Jamaica, known as the ‘birthplace of raegae music,’ is a tropical paradise located in the western Caribbean featuring waterfalls, scuba diving, breathtaking mountain vistas, lush rainforests, exotic plants and animals. Here, everyone is running on “island time,” meaning if punctuality is your thing, you may have to develop some patience in this neck of the woods.
After some time on the island, don’t be surprised if your vocabulary manifests into local speak, whose most common phrase is, ‘everything irie,’ meaning everything is all right. Your visit here can be whatever you want, catch a zipline through the vibrant green forests, eat some homemade spicy jerk chicken, sip a Red Stripe or Jamaican rum punch.
Music is the heartbeat of Jamaica with festivals and cultural concerts taking the reign as one of the best reasons to get lost in your own rhythmn at this magical land. Make sure to scope out local music events and venues when you arrive.
Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, and Port Antonio are the four main tourist hubs to consider spending your time once arriving in the ‘the home of alright.’ In all neighbourhoods you will meet the friendly people, try their food and watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea to the sound of slow reggae rhythms and good times.
Whether it’s Halloween season or not, consider a visit to Rose Hall, the restored sugar plantation with tales of ghost sightings amongst beautiful ocean views. Legendary Annie Palmer (the White Witch) ruled here with cruelty and met a violent death. Today her home is open to visitors, who (at their own risk), can choose between a day tour or a spooky candlelit evening tour topped off with tales of ghost sightings.
If you consider yourself eco-friendly you will love peaceful Port Antonio thanks to its proximity to the spectacular Blue Mountains. After exploring some waterfalls, and hiking routes, share some memories on the mountain with an infamous cup of Blue Mountain joe.
Important dates in Jamaica
New Year’s Day (January 1)
Ash Wednesday (March 1)
Good Friday (April 14)
Easter Monday (April 17)
Labour Day (May 23)
Emancipation Day (August 1)
Independence Day (August 6)
National Heroes Day (October 16)
-Jamaican foods to try include:
Jerk Chicken, Fried sweet plantains, Jamaican rum punch, Blue Mountain coffee.
-Visitors can tour reggae legend Bob Marley’s former home and explore the city’s museums and historic sites.
-Have you ever seen the movie Cool Runnings? Mystic Mountain, also located in Ocho Rios, has a bob-sledding ride combined with options for zip-lining, water slide and an aerial tram. From above, the tram gives a ride and some insight into the forest and plant life below.
Good to know
-Jamaica is not a open towards travel of LGBT couples.
-September, October, and November have a lower number of tourists due to it being hurricane season. As a result, the police are encouraged to take their vacation during this time. This reduction in the police force can cause areas like Montego Bay to be less safe than it normally would be.
-Jamaican roads are not renowned for their upkeep nor are their drivers for their caution.
Culture and Etiquette in Jamaica
Flip flops are all the rage here in Jamaica. Casual board shorts, floral tops, and flowing lightweight dresses will be all you need to get by while feeling good on this island. When tipping, first check to see if a service charge has been added. If not, up to 10% is acceptable for most services.