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Jamaica Info

Emancipation Park
Fountain Infront Of The Stage at Emancipation Park, Kingston, Jamaica

Homeless in Kingston
Homeless Person in Downtown Kingston

Dunn's River Falls
Dunn's River Falls

Bob Marley Statue
Bob Marley Statue in Ocho Rios

Jamaican Car Driver 
Jamaican Car Driver

Bob Marley's Chair
Bob Marley's Relaxing Chair in Nine Mile
Personal Impressions
Jamaica has a relatively large "footprint" on the stage of world cultures. Jamaica's artists and athletes are remarkable successful. Reggae music first developed on Jamaica. Many of the best reggae musicians, fastest runners and best cricket players come from Jamaica. Jamaica is as well famous for its rum and for the Blue Mountain coffee. You might think, Jamaica is the best destination in the Caribbean, but this is not so.

Jamaica suffers from a high crime rate including violent crime. Jamaica's average homicide rate is nearly three per day. Jamaica ranks 3rd for the highest homicide rates of all countries! This is alarming. There are few reported crimes committed against tourists in Jamaica, but most visitors seldom leave the resorts, and when they do, it is in buses supplied by the resorts, with guides supplied by the resorts, with visits restricted to one of the few Jamaican tourist attractions. The motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery. Downtown Kingston is definitily unsafe for tourists. The beaches are safe, but most tourists are merely irritated and inconvenienced by aggressive sales tactics.

Jamaica is a beautiful island, and there are fantastic people, if you go to the right places. Montego Bay and Negril are not worth the hassle. I advise individual first-time visitors to the Caribbean to choose a less complicated island. For cruise ship passengers Ocho Rios is a good and safe itinerary.



The capital of Jamaica is located on the south-eastern coast of the island. It spreads around one of the world's largest natural harbours. Kingston is the largest city in Jamaica with frequent traffic jam and pollution. There are two parts making up Kingston, the downtown area and New Kingston. The downtown area features many historical buildings while New Kingston is where the Norman Manley International Airport sits. Not many visitors stay here, though it is worth to visit the historic landmarks and attractions. Reggae fans will love the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road, while the National Gallery and Hope Botanical Gardens are also popular. Beyond the airport is the former capital city of Port Royal with its intriguing ruins and Lime Cay across the water.

Spanish Town
From the 16th to the 19th century, when Jamaica was under Spanish rule, the former Villa de la Vega (Town of the Plain) was the first capital of Jamaica. Spanish Town lies just west of Kingston and has the finest collection of Spanish and British historical buildings. The town square is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the western hemisphere. Most of the historic buildings are around the Park in the center of town, although the ancient St James Cathedral is a few blocks south on Red Church Street. The Court House stands on the south of the Park. The Museum of Crafts is also a big draw, while the Town Square puts on a bustling market.

Port Royal, Pirate Capital
Once the pirate capital of the Caribbean and known as the 'Wickedest City on Earth', Port Royal sunk in a huge earthquake in the late 1600s. It was a haven for privateers and pirates, such as the famed Sir Henry Morgan, due to its excellent geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean. During the late 17th century Port Royal was one of the largest towns in the English colonies. Today, more than half of the city remains submerged. Visitors can explore the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage above or below water, unlike any other archaeological site in the world.

Blue Mountains
The the largest mountain range in Jamaica rise up above Kingston and dominate the eastern part of Jamaica. The climate is much more humid and cooler than in the rest of Jamaica. More than 500 flowering plant species can be found in this area, about 240 of which are indigenous to the island, including 65 species of orchids. The blue mountains are home to the world's second largest butterfly and the largest in the America. More than 200 species of birds live in the Blue Mountains.

The famous Jamaican blue mountain coffee is cultivated on the lower slopes, while higher slopes are preserved as forest. Hagley gap and Mavis bank are farming communities located on Blue Mountain with Hagley gap being closest to blue mountain peak. Don't miss visiting the Jablum Coffee factory in Mavis Bank.

