Jamaica is "The Land We Love", the phrase taken from the Jamaican national anthem sums up how I feel about Jamaica, it's the land I love. I heard so much about Jamaica growing up and thought I knew what to expect when I first visited at age 11 but the heat, the smiles, the beaches and the food pleasantly surprised me back then I still feel the same way some years later. I recently visited Jamaica last month, I can't wait to return (maybe 2016 or 2017), I'm getting excited just thinking about it. As I've visited Jamaica quite a few times I thought I would share my top 5 things to do if you plan on a trip to this lively and vibrant Caribbean island.
Dunns River Fall
Located in the popular tourist town Ocho Rios, Dunns River Falls is the most visited tourist attraction in Jamaica and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Caribbean. Dunns River Falls is a natural waterfall that reaches a whopping 600 feet and the cascades water and waterfalls flow directly into the Caribbean Sea. One of the most appealing thing about this attractions is that you can actually climb the falls. Entry to the falls is 20US for adults and 12US for children and it takes around 1 hour to 1 and a half of hours to climb the falls. When you finished climbing the falls, why not purchase a "I climbed Dunns River Falls" t-shirt. I climbed Dunns River Falls when I was 11 with my family who already climbed the falls several. However, if you have not climbed the falls before, I would strongly recommend that you book an excursion as their are guides who will take you up the safest way. Also, make sure your purchase the specialist shoes which makes climbing easier. Flowing water down the back, safe spots to rest and take in the natural beauty....... if you are with those that don't fancy the climb.
|Image courtesy of TicketsstarJA|
Rio Grande Rafting
This was the first time I've been to Port Antonio, located in the North Eastern part of Jamaica and is nearer to Kingston than the traditional resorts such as Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, this is a little hidden gem primarily visited by the rich and famous or the playboys of Jamaica. Located in Port Antonio is the beautiful and second largest river in Jamaica Rio Grande where a popular tourist attraction is bamboo rafting. On a large handmade bamboo raft, you can be leisurely guided down the river by a skilled guide, originally uses as a method of transporting goods, bamboo rafting was made popular and fashionable by Errol Flynn. I booked an excursion from my hotel which cost around £80 per person which included a trip to The Blue Lagoon (which is heaven) followed by a stop at Rio Grande. Sit back, relax, have a drink and take in the natural beauty of Port Antonio. The leisurely raft takes around 2-3 hours, depending upon the weather and is an experience that you will not forget anytime soon.
Something a little different, many tourists tend not to visit Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, but there is lots of things to do and see in Kingston. Bob Marley's museum is based on there, take a tour (for 20US), learn about the history, music and culture of the man who brought reggae music to the world. If you have time, why not visit the Blue Mountains, this is visible from Kingston and visit some of the best natural landscapes and sample some of the best coffee in the world. On clear and Summers day, you may even see the mountains become blue ....reword. Any foodie (like myself) would be in ice-cream delight after a visit to Devon House. Built by the first Jamaican millionaire, this house is one of natural beauty, see some beautiful Jamaican art, take a leisurely stroll in the gardens, but most importantly sample some of the world renowned ice-cream. The Devon Stout ice-cream is a beauty to behold, go nuts and have lots of sprinkles and topping on top.
*Please do not visit Kingston without a guide.
Take in the breathtaking views by watching the sunset at the infamous Rick Cafe, in Negril. Get there slightly earlier in the afternoon and have lunch (the menu is fabulous) and watch the dare devils jump from up to 35 feet into the clear, blue calm waters. This is the place to hang out if you are in Negril 7 mile beach.
Ok, something I did not do (here in Jamaica anyway), but I am sure that if you are travelling with families, this will be on the top list of things to do. Dolphin Cove on it's website state that it's the number 1 excursion in Jamaica. There are four different dolphin swims: Ultimate Swim, Swim with a Dolphin, encounter with a dolphin and a sea keeper for the day. Costing is around 70 US for a dolphin encounter and the price increases with the duration of time that you spend with the dolphin, it's worth saving up a bit for this.
Things to stock up on.
As a foodie, I was in paradise. Yes, you can get a lot of, if not all, Jamaican products here in the UK, but there are some products that are better (and a lot cheaper) to buy there.
- Blue Mountain Coffee - One of the worlds best coffee, known for it delicate and complex flavours, you have to sample what all coffee lovers adore.
- Tortuga Cake - Specialist rum cake, made with traditional Caribbean ingredients, which makes the cake light, moist and delicious.
- Rum - My personal preference is Wray and Nephew for it's pure strength, Appelton is good.