Jamaica is an island kingdom in the Caribbean Sea and is a part of the British Commonwealth. It is an exotic country attracting with its unique culture and amazing landscapes. To the northwest are the territorial waters of Cuba, to the east – Haiti, to the south – Colombia. If there is any place on Earth, where no man has ever set a foot, it is on Jamaica. Solitude, union with nature, a combination of sound of waves and unobtrusive musical rhythms – all this ensures a wonderful holiday.
Save on your trip to Jamaica!
The state is 225 km long from west to east and 35 to 82 km long from north to south, with a total area of 10991 km². Jamaica is divided into three counties: Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey, which in turn are divided into parishes (counties). According to the latest figures, the population is 2.8 million.
The de facto ruler is the British monarch (currently Elizabeth II). In the absence of the Queen, the Governor-General represents the power in the country.
The main income comes from services, including tourism. It’s no wonder: the island attracts unique natural riches as well as unique Jamaican culture which is a mix of African, British and Caribbean notes. It is here that the reggae music style emerged and the religious movement of Rastafarianism and the subculture of Rasta, which emerged from it, spread more widely than anywhere else.
View of the Caribbean Sea Robins Cove
Cities of Jamaica
Jamaica has a tropical monsoon climate. Accordingly, winter and summer temperatures are almost the same – on the coast from 24 ° C to 35 ° C, and in the mountainous areas from 17 to 27 ° C. Thanks to the sea breeze, the heat is easily bearable. The water heats up to 24 ° C … 26 ° C above zero. From May to October lasts the rainy season, during this period hurricanes are possible. The best time to visit Jamaica is in winter.
The southern coast of Jamaica is heavily indented, with good harbors that once served as a refuge for pirates, but is fringed by reefs. The northern coast of the island is rocky, in its central part is a narrow strip of beaches – the so-called Jamaican Riviera. Much of Jamaica is occupied by a hilly limestone plateau, in the east of the island rises the Blue Mountains (Blue Mountains), a height of up to 2256 meters. Along the southern and western coasts are extensive low-lying plains. Jamaica is highly seismically active. Earthquakes are not uncommon. Two earthquakes, in 1692 and 1907, were catastrophic. In 1692 the old capital of Jamaica, Port Royal, was completely destroyed and the surviving inhabitants moved to nearby Kingston. But in 1907 the new capital, Kingston, suffered the same fate. True, the city was later rebuilt.
Jamaica has many rivers that originate on the slopes of mountains and hills. The largest of them – Rio Grande, about 100 km long, begins at Mount Denham in central Jamaica and flows into the Caribbean Sea in the south of the island, near Cape Portland. Jamaica’s rivers are used for rafting.
This is Jamaica, baby! Bananas Growing in the North Jungle Plateau of the Blue Mountains National Park
Jamaica’s greatest natural treasure is bauxite. In terms of their reserves, this small country is the fifth largest in the world. Altogether there are more than 100 deposits in Jamaica, the largest of which is Williamsfield in the central part of the island. The bauxite industry is the main branch of the national economy.
What you absolutely must do in Jamaica
The opportunity to immerse yourself in the pristine world of the tropics, to set aside all worries and cares, adopting the motto of life Jamaicans “No problem” – this is what more and more holidaymakers come to the island for. So, what is worth doing once you get here?
White water raft on a mountain river
Hearing about rafting, experienced tourists immediately imagine rapids, just looking at which the blood ran cold in the veins … In Jamaica, it is completely different: rafting on the river – a leisurely journey on a bamboo raft among the picturesque scenery. The most popular places are the Great River near Montego Bay, the Black River near Ocho Rios and the Rio Grande near Port Antonio.
Bridge over the Great River Mangroves Black River Rio Grande
Visit the Bob Marley Museum.
At 56 Hope Road in Kingston is the home of Jamaica’s most famous Rastaman, Bob Marley. Opposite the courtyard entrance is a monument to the singer, just as he is remembered by his many fans – in bright clothes and with his unchanging dreadlocks. Nearby is a house, the interior of which has been preserved as in the life of the musician: not only drawings can be seen on the walls, but also bullet holes that were left after the attempt on the King of Reggae. In the gallery, housed in a former recording studio, visitors can see a short film about Bob Marley’s life and work, examine his stage costumes and gold and platinum discs.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Sunday off. Admission costs about $20.
Bob Marley House Museum.
