Ten essential things to do when visiting Jamaica

Basking among the warm blue waters of the Caribbean, this verdant jewel is a great place to enjoy exotic landscapes and Old World history. Jamaica has excellent facilities for tourists and great beaches and outdoor destinations. There is much to do, from seeing remnants of the island’s history to exploring the verdant jungle on foot and horseback to working on your tan on one of the many beaches.

1.) Spanish city

Visit Jamaica’s former capital, Spanish Town, and get a sense of what got Christopher Columbus excited about the island’s beauty. See the old buildings, including St. Jago de la Vega Cathedral, built by the Spaniards. Have your photo taken in the Spanish Town Square, a charming display of colonial architecture brought over by the island’s settlers.

2.) Negril

Those who are passionate about activities such as diving, sailing, fishing and windsurfing will rejoice when they visit this town 80 kilometers beyond Montego Bay. A vibrant nightlife and many small shops are some of the things that tourists will encounter in this place where an alternative lifestyle was practiced in the past. Watch the sunset from West Point, the westernmost spot on the entire island, and dance until dawn at the many clubs along the beach.

3.) Eight Rivers

This town, whose name means “eight rivers” in Spanish, was once a sleepy village that now boasts international-class resorts and hotels. Ochos Rios is an oasis of gardens, such as the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens. See the sparkling beauty of Dunn’s River Falls, dine at one of the local restaurants and sample their diverse cuisine, and visit Brimmer Hall, a plantation where, just like in the past, crops are still grown and harvested using ancient methods.

4.) Montego Bay

This large, modern city is the second largest in Jamaica. While there, drop by Rose Hall, a restored home from an old sugar plantation. Watch the blue Caribbean from the city’s avenues with that special someone, then take them on one of the city’s three main beaches.

5.) Falmouth

This seaside town is located 40 km west of Montego Bay and contains the Church of Saint Paul. Visit the Greenwood Great House, once owned by poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and her husband. For the energetic, the Martha Brae can be rafted from Rafters Village.

6.) Kingston

Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, offers much to see and do. Learn about the island’s past by visiting the White Marl Museum, dedicated to the Arawak Indians who lived in Jamaica, and the Port Royal, which features exhibits and information about the bad old days of the buccaneers. Taste the cuisine of the local restaurants and buy a souvenir from the Crafts Market, and if you’re lucky, you can bet on horse racing in Cuyamas Park.

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7.) Treasure Reef

Swim with marine life at this water park near Dunn’s River Falls. Make some fishing friends as you feed the sharks and interact with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove. Or, if getting wet isn’t your thing, explore the lush greenery of the Jungle Trail Walk.

8.) Green Caves

Explore this cave east of Discovery Bay. These caves have been a refuge for people since prehistoric times and have seen inhabitants such as the Taino Indians, Spanish refugees hiding from the English, smugglers and rum smugglers. Green Grotto is a mile long and contains an underground lake, Grotto Lake.

9.) Water Sports

There are all kinds of outdoor activities in Jamaica, but one of the most common are water sports, which are available in numerous locations. Fishing in freshwater and saltwater is allowed without a permit. Parasailing, diving, surfing, rafting and the like are also offered in many locations such as Negril.

10.) Beaches

Jamaica would be nothing without its beaches. The island offers many varieties for everyone’s taste. From the bustling sands of MoBay and Ocho Rios to the private serenity of the beaches of Port Antonio, Jamaica offers beachgoers of all kinds the blend of sun, fun and friendship that’s perfect for them.