Pulsating reggae and dancehall beats aside, Jamaica’s natural beauty – gorgeous beaches, jungle-covered mountains and tropical waterfalls – as well as its world-renowned culinary scene, are what set it apart from other islands in the Caribbean.
Learning the nation's unspoken rules and etiquette goes a long way toward helping you understand what makes Jamaica such a remarkable place and manage any travel concerns you might have. Here's everything I think you should know before you go.
Jamaica is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, so where you decide to stay depends on what you’re into. For beaches and water sports, Negril and the north coast are your best bets.
Montego Bay and Ocho Rios combine excellent dining scenes with proximity to natural attractions and buzzy nightlife, though when it comes to the Jamaican music scene, Kingston – the capital – reigns supreme.
Treasure Beach (south coast) and Port Antonio (north coast) offer a taste of low-key, laid-back Jamaica, while those interested in traditional Maroon culture can visit Charles Town on the northeastern coast.
Hiking up Blue Mountain peak and trekking in remote Cockpit Country are best organized from Kingston or Falmouth, respectively.
Jamaican mosquitoes do not carry malaria but there are occasional outbreaks of dengue fever. Some of the guesthouses and hotels don’t provide mosquito nets, so bring your own.
The best repellent for no-see-ums (midges) – tiny biting insects that live near water, whose bites are extremely itchy – is Avon Skin So Soft.
The main towns in Jamaica are served by a combination of comfortable, air-conditioned buses, crowded minibuses and route taxis.
It’s entirely possible to get around Jamaica using public transportation, though for exploring more remote destinations, you’ll need either ample time and patience or your own set of wheels. If you plan on taking a road trip, car hire is available at airports in Kingston and Montego Bay.
In upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants credit cards are almost universally accepted. Elsewhere in Jamaica, cash (Jamaican dollars) is king, though in touristy destinations you can largely get by with US dollars.
ATMs and currency exchanges are plentiful in Montego Bay, Kingston and Ocho Rios, though currency exchanges (cambios)give you the best rates. Airport rates are not great, and you’ll get hit with ATM charges if you withdraw cash. Small change is best for buying from street vendors and using public transport.
Jamaica is vulnerable to hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season (early June to late November); most storms occur between August and October. Timing your visit to Jamaica during hurricane season is possible if you follow a few basic rules:
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If you’re looking for culture, activities, wildlife or sheer adventure, Indonesia is one of the richest countries in the world. With an estimated 13,466 islands, it's a whopper too. But Indonesia beyond Bali and Lombok (and the Gili Islands) remains largely unknown to many travelers. To pick just one example, Sumatra (80 times the size of Bali) is almost a world in itself. And yet people ask the question: “Is Indonesia worth visiting?”
With just over two weeks for winter travellers to start their vacations, in anticipation of a record winter tourist season,Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism says: “This surge in airlift represents an increase of 13 percent over winter 2022/2023, where we recorded a whopping 923,000 airline seats.”
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, on the weekend received two major awards for Jamaica from the prestigious World Travel Awards, which is in its 30th year, at the landmark Burj Al Arab in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Minister Bartlett also as Founder and Chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), a thinktank based in Jamaica, handed out five Global Tourism Resilience Awards to two major Middle East corporations and three countries.
Jamaica has a long association with the James Bond film franchise - it has provided a plethora of iconic locations, such as Doctor Kananga’s underground lair in Live and Let Die (1973) at Green Grotto Caves, and the waterfall from the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962), at Ocho Rios’ Dunn’s River Falls. Now, from the producers behind the James Bond films, comes the thrilling television series 007: Road To A Million.
Jamaica shared company with New Zealand, Costa Rica and Cyprus as it middled the 2023 Global Law and Order Report by respected Washington DC, United States based international analytics firm, Gallup, Inc.
With breathtaking oceanfront vistas, lush, breezy mountains, tropical rainforest, some pumping nightlife and one of the coolest food scenes in the Caribbean, a Puerto Rico vacation is all about enjoying the ride.
I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this. Pictures barely do it justice. I was passing through West Texas, having already visited the nearby White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, and figured this would be the easiest time to visit Big Bend National Park. I’d heard from a fellow traveler that it was his favorite park, and he’d been to all of them. With that in mind, I purposely limited how much I’d see of the park before I arrived. I wanted to be surprised, and boy was I.
After a recent trip to Jamaica to experience some of the extraordinary villas, the staffed difference, and one-of-a-kind excursions, the Villas of Distinction team has some tips and favorite things to share to help make your next vacation to Jamaica the best ever:
A sweeping storm system is impacting much of the United States on this, the final day of the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend. Nearly 14 million people found themselves under various winter weather alerts on Sunday, according to The New York Times.
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