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Plan Your Trip to Jamaica: Best of Jamaica Tourism

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PLAN YOUR TRIP
Jamaica
Is there anything better than swaying from a hammock in a warm patch of Jamaican sun? If you're seeking laid-back vibes, you've come to the right place. But Jamaica offers plenty of outdoor adventure for those that want it, too. Consider diving into Blue Hole, rafting on Martha Brae River, even bobsledding down Mystic Mountain. Fuel up on delicious, stick-to-your-ribs food like jerk chicken before exploring. It's also worth visiting the authentic music clubs of Kingston, especially for fans of reggae.

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Essential Jamaica

Traveler Guides

Best outdoor activities in Jamaica

My first trip to Jamaica was all about romance—I had my honeymoon here. Since then, I’ve been back several times and have discovered the island’s more adventurous side. Beyond swimming and snorkeling, there’s everything from rafting down Martha Brae River to hiking the famous Blue Mountains. These are my favorite outdoor adventures in Jamaica.
  • Rick's Cafe
    5,620
    You wouldn’t expect one of Jamaica’s most legendary hangouts to be tucked away in Negril, a sleepy beach town on the western end of the island. But for 50 years, people have flocked to Rick’s Cafe to catch the sunset and see the gravity-defying local cliff divers. You can get in on the action, too—there are several jumping spots for both experienced and novice divers.
  • Blue Mountains
    420
    Jamaica’s beloved Blue Mountain coffee isn’t the only thing this area is known for—it’s a haven for hikers as well. The most challenging trail ascends the 7,500-foot Blue Mountain Peak, the highest point in Jamaica. (On a clear day, you can even see Cuba!) The seven-mile trek is steep; expect it to take about seven hours. Tip: The hike is best done with a guide during the dry season from December to April.
  • Martha Brae River
    1,953
    Few things are as calming as floating on a bamboo raft down the Martha Brae River, between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Each raft is equipped with cushioned seats and comes with a guide who will expertly paddle your raft down the river. Bring a swimsuit and towel if you want to add on a limestone mud massage (it’s worth it). I suggest setting aside two hours total for the experience.
  • Dunn's River Falls and Park
    20,126
    Tourists and locals alike come to Dunn’s River Falls to soak in the natural pools and climb the rocky cascades (make sure you wear water shoes). While kids play at the splash park, adults can get an adrenaline rush on the zipline that soars above the falls. By late afternoon, Dunn’s River gets crowded with cruise ship passengers, so plan to arrive earlier to have the place to yourself.
  • Green Grotto Caves
    700
    Cool off by exploring the Green Grotto Caves, on the northern coast. The caves have a fascinating history—they were once a hideout for Jamaican Maroons (a community of escaped African slaves) and Arawak Indigenous people. Today, you can spend an hour or two exploring the stalagmites and stalactites with an experienced guide. You may even get an up-close encounter with the bats living in the caves.
  • Seven Mile Beach
    8,103
    Not to play favorites, but it’s pretty hard to beat Seven Mile Beach in Negril. You can spend a whole day lounging on this pristine stretch (don’t forget cash to rent chairs and an umbrella). The powdery white sand and tranquil water also make this beach ideal for snorkeling right off of the shore. Keep an eye out for angelfish, pufferfish, and stingrays.
  • Blue Hole
    7,107
    It’s obvious how this swimming hole in Ocho Rios got its name. The eye-popping limestone pool has some of the clearest turquoise water I’ve ever seen. Jump in from three staggered platforms, swing off a vine, or step right into the 20-foot deep natural pool. Or, hike 10 minutes to Secret Falls, which has a thundering cascade and shallower sections for wading. Just watch your step—the ground is quite slippery.

