The gorgeous land of Jamaica is nearly synonymous with the laid-back vibe that awaits vacationers in the Caribbean. Located south of Cuba and west of Hispaniola, Jamaica attracts visitors and immigrants from all over the world with its beauty, climate and easy-going people.
Kingston might be the most dynamic city in all the Caribbean. The population is eclectic, and the atmosphere is cosmopolitan. There, you’ll enjoy world-class music, coffee, rum, seafood and other treats alongside an easy blend of locals and guests.
English is the official language of this independent nation, and most of the people speak an Afro-English creole dialect too. Black Jamaicans with African or mixed heritage are the majority. Smaller populations of Asians from China and the East Indies, Europeans, Cubans, Latin Americans and other Caribbean islands are here too.
Life is Vibrant in Jamaica
Many come to this verdant island to relax, toes in the surf, face to the sun. However, go-getters find plenty to do too. It’s your choice – chill out, charge ahead or a little of both. Here’s a sampling of the food, sports and music in Jamaica.
- Music in Jamaica: An impressive number of musical genres were birthed here and form the base layer of an amazing live music scene. These include reggae, ska, dub, mento, raga and dancehall. Jamaican artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, Grace Jones, and Third World Band have gone on to worldwide fame.
- Sports in Jamaica: If you enjoy watching sports, check out some of the finest track and field athletes in the world, impressive cricket teams, boxing, tennis, soccer, baseball and rugby.
- Food in Jamaica: A meal of jerk spice downed with a Red Stripe beer followed by a cup of Blue Mountain coffee is a popular “must” for visitors here. But Jamaican cuisine is so much more. Influences include the indigenous diet developed over centuries blended with Spanish, British, African, Indian and Chinese. Plan to sample curry goat and chicken, beef stew, pork chops, salted cod and a range of other seafood, fried dumplings, plantain, rice, peas, cabbage and much more in a variety of main courses, soups, side dishes, breads and desserts.
Things to Do in Jamaica
Plan ahead, or you’ll be faced with a lot of hard decisions once in Jamaica, and life here shouldn’t be hard! Your options for activities in Jamaica include:
- Hang Out on a Beach: Stretches of pristine beach can be found in all directions. Among the best beaches in Jamaica are Winnifred Beach, Seven Mile Beach, Bloody Bay, Frenchman’s Cove, Half Moon Bay and Ocho Rios Beach which one recent visitor from Hong Kong called “a wonderful place to sunbathe, swim and watch people.”
- Hop on a Boat: Tours on sailboats and motorized craft are popular ways to enjoy the sun, sea and sights. Many provide stopping-off points at secluded spots, meals and amazing views of the sun sinking into the Caribbean Sea.
- Hit the Nightspots: Kingston is a hotspot for nightspots, but there’s a rich range of them in all the resort cities. Ask travelers who’ve been there a week or two where they’ve enjoyed listening to music, dancing, sipping rum and other tropical drinks and people watching. A recent world traveler said, “Kingston’s nightlife is different but just as exciting as you’ll find in London, Paris or NYC.”
- Historic Sites—Check them Out: Jamaica has a fascinating, though not always pleasant, history. It’s on display at locations such as the Rose Hall Great House, Devon House, Greenwood Great House, Bob Marley Museum, Good Hope Plantation and Appleton Estates.
- Have a Stroll Through Paradise: There are so many natural settings worthy of an hour’s walk. Consider Blue Hole, Seven Mile Beach, Ras Natango Gardens, Fern Gulley, Blue Mountain Peak and the Fairy Glade Trail for the best walks in Jamaica. There are several waterfalls in Jamaica you’ll really enjoy, and many are a short, beautiful stroll from parking areas. Birding in Jamaica is outstanding too.
Who Should Consider Visiting Jamaica?
If you want the quintessential island experience, you won’t be disappointed here. There’s no better place to “change your attitude with a change in latitude,” especially if you want a beautiful, active location with a wonderful spectrum of interesting people to meet.
Jamaican Government: http://www.cabinet.gov.jm/
Jamaican Tourism Board: http://www.jtbonline.org/pages/default.aspx