The cultural life of Jamaica is a wealthy one; its music,
art, and cuisine have a spirit that's as hard to describe
as the rhythms of reggae or an outburst of streetwise
patois. Although 95% of the population traces its bloodlines
to Africa, Jamaica is a stockpot of cultures, including
those of other Caribbean islands, Great Britain, the
Middle East, India, China, Germany, Portugal, and South
America. The third-largest island in the Caribbean (after
Cuba and Hispaniola), Jamaica enjoys a considerable
self-sufficiency based on tourism, agriculture, and
The island's physical attractions include jungle mountaintops,
clear waterfalls, and unforgettable beaches, and its
tourist areas are grouped around the northern and western
coastlines. Ocho Rios (often just Ochi) is a major cruise
port, resort center, and the home of Dunn's River Falls,
probably the most photographed spot in the nation. Montego
Bay (or MoBay, as it's known), destination of most tourist
flights, is a sprawling beach resort. At the island's
western tip lies Negril, once a sleepy hangout for bohemian
travelers; though now bigger and glitzier. In addition
to these pleasure capitals, Jamaica has a real capital
in Kingston, the true heart and head of the island.
This is where politics, literature, music, and art wrestle
for acceptance in the largest (800,000 people) English-speaking
city in the Western hemisphere south of Miami.
Airports in Jamaica
There are three international airports in Jamaica: Sangster
International Airport in Montego Bay, Norman Manley
International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica's capital
city and the Ian Fleming International Airport in picturesque
In addition to the airlines listed above, there are
a number of charter flights from North America and Europe.
Cruise Ships that include Jamaica on their itinerary.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Reservations: 800 327 9501
Reservations: 800 437 3111
Costa Cruise Lines
Reservations: 800 462 6782
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Reservations: 800 688 3876
Holland America Line
Reservations: 800 426 0327
Norwegian Cruise Line
Reservations: 800 327 7030
Reservations: 800 421 0522
Radiddon Seven Seas Cruises
Reservations: 800 285 1835
Royal Caribbean International
Reservations: 800 327 6700
Royal Olympic Cruises
Reservations: 800 468 6400
Reservations: 800 468 6400
Citizens travelling to and from Jamaica must present
a valid passport when leaving and or re-entering the
United States . Residents must present their Alien Resident
Card (Green Card) together with passport of country
for which they hold citizenship. All visitors are required
to travel with a return ticket or onward ticket for
entry into Jamaica. For more information, go to: http://www.congenjamaica-ny.org/visas/
Citizens: Valid passport or a government-issued identification
with photograph, along with an official birth certificate.
Canadian residents must present a Canadian Permanent
Resident Card and a passport showing country of citizenship.
for more information on:
Embassies and High Commissions
airlines serve the international airports in Kingston
and Montego Bay as well as smaller airports in Kingston,
Portland, Ocho Rios and Negril.
Taxis have predetermined rates between one location
and another. All cabs have red PPV plates (Public Passenger
Vehicle) along with regular license plates. Limousines,
air-conditioned coaches and local bus service also connect
all villages, cities and towns.
By Rented Car
In Jamaica you drive on the left. The speed limit is
30 MPH in towns and 50 MPH on highways. To rent any
vehicle, visitors may use a drivers license (valid for
12 months) for up to a 3 month period. Drivers must
be at least 25 years of age to rent a car and must post
a bond to meet insurance regulations with cash, major
credit card, or travelers checks. Service stations are
open daily and will only accept cash.
The official language of Jamaica is English, although
most Jamaicans speak a local patois influenced by a
combination of several different languages.
110 volts/50 cycles is standard. 220 volts used at some
hotels. Adaptors are available at some hotels, although
hair dryers and irons work without adapters.
Jamaica falls within the Eastern Time Zone (UTC/GMT
-5 Hours) and does NOT observe Daylight Savings Time.
Most hotels will include a 10 to 15% charge on your
bill. These charges are not automatically included in
restaurant bills, so tipping is suggested.
