Jamaica turns 55 this year! And in honor of the island’s independence, here are 5 reasons why is one of the best destinations to visit in the world!
#1 World Class Resorts
From the tourism capital of Montego Bay, to Negril in the west and Port Antonio in the east, visitors can find a resort to fit their most luxurious wishes and desires.
From Luxury Resorts to Private Villas and Bed and Breakfasts there truly is a place for everyone to find that perfect vacation.
One island favorite is the Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios is exquisitely private and is an intimate, all-butler resort of 74 ocean view suites tucked into a magnificent coral bluff. Sandals is known for their meticulous attention to detail and service allowing guests to focus on spending their days lazing by the pool, teeing off at nearby Sandals Golf & Country Club or scuba diving in the crystal clear Caribbean waters.
A popular Montego Bay resort destination Half Moon, A Rock Resort, which sits on a private estate of 400 acres with beautifully landscaped gardens, a nature reserve, and 197 rooms and suites scattered amongst white-rendered cottages and 31 capacious villas, all fronted by two miles of private beach. It is truly the epitome of luxury – it offers six fine-dining restaurants, an 18-hole championship golf course, an equestrian center, thirteen tennis courts and a private Dolphin Lagoon.
#2 The Music and Food
Two of the most iconic parts of the Jamaican culture, are exactly that Jamaican. Both the Reggae music and the food are distinct, and both call the island nation home – even though they have spread to all corners of the globe.
Reggae music was born in Jamaica and is celebrated with more than 10 different music festivals throughout the year. It is a fantastic way for music enthusiasts to celebrate the music in an amazing atmosphere! It was born out of political unrest and provided the youth at the time, in the 1960’s, a means for creating songs expressing their displeasure with the conditions of their country. It has evolved over the years, from it’s roots in other musical forms, but always placed a premium on meaningful lyrics and speaking out on important topics of the Jamaican people.
It’s most famous musician, and cultural hero, Bob Marley would go on to transcend reggae and become a social voice for all Jamaicans. Many of his songs were aimed at getting Jamaicans to understand their history and where they came from, and even to rebel against those that stood to oppress the Jamaican people. But the real genius in his music, while advocating for social change, gave his fans an opportunity to listen and dance, forgetting their troubles.
The other iconic part of Jamaica found nowhere else in the world is the amazing blend of Caribbean spice and island fusions that make this island nation truly unique. Probably best known for a special marinade, called Jerk, Jamaicans add this spicy sauce to all kinds of distinct types of food, and is concocted using many of the island’s native ingredients. The predominant application is on meats, including seafood, and in various stews and soups.
The variety in culinary offerings are an homage to the island’s various ethnicities and culture, with some of the influences coming from as far away as the U.K., India, China, and even parts of the African continent. But is another dish that claims the title as Jamaica’s national dish – is mixture of saltfish and ackee, a native fruit from the lychee family.
#3 Sports and Activities
So what do you do when you need a break from the beach or want to leave your resort? You’ve got a lot to choose from!
First and foremost, golf enthusiasts love Jamaica as a destination to relax and practice their game, especially since most Jamaican resorts either have their own golf course or access to one. Most are of championship level, some are short, some long, but none are easy and will challenge even the most advanced.
If golf isn’t your thing, maybe you’re wanting to go on a water adventure diving! The waters of Montego Bay are gorgeous and once were long compromised by the effects of fishing, water sports and pollution. With the creation in 1991 of the Montego Bay Marine Park, environmental regulations were enforced to protect the area’s coral reefs, flora and fauna, and shoreline mangroves.
If you’re looking to challenge yourself, Dunn’s Fiver Falls is a must see and do – a trip to Jamaica wouldn’t’ be the same without visiting this famous waterfall in Ocho Rios! Take on this waterfall by climbing it on your own and with a guide. This national treasure is climbed by thousands each year and a fun way to explore some adventure on this amazing island.
And beyond all of this, there are other fun activities such as horseback riding on the beach, ziplining and hiking!
Kingston hasn’t always been a top tourist destination and this city is finally getting more and more attention as a must see spot. It is the capital of Jamaica and the New York Times included it in the 54 places you must visit this year. From the music, nightlife, restaurants and great beaches, it should be on your list.
UNESCO declared Kingston the creative city of music with the Bob Marley Experience. The area is built on music many music festivals including the African Liberation Concert and the Reggae Month are held in public spaces and free of cost.
What’s making this up and coming here even easier to visit is a new highway to and front Ocho Rios has made this area even more accessible if you want to tour the whole island – what a better way to experience the culture than through this vibrant, musical city.
#5 The Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains form the longest mountain range along the eastern edge of Jamaica and features has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From hiking to downhill bike tours, there are a variety of ways to explore these mountains. The roads are narrow, winding and unmarked; however, definitely worth it as the mountain views are spectacular.
In addition to outdoor exploration, there are coffee plantations and festivals throughout the year that draw in people from all over. If you didn’t know, the Blue Mountains are the source of the infamous Blue Mountain coffee. What makes this coffee exceptional is this humid, damp region is perfect for growing coffee. Each bean must be picked by hand and is processed immediately to allow the beans to ferment for up to 24 hours. This unique step adds a distinctive tang to Blue Mountain Coffee. The coffee is then dried in the sun over several days before being bundled into sacks to age for another three months. Any coffee lover will tell you that the wait for this process is totally worth it.
And these are just 5 reasons, with so may more that make this island special.
Thinking about taking a trip to Jamaica? The people, the smiles and the endless opportunities for relaxation and fun activities should put Jamaica high on any traveler’s list of locations to visit now!
Have you been to Jamaica? Where did you go and what did you love about it? I want to hear all about it below!