So you’re overdue a vacation, huh? Whether it’s Summer, Spring, Fall or Winter the Caribbean’s tropical vibe makes for a great destination. Despite the fact that there are nearly thirty different countries within the Caribbean region there is no better place to start than the beautiful island of Jamaica.
Why not head to Jamaica, where the Caribbean sun, white sand beaches, finger-licking food, relaxing vibes, and crystal clear water makes for the perfect tropical paradise! But with so many amazing places to visit in Jamaica, you’ll want to make sure you visit only the best places during your vacation. Be it the best beaches, attractions or waterfalls, here are the best places to visit in Jamaica.
Seven Mile Beach (Negril Beach)
Picture white sand, unbelievably clear, turquoise blue water, and stunning sunsets – that’s Seven Mile Beach. Conveniently nestled a little over an hour outside of Montego Bay, it’s no wonder this picturesque beach is one of Jamaica’s most popular attractions!
Sheltered by one of the Caribbean’s great reefs, Negril Bay is always tranquil, but there’s plenty to do. Take your pick of kayaking, boat rides, scuba diving, horseback rides on the shore and snorkeling while you’re there, or forego everything, lounge in the sand and sip on coconuts with no care in the world. And of course, indulge in some delicious traditional Jamaican food and an ice cold Red Stripe beer at any of the seaside restaurants and bars.
Rose Hall Great House
History meets haunted house with Rose Hall Great House. Located on an extensive plantation, this beautiful relic was home to the formidable mistress Annie Palmer who was infamously dubbed the White Witch of Rose Hall for her cruelty to slaves and her part in killing three of her husbands.
Ghostly night tours of the Great House are available, easy to sign up for and make the perfect eerie treat for the more daring tourist. Day tours are, however, a wonderful alternative for those that like to keep the spook to a minimum. The well-manicured golf courses, sugar cane fields and village areas surrounding Rose Hall Great House are also a sight to behold during the morning or early afternoon.
Located in the rustic parish of Portland, Reach Falls is definitely one of the best place to visit in Jamaica for nature and water-lovers. The falls and surrounding foliage are absolutely picturesque, the water is sparkling blue and refreshing, the staff are pleasant and there are sitting areas provided for large and small groups to picnic.
Be sure to ask for the guided tours of once-secret caves and paths slaves are believed to have trod through to avoid detection from their slave masters. Picking your way through the rocky foot paths and underground caves is the perfect combination of a little slice of history and adventure.
Escape to paradise, where you will be surrounded by lush foliage and crystal clear waters. Once called The Blue Hole, this gorgeous spot got its name changed after the popularity of the movie shot on site titled Blue Lagoon. Fresh water from mineral springs flows into salt water from the Caribbean sea to make the unique natural phenomenon that is the Blue Lagoon. To add to the beauty of this must visit attraction, the water color changes from either sapphire colored, royal blue or turquoise depending on how the sun hits the water.
Choose between leisurely boat rides on the lagoon or romantic bamboo raft rides, both are inexpensive and well worth the cost! Either way, a dip in the beautifully clear water is totally free!
Doctor’s Cave Beach
Considered the best beach in Montego Bay, Doctor’s Cave is a beach you don’t want to miss out on. Conveniently located on MoBay’s popular Hip Strip, this scenic beach is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Even though the cave which famously gave the beach its name was destroyed by a hurricane in 1932, you will find nothing missing from your perfect beach day experience at Doctor’s Cave Beach.
On the same grounds as Doctor’s Cave Beach is The Montego Bay Marine Park. Request a guide and explore the park grounds or hire a canoe and enjoy the flora and fauna as you take a walk on the wild side in this beautiful nature reserve.
With a river that runs right into the sea, a gorgeous white sand beach, and swings set up by the riverbanks, Frenchman’s Cove is an idyllic postcard come to life. Nestled in the Portland countryside, Frenchman’s Cove is arguably one of Jamaica’s most famous beaches, while remaining natural and almost untouched.
As beautiful as it is private, this beach is a perfect slice of paradise without the crowd. Relax in the fresh river water, swim in the beautiful, crystalline sea, or lounge on the sandy beach. Choose from a selection of snacks, drinks and local favorites like jerk chicken available from a restaurant on the shore. Whatever you chose to do, we know you’ll enjoy Frenchman’s Cove.