Banks are open from 9am-2pm (Monday-Thursday) and 9am-4pm
(Friday). Most ATMs do not accept ATM cards from the
Most stores are open 9am-5pm (Monday-Saturday).
Direct international telephone service operates in all
areas 24 hours a day, and telephone operators will gladly
facilitate collect, third party or credit card calls.
International faxes, cables and telegrams can be sent
from most hotels and post offices. Email and Internet
access is available too, usually at hotels and parish
libraries, but also at local Internet Cafes.
All drinking water in Jamaica is purified and filtered
by modern methods.
All major credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere.
Traveler's checks are widely used, and most hotels,
shops, and restaurants encourage their use-a real convenience
for you, eliminating the need to constantly exchange
Jamaica has some of the greatest beaches in the Caribbean.
Whether you land on Negrilís seven-mile stretch, the
North Coastís golden shores or the Southís wave-carved
coves, Jamaicaís beaches will captivate you the moment
you step onto their sands. If you like it natural, Jamaica
has more nude beaches than any other Caribbean island.
You could spend weeks exploring Jamaica's embryonic
trail system, mainly in the Blue Mountains, or tramping
rough bridle tracks nationwide. Rugged Cockpit Country
is little explored, yet tailor-made for experienced
A great way to explore Jamaica and most resort areas
have stables. Many organized rides lead through plantations,
with some trekking far into the country's interior.
Jamaica's boasts 12 championship golf courses, some
of which are regular stops for the PGA and LPGA tours.
Tryall Golf Club, 12 miles (19km) west of Montego Bay,
is the pre-eminent course.
Deep Sea Fishing
Visiting anglers have an opportunity to battle blue
and white marlin, wahoo, tuna and dolphin in deep water
and drops to thousands of feet beyond the reefs, but
a mere 15 minutes from shore. Blue marlin is the most-prized
big game fish, and catching your first is well within
reach. Great fishing encircles the island and larger
blue marlin are usually caught between summer and fall.
Although they diminish in size, they are present year-round.
Well equipped boats and expert guides are available.
If its diving you want, Jamaica has it. Dive sites are
close by and professional operators help to make Jamaica
a great dive destination. And, with the establishment
of marine parks in Montego Bay, Port Antonio and Negril,
fish populations are flourishing.
Montego Bay is famous for its wall dives, and is known
for its mass of coral caves, tunnels and canyons.
The underwater terrain around Negril has excellent patches
of spur-and-groove corals including caves and overhangs,
as well as "coral cottages" in depths of 60-plus
feet. There are also several close-to-shore wrecks to
Kingston is one of the Caribbean's best-kept scuba dive
secrets. Port Royal, which abuts the Kingston airport,
is rich with history of pirates and sunken ships that
now provide haven for a dense array of tropical fish.
East of Ocho Rios, Devilís Reef, a pinnacle, drops from
60 feet to over 200 feet, with a sand shelf at 130 feet.
Caverns, a shallow reef about a quarter mile long, has
endless small tunnels, with silversides and nurse sharks
often in residence.
Starting in 30 to 40 feet of water, the wall off Falmouth
runs within a half-mile of shore. Chubb Castle, a Falmouth
favorite, starts shallow, its top decorated with soft
corals and basket sponges and its wall strung with rope
sponges and black corals. A chimney, dropping from 35
to 90 feet, leads to even more tunnels and caves.
Water Temp Averages 78F 25 C throughout the year. Visibility
can reach 100 ft 30 m
While surfing has been enjoyed in Jamaica for many years,
many visitors still do not equate great surfing and
this islands hidden away and seemingly out of reach
of nice waves. Some of the best areas are Treasure Beach
in St. Elizabeth, Long Bay and Boston Beach, and Portland,
Jamaica. You can bring your own board or rentals are
available at some beaches.
Long overlooked, windsurfing enthusiasts are finding
Jamaica to be a great destination.
