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4 Tips For A Terrific Jamaica Trip

Where to go and what to do in Jamaica.

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If someone told you to close your eyes and picture a tropical paradise, chances are you would imagine something pretty close to Jamaica’s palm-lined sands, pristine sea, wild waterfalls and verdant mountains.

But the way that most people experience the land of wood and water for the first time is through a package holiday at an all-inclusive resort – and while choosing this option means that you’ll probably lounge in the lap of luxury, it won’t afford you an authentic taste of what this amazing island nation really has to offer

Provided you plan ahead, it’s perfectly possible to travel off the beaten path in Jamaica, stay safe and have a life-enhancing adventure. With that in mind, here are three tips for a terrific Jamaica trip.

Hire a car

There is a public transport system in Kingston in the form of the big yellow coaches you’ll see roaming around town and they’re backed up by numerous private cabs and coaster buses – but this doesn’t constitute the type of efficient network that most European or North American cities offer, and services are sparse in rural areas.

All said, provided you drive carefully, it’s best to hire a car if you want to explore the island – in recent years the roads from the Jamaican capital to major tourist towns like Montego Bay and Ocho Rios have improved considerably and it’s the most efficient mode of transport for exploring the breath-taking beauty of the Blue Mountains.

Tip: hire a car from Enjoy Travel at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport and hit the road.

Attend Accompong Maroon Festival

The Jamaican Maroons are descended from runaway slaves who, in the 17th Century, fought a successful guerrilla war against British forces in the Jamaican interior and won a semi-autonomous status which they still fiercely defend to this day – Maroons pay no taxes and answer to no earthly authority other than their traditional tribal leaders.

This proud people have retained some traditions which are lost to their African homeland and at the Accompong Maroon Festival held each January in the Cockpit Country, you can experience their unique culture for yourself.

Tip: browse the visit Jamaica site to read more about Accompong.

Stay at Zion Country

Many Jamaicans will tell you that subtropical Portland is the most beautiful parish in Jamaica – less developed than many neighbouring locations, it boasts countless idyllic spots.

When Holywood star Errol Flynn sailed his yacht into its capital Port Antonio in 1946, he declared it ‘more beautiful than any woman’ he had ever known and decided to stay there for good. If sustainable travel floats your boat, the best accommodation option is probably Zion Country eco cabins in the tiny Long Road community. Run by Dutch-born Free-I, you’ll enjoy sumptuous meals cooked by master chef Owen, sleep in a hammock and spot manatees from the private beach – bliss!

Tip: check out the Zion Country website for more information.

Stay in Overwater Bungalows

Jamaica has a wealth of luxury hotels, ranging from affordable bargain accommodation to world-class all-inclusive resorts and high-end boutique properties – but for most people, the highlight of their stay will be an overnight at one of the iconic overwater bungalows. The latter is built on stilts over crystal blue Caribbean waters and offers unbeatable views of Jamaica’s picturesque coastline, with some rooms boasting private balconies or terraces. Visitors to these overwater havens can enjoy a host of activities such as swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean Sea – and after a long day spent exploring the island’s rich culture, it’s the ideal location to soak up some Jamaican sunshine and watch the sunset. Whether you are planning a Jamaica honeymoon or a family vacation, these luxury bungalows are sure to provide the perfect getaway. Just make sure to book your stay in advance!

That’s our list! Tell us your favourite Jamaican spots in the comments section!

Filed under: Travel Guide

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3703 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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