There’s nothing like a tropical getaway.
While Jamaica has long been a popular travel destination, the recent opening of several new resorts and its growing number of activities are making the island paradise all the more appealing to visitors. From some of the world’s most unique bars to incredible resorts where you’ll be treated like royalty, here are 23 pictures that show why your next Caribbean vacation should be to Jamaica.
Note: Jamaica is one of several Caribbean destinations that have reported cases of the Zika virus, which is why we recommend you keep the CDC’s guidelines in mind if you plan to travel there.
Jamaica is home to sandy beaches and beautiful rainforests filled with bountiful banana groves. TripAdvisor says there are around 774 activities for tourists to enjoy, from hiking and bird-watching to snorkeling and shopping.
In Negril, you can have a drink at Rick’s Cafe, which opened in 1774 and is perched on the side of a cliff.
Or you can try Floyd’s Pelican bar, a thatched hut that sits on stilts in the ocean off of Negril. Boat rides take you to the bar, where you can swim, sip rum, and take in the gorgeous views.
Rum lovers should visit the Appleton Estate, the oldest sugar estate and distillery to be in continuous production on the island. You can tour the distillery in Nassau Valley to see how the rum is produced, and then taste it yourself.
Jamaica is also home to incredible food. There are plenty of outdoor and open-air bistros for grabbing fresh seafood, but Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar is a favorite. Located on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, Cosmo’s offers everything from grilled and curried lobster to a conch soup.
A well-known specialty here is jerk chicken, which is cooked over charcoal and seasoned with spices to produce a smoky flavor. A favorite spot for enjoying it is Scotchies in Montego Bay, where juicy pork and chicken are grilled and served with a fiery hot sauce.
Miss T’s Kitchen in Ocho Rios is known for its rainbow-clad tables, wooden chairs, and authentic Jamaican bites that range from curried goat and oxtail stew to vegan and vegetarian selections.
And make sure to stop in at Devon House Bakery in Kingston to sample their famous patties, which are pastries filled with various ingredients and baked inside a flaky shell. Besides delectable versions like a lobster patty, the bakery also has scrumptious cakes and juices to grab on the go.
Many of the hotels here are set among breathtaking scenery, like The Caves resort in Negril. Perched on limestone cliffs, the hotel is made up of 12 cottages and one villa, as well as a private dining venue and massage tables that you can enjoy in underground caves while admiring the ocean.
For a more remote experience, you can stay at the Geejam Hotel, which is set in a lush tropical-forest setting in Port Antonio. The hotel includes cottages and bungalows where guests can retreat, as well as swanky features like a recording studio and a free cellphone for use during your stay.
There’s also the historic Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, which was built in 1953 and has been a favorite among noted figures for years, including John F. Kennedy and Alfred Hitchcock. The 30-acre resort has 27 villas and 36 Ralph Lauren-designed guest rooms.
Or get some literary inspiration at the GoldenEye Hotel and Resort in Oracabessa Bay, which was built by James Bond author Ian Fleming. Featuring a variety of villas, beach huts, and lagoon cottages, the hotel also has the Fleming Villa, a private residence complete with its own beach, pool, and tropical garden.
There are also plenty of activities for travelers to enjoy. Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios takes visitors through a tropical forest adventure tour and up a 700-foot peak. You can even bobsled through the forest while enjoying incredible views.
They also offer zip-lining, where travelers are whisked through the area’s lush rainforest canopy.
Jamaica’s clear waters and shipwrecks make for exciting scuba-diving adventures. Dive sites include the Throne Room, an underwater cave within the Negril Marine Park, and a World War II minesweeper that now stands as an artificial reef.
Another signature experience is glass-bottom-boat rides in Negril. You’ll board a ship where you’ll be able to marvel at turquoise waters filled with coral-reef formations and marine life as deep as 20 feet below.
Golfers should be sure to play a round at one of the island’s many courses. A favorite is The Tryall Club near Montego Bay, where players can try out courses that blend with the layout of the area’s 17th-century sugar plantation.
A unique Jamaican experience is a rafting tour down the Martha Brae, located approximately 3 miles from the town of Falmouth. Thirty-foot-long bamboo rafts carry travelers down 3 miles of the Martha Brae River, where they can enjoy a swim. Famous fans of the activity include Johnny Cash, Kenny Rodgers, and Chuck Norris.
There are also a variety of pristine beaches to relax and unwind at, like Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay. Enjoy its clear waters and white sands before grabbing a bite to eat at the nearby beach bar.
Jamaica also has many stunning waterfalls to explore. The most famous is Dunn’s River Falls, where visitors can climb the tiers of limestone that create its stunning cascading pools.
As the birthplace of Bob Marley and reggae, Jamaica has a lively music scene. You can learn the singer’s story at The Bob Marley Museum, which is located on the site of his home in Kingston. The museum displays his personal treasures, memorabilia, and a photograph gallery.
You can even learn about authentic Rastafarian philosophy and culture at the Rastafari Indigenous Village in Montego Bay. Guests will learn about Rasta faith and culture while enjoying experiences like swimming in natural pools and trekking the countryside.
You can also catch great live jazz at Mike’s Supper Lounge in the Trident Hotel in Port Antonio. The cabaret lounge includes a 1917 Steinway grand piano for performers, as well as Jamaican and Japanese cuisine.
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