Conquer the Waves of the Caribbean Sea
Jamaica is famous for its waves, which although not as big as, for example, on the Pacific coast, are also great for surfing and windsurfing. You can rent all the necessary equipment in specialized companies. Most are on the northeast and southeast coasts, and Bailey’s Beach, Burwood Beach and Silver Sands are the most popular choices for sailing with their strong, even winds.
Crescent Cove at Silver Sands’ Burwood Beach
Swim in the Blue Lagoon
One of the most beautiful places in Jamaica is the Blue Lagoon. The clearest turquoise sea, the tropical thickets that come up to the very coast – all this creates a sense of fairy tale. It is worth coming here just for the spectacular views, but do not limit yourself to this: it is said that the water here has rejuvenating properties.
Port Antonio, where the Blue Lagoon is located, is best reached by car or sightseeing bus, but you can also take a regular shuttle from the station Tepple Lane in Kingston.
Blue Lagoon Dolphin Cove in Jamaica
Swim with dolphins
There is probably not a person who has not admired the intelligence and agility of dolphins. In Jamaica you can not only see these animals up close, but also touch them, swim beside them or hold their fins and even dive with them on the bottom. All this is offered at the three Dolphin Cove parks near Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril. In addition to dolphins you can see sharks, rays, and other marine life.
Swim in the Shining Lagoon
Near the port town of Falmouth, at the confluence of the Martha Bra River into the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most popular places in Jamaica, the Glow Lagoon. It gets its name from the tiny microorganisms that live in the water and emit blue-green light as they move. Their huge clusters create an amazingly beautiful spectacle. It is difficult to describe the sensations of what you see, it is necessary to experience it yourself.
The Glowing Lagoon in Jamaica
Visit the Appleton Estate rum factory in Montego Bay
This production facility is the place where the famous Jamaican rum is born. By booking a tour, you can learn the history of this truly pirate beverage, see the making process, taste several varieties, and buy a bottle or two as a gift. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To book a tour, visit http://www.appletonestate.com/en/.
Appleton Estate Rum Factory in Jamaica
Hand-feed hummingbirds at Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary
Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary near Montego Bay is a jungle area once purchased by Lisa Simon who decided to devote her life to taming birds. Her work was successful – hummingbirds are not afraid of people at all and dare to sit on their hands. There is peace and tranquility here, scents of exotic flowers are in the air, trills of feathered inhabitants of the Park sound.
Open every day from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Rocklands Rd, Wiltshire.
Watch the sunrise at the top of Blue Mountain Peak
Blue Mountain Peak is the highest point of the namesake mountains in a ridge in the east of the island. It’s a sight to see the whole island at 2,256 meters above sea level, and it’s considered the best place to see the sunrise. To see the first rays of the sun, you need to start climbing after dark. It is worth saying that the night walk through the jungle itself – an amazing adventure. Tours are organized at the Whitfield Hall Hotel, located nearby.
Dawn on Blue Mountain Peak Flowers on the summit of Blue Mountain Way to the summit Abandoned house on the summit
Take a boat ride on the Black River
Extreme enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the opportunity to ride the Black River near Negril. The highlight of the trip is the opportunity to see Jamaican crocodiles in their natural habitat. Chickens serve as bait for the animals, and even the most inveterate skeptics are silent at the sight of how the jaws of the reptiles close on the carcass. Tourists will also be offered a swim in the upstream river, where predators do not swim…usually.
Black River in Jamaica
Explore the underwater riches of the Caribbean Sea
The area is famous for its diverse underwater world, so it’s no surprise that divers from around the world come here. For diving they usually choose the most picturesque objects on the coral reef and the neighborhood of the sunken Port Royal.
The underwater world of Jamaica
One of the most interesting attractions on the south coast is the Cashoo Ostrich Park in Lakowia. Here you can not only feed these amazing birds, but also ride them. The best way to get here is by car – 1.1km from Crane Road in a southeasterly direction at Slipe. The park is open daily and admission is chargeable.
History of the country
Civilized society learned about the existence of a rich natural island inhabited by the Arawako Indians in 1494 thanks to Christopher Columbus. Jamaica was originally planned to be named after the royal couple Ferdinand and Isabella, but the idea did not take, and everyone quietly returned to the indigenous version – Haimaka, which means “land of springs.
British ships off the coast of Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1922
As a result of the aggressive policies of the colonizers, almost the entire native population, used as cheap labor, became extinct. The cause was disease brought in by the Spaniards and hard labor. In order not to reduce the rate of sugar cane production, slaves from Africa began to be brought to the island.
