The Island of Jamaica is noted for many things apart from being a prime tourist destination; it is also home to dancehall and reggae music it is also home to the world’s fastest man (Usain Bolt). Today we will explore the top ten must see areas of must do things when you visit this island paradise.
Bob Marley Museum, Kingston
Bob Marley, dubbed the “King of Reggae,” was one of Jamaica’s top Reggae singers who brought reggae music to the entire world. His home was converted into a museum after his death. The main museum displays some of Marley’s personal items; it has his own personal hammock and a small kitchen where he cooked. The property also features a well-equipped 80-seat theatre, a photographic gallery, and a gift shop selling T-shirts, posters and CDs and other Bob Marley memorabilia as well as items from Jamaica.
Rafting the Rio Grande
Creator of the James Bond moniker and books, Errol Flynn was the one who started the habit of sending tourists on romantic moonlit rafting trips through the Rio Grande Valley. Nowadays, the experience is not quite as exclusive as when Flynn was in charge. The rafting trips are actually much more affordable now, however if the moon is up you can still pole onto the waters for that romantic trip.
Calabash International Literary Festival
Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth is abuzz with activities on the last weekend in May each year as writers, poets and dub-lyricist from all over Jamaica, the Caribbean and even the U.S and U.K gather for the annual Calabash International Literary Festival. For three days the quiet fishing village is transformed into an area for outdoor book readings, poetry slams, discussion and after show parties. The event is well attended and involves the audience rewarding their favorites with resounding applause.
Swimming In the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, located in Portland, is a seemingly bottomless pool of turquoise water very picturesque and perfect for swimming. The lagoon is fed by several underground streams coming out of the mountains and its waters are a mixture of warm tidal waves and cool freshwater currents. If you love diving, you can test the lagoons depth, which reaches 55m at its deepest point.
Climbing the Blue Mountain
How about taking a night hike to reach Jamaica’s highest point by sunrise? Your path will be lit by numerous fireflies and is an experience second to none. As you ascend the Blue Mountains, the vegetation appears less tropical; expect to see stunted moss covered trees and gigantic ferns, on a clear day you can even see Cuba when you reach the summit.
Jamaica has arguably some of the best food and the best places to get such foods. One of the top places to experience authentic Jamaican jerked products is Boston Bay. This is the supposed birthplace of jerk, the spice rub that is Jamaica’s most famous contribution to the culinary arts. This is one area you must definitely visit to experience amazing food.
Crocodile Spotting in Black River Great Morass
One of the best ways to explore Jamaica’s wild is boating in the Black River Great Morass. You will glide past spidery mangroves and trees laden down with Spanish moss, whilst egrets and other birds flap overhead. You will also see women along the way selling spicy bags of shrimp on the riverside and don’t be surprised if you see an American crocodile or two or three idly lazing in the waters as you pass.
This yearly festival, which spans over a few days, showcases the best in reggae and dancehall music enticing visitors from all over the world. It is held in Montego Bay, St. James during the summer.
Playing Pirates at Port Royal
Port Royal today is one of the quietest fishing villages you will find on the island of Jamaica. It gives no hint of the very colorful past it has unless you explore its history and find out why it was the pirate capital of the Caribbean and once dubbed “the wickedest city on earth.” Visitors can stroll in the footsteps of the infamous pirate Sir Henry Morgan along the battlements of Fort Charles, which are still lined with cannons. Become disorientated inside the Giddy House an old artillery store that was tipped at a jaunty angle following a devastating earthquake in 1692, which destroyed two thirds of the town sinking it beneath the waves.
Spelunking Windsor Caves
Jamaica has many limestone caves especially in the Cockpit Country areas which has most of the islands most rugged terrain. As rains gather in these mountains the water percolated through the rocks and creates a network of sink holes and caves. Windsor is one of the most dramatic of these and also the most accessible.
Photo: Flickr / Chrysaora