The Blue Mountains are a hiker's paradise, and dozens of trails lace the hills. Many are overgrown, but others remain the mainstay of communication for locals. The Blue Mountain Peak Trail hike ends at the famous Blue Mountain Peak. With 2,256 m (7,402 ft) it's the highest peak in the island and almost perpetually shrouded by mists.

Montego Bay
"MoBay" is a vibrant place with duty free shopping, a cruise line terminal and several beaches. The second largest city is Jamaica's main tourist destination. The majority of flights into Jamaica arrive at Sangster International Airport. The city is backed by picturesque low mountains. The streets of Montego Bay are noisy, colourful and alive. Drug related crime and violence is a real problem. If a relaxing vacation to you means parties, drinking, drugs, sex and sun, then you found the right place. But if you want to stay away from the bustle, check the beautiful Richmond Hill Inn, which is quietly located on a hill in the city and offers great views.

Rose Hall Great House
Built high on the hillside in the 1770s, with a panorama view over the coast, the imposing Great House is most famous for the story of its mistress Annie Palmer. The story states that she was born in England to an English mother and Irish father and spent most of her life in Haiti. When her parents died of yellow fever, she was adopted by a nanny who taught her witchcraft and voodoo. She moved to Jamaica and married John Palmer, owner of Rose Hall Plantation. Annie supposedly murdered Palmer along with two subsequent husbands and numerous male plantation slaves, later being murdered herself by a slave lover. In the mid-1970s the country music singer Johnny Cash bought the house. He and June Carter Cash were part-time Jamaica residents for more than four decades. Intrigued by the legend of "White Witch of Rose Hall", Johnny Cash wrote the "Ballad of Annee Palmer".

Back in the Sixties, hippies loved the laid-back vibe of Negril, but that's long ago. Today you can't walk along the seven-mile long beach without getting troubled by aggressive vendors. The beautiful white sand beach is the main attraction by day, while the casual bars and clubs along the beach attract the tourists at night. In the other direction, the rocky coast makes for fantastic cliff diving. The cliffs offer several jumping-off points, which means that thrill seekers and cliff divers can jump of the jagged edge into the emerald waters below. The cliffs will also offer you a unique spot to enjoy a beautiful sun set.

Blue Hole
Jamaica's perhaps best-kept secret is located off a beaten path in a remote part near Negril. The Blue Hole is a mineral spring that is formed in a grotto. The cavernous opening is completely encased in Karst limestone, a naturally occurring mineral that filters the steady upwelling of water, leaving behind a clear, clean pool. You can jump off the cliffs into the natural pool or climb down a ladder and bathe in the water, which is said to have therapeutic properties. There is also a bar that remains open until the early hours of the morning when the last person leaves.

Ocho Rios
The second largest tourist area in Jamaica has much more flair than Montego Bay and Negril. Ocho Rios, one of the other major travel destinations in Jamaica, is located in the northeast of the island, about 80 km north of Kingston. From Ocho Rios it's not far to the beautiful beaches of Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay with their all-inclusive resorts. If you like all-inclusive resorts, check the Sandals Grande Riviera, it's one of the best of its kind. The nearby Dolphin Cove and Dunn's River Falls are the major attractions. A trip to the Blue Mountains and a visit to the coffe factory is a must. Historic plantations are also close-by and can be leisurely explored on horseback. Downtown Ocho Rios is quite but fascinating and loaded with tourist shops.

Dunn's River Falls
Jamaica's most famous waterfalls are just west of Ocho Rios. The Dunn's River Falls are a sequence of terraced waterfalls which empty straight into the Caribbean Sea. They are perhaps the only waterfalls in the world that continuously rebuild itself from the calcium carbonate and sodium deposits in the river. Unlike many waterfalls throughout the world, the Dunn's River Falls are not just about sightseeing, they are about participating! Visitors can climb to the top of the falls, which is relatively easy.