How to do Jamaica in 2 days

Beachfront snorkeling, wild river floating, and limestone mud spa treatments
Read on

Jamaica Is Great For

Beachside drinks and late-night dancing

Soaking up Jamaican culture

Surfing, sunbathing, and long naps on the beach

Jamaica Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips or experiencing Jamaica

B S

Get the real flavor of Jamaica through interactions with the friendly locals at shops, restaurants and bars.

thevinnie

Bring some cash. Some places take credit cards and some do not. In Jamaica some ATMs issue only Jamaican dollars, some issue only US dollars and some issue either currency (you need to specify which one you want).

gdbear65

Rules of the road and local motoring etiquette are different. Jamaicans are very expressive with their horns. Polite beeps (a couple of taps) can mean “Hello”, “Thank You”, “Pay Attention” or “Let me pass”. Angry beeps or beeps expressing annoyance are longer and can mean you’re taking too long to react to a green light, make a turn or you’re holding up traffic. The horn is a form of communication, so please do not get angry or take offense when you hear someone honking at you.

Wirtztlm

Put on your Jamaica to-do list!

elizabethcantoni

Jamaica is beautiful and so are the people.

IslandMama

As they say: “Once you go, you know!”

Christine C

I have been to almost every part of Jamaica and Seven Mile Beach is by far the best location in all of Jamaica, the sunsets are incredible, the ocean is calm, the sand is soft and white.

Ingrid P

You can't go to Jamaica and not visit the Bob Marley Museum. Bob is a legend in Jamaica and part of their whole culture.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

Jamaica is served by three international airports: Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, and Ian Fleming International Airport close to Ocho Rios.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting Jamaica from overseas, use this site to see if you need a visa.

When is the best time to visit?

Sunseekers will rarely be disappointed in Jamaica with daytime temperatures hovering between 77-86°F (25-30°C) all year-round. November to June brings the sunniest and driest weather, ideal for lazing on the beach or partying at a festival — top events include Carnival (April), Bob Marley Birthday Week (Feb) and Reggae Sumfest (July).

Hurricane season runs from August to November, and it’s rainiest in September. However, if you don’t mind the daily showers, out-of-season travelers can pick up some good deals at the island’s resorts.

Get around

car

Renting a car or motorbike can be a cost-effective choice for those wanting to explore multiple destinations. A 4WD is recommended if you’re heading out of the main towns, where roads are often unpaved and full of potholes.

buses

Knutsford Express operate regular buses between Kingston, Negril, Ocho Rios and other destinations around Jamaica.

minibuses and shared taxis

Minibuses and route taxis (shared taxis) are the most common way for locals to get around, linking towns, villages and beaches all around the country. Most have set routes, but no official timetables, so it’s best to enquire locally.

ridesharing

Uber and other ridesharing services are not currently available in Jamaica.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Eastern Standard Time

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in Jamaica is 110 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. There are two plug types — one with two flat pins and another with two flat pins and a grounding pin

What is the currency?

Jamaican dollar (JMD); US dollars are also widely accepted.

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes, in all large towns and cities.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes, especially around the main tourist resorts, but you will need cash at some smaller shops, restaurants and markets.

How much do I tip?

Tipping is not obligatory in Jamaica, however, a 10-15% tip for exceptional service is always appreciated. Restaurants: Some will add a 10% service charge as standard. Hotels/resorts: A US$1-2 tip for the bellman and housekeeper is appreciated. Spas: 10-15% Tour guides: 10-20% Taxi drivers: Drivers do not expect tips in Jamaica, but it’s nice to round up the fare. If drivers are particularly nice or helpful, 5% will suffice.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking:

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Marijuana:

Marijuana use, sale and possession is illegal in Jamaica. Although steps have been made towards decriminalization, you will be fined for being in possession without a medical prescription.

Drive on the left:

If you hire a car, be aware that Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road. Similarly, when crossing the road, be sure to look to the right.

Keep your clothes on!:

Topless sunbathing is not generally acceptable in Jamaica and while you may find it’s tolerated at some resorts, it’s best to do as the locals do and keep covered.

Water:

Jamaica’s tap water is drinkable in all of the main cities and resorts, so bring a refillable water bottle.

Learn the local lingo:

Jamaica’s official language is English, but it’s often mixed with Jamaican Patois and is full of words and phrases unique to the island.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jamaica

Jamaica is known for some of its popular attractions, which include: