Jamaica’s the jewel of the Caribbean — a sun-kissed land blessed by beautiful beaches, magical mountains and local heroes with worldwide reach.
It’s a reasonably short hop from US cities like Atlanta, Washington DC, New York and Miami — but to breathe in the true essence of this island nation, you’ll need to venture beyond the boundaries of hotel compounds.
Provided you plan properly, you’ll stay safe and sound — so if you’re ready to grab good vibes, here are seven tips for a terrific Jamaican break.
1 – Pack mosquito spray
Jam-down mosquitos feast on fresh blood — so they’ll make a meal of you unless you protect yourself. Pack a high-quality mosquito spray and sunscreen combo like skin so soft bug guard plus from Avon to keep these pesky critters at bay.
2 – Pre-book parking
Cruising to your departure airport in your own ride while you blast Bob Marley on the stereo should set the scene superbly for your break. But find airport parking on a site like Looking4.com and book beforehand for a stress-free pre-flight experience.
3 – Climb Blue Mountain Peak
Jamaica’s not all about the beaches — stroll through the interior and you’ll soon stumble upon surprisingly mountainous scenery. And when you climb Blue Mountain Peak with a travel company like Sun Venture Tours Jamaica, your trip to the top even provides views of Cuba on a clear day.
4 – Chat patois
Most Jamaicans switch between standard English and their native patois faster than Usain Bolt springing from starting blocks — so they’ll understand you clearly, even if you find their accent impenetrable.
But before you leave home, learn a few Patois phrases from this Sevdha video that will serve you well, because mouthing ‘no problem man’ in a bad accent makes you stick out like a sore thumb.
5 – Dive into dancehall
Dancehall is the brasher, more bombastic cousin of reggae — and if you miss the opportunity to wind your waist to the world’s heaviest basslines while you’re on vacation in Jamaica, you’ll regret it.
Most dances are well-organized and welcome tourists from around the world, but legendary sound system Stone Love’s Weddy Weddy is one of the best. Check its Facebook page to make your date with dancehall destiny.
6 – Eat fresh fish
You’ll find authentic pan-fried jerk chicken around every corner in Jamaica, but the island’s seafood is also sublime.
So be sure to eat some freshly-caught red snapper at the famous Gloria’s seafood restaurants in pirate capital Port Royal or downtown Kingston — it’s so delicious that many diners order two portions.
7 – Stay in Zion
Jamaica’s Rastafarians refer to the highest level of spiritual consciousness as ‘Mount Zion’.
And if you spend a few days at Zion Country eco lodges in Portland you’ll escape the pressures of modern life in a rural location that’s pure paradise. Don’t forget to visit nearby Reach Falls, featured in classic 80s movie Cocktail — perhaps the most peaceful place on Earth.
That’s the end of our Jamaican magnificent seven travel tips! Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments section.