Information for and about Jamaica

Information about the Island of Jamaica in the western Caribbean


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Tropical scenery
Why go on holiday to Jamaica?
Why go on holiday to Jamaica?


Guaranteed sun, beautiful beaches, cheap and gorgeous food, a laid-back attitude to life, and tropical scenery. But there's far more to Jamaica than all this.

It's a poverty-ridden nation with a history steeped in the slave trade. Such contradictory factors make Jamaica and its people complex and difficult to fathom at times, but your overall impression will almost certainly be one of laid-back charm.

How much does it cost?
Seven nights with villa accommodation starts at just under £1,000; two weeks at about £1,500; an all-inclusive hotel stay will be £200 or £300 less. Out of the peak season, a flight-only deal from London can start from as little as £220. All prices will vary.

When should I go?
It is hot year-round in Jamaica. The rainy season peaks in May/June and October/November, but this only means short showers amid the tropical glory. The least-crowded time is from May to November, when hotels will be cheaper and attractions less packed.

*Feeling inspired? Book a break to the Caribbean here.

 

Colourful and vibrant
Colourful and vibrant
What should I do when I'm there?

Laze on the beach, attend one of the vibrant festivals, visit Bob Marley's former home and his final resting place, and eat seafood and tropical fruit.

What's the capital like?
Kingston is a seething mass of colour and life. It's not picturesque, and there is terrible poverty, but its sheer vitality makes it a must.

Visit the Bob Marley Museum, the great man's former home. You can see his bedroom, his guitars, the bullet holes from the 1976 assassination attempt and the tree where he would sit, smoke and strum.

The waterfront area is tatty, but great to stroll through for the craft market and National Gallery.

What beaches are there?
Ocho Rios with its famed Turtle Beach and harbour offers good, if crowded, swimming.

Fern Gully winds through the canyon of an old watercourse for about three miles inland, and the 600ft Dunn's River Falls is the island's most famous beauty spot.

Montego Bay is the ideal for sun, sand, sea, etc. This is the home of the all-inclusive resorts popular with holidaymakers. The beaches are beautiful, but the town is smoggy and full of hustlers.

One or two excellent old buildings survive downtown, but MoBay is primarily a resort and not for those trying to find the "real Jamaica".

Negril is a rapidly growing resort, but remains a laid-back centre. You will interact with the locals more than anywhere else here, with food stalls lining the streets and woodcarvers hawking their wares on the beach. Magnificent sunsets.

I want to get away from the crowds
Cockpit County is a 500 sq mile limestone plateau to the west. There are caves, wild vegetation and a bewildering array of wildlife.

The area is probably most easily appreciated from the air, but that is expensive. If you're on foot be sure to have an experienced and trustworthy guide - it's hot and hazardous.

Long Bay in the north-east is a beautiful, untouched spot. The mile-long, pink-sanded beach is a top surfing spot, but this hasn't altered life in this charming, lazy fishing village.

Surfing hasn't got as far as Treasure Beach on the south coast. These four isolated coves are disturbed only by fishermen and local women selling pickled fruit.

Where can I cool off?
Head east to the Blue Mountains, which are much wetter than the rest of Jamaica. June to September are the best months to visit them. They're a botanist's dream - with more than 500 flowering plant species - not to mention a hiker's paradise.

What festivals and events are there?
Jamaica has numerous cultural and sporting events, the most famous and colourful of which are the Reggae Sunsplash in Ocho Rios and the Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, in July and August respectively.

The music throbs and everyone gets down on the beach - Jamaicans are the masters of provocative gyration. If you're taking a winter break, the Carnival in Kingston in February has more of the same, plus calypso and ballroom.

Jonkanoo is the Christmas celebration, with street parades and costumes. Cricket is a national obsession, with provincial matches all year and an international in Kingston at least once annually. There are also plenty of yacht races.

Island entertainment

Where's good for nightlife?
For so-called high culture - theatre, ballet, etc - you will have to stay in Kingston. Rum shops are the staple island entertainment; they're macho establishments where you down potent white rum with milk until you fall over.

Even less "PC" is the go-go club, usually huge bars where young women shake their booty for a largely male clientele. They're actually very friendly places, but not for the easily offended.

What's the food like?
Fresh seafood is everywhere, often heavily spiced or salted. Ackee and saltfish is the Jamaican national dish, most often eaten for breakfast.

Dip and fall back is a salty stew served with bananas and dumplings. Jerk is a fiery marinade used on fish, chicken or pork, which is then barbecued.

Staple vegetables are pumpkin, breadfruit, callaloo and cho-cho - a pear shaped gourd. Gorge yourself on delicious tropical fruit. Avoid eating turtle and booby eggs - both species are endangered and it is illegal to eat them.

What should I buy?
Fine handmade Jamaican cigars, colourful bead jewellery, woodcarvings, straw goods including baskets, art, and food items and drinks, including Blue Mountain coffee (arguably the best in the world), rum liqueurs and food marinades.

Remember to haggle, except for high-quality art, when the prices are normally fixed.

What is there for children to do?
Anancy Park, opposite Poinciana Hotel in Negril, is a children's entertainment complex. It has a learning centre, folk museum, donkey cart rides, fishing and boating lakes, nature trail, carousel, go-cart track, miniature golf course and video arcade.

Individual resorts have good facilities for children, including children's pools and entertainments.

Tourist office
1-2 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ. Tel 020 7224 0505

Entry Documents:

Beginning December 31, 2005, US citizens need a passport for all travel to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada.

Proof of citizenship for U.S. and Canadian citizens (passport or birth certificate with a photo ID). Passports required for citizens of other countries. All visitors must have an ongoing or return ticket.
Airport:

Vacationer's typcially fly into Sangster airport in Montego Bay. Kingston's Norman Manley airport is the second most highly used airport mostly for business or resident traffic.
Departure Tax:

US$27
Driving:

On the left - valid driver's license is required.
Process:

Apply for a marriage license.
Cost: Cost of wedding arrangments Documents Required: Birth certificates Wait Time: 24 hours
Address: 64 Knutsford Bouldevard
P.O. Box 360
Kingston 5, Jamaica
Phone: (876) 920-4924
Tollfree: (800) 233-4JTB
Fax: (876) 929-9375
Phone: (876) 926-3635
Website:
Phone: (876) 926-3635
Email: JHTA@colis.com
Website:

Jamaica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jamaica (pronounced /ˈdʒəˈmeɪkə/) is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (146 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width situated in the Caribbean Sea. ...

Airports Authority of Jamaica

Airports Authority of Jamaica, Norman manley international airport flight information, airport profile, Norman Manley International Airport, Jamaica Airport ...

Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaica Gleaner News at every turn seven days a week featuring Jamaican Sports, Island Business, Health, Education, Commentary, Letters.



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Information about the Island of Jamaica in the western Caribbean