Glistening Waters
Glistening Waters is a tropical lagoon that stretches along the marshlands of Trelawney where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea. The lagoon is known for being the home to millions of din flagellates. These are radiant microorganisms that live in the area where salt and fresh water meets. They produce bioluminescence and can only be found in four locations in the world, and this luminous lagoon is the largest and most brilliant of the four. Swimmers and fish create glow with every movement in the water. At night, when the water is disturbed the lagoon sparkles and glistens, which makes swimming very attractive and beautiful. 

Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a natural lagoon, situated in the Port Antonio area. The most striking feature about the Blue Lagoon is its mystical blue colour which changes throughout the day, depending on the angle of the sun. It can change from turquoise to sapphire to deep blue. The lagoon is about 60 m (180 ft) deep, fed by a fresh water mineral spring and backed by lush banks.

Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile
A must for lovers of reggae music is a visit to the Bob Marley Mausoleum in Nine Mile in the Parish of Saint Ann. Robert Nesta Marley was born and is buried here. The name of Bob Marley has become synonymous with reggae, and he remains the most well-known musician in the genre. The early childhood home of Jamaica's most famous son is situated high in the mountains and hard to find. His former house is loaded with memorabilia. You can meet old fellows of Bob Marley there.

Rafting the Martha Brae
Hollywood star Errol Flynn started the tradition of bamboo rafting on the calm Martha Brae River. Rafts are guided by experienced raft-men who tell stories and point out flora and fauna as travellers sit back and relax. Trips begin at the village of Martha Brae and end three miles downstream at Martha's Rest. The source of the Martha Brae River is at Windsor, deep in the Cockpit Country and the river enters the sea near Falmouth.

Green Grotto Caves
One of Jamaica's remarkable natural wonders is located in Discovery Bay on the north coast. Named for the green algae that cover its walls, the structure of the cave is strikingly different to inland systems. Previously known as Runaway, Dairy, Rum, Hopewell and Dry Harbour Caves, the Green Grotto Caves feature rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites, ceiling pockets and numerous passageways or chambers, which are accessible by boats.

The first known inhabitants of the caves were Arawak Indians who left pottery fragments and adzes. When Jamaica was a British Colony the caves were used as a hideaway by the Spanish who were being driven out by the British settlers. The caves were also known to have been used by escaped slaves, hence the name Runaway Caves.


The word "reggae" was coined around 1960 in Jamaica to identify a "ragged" style of dance music, that still had its roots in New Orleans rhythm'n'blues. Bob Marley took reggae to the masses and still is the undisputed king of reggae music. Compared with rock music, reggae music basically inverted the role of bass and guitar: the former was the lead, the latter beat the typical hiccupping pattern. Reggae formed out of mento, rocksteady and ska. It has developed into many sub-genres and has left an indelible mark on popular music, even influencing the early development of hip hop. Reggae music is soulful entertainment in Jamaica today, it's a powerful social force that represents the pressures of everyday life. Politicians have been known to use reggae music as the central part of their campaigns. 

Jerk Chicken
Jamaican food is famous for its tasty, spicy flavours. A particular speciality is Jerk Chicken. When escaped African slaves battled their British oppressors, they created one of the world's great barbecue traditions: Jamaican jerk. Jerk was used as a way to preserve and cook meat and was originally only made with pork. Today Jerk chicken is a popular roadside snack. The chicken is roasted over open flames sometimes with special wood to catch the right flavour. The typical cooking style uses a marinade or paste that includes at least pimento.

Rose Hall Great House
Rose Hall Great House

Blue Mountain Coffee
Blue Mountain Coffee

Dunn's River Falls
Dunn's River Falls

Negril Point LH
Negril Point Lighthouse

River Laundry
River Laundry

Rafting the Martha Brae
Rafting the Martha Brae