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Things to Do in Jamaica

From the open-air markets and colonial landmarks in Kingston and Montego Bay to the laid-back vibe on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica has an activity for every traveler’s style. Vacation in true Caribbean fashion by lounging on the miles of beaches along the Ocho Rios coastline. You’ll want to take breaks to taste some local rum, sip a Red Stripe or some famous Blue Mountain coffee, or dig in to a plate of traditional jerk chicken. The entire azure coastline offers myriad opportunities to swim and snorkel among the coral reefs and the abundance of marine life. A tour guide is the best way to gain insight into the island’s musical history, with a visit to the Bob Marley Museum or even Marley’s hometown, Nine Mile. Adventure-seekers can take their pick of activities such as ziplining through the jungle canopy; whitewater rafting down the Black River; climbing the terraced Dunn’s River Falls; hiking to the top of Blue Mountain; or spelunking in one of the many limestone caves that dot the island nation. Don’t miss a visit to the Luminous Lagoon, one of the few places in the world where the conditions are just right for swimming and boating in a bioluminescent bay lit up by tiny, harmless dinoflagellates.
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Blue Hole
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The Blue Hole—alternatively known as the Cool Blue Hole, Secret Falls, or Island Gully—is a natural limestone sinkhole near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the tropical mountains of Jamaica, the Blue Hole gets its name from the deep azure hue of the water. Travelers visit to swim, cliff dive, and make their way through the lush rain forest to Secret Falls.

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Rick's Café
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High on the cliffs outside Negril, Rick’s Cafe is one of Jamaica’s most enduring institutions. Negril was a sleepy fishing village when Rick’s opened in 1974, and travelers and locals alike still make a pilgrimage to the restaurant and bar for strong cocktails, tasty Jamaican dishes, death-defying cliff divers, and sunset viewing parties.

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Bob Marley Museum
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Housed in the former home and recording studio of reggae king Bob Marley, this museum is among the most popular attractions in all of Jamaica. Here you can see Marley’s gold and platinum records, articles of his clothing, and his favorite guitar still resting beside his bed, as well as reminders of a 1976 attempt on his life.

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Appleton Estate
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Largely regarded as one of Jamaica’s best rum distilleries, the Appleton Estate has been producing the liquor since 1749. With its sprawling sugarcane plantations and facilities, the estate covers an 11,000-acre (4,452-hectare) plot and makes about 10 million liters of rum per year.

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Dunn's River Falls
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Dunn's River Falls is a spectacular White River waterfall near Ocho Rios in Jamaica, where cold mountain water cascades 1,000 feet (300 meters) down naturally terraced steps. Those interested in geology will be fascinated with the way the world-famous falls renew themselves via regular deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium, while movie buffs will recognize them from films such as Dr. No and Cocktail.

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Club Mobay Departure Lounge
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Start your Montego Bay vacation as soon as you get off the plane at Club Mobay, and then linger in island vibes until the minute you board your flight back home. This luxury lounge in Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport combines professional services with Jamaican hospitality, making your airport experience part of your vacation.

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Bob Marley's Nine Mile
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A visit to Nine Mile, a sleepy town high in the Jamaican mountains of St. Ann Parish, is a must for die-hard Bob Marley fans. Home to the birthplace, house, and mausoleum of the legendary king of reggae, Nine Mile offers visitors insight into Bob Marley’s everyday life and his music, and a deeper understanding of his roots.

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Club Kingston Airport Lounge
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The Club Kingston Airport Lounge at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport gives passengers access to numerous lounge facilities on arrival and departure. This uniquely Jamaican first-class lounge experience allows you to escape the stress of security lines and busy gates to a place where you can relax or work undisturbed.

You can book a Club Kingston Lounge and concierge service as an arrival or departure service—or both. Upon arrival, you can take advantage of fast-track access through security, customs and immigration, and enjoy the convenience of being greeted by a Club Kingston representative holding a personalized sign.

If you’ve got time to kill before departing Kingston, the lounge gives you access to unlimited fresh fruit, bar snacks and drinks, plus complimentary WiFi, use of Samsung Galaxy tablets, shower facilities and duty-free shopping, all while immersed in typical Jamaican hospitality.

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Martha Brae River
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The Martha Brae River, a 20-mile (32-kilometer) stretch of turquoise water winding through Jamaica’s tropical inland rain forests, is an essential stop for nature lovers traveling through the Caribbean island. Though primarily a stopover for a quick rafting trip, the river’s prime location near other natural attractions and its wide diversity of wildlife makes it a worthwhile addition to any Jamaica vacation.

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Columbus Park Museum
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Legendary explorer Christopher Columbus first trod upon Jamaican soil at Discovery Bay, where he landed in 1494. Columbus Park commemorates that momentous day in history with a museum that explores the history and impact of that landing, along with the pre-colonial history of Jamaica’s indigenous people.

From Arawak canoes to sugarcane milling, nautical relics and cannons, the open-air museum overlooking the harbor at Discovery Bay is littered with fascinating artifacts from Jamaica's past.

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More Things to Do in Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach

Seven Mile Beach

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Swaying palm trees, gentle azure waves, and dazzling white sands make Negril’s Seven Mile Beach a postcard-pretty classic. With a nearly permanent spot on myriad “best beaches in the world” lists, you won’t be alone in paradise—but with miles of beach and nearly every water sport available, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

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Trench Town

Trench Town

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The Trench Town neighborhood of Kingston—and, more specifically, the Trench Town Culture Yard—is most famous as the home of reggae legend Bob Marley, who spent much of his youth living and creating music here. The neighborhood is also considered the birthplace of reggae itself, with many other artists originating here, too.

