Destination Bucket List: Jamaica

Out of all the places I’ve been, the island of Jamaica stands out as being one of the most incredible and most welcoming.

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I was met with friendly smiles, chill vibes and beautiful landscapes. And, throughout my five days there, I was only more and more impressed.

Not only is the island blessed with incredible beauty, but it’s rich with culture that influences every aspect of its being. From the food, to the music, to the activities, it’s clear that the Jamaican people take pride in what they do — and it’s awesome.


What to experience

1. RICK’S CAFE

Rick’s Cafe in Negril is one of Jamaica’s most famous hot spots. It’s actually a bar and restaurant, but most people go there for heart-throbbing cliff jumping, and breath-taking sunsets!

It’s truly amazing.

2. CATAMARAN SNORKELING TOUR

Time to sit back, sail and do some of the most colorful snorkeling in Jamaica.

This reggae catamaran cruise is Jamaica through and through, as it’s all about relaxing to the max and getting to know some of the finest fish the high seas have to offer. Plus, you’ll get a side of sweet Jamaican beats and a cocktail or two.

3. NEGRIL’S “WEST END PUB CRAWL”

“Negrils West End” pub crawl — which tours 10 different bars — is a fun (and boozy) way to experience the vibrant Jamaican culture.

My favorite was a bar called the “Push Cart Bar and Restaurant at Pirates’ Cave”. It overlooks the ocean and cliffs, and offers a spectacular view of the sunset. There was also a bar inside a cave — what could be more romantic and unique than that?

4. SEVEN MILE BEACH

Dubbed “the most beautiful beach in Jamaica,” the water licking the shores of the Seven Mile Beach is crystal clear water and the sand is glowing white.

Here, there are lots of water activities to do or you can just relax and enjoy the great view.

5. BLUE HOLE

Hidden up in the mountains above bustlingly touristy Ocho Rios, Blue Hole really is a breath of fresh air. It’s not an official Jamaican Tourist Board attraction, but this is key to what makes Blue Hole so special.

With no vendors to bother you, no queues to go through, and all at a reasonable price, you’re left to enjoy the simple magic of the waterfall and the cool swimming pools.


What to eat

1. JERK CHICKEN

Ask someone to name a traditional Jamaican food and they’ll most likely mention jerk chicken. From roadside shacks to fancy restaurants, jerk chicken is, without doubt, a Jamaican institution.

If you don’t know what it is, think pieces of chicken rubbed and marinated in a blend of hot spices before being smoked — traditionally over pimento wood.

2. RED STRIPE

Brewed in Jamaica, this lager is available literally everywhere you go within the country. It’s light, refreshing and perfect paired with any of the native fair.

3. PATTY

Jamaican patties are made up of a pastry outer shell that is stuffed with meat, vegetables or fish. They’re so good.

4. ACKEE AND SALTFISH

For reference — ackee is a fruit native to Jamaica (well, technically Ghana) and saltfish is cod.

Ackee and saltfish is cooked up in one pot with tomatoes, onions and lots of spices. This traditional dish is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner — weird, but that’s how they do it.


How to play

1. DUNN’S RIVER FALLS

Climb the cascades of Dunn’s River Falls and walk through the tropical rainforest of Fern Gully.

The best thing about this experience is that you can take it as slow or as fast as you want. While some choose to hike directly up the falls to get to the top, others choose to take the stairs directly beside the water.

Either way, you’re in for a gorgeous view and an intimate look at the Jamaican landscape.

2. BOBSLEDDING

If there is one thing you have to do when you go to Jamaica, it’s hit the bobsled track at Rainforest Adventures.

After you ride the scenic chairlift up to the top of the mountain, there are a flurry of activities to do. These include the history museum, pool bar and café, waterslides, zip line and — of course — The Bobsled.

Whiz down the hill as fast or as slow as you want, you have control of the brakes — but let me tell you now, fast is fun!

3. ZIP LINING

Get your heart racing while also experiencing the majestic tropical landscapes of Jamaica. Most zip lining excursions will offer a variety of experiences — fast, slow, high, low… you name it. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your elevated look at this stunning country.

4. ATV TOURS

This is one of the fastest, most adrenaline-filled ways to experience Jamaica. Most tours allow you to participate as either a driver or a rider, but regardless of what you prefer, you’re sure to get a rugged, backroads look at this country.

5. BLACK RIVER SAFARI AND YS FALLS

On this Black River safari and YS Falls excursion, you’ll be in the middle of one of the most impressive displays of nature in Jamaica — waterfalls, mangroves, reptiles, birds, sunshine and more.

Sail along the Black River through lush rainforest, then take a scenic drive through awe-inspiring nature to reach YS Falls, one of the most stunning natural spectacles in Jamaica.

So, ready to head out on your trip?Reach out to your BeachMaster with any pre-trip questions.

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