Get off the beaten track and head to the golden sandy shores of Winnifred Beach for an authentic Jamaican experience. Set against the background of lush green plants and trees, you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the middle of the jungle. A handful of years ago Winnifred Beach and its environs were passed over for development into a business center and a cluster of residential apartments and so today, the stunning beach remains untouched and free to the public.
Come enjoy freshly caught fish prepared on spot, delicious meals from Cynthia’s restaurant, relax in the shade, go snorkeling or join an exciting game of football with any of the locals. On weekend afternoons the beach turns into the perfect party spot complete with sweet Reggae music for you to vibe to.
Just outside of Portland’s capital is Boston Bay, Jamaica’s very own bit of surfer’s paradise. With what is believed to be the strongest waves and best tide to be experienced in the Caribbean, as well as experienced locals on hand to give tips and instructions on surfing, Boston Bay is perfect for novices and pros alike.
Don’t go home with the boring, obligatory t-shirt as your only souvenir, get some handmade jewelry and souvenirs from local craftsmen and women instead. And while you’re there be sure to get a bite or two of the mouthwatering jerk, cooked over an open flame, that the Boston area is famous for!
Martha Brae River
The Marthae Brae River is one of Jamaica’s top bamboo rafting destinations and one of the best places to visit in Jamaica for a romantic day out. Located in the sleepy parish of Trelawny, The Martha Brae River Rafter’s Village is a handful of miles inland from Falmouth, and just twenty miles from Montego Bay.
Take a relaxing bamboo raft ride down Martha Brae River with an experienced raft captain while enjoying the flora and faunas of the surroundings. A splash in the beautiful jade-colored water is a must.
With the chance to listen to local tales and legends about the Martha Brae River, sip on cold drinks and stroll through Miss Martha’s Herb Garden, Martha Brae River is easily the perfect spot for a lazy day in Jamaica.
Enjoy the sun, sea and sand while kicking it back with locals at Treasure Beach. Because the four public beaches that make up Treasure Beach are open to the general public, a visit to Treasure Beach will reward you with an authentic experience with locals and an opportunity to experience Jamaican culture in a more fulsome manner.
Tempt your tastebuds with sumptuous Jamaican food and go snorkeling, biking, strolling along the shore before the local fisherman catches and serves up freshly-cooked fish or just kick back and relax in the mellow vibes that is Treasure Beach.
Famous for its coffee and for being one of the highest mountain ranges in the Caribbean, The Blue Mountains are a sight to behold. The mountain range, named for the color it appears to have from a distance, spans over four parishes St Andrew, St Thomas, Portland and St Mary, and is renowned for offering stunning fiery sunsets and breathtaking sunrises from the peak.
The panoramic view isn’t anything to sneeze at either, as on a clear day you can see as far as Cuba and Haiti from the highest points. Hiking up to the peak during the night to catch the sunrise, and a peek of Cuba is a must while in Jamaica, after all it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Coffee plantation tours, interesting and exotic plant life, and a number of springs, as well as breathtaking scenery are just a few of the rewards for the arduous journey to the top. With all its beautiful natural offerings, The Blue Mountains are easily one of the best places to visit in Jamaica.
Tucked away in the cool, garden parish of St Elizabeth is a nature lover’s dream and without a doubt one of Jamaica’s finest nature-based attractions. YS Falls boasts seven waterfalls, magnificent gardens, a river pool, a canopy ride and a stud farm.
Begin your day at YS Falls with an exciting tractor ride and then choose what you’ll spend your day doing. Enjoy a swim in the refreshing water, zip through the air over the falls on the canopy ride, go river tubing, or see the thoroughbred horses on the farm – there’s so much to do.
Black River is the perfect place to visit if you find yourself drawn to beautiful destinations with rich histories and wildlife. Once a booming port and thriving town in the height of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Black River was almost as bustling and teeming with life as the country’s capital city Kingston. While the wildlife and fauna of the Black River remain impressive and are offset by the intriguing history of the surrounding town, these days the National Heritage District is a lot quieter.
Take a leisurely boat ride on one of the island’s longest and most famous rivers, where you’re almost guaranteed to spot several Jamaican crocodiles, a myriad of exotic birds and the mangroves that shelter crabs, shrimp and a number of other wildlife animals.
