sumfest The world’s definitive reggae experience features both the best of old sweet sounds and dancehall’s raucous ‘riddims.’
Rebel Salute Held on the north coast in January, this is the biggest roots reggae festival in Jamaica.
Negril There's something going on in Negril most nights, from reggae and dancehall beach parties to January's Jazz Festival.
Jamaica’s complex story can be explored in a variety of ways, from its beautiful colonial architecture to community tourism projects recounting history from the bottom up.
Falmouth This friendly little town on the north coast boasts the greatest concentration of historic buildings in all Jamaica.
Port Royal Just a skip away from Kingston is this old haven of pirates and streets of Georgian architecture.
Black River Nicely preserved colonial houses and other remnants of a once-powerful boomtown.
Accompong The isolated outpost of the living Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves who have retained deep African cultural roots.
Jamaica is unexpectedly rich in wildlife, from American crocodiles and a diverse, multihued bird population, to the marine fauna, including dolphins and sea turtles, that inhabits the surrounding waters.
Black River Great Morass Nothing makes a boat trip into a Jurassic-looking swamp cooler than dozens of prehistoric-looking crocodiles.
Windsor Head into the daunting jungles of craggy Cockpit Country with trained ornithologists in search of birdlife.
Rocklands Bird Feeding Station In Anchovy, this quirky grassroots tourism project is for birders who want to catch sight of Jamaica’s hummingbirds.
Canoe Valley Wetland A series of isolated, lonely roads lead to this lovely window onto Eden, where jungle vines frame a pool sometimes frequented by manatees.
Food & Drink
When home is a garden island populated by a cultural mélange of Africans, Chinese, Indians, Spanish and English, you should probably expect food to evolve in some interesting ways.
Boston Bay The supposed birthplace of jerk, Jamaica’s most famous spice rub, is the best place to sample it.
Appleton Rum Estate Sip the strong stuff in the Central Highlands and realize how much flavor rocket fuel can have.
Fine Kingston dining The nation’s capital is the place to sample haute Caribbean cuisine.
Alligator Pond It's hard to imagine a better seafood feast in Jamaica than in the beachside shacks at Little Ochie.
Waterfalls & Rivers
Jamaica’s rivers have historically been the country’s most important arterials. Today, they’re also a playground for tourists visiting the Caribbean’s most dramatic waterfalls.
YS Falls Deeply secluded in St Elizabeth parish, you’d be forgiven for thinking YS Falls emerged out of Eden.
Martha Brae River Be gently poled down this emerald-green tunnel, a silent riverine paradise close to MoBay.
Reach Falls These tall falls, which cascade through pools into lush jungle, may be the most beautiful in Jamaica.
Dunn’s River Falls They may be slightly overcrowded, but it’s still tons of fun to clamber up these slippery falls.
Relaxing at Resorts
For all the adventures and excursions we’re mentioning, it’s fair to say some of the most fun to be had in Jamaica involves lazing around and getting spoiled like your life depended on it. This is, after all, where the concept of all-inclusive resorts was born. If that isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of independent hotels where you can still be pampered.
Spa Retreat Boutique Hotel Swim in a clifftop pool beside this clutch of handcrafted stone cottages.
Caves Negril’s most exclusive, secluded and beautiful resort promises an unmatched top-end resort experience, likely accompanied by celebrity guests.
Round Hill Classy elegance and innovative design define this preserve of the rich, famous and tasteful, located in the northwest.
Kanopi House One of the most innovative ecoresorts on the island, where green sensibility and uncompromising luxury seamlessly blend.
Jamaica is an island where it’s pretty easy to fall in love, or fall back into love, or, as the case may be, lust (hey, all those dirty dancehall lyrics start getting to you after a while, what can we say). When you’ve got a country that zigs between powder beaches and misty mountains, and zags from clear waterfalls to molten sunsets, there are lots of perfect-kiss moments.
Treasure Beach A proliferation of small guesthouses, opulent villas and friendly locals – and yes, of course, a gorgeous beach.
Oracabessa Hideaways don't come much more elegant than Goldeneye in Oracabessa, the spiritual birthplace of James Bond.
Negril OK, Negril is over-touristed, but watch that sunset off the west coast and try not to be lovestruck.
Rio Grande River What could make river rafting more romantic? Doing so under the light of the full moon.
Jamaica’s heavy rains, plus the porous rock that makes up its spine of interior mountains, combine to create a vast system of sinkholes and caves. In fact, this is one of the most extensive cave networks for such a relatively small geographic region. Many of these caves are located within the inhospitable reaches of the rugged Cockpit Country, and as such aren’t easily accessed by the average tourist.
Windsor Cave There’s something about the entrance and egress of thousands of bats that lets you know you’re somewhere special.
Painted Circuit Cave Wade through clear, cool water and admire otherworldly rock formations inside a beautiful cave in the Cockpit Country.
Gourie Cave Only the adventurous should apply to enter this complex, where water seeps in and flooding is a possibility.
North Cockpit Country You need a sense of adventure to explore the tunnels that crisscross this rugged corner of Jamaica.