Jamaican to the world

#mattsonthemove

So you’ve done your research up to this point and figured out that Jamaica is, in fact, the best Caribbean island in the world (no bias here haha)! Now it’s coming down to the nitty-gritty and your squad is waiting for you to make some choices Susan! They’d like to be on the beach already! But you don’t want to do hours more of sifting and searching through Google, so you send a little prayer to the heavens and then type in “where should I spend my Jamaican vacation?” and here I am like the magic Genie to grant your request!

Now if you’ve already made up your mind that you don’t want to worry about a thing and you’re booking an all-inclusive then this post won’t be of any real help to you. And I ain’t judging you, many a times on staycation I choose the all-inclusive option cause I just want to be at a resort eating and drinking to my hearts content. But just know that if this is your choice and you don’t venture past the property walls, at the end of the day you really haven’t experienced Jamaica.

Of course the pre-requisite to the question “which part of Jamaica should I vacation” is that the answer depends on what exactly you’re looking to garner out of your vacay! That said, ill stop wasting time and give you my answer to the best of my subjective ability!

NEGRIL

negril sunset jamaica

The Famous Negril Sunset over Rockhouse!

What’s special about it?

Seven Miles of beautiful white sand beach can be your appetizer. The world-famous cliffs and crystal clear blue waters can be your main course. The best sunsets in Jamaica can be your dessert. Negril is the most resort-like town Jamaica has in the traditional sense and it’s not trying to be something that it’s not! You can go snorkeling, or partying by Margaritaville or cliff diving from Rick’s Cafe all within a very close proximity to each other! Typical other activities that you can partake in Negril and not necessarily anywhere else around include Jet Skiing, Parasailing, and renting motorbikes as your transportation as its very self-contained.

Who will enjoy it?

If you want your vacation to be as typical Caribbean touristy as it can get then this is your peanut butter and Jam. Truly, it can be a vacation for anyone and ticks all the boxes, but I’d place more emphasis on fun, drinking, single and ready to mingle, party a la spring break, in Negril than in all the other spots. Choose from any number of small boutique hotels or larger resorts as the options can leave your head spinning. Want to swing (not the type on an actual swing) or have a nudist retreat, there is a resort for you! Want to take the kids for a vacation and leave them with Elmo, there is a resort for you! Girls trip, yup you guessed it! Adventure buddies, we got you!

MONTEGO BAY

Doctors Cave Beach Jamaica

Doctor’s Cave Beach as a highlight of Mobay!

What’s special about it?

As the second city of Jamaica, it’s vaster in size than the majority on this list, which means more options for specifics like dining and entertainment. Unlike Kingston, much of Mobay is on the coastline and has quicker access to beaches. That’s gonna mean its the perfect mix for those of us who want to be sipping Pina Colada’s by day and ending up at a five-star restaurant by night. Yes, please! The Hip Strip is an enjoyable spot for varied nightlife from clubbing at Margaritaville to Latin dancing at the Blue Beat. There also happens to be Doctor’s Cave beach, which is actually one of the nicest beaches in Jamaica. Of course, the proximity to Mobay Airport is a big plus if you’d rather start your vacay from you touch down!

Who will enjoy it?

Those who would like to keep their options open. Mobay can also be thought of as a nice jumping pad as its close enough to Negril and Ochi to do day trips! Also, like Negril, it’s a fun spot to go out drinking and dancing, and unlike Negril, in doing so you have a better chance of mingling with locals. Those who like a more modern city will also enjoy the newer parts of Mobay such as the Bogues area. The accommodations range more on the hotel side with many All Inclusive’s located in the Rose Hall region.

OCHO RIOS

blue hole waterfalls jamaica

Come take a refreshing dip at the Blue Hole in Ochi!

What’s special about it?

Waterfalls! The literal translation is 8 rivers but it’s widely believed it is a corruption of Ocho Rios’ former Spanish name, Las Chorreras, which means “the waterfalls.” There is a walkable main street that’s perfect for window shopping and wandering around. Ochi, as we affectionately nickname it, is the winner where it comes to the abundance of activities including but not limited to horseback riding, climbing waterfalls, swimming with dolphins, zip lining, river tubing just to name a few! Of course the most famous waterfalls of the land, and arguably Jamaica’s biggest tourist attraction, Dunn’s River Falls, resides in Ochi. I would urge anyone coming here to do Dunn’s River but also to check out The Blue Hole and see what a contrast we have to offer! There are of course beaches as well, but if I am, to be honest, other options on this list have nicer beaches. Historically, it’s also the point of Jamaica, which was first discovered by Columbus!

Who will enjoy it?

In my opinion, if action and adventure are what you seek then Ochi has the most to offer. Of course if you want to go against TLC’s advice and chase dem waterfalls you’ve arrived at your mecca! As one of the main cruise ports its probably visited more than any other part of the country and yet The Jamaica Tourist Board has been neglectful in utilizing and marketing its full potential. It’s a charming town prepped for tourists but it has the potential to be so much more! It’s also close to smaller towns such as Discovery Bay, Runaway Bay, and Oracabessa which each have their own unique flare to them.

