There’s a reason Montego Bay is considered Jamaica’s tourism capital. The city is home to year-round perfect weather and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
The island nation of Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea, and is a popular tourist destination for major cruise lines and resort-goers looking to escape snowy winter months. Jamaica is a sun bather’s paradise and ideal for anyone looking for “no problems, mon!”
Languages: English (official language); Jamaican Patois, a combination of English and various African languages, is spoken in rural areas. Patois and English are both spoken in a distinctive rhythmic quality.
Currency: Jamaican Dollar (J)
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
DID YOU KNOW?
- Musical genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, dancehall and ragga all originated from Jamaica.
- Jamaica’s national bobsled team was once a serious contender in the Winter Olympics, first appearing in the 1988 Calgary games.
- The island has the highest number of churches per capita in the world.
- A town called Port Royal was once the home base for many privateers and later pirates in the 1600s. Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692.
- The movie Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise, takes place in Jamaica.
- The Golf Club is the oldest hotel in the western world and was established in 1868 in Jamaica.
Jamaica is a tropical country with hot and humid weather year round; however, some areas inland are more temperate. Wet weather can be expected between May and November, but is usually in the form of short, intense bursts of rain. The average annual precipitation is 1,950 millimetres.
- Rainy seasons: May – June and September – November
- Dry seasons are from July – August and December – April
Jamaica was settled by people originating from South America sometime between 4000 and 1000 BCE. By the time Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, the island was inhabited by more than 200 tribes lead by chiefs of villages. Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain and it was called Santiago until the Spanish were forced out by the British in 1655 and the island was renamed Jamaica. Under British rule, Jamaica became one of the world’s leading exporters of sugar. After the British abolished slavery in 1807, they brought in Chinese and Indians to supplement the workforce; descendents of these workers are still in Jamaica today. Jamaica gained its full Independence from Britan in 1958, and in 1962, it joined the British Commonwealth. The British monarch remains the country’s head of state.
DUNNS RIVER FALLS
One of the Caribbean’s most famous tourist attractions, these falls are terraced like giant steps and stand 180 metres high. Visitors can climb the falls with the help of a guide.
How do you find “the real” Jamaica? By hitting up one of these restaurants and dancehalls, where food and music go hand-in-hand and the Jamaican culture is all around you.
If you’re headed to Jamaica, add these five treats to the top of your must-eat and must-drink list.
At a chilled-out spa in Ocho Rios, Kat Tancock learned to let go and indulge herself—and her ticklish feet.
Jamaica’s festive masquerade parade is all about culture and history. Alison Kent explores the Christmastime tradition that dates back to the days of slavery.
At Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay, modern takes on Caribbean classics are being created with home-grown organic ingredients–and bringing Jamaican cuisine into the spotlight.
If you’re after a wild white water rafting adventure, you won’t find it in Jamaica, says Kat Tancock. But you will find a relaxing ride and mellow vibe that will have you saying “no worries” as you sail in the sun.
Today marks Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence—and, appropriately, a celebration of yesterday’s gold-medal win by the fastest man in the world.
Each year, Jamaica throws a big reggae party called Reggae Sumfest and everyone’s invited. You don’t have to be a reggae fan to enjoy the vibe and soak up the Caribbean party atmosphere.
What’s your idea of the perfect beach? Turquoise waters lapping a deserted stretch of white sand? A hoppin’ beach-side snack shack? We’ve got you covered.
From Jamaican bobsledding to Jamaican dogsledding, zip lining to bike adventures, no country in the Caribbean is as passionate and unique about its off-resort excursions as Jamaica, say ThePlanetD.com’s Dave and Deb.