Perhaps Christopher Columbus really did know what he was doing in 1494 when he discovered the island of Jamaica in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. Located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba, Jamaica is about the size of the state of Connecticut, but with much nicer weather all year round. With an average annual high temperature of around 85 degrees, and overnight lows at about 70, it is a welcome retreat anytime of the year.
Accessible by air or sea, thousands upon thousands visit Jamaica and its many cities and towns every year. When flying into this paradise, most land at the Montego Bay. With miles of breath-taking beaches and a snorkeler’s dream rich coral reef, it’s no wonder that Jamaica’s second largest city is one of it’s hottest vacation spots. Known as the “Hip Strip”, Montego Bay’s Gloucester Avenue is where tourists will find local clubs, restaurants, and shops. While much of the coastline has been taken up by resorts, there still are three public beaches in Montego Bay. Whether you want to swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove, zipline through the lush rainforest, or take on the Great River in a tube, Montego Bay has endless things to do for fun in the sun.
Also on the island is the little town of Lucea. Best known for its all-inclusive resort, the Grand Palladium Resort & Spa, Lucea boasts awe-inspiring sunrises. Rich with historic buildings such as the Lucea Parish Church and Fort Charlotte, visitors can enjoy the laid back atmosphere of this coastal island town. Located on the outskirts of Lucea sits the Grand Palladium Resort & Spa. Situated on its own private white-sand beach, this all-inclusive resort is highly praised by nearly all of its visitors. From relaxing spa treatments, to water activities including snorkeling and kayaking, the Grand Palladium is never lacking for things to do. Whether you’re staying for a few days or a couple weeks, the seemingly endless food and drink, along with the award-winning accommodations and staff of the Grand Palladium, will surely make your Jamaican vacation one to remember.
The city of Negril is home to many of the island’s resorts. Including two of the most famous all-inclusives, Sandals and Hedonism, Negril’s beach region is where tourists will find interesting restaurants mixed throughout native markets and shops. Visitors to Negril can view the famous cliff-diving from heights reaching nearly forty-feet. It’s at the bottom of these cliffs that many venture out into the sparkling green-blue waters for swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Compared to Jamaica’s other major cities, Negril is still somewhat undeveloped, which creates a special charm all its own.
Jamaica’s capital city is Kingston. With nearly a million people, Kingston truly has a big-city feel unlike any other location on the island. Being the home to reggae legend, Bob Marley, Kingston prides itself on good music, good people, and good times. From the city’s shore, up into what is known as the ‘Cross Roads’, most of its hotels, shopping, and restaurants can be found along this strip. Located within Kingston is Hope Gardens, also referred to as the Royal Botanical Gardens. Beside this garden sits the Hope Gardens Zoo, which is host to thousands of visitors a year. For those looking for a taste of culture and good treats in one, guests to Kingston should stop by the famous Devon House Historical Mansion for a trip back into 18th century Kingston, while ordering up some ice cream from the island’s leading maker of the creamy dessert.
Finally, Jamaican visitors should also look to visit Ocho Rios. Being the port-of-call for many cruise ships, the town of Ocho Rios happily caters to thousands of cruising-tourists weekly. It is here that vacationers will find chain restaurants, duty-free stores, and touristy activities while docked on the island. Ocho Rios is also home to Jamaica’s national treasure, known as Dunn’s River Falls. With its combination of spectacular waterfalls and thermal springs, this natural wonder of the Caribbean is a ‘must-see’ whenever on a sightseeing tour of Jamaica. Open seven days a week, guests can experience the thrill of ascending nearly 600-feet up the Dunn’s River Falls, led of course by a trained local guide.
All across the island of Jamaica opportunities for sightseeing, shopping, and mixing with the locals is abundant. For those in need of a golf fix, there are nearly a dozen courses scattered throughout the island, with the Manchester Country Club being the oldest and most popular. If it’s beaches and water activities that visitors are looking for Jamaica has that too. With miles of beaches, continuous warm sunshine blending with tropical breezes, great music in the air, and everyone’s favorite rum beverages or Red Stripe beer constantly flowing, it’s no wonder that a vacation in Jamaica is called a ‘trip of a lifetime’.