PORT ANTONIO

Frenchman cove jamaica

Frenchman’s Cove has a river running out to the beach!

What’s special about it?

I mean, for one, I consider it the gem of Jamaica! Its natural beauty is unrivaled by no other parish and further highlighted by the purposeful lack of commercial development in the area. You won’t find large all inclusive or even chain hotels as they simply don’t exist. What you will find is an actual castle, and ruins and forts and a town that still maintains its roots and charm. If that’s not enough, consider famous spots such as Blue Lagoon, Monkey Island, Frenchman’s Cove and Boston Bay and you should be sold! It’s chic, not modern and considered both classy and a bit eclectic.

Who will enjoy it?

Wanna feel like Royalty without snap-chatting crowns (or flowers or whatever kids do these days) on your head? I’d say your best chance of rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous would be here if anywhere! Now I’m not saying you’re GOING to find Beyoncé (or even any D list celebrity) if you go. All I’m saying is, if they were to be anywhere on the island it would probably be here. Want a low key lifestyle and gorgeous beaches and backgrounds, then this is your choice. If you want to do something that’s a bit further away from the masses (perhaps also because of its distance) then you’ve found your winner!

KINGSTON

strawberry hill jamaica

Strawberry Hill overlooking Kingston

What’s special about it?

As the capital city of Jamaica, Kingston isn’t thought of as a particular tourist destination but it’s the melting pot of Jamaica. Our motto ‘Out of many one people’ cant be more perfectly experienced than in Kingston. It’s a city constantly under transformation rivaling first world dining and entertainment experiences while at the same time offering up the best of our cultural showcase. There is a wide variety of entertainment around town from street dances to more upscale bars and nightclubs depending on what tickles your fancy! If this were New York then Kingston would be the Manhattan. It’s the mecca for our dances, our music, our lifestyle and it’s so readily available in our diverse neighborhoods. Day trips include going up the mountain to Strawberry Hill or Holywell or heading to cays off the coast such as lime cay or maiden cay.

Who will enjoy it?

If you want the most real local experience then I would suggest starting with Kingston. It would help to have a local guide carry you around but there are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants if you just do your research. Kingston may intimidate some, but if you’re a seasoned traveler you will come to love our urban playground in no time!

TREASURE BEACH/SOUTH COAST

pelican bar jamaica

Pelican Bar off the coast of St. Elizabeth!

What’s special about it?

The popularity of the once quiet fishing village has risen in the past few years, but even so, Treasure Beach still remains more relatively obscure than other Jamaican destinations. There are black sand beaches and rough terrain, as a tourist destination I find it to be unique in itself than the other are to each other. I’m always amazed every time I head down to this part of the island as the culture shifts and I feel like I’ve taken a plane off the island. It’s weird how much it embodies Jamaica, and at the same time is different from all other parts of Jamaica. The vibe is more hippie and eccentric, centering around Jakes, which you can consider the epicenter of Treasure Beach. The abundance of unique attractions such as Guts River, Lovers Leap, the famous Appleton Rum Tour, Buttonwood Tree and of course Floyd’s Pelican Bar are a bit more spread out than other parts of the island.

Who will enjoy it?

This one is for the artists, the hippies and boho’s but really anyone who wants to experience something further away from the pack will be drawn here! If you want a more authentic experience that fewer tourists have then this is a good spot for you! There is also a boatload of events specifically to the area that draws their own niche crowd every year such as the off-road Triathlon, Calabash Festival, Yoga retreats and so on! This one shouldn’t only be on foreigners to do lists, but also locals who’ve never chosen to explore it!

 

I’m pretty confident that anywhere you choose in Jamaica is gonna be perfect for you! If you’re reading the list and your already having trip envy because you cant do everything then you can just come back multiple times. Or maybe you want to try everything or even a mixture of some and you want to know what the best way to switch things up or plan accordingly. If you happen to need any assistance don’t hesitate to write me as this kinda stuff is what I enjoy doing.

 

Sincerely,

matt@jamaicantotheworld.com

 

7 thoughts on “Which Part of Jamaica should I vacay?

  1. Really good analysis of all our best spots. As a Kingstonian, I’ll tell all the tourists COME TO KINGSTON. 🙂 When the hustle and bustle gets to you and you’re ready for the beach, Ochi and Port Antonio are just 2 hours away (or less).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thx Rochelle! Much appreciated coming from you!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Kingston is a MUST! We will return next year to Kingston to coplete our 2016 Bucket List 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. is it the only spot on the list that you haven’t been to?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We have visited Kingston before, but there is so much more to see in Kingston, so we have to come back. And there are a view little spots all over the island we haven’t visited yet. 😉

        Like

  2. Stuart says:

    I should have already visited Jamaica..but ah stickin! Sigh. Great and very useful info Matt. Definitely gonna factor these things in when planning my trip 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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