Jamaica hosts a full calendar of musical, artistic,
cultural and sporting events. Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae
Sumfest are the biggest rages on the island, held about
one week apart in July/August. Sunsplash is held near
Ocho Rios, Sumfest in Montego Bay. Both are frenetic
beachy music festivals, with A-rated fun and X-rated
dancing. Carnival in March or April, the week after
Easter, takes place on the university campus in Kingston
and at various other places around Jamaica. It's a big
blow-out, mainly for Jamaicans, with reggae, calypso
and dancehall soca the main booty-shakers, but it's
also a tourist attraction in its own right.
There are a number of yacht races on the calendar: the
Pineapple Cup Yacht Race, held each February, starts
in Miami and finishes in Montego Bay, a distance of
800-plus miles (1288-plus km). Cricket matches are held
from laneway to lawn throughout the year. In April,
the West Indies team takes on an international challenger
in the Cable & Wireless Test Match in Kingston.
Jonkanoo is a traditional Christmas celebration in which
revelers parade through the streets dressed in masquerade.
The festivity has its origins among West African secret
societies and was once the major celebration on the
Attractions (Fees Charged)
Greenwood Great House - Montego Bay, St. James
Great House with rare antique musical instruments which
still play. Fascinating antique furniture with hidden
compartments Located 16 miles east of Montego bay near
Cornwall Bathing Beach - Montego Bay, St. James
Beach facility with water sports, bar and restaurant
on property. At nights a disco entertains while you
play volley ball.
Croydon on the Mountain - Catalupa, St. James
Guided half-day tour of working plantation with diverse
crops, livestock and bee-keeping, Complimentary drinks
made from fruits in season and Blue Mountain coffee.
Black River Safari Tours - Black River, St. Elizabeth
Located at the old boarding ramp on the eastern bank
of the Black River, this wildlife boat tour of the coastal
wetlands. Excellent opportunity for photographing many
species of birds and crocodiles.
Shaw Park Botanical Garden - Ocho Rios, St. Ann
Five hundred and fifty feet above sea level with a spectacular
view, this is Jamaica's most celebrated botanical garden,
floral opulence, waterfalls. Gift shop and bar.
Dunns River Falls - Ocho Rios, St. Ann
A must see and do attraction in Jamaica is climbing
Dunn's River Falls. Beginning at the sea you climb 600'
of stair-stepping limestone surrounded by tall rainforest.
If you're not quite so brave at heart there's wooden
stairs along the way to view the awesome cascades and
pools. You can spend the entire day here
Coyaba River Garden and Museum - Ocho Rios, St. Ann
Eco-tourist attraction with botanical garden, museum
with Jamaica history dating back to the Arawaks era
to the present. Juice Bar, restaurant and gift shop.
Rafting on the Rio Grande - St. Margaret's Bay, Portland
This is a leisurely three-hour ride down the river on
a 36' long bamboo raft. You sit on a raised seat for
two as an experienced guide poles your trip. It is wonderfully
scenic and you'll get a taste of rural life along the
Bob Marley Museum - 56 Hope Road, Kingston
Formerly Bob Marley's home and studio of Tuff Gong.
Interesting collection of Marley's memorabilia, films,
posters, records, books, etc.
National Art Gallery - Roy West Building, Kingston Mall,
Large gallery on two floors. Permanent exhibition of
Jamaican Art - Pre 20th century gallery. Also includes
Edna Manley and Kap collection.
Cashoo Ostrich Park - Located on the South Coast
Enjoy the fine grilled cuisine, drinks and fruit juices
from the wicker or logwood bars on a property that is
entirely solar powered. And for the kids, while enjoying
a sno-cone, cotton candy or popcorn, there is a petting
zoo and play area that will keep them busy and happy
for the entire day.
The Park includes:
* Medicinal Herbal Garden
* Fruit Orchard
* Petting Zoo for Children
* Children's Play Area
* Pond Fishing
* Bird Sanctuary
* Food Pavilllion
* Hammock Relaxation
* Donky Cart Rides
* The Park opens Tuesdays to Sundays 10:00 am to 4:30