In 1655, the British seized control of the island. Soon Jamaica became the main center of piracy, and Port Royale became its harbor, as the Tortuga-based filibusters moved here. In 1692 the city, by then infamous for being the most depraved place on the planet, was destroyed in an earthquake.
Bob Marley at a concert in the ’70s
In the 17th and 18th centuries. Jamaica was a major sugar producer, but harsh working conditions forced slaves to revolt. As a result, a large community of runaway slaves, the Maroons, formed on the island and were the first to achieve autonomy. In the 19th century rebellions became more frequent and widespread, resulting in the abolition of slavery in 1838. Jamaica’s economy faltered, but American investment corrected the situation.
In the early 20th century, the first trade unions and then parties began to appear in Jamaica. During World War II, the U.S. was based on the island. After its end there was a wave of strikes, which led the British government to grant the island internal self-government in 1959 and independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962.
The population of Jamaica is nearly 3 million people, 78 percent of whom live in cities. The coastal areas of the island are the most populated. Negros among Jamaicans constitute more than 75 per cent; the remainder are mulattoes of varying degrees of mixture. During slave times the mixed Jamaican population was divided into several groups according to the proportion of Negro blood: mulattoes – descendants of a white father and a Negro mother, quarters – with 1/4 of Negro blood, musties – with 1/8, musties – with 1/16 (descendants of the latter by marriage or connection with whites were already considered white by law). Jamaicans are employed predominantly in agriculture, mining, commerce, and service industries, with most of those employed in service and commerce being involved to some degree in the tourist business. The welfare of Jamaicans depends largely on the influx of tourists.
People on the streets of Kingston
In addition to Jamaicans, the island is also home to significant numbers of Indians and Chinese. The Indians and Chinese are the descendants of laborers who were contracted to work on the plantations in the mid-nineteenth century, after the abolition of slavery. At present most of the Indians are engaged in agriculture and live in villages in the west of the island; there are also many natives of India in the capital. The Chinese are largely engaged in petty trade, almost all of them living in the larger towns of Kingston and its merger with St. Andrew. A small number of Englishmen, Cubans, Americans, and Germans also live in the cities.
Jamaican schoolgirls go home Music is everywhere in Jamaica!
The mass emigration of Jamaicans as a result of the landlessness of the peasants began at the end of the last century. Jamaican blacks made up a large part of the labor force in the construction of the Panama Canal, in the banana plantations of Central America, and in the sugar plantations of Cuba and the United States. The flow of emigrants increased even more after World War II. During this period they went mainly to Great Britain, and after 1962 (when Great Britain passed strict immigration laws) – to Canada and the USA. Today almost a third of all Jamaicans live abroad, mostly in Great Britain, the United States, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
The official language of Jamaica is English. However, the spoken dialect of Jamaicans bears little resemblance to literary English. It contains many words from various African languages and the pronunciation is very far from English. Therefore, the Jamaican dialect is sometimes considered a special Creole language. The Chinese and Indians also widely use the Jamaican dialect of English, but use their own languages in everyday life.
Religiously, most of Jamaica’s population is Protestant, but there are also a small number of Catholics. Some African cults, such as the obia cult, are also prevalent among part of the population.
Jamaican art and architecture blend European, mainly English, influences with African traditions. Remains from the 17th-18th centuries include single-storey stone and brick buildings (mainly in the former capital, Spanish Town). Since the mid-19th century dominated the two-storey wooden houses with verandas and iron ornaments – the so-called architecture of the colonial style. In the 20th century modern-style buildings were built (University of the West Indies near Kingston, hotels).
Spanish Town Baba Marley’s face carved out of wood
Traditional Jamaican folk crafts have retained much of the spirit of African culture. Jamaicans do mostly wood carving and metalworking, and make jewelry as well. African folk traditions are particularly strong in Jamaican carved wooden figures.
Jamaica is often called the best resort in the Caribbean. This is due in no small part to the sheer number of attractions.
History buffs and connoisseurs of the beautiful will admire the Belvedere Estate. Here everything is stylized under the 17th century – in those times the slave system reigned on the island. In Belvedere you can see the dam, built by the hands of slaves more than 300 years ago. Tourists can also access the sugar cane plantations where slaves once toiled for the British crown. A tour of the estate includes a traditional Jamaican lunch and live musical entertainment.