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White River

White River

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The White River valley prides itself on its eco credentials, offering all manner of outdoor adventures.

The white limestone rocks give the White River its name, causing the water to tumble over rapids and forming tranquil lagoon pools for rafting.

You can go tubing or kayaking in the White River, or even saddle a horse for a ride along trails leading through tropical rainforest! Visit the landscaped Village of Flowers, and seek out the old Spanish Bridge dating back to the 1600s.

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Greenwood Great House

Greenwood Great House

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Take a walk through a unique piece of history with a tour of the magnificent hilltop Greenwood Great House. A national landmark, the house was built in the late 1700s by Richard Barrett, a cousin of poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, whose family was among Jamaica’s original colonial settlers.

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Rose Hall Great House

Rose Hall Great House

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The Rose Hall Great House is a grand estate built in the late 18th century in Montego Bay, Jamaica. One of the area’s most popular historic attractions, the Georgian mansion is the centerpiece of a 650-acre (263-hectare) plantation that is most notable for its famous occupant, Annie Palmer—better known as the White Witch of Rose Hall.

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Doctor's Cave Beach

Doctor's Cave Beach

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Set along Montego Bay’s famous Hip Strip stretch along Gloucester Avenue, Doctor’s Cave Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Jamaica’s west coast. A jumping-off point to the pristine 15-acre (6-hectare) Montego Bay Marine Park, the beach offers easy and direct access to fun water-based activities.

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Konoko Falls and Park

Konoko Falls and Park

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High above the sun-drenched beaches and bustling fray of Ocho Rios, the lush Konoko Falls and Park are filled with innumerable species of tropical flora and birds, and streams that tumble into gentle waterfalls. The excellent on-site museum traces the history and culture of Jamaica’s original inhabitants, the Tainos and Arawaks.

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Black River

Black River

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The Black River is one of the longest rivers in Jamaica, flowing west for 33 miles (53 kilometers) until emptying into the Caribbean Sea near Negril. Travelers explore the river and its energetic YS Falls on inflatable tubes, canoes, or kayaks surrounded by lush green jungle and mangroves.

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Devon House

Devon House

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In the capital of Kingston, the 19th-century Devon House mansion is not only unique on the island, but also throughout the Caribbean, as it was the home of George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire, offering a rare glimpse of West Indian high society. When you visit the Georgian-style home, you can explore rooms furnished with 19th-century Jamaican and Caribbean antiques, along with original features like the English chandelier bought by Stiebel that still hangs in the ballroom. Today, the house sits on 11 acres of gardens within the city, and the surrounding buildings, including the stables and the kitchen, have been repurposed into shops, art boutiques and cafés. Don’t forget to stop in the courtyard, where you can find a sweet treat at the original location of the now-popular island chain Devon House I Scream.

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YS Falls

YS Falls

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YS Falls comprises seven waterfalls on the YS River, located in St. Elizabeth Parish on the lush south coast of Jamaica. Often overshadowed by Dunn’s River Falls, YS is worth a visit for its more secluded location and the promise of a less-crowded experience of Jamaica’s natural beauty.

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Mayfield Falls

Mayfield Falls

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The Mayfield Falls are a series of waterfalls situated on the Mayfield River in the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica. The falls feature 21 cascades in total. The tallest, nicknamed the ‘Washing Machine’ and reaching around three meters in height, is large enough for visitors to get behind and play in the jets of water. The jungle setting of the falls is abundant with lush plantlife, as well as a variety of exotic species of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife native to Jamaica.

Most people set off to the Mayfield Falls with a guide. The level of physical activity here is moderately demanding and involves quite a walk through the water and across rocks to explore the falls in their entirety.

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Negril Cliffs

Negril Cliffs

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Even by themselves, the black hued cliffs outside of Negril are natural sites to behold. Rising 40 feet above turquoise waters and pockmarked by sea caves and coves, the cliffs form a defining natural icon for Jamaica’s far western coast. It isn’t just their beauty, however, that draws visitors here in droves. Rather, it’s the deep waters immediately offshore and the presence of cliffside beach bars—which all combine to form perfect conditions for throwing yourself off the edge. The cliff diving here on Negril’s cliffs is some of the world’s most famous, where locals and visitors regularly drop over 40 feet down to the sea. Professionals will often put on shows and perform daring flips and flops, and occasionally visitors will join in the show in a fit of Caribbean bravado. The cliffs are a popular spot for snorkeling tours to stop en route from the dive site, and are a short distance from the laidback guesthouses towards the southern end of Negril. After a long day of snorkeling, diving, suntanning, partying, laughing, and jumping, gather with dozens of other travelers to watch the fiery, west-facing sunset that illuminates the cliffs each night.

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Green Grotto Caves

Green Grotto Caves

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The Green Grotto Caves are a labyrinth of limestone caves located in Falmouth, between the resort towns of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Once used as shelter by the native Arawak Indians, the caves have since been used as a hiding place by smugglers and runaway slaves and even served as the site of a nightclub.

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Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River

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The Rio Grande is a massive river in eastern Jamaica that curves through the lush rainforests of the island. The river is fed by tropical rainwater, much of which flows down to the river from the top of the Blue Mountains. Journeying down the river provides views various shades of green dotting the mountainside and springing up from the Rio Grande river valley. You’ll see a variety of flora and fauna, including banana groves.

Locals still use the river to transport food – especially bananas – and supplies via bamboo rafts. Visitors can also experience this way of life on a raft excursion along the Rio Grande. The bamboo rafts are thin and narrow, but surprisingly buoyant. You’ll board the raft and sit on the back of it. Up front, a skilled raft captain will stand at the bow of the raft and guide you down the Rio Grande with powerful strides from a long paddle.

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