Destination Overview: Jamaica
Are you considering a vacation or honeymoon in Jamaica? If so, this article will help you learn a little more about this fascinating destination!
Jamaica is part of the Greater Antilles and is located in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, about 90 miles south of Cuba and 110 miles west of Haiti.
Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and it comes in behind Cuba and Hispaniola, which are first and second, respectively. The island itself is approximately 148 miles long and 52 miles wide, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut. Jamaica is considered “the land of wood and water” and is known for its natural beauty, cuisine, reggae music, rich culture, and friendly locals. Reggae music originated in Jamaica and legendary icon Bob Marley helped introduce reggae music to the world. He died in 1981, but he is still one of the most famous names in the genre.
The landscape of the island includes beaches, waterfalls, rivers, and lush tropical foliage. Mountains dominate the island and the forests feature prime hiking and bird watching opportunities. Most of the tourism in Jamaica is centered on the island’s Northern coast in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Port Antonio, as well as in Negril on the island’s Western tip.
Jamaica is well-known for its all-inclusive resorts and many people love that their room, meals, beverages, sports, nightly entertainment, taxes, tips, and airport transfers are included in their rate. The Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is a large international airport in Montego Bay and makes traveling in and out of the country quite simple. Although there is also an international airport in Kingston, Montego Bay is the best airport to use for anyone who is traveling to Montego Bay, Negril, the South Coast, or Ocho Rios.
Visitors who want to stay in Ocho Rios will travel along the North coast highway for a two-hour trip from the Montego Bay airport. Ocho Rios was one of the first towns in Jamaica to be developed as a resort and in this region visitors can climb a waterfall, soar through a rainforest on a zip line, bobsled down a mountain, or swim with the dolphins.
The fairly underdeveloped beach town of Negril is an hour and a half transfer from the Montego Bay airport. The drive is usually bumpy and hot, and while it may not seem to be the best start to a vacation, the music and tropical scenery along the way, make the journey worthwhile. Seven Mile Beach is located in Negril and is one of the best beaches in all of Jamaica.
Montego Bay is the country’s second largest city thanks to tourism and is surrounded by a nice selection of highly rated all-inclusive resorts. This area is a great option for people who don’t want to travel too far to get to their resort once they have arrived at the airport. The bustling city is filled with restaurants, nightlife, shops, beaches, and sports facilities, but most people tend to stay at their resorts.
The official currency of the island is the Jamaican dollar, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted, especially in the resort towns. While the island is naturally beautiful, the disparity of wealth between the resort guests and the locals is quite noticeable. There is widespread poverty surrounding every luxurious resort. However, don’t let this stop you from exploring all that this beautiful island has to offer. When leaving your resort for an excursion, it is not recommended that you rent a car on the island, unless you are the adventurous type. It is much better to stick with guided tours and taxis because driving in Jamaica is rough due to potholes, aggressive drivers, and a lot of distractions in the road.
The sun, sand, and spectacular clear blue water are major attractions in Jamaica, but many people also participate in many sporting activities while on the island. On land, people can go bird watching, play golf, or go horseback riding. In the water, there are activities like diving, snorkeling, fishing, river rafting, and sailing.
Anyone who wants to stay at an all-inclusive resort will want to consider Jamaica for their next vacation getaway, because there are so many top-quality resorts to choose from on the island. Many of the all-inclusive resorts have fantastic golf courses as well as tons of child friendly activities. One of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Negril Beach, is located on the island and people will be able to experience the rich Jamaican traditions as well. Jamaica’s unique culture includes music, art, and food, and the friendly locals love to share it all with the people who are visiting their island.
When to go:
Peak season for Jamaica is mid December through mid April. The island is the most crowded during this popular time and room rates are at their highest. The most ideal time to visit Jamaica is November to mid-December because the weather is perfect and it’s the easiest time to find a good bargain on hotels and flights. Rates are also cheaper during the summer months, and you can save about 20%-40% if you go off season, but you will run the risks associated with traveling during hurricane season.
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