Spanish Town Parade Ground
Also noteworthy is Spanish Town. The architecture of the city is in the style of the 17th century. Even the new buildings here are built in the old manner, so they do not stand out. Spanish Town is home to the Rodney Memorial, which has a fascinating history associated with it. In 1792, a joint French-Spanish invasion of Jamaica was planned. But the British army, led by Admiral Sir George Bridges Rodney, was able to defend the colony in a lengthy naval battle. In 1801 an Italian marble memorial was carved in honor of Rodney’s victory. On the sides of the memorial are cannons, from which a volley is fired each year to commemorate the victory. Legend has it that these guns were taken from the French as a trophy in that very battle.
St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Kingston
St. Catherine’s Cathedral, one of Jamaica’s oldest architectural monuments, is very popular with visitors. The cathedral has been preserved since the Spanish domination of the 17th century. Despite the building’s considerable age, it has perfectly preserved wooden carvings as well as clay moldings.
Rose Hall Mansion
The Rose Hall Mansion beckons with its mystique. It’s known as the home of the legendary Anya Palmer, often referred to as the White Witch of Jamaica. By the way, the epithet “white” is associated exclusively with the color of the woman’s skin. Legend has it that Palmer, who wielded voodoo magic, murdered her husband to become the sole owner of a huge estate. She then began seducing her slaves, whom she killed immediately after passionate nights of lovemaking. It is said that she also killed the housekeeper, whom one of her slaves had fallen in love with. This girl’s grandfather strangled the White Witch. Anya Palmer’s body is buried in the east side of the mansion. In 1965, a married couple bought the house and turned it into a museum. Museum officials say that at night the ghost of a white woman wanders through the house and screams and slamming doors are heard.
Entrance to Fort Charles A house built on stilts at a 45° angle A ship aground near Port Royal
Adventurers can visit the old town of Port Royal, known as a pirate base. Here is located the Maritime Museum, the defensive Fort Charles, as well as a unique building – a house standing on stilts located at an angle of 45 °.
Jamaica vacations: tips and prices
Plan your holiday in Jamaica! When and where should I go? What are the prices in 2022? What can I do on the island? What are written in the reviews of tourists? Read our review and tips.
Every year, sunny Jamaica receives more and more tourists. On this island in the Caribbean Sea, the air temperature is comfortable all year round. Even a difficult flight can not make Russians give up the desire to bask in turquoise sea water and listen to rhythmic music.
When is the holiday season in Jamaica. Weather by month.
You can vacation on the island with a humid tropical climate all year round: the temperature is +25 ° C in winter and +30 ° C in summer, the average annual temperature of the water in the Caribbean Sea is +24 ° C and +28 ° C in summer.
There are two distinctive seasons in Jamaica – summer, when it’s hot and humid, and winter, when it’s dry and cool. In May, June, September and October the island is in low season: high humidity, heavy rains, and since September also hurricanes.
In July and August, the rainy season temporarily takes a pause: the air temperature is +30. 32 ° C, downpours may occur, but not as often and of a shorter duration than at the beginning of summer. The hurricane season begins in September and lasts until the end of autumn.
In December and February on the island, the north winds blow, bringing coolness: +25 ° C during the day and +20 ° C at night. There is practically no rain. During this time, Jamaica is visited by tourists who do not like the intense heat.
March is the windiest and coldest month of the year and April is already getting warmer and the rainy season is approaching.
(Photo: Peter Q / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Where best to vacation in Jamaica
The main beach area is along Jamaica’s northern coast, where the coastline is protected by coral reefs. The most popular resorts in Jamaica, according to tourists’ reviews are Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio.
Negril is considered one of the cleanest resorts in the world. It is famous for its beaches – nearly 11 km of white sand – as well as reefs and coves. Negril has good conditions for diving. The Long Bay area is considered elite, expensive hotels are located here, and the West End is preferred by liberal youth. The only unpleasantness mentioned by tourists is pesky mosquitoes. In the evening without a special agent against mosquitoes on the beach is better not to appear.
Montego Bay is famous for its luxury hotels, bars, old mansions and duty-free stores. There’s plenty of nightlife and plenty of sporting opportunities. There is a national marine park where you can go scuba diving, fishing, or just relax.
Ocho Rios is a modern resort on the shores of Discovery Bay, built on the site of fishing villages. Its main highlight – the picturesque nature. Surrounded by dense tropical forests, beautiful beaches and cascading waterfalls that carry their waters into the Caribbean Sea.
Port Antonio is a cozy town with beautiful mansions and picturesque views. According to tourists, for a quiet and relaxing holiday is worth the trip to this resort of Jamaica. In Port Antonio, the best places for surfing, there is also the famous Blue Lagoon.
