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Discovering the real Jamaica

As the third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is not only a beautiful place to soak up the sun on its breathtaking beaches. It also has a vibrant culture, is great for foodies and visitors who love adventure, culture and history. Here is our list of must-see attractions.

One of Jamaica’s most visited tourist attractions is this stunning waterfall. Be adventurous and join the band of people climbing 600ft to the top. We recommend taking a guided tour, which starts from the beach. It is an extraordinary place being one of few beaches in the world with a waterfall right next to it. Come early to avoid the crowds and bring your swimming costume.  If you like waterfalls other spectacular cascades on the island include Reach Falls and YS Falls.

2. Mystic Mountain Rainforest

Take a chairlift to the top of Mystic Mountain to experience the mesmerising views of Ocho Rios and its beautiful bay. From zip-lining to bird watching and even visiting a museum about the Jamaican bobsled team (remember Cool Runnings), there is plenty to do .The top attraction has to be riding a one-man Jamaican bobsled (a little like a roller coaster ride) down the mountain. It’s an incredible ride 300ft down the slope – one for the daredevils amongst you. www.rainforestbobsledjamaica.com

If you need more adventures...

Other adventure activities on the island include hiking in the Blue Mountains, taking a canopy tour from the treetops and even swinging through them, trying out quad biking or opting for some river rafting down the Martha Brae or Rio Grande. For golf lovers, there is also an 18-hole golf course located in Montego Bay called Cinnamon Hill Golf Course, with amazing views of the Caribbean Sea.

3. Rick's cafe & rum

Rick’s Cafe

is an iconic cliffside cafe famous for its rum punches, along with the awe-inspiring sunsets (one of the best places spots for sunsets in the Caribbean) and the fearless divers who leap from 100ft heights into the crystal clear waters below.

While on this theme we have to mention rum, the most popular tipple on the island. Jamaicans produce some of the best rum in the world and have been honing their skills for about 500 years.

Appleton Estate

is famous for its many varieties and you can take a rum tour to learn all about it, as well as sampling some too.

 4. Get close to nature

If you want to swim with dolphins, take a horseride on the beach (and in the sea) or even swim with stingrays - it is all possible here. Dolphin Cove, in Ocho Rios, is a once in a lifetime chance to swim with dolphins. On James Bond Beach in Oracabessa you can swim with stingrays too. Horse riding across the incredible beaches is also a top choice.

5. Jamaican specialities

You can’t come to Jamaica without trying the local specialities, which include the jerk chicken, tastee patties and the Blue Mountain coffee. There are plenty of places to eat but we have to highlight Negril as a top foodie hotspot. The national dish is Ackee (a local fruit) and saltfish, which is dried codfish served up with tomatoes and onions – unique to Jamaica so you have to try it!

Scotchie’s in Montego Bay is also known as one of the best places to have jerk chicken and jerk pork, offering spicy, delicious and inexpensive food.

6. Music - soul food

Jamaica is known for its reggae music and the legendary reggae king Bob Marley. Take a tour of his very own museum, which was his old home and recording studio, in the island’s capital of Kingston.

Music is part of the soul of this island and there are many musical shows and festivals here including the musical extravaganza Reggae Sumfest in Mo’ Bay.

7. History & Heritage

There are some fascinating colonial buildings and estates on the island, including Rose Hall in Montego Bay. The old legend of the White Witch of Rose Hall, about Annie Palmer, the owner of the estate back in the times of the slave trade, is well worth visiting. There is also a museum, which gives visitors an insight into the barbaric slave trade. 

Looking at Jamaica's histury, the island was home to Noel Coward and you can step back in time and take a tour of his old house, Firefly, which is between Port Maria and Oracabessa. 

The lingo...

Finally, a few words of patois (or Jamaican Creole) will help you get into the island way of life and speak to the locals, so here are a few phrases courtesy of Jamaica’s own website.

Wha’appen? (What’s up?) - greeting used among friends.

Walk Good (Good bye, take care, safe travels) - departing salutation, issued with good wishes.

Criss: Jamaican expression meaning “Pretty;” “fine;” or “okay”

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