Dunn’s River Falls and Park
Dunn’s River Falls is hands down one of the best places to visit in Jamaica. The iconic beach and falls immortalised on the Jamaican $100 bill is famous and well-loved among locals and foreigners alike and for good reason.
In recent years the number of attractions on site has been increased to include a water park that is perfect for kids and for older visitors that may not like to climb the falls or head down to the beach, well-kept gardens with plenty of flowers, a lush lawn and towering coconut trees to provide shade, and a vibrant craft market.
The white sand beach is beautiful and scenic with enough benches scattered nearby so visitors may enjoy a snack while watching the waves come in, and staff are on hand to offer group tours of the grounds as well as provide assistance in climbing the falls. Dunn’s River Falls is an immensely popular spot which means it isn’t one of those deserted, lesser-known spots, so arriving early is key if you want to maximize on your time and beat the crowd.
Nanny Falls & Moore Town
Located in the hills of the John Crow Mountain, west of Moore Town in Portland, is one of the unknown gems in Jamaica’s crown of natural treasures. Nanny Falls, named after Jamaica’s only national heroine Nanny of the Maroons, can be found off a well-worn dirt track and surrounded by lush green fauna.
Come learn about maroon life and of course, relax at the waterfall maroons believe have special healing powers, a great day of adventure and cultural exploration awaits you.
River rafting might not have even existed if it weren’t for the Rio Grande. In fact, the Rio Grande is credited as the birthplace of river rafting in Jamaica where originally, bamboo rafts were used to transport bananas from one point to another. Nature lovers will definitely enjoy this relaxing ride down the river while taking in the virtually untouched Portland countryside.
Way off coast and out into the sea you’ll find a quaint little bar – that’s Pelican Bar. Nicknamed for the pelicans that like to flock to it and perch on its railings, this bar is easily one of the coolest bars in the world!
You’ll find boat owners ready and willing to transport you safely to the bar where you can kick back like a real Jamaican – play dominoes, drink, eat and have a good time. Dip your feet in the warm Caribbean waters or jump in! Don’t worry, it’s safe for swimming and chilling on the bar’s banks.
Bob Marley Museum
Though Trench Town (the innercity community Bob Marley was originally from) is often called the birthplace of Reggae, 56 Hope Road is clearly where Reggae went to live. Bob purchased the property, now The Bob Marley Museum, in 1975 and made it his home until his death in 1981. If you are a Bob Marley fan it’s obvious that the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston is one of the best places to visit in Jamaica while on vacation.
Explore the former home and studio of the legendary Bob Marley, where you’ll get to see beautifully hand painted murals and a statue of Bob, a myriad of his personal treasures such as his platinum and gold records and awards as well as a stunning photo gallery. But what visitors consider the best part of the one hour museum tour is the visit to Bob Marley’s old room, which was left untouched since the day he left it.
Once you’re done reliving the life of Bob Marley, you’ll want to purchase some CDs or other Bob memorabilia to take back home with you. They will make for the perfect Jamaican souvenir.
Visiting Kingston without going to Devon House is simply a no, no! Stroll on the lush lawn, enjoy the shade beneath the copse of trees and tour the House that was built in 1881 and housed Jamaica’s very first colored millionaire. The shops on site are cozy and quaint with beautiful brick walls, shingle roofs and latticed fences and they offer different things from souvenirs, craft and body oils to freshly-baked pastries and delicious chocolate.
However, the real gem of this heritage site is the famous Devon House I-Scream shop. One taste of their Ice scream, and you’ll understand why Devon House made it on our list of best places to visit in Jamaica.
Devon House is a super popular spot for locals on Saturdays and Sundays, especially in the afternoons, so if you’re not fond of long lines or navigating crowds you may enjoy your time at Devon House a lot more if you visit on a weekday.
Dub Club is a must-visit spot for music fans. Up above Kingston, Dub Club is on Skyline Drive which, as the name suggests, offers a beautiful panoramic view of the dazzling city of Kingston in the night as well as good vibes and great Roots Reggae music.
Meet and interact with other music fans as well as local musicians and learn first hand about Reggae music and Rastafarian culture. Have a cup of soup, jam out to some underground Reggae and ‘reason’ with new friends. Kingston Dub Club is sure to be a treat.
Well, that concludes our list of best places to visit in Jamaica. We hope you enjoy these spots as much as we have, and we wish you happy travels! Oh and if you are still unsure about where to stay in Jamaica check out our article here.