(Photo: adwriter / flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0 license)
Jamaica vacation prices – 2022
Jamaica Vacation Prices.
The most expensive thing about vacationing in Jamaica is the flight . In off season (May, June, September) the cost of tickets from Moscow to Kingstown starts at 41000 rubles (round trip) – this is the lowest price available at the moment. During high season tickets cost from 48000 rubles. Flights to Montego Bay from Moscow start at 47000 rubles. We recommend searching for tickets on the Aviasails search engine – that way you will find the most inexpensive ones. Also read the instruction on how to look for low-cost airline tickets.
Another major expense during a vacation in Jamaica is hotel accommodation. In 2022, prices are as follows: a night in a hostel costs from $15, a standard double room in a budget hotel at the resort during high season – from about $40-45. For those who want to live comfortably, here are the prices for a holiday in Montego Bay: a room at a 3* hotel – from $75 and above, 4* – from $ 200, 5* – from $ 300 per night. However, budget travelers are better to rest in Negril, where prices are slightly lower. Looking for hotels is recommended on Roomguru.ru, he finds the best price, comparing offers in all popular booking systems. Book your accommodation in advance, especially if you are going to vacation in Jamaica during the high season.
Want to save money? Avoid vacationing in Jamaica during the spring break in March, as prices go up by 25% at that time.
Jamaica Tour Prices in 2022
Jamaica trip prices can’t be called low: vacation in high season (for example, in July and August) for 7 nights with departure from Moscow costs from 200 thousand rubles for two, for 11 nights – from 230 thousand, for 14 – from 260 thousand rubles. “All Inclusive” costs from 300 thousand.
During the low season, for example in May and June, the prices for the tours drop, and the tour can be purchased from 150 thousand rubles for 7 nights, from 170 thousand rubles for 10-11 nights and from 250 thousand rubles for 14 nights.
How to buy a last minute tour? You can compare the prices of all popular tour operators and choose the best option with the help of Level.Travel and Travelate services. We also recommend studying 7 rules of online search for cheap tours.
(Photo: LeonidasGR / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
Entertainment in Jamaica
Jamaica is a musical country, reggae rumbles from morning till night on all the beaches and discos here. Every year in large cities are held music festivals. But people come to Jamaica for more than just a beach holiday and nightlife.
The island’s nature is extremely picturesque. Tourists go scuba diving, surfing, sail the sea, walk along rivers, conquer mountain peaks and explore karst caves. Visiting the famous Blue Mountains, you can look at the coffee plantations, where one of the best types of coffee in the world – Blue Mountain.
Very popular excursions to the capital of Jamaica – Kingston, where you can admire the ancient architecture, visit the Bob Marley Museum, thanks to which Jamaican reggae became popular around the world. Or visit the old Appleton Winery and taste the signature Jamaican rum.
Holidays with children in Jamaica
Jamaica has hotels with children’s animation, attractions, water parks and European cafes. For example, the Grand Palladium in Elgin Town. Children can ride a camel or a horse, swim with dolphins, watch sharks and rays, and take a walk along the river with their parents. However, the main contingent of holidaymakers on the island are curious young people and lovers. Difficulty of a flight and high prices in Jamaica do not attract holidaymakers with children.
In addition, many people associate Jamaica with reggae, free love and drugs. In some public places, children are not even allowed, and in terms of safety Jamaica – not the best place in the world. Free movement around the island is fraught with adventure, although in the resort area there is nothing to fear, there are vigilant guards.
(Photo: adwriter / flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0 license)
Jamaica vacation reviews and travel tips
Reviews of holidays in Jamaica are mostly enthusiastic: tourists pay tribute to the luxurious beaches, good cuisine and beautiful nature. There are also disadvantages – the local population is never in a hurry, so the service in cafes and other public places is often the same slow.
There are many duty-free stores and stalls on the island. According to reviews of tourists, for small purchases during the holidays in Jamaica, it is better to have American dollars in small denominations. Practice shows that a $50 bill can create chaos, and the change is problematic to get even with the twenties.
Speaking of shopping. Young people often go to Jamaica for new experiences, which can lead to unfortunate consequences. The local rule of “grass – not a drug” only works for the natives, foreign tourists are not among them.
As for freedom of movement, car rental is common in Jamaica, but given the manner of driving the locals and the lack of good roads are hardly worth wasting your time and nerves on such trips. It is better to use a cab and not go anywhere alone. Crime in the country is quite high, and no one guarantees anything outside the resort.