Jamaica Travel Guide

Are you dreaming of aquamarine waters and white sand as you shovel snow, defrost your windshield, or turn the heat up just a few degrees higher? Or maybe you’ve made it through the long winter and are now looking for a luxurious beach getaway. If you think you can’t afford a vacation in the Caribbean this year, let VacationRentals.com prove you wrong.

With rates starting as low as $35 per night, your dream of visiting Jamaica could come true sooner than you think. Skip expensive resorts in favor of your own private villa, complete with a swimming pool and ocean views. The choice of how to spend a Jamaica vacation is all yours—relax under the sun or indulge in the endless opportunities for adventure across the island.

What to Do in Jamaica

jamaica vacationsWorried there won’t be enough things to do in Jamaica? Beyond the clear blue skies, Caribbean sun, and refreshing ocean, the active family will discover there is much more to Jamaica than just sunbathing.

Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Imagine your family climbing a 600-foot waterfall at Dunn's River Falls or heading out from Port Antonio for an exciting afternoon of deep-sea fishing.

When trying to make a list of things to do, Jamaica has so many rare opportunities, it may be hard to decide what should go on the list. One of the many thrilling activities is an expedition to look for endangered wildlife. See crocodiles and manatees up close and personal with an adventure tour into the wetlands. Then check out Somerset Falls—the water is too tempting to turn down. Remember to bring your camera to capture all the fun your family will have at this gorgeous location.

Thinking about planning something extra special for your kids? One of top things to do in Jamaica is river rafting. Bamboo rafting can bring your family to unexplored areas of over 100 rivers on the island. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a tour guide to show you the best spots for white water.

Or if golf is what interests your family members, you could spend a day teeing off at one of the four championship courses in Montego Bay.

If you're looking for a relaxing activity, head out to Mandeville, an ideal place for bird watching, or Montego Bay, which offers quaint historical attractions worth an afternoon stroll. Greenwood Great House is a restored plantation home full of antiques, art, and books from the 1800s. History lovers should also visit Discovery Bay, the famous site where Columbus landed in Jamaica in 1494.

Experience the Majesty of This Island Paradise

For coffee connoisseurs, head into the Blue Mountains to learn where the world’s best coffee bean is grown (and taste some freshly ground brew yourself!) or experience your own adventure by plunging into Runaway Bay for excellent scuba diving full of colorful coral reefs and tropical fish.

The best Jamaica events are daily occurrences—from the spectacular sunsets to the nightly preparation of unique Caribbean cuisine. If you’ve never tasted Jerk seasoning, you’re in for a treat when visiting Jamaica—but keep a glass of water nearby! The spicy combination might just make you sweat.

jamaica vacation

Rekindle the Romance in Tropical Jamaica

Visiting Jamaica has a reputation for romance. Treasure Beach is an unspoiled, quiet, sandy beach that offers views of Lover’s Leap—a cliff that rises 1,000 feet above the aqua waters. Adventurous travelers may want to bring their hiking boots to explore the area, but many visitors simply admire views of the dramatic cliffs from a beach towel or comfy seat along the water’s edge.

A day on the island can be full of activities from dawn until dusk. If you're looking for a romantic vacation in a bed and breakfast, Jamaica is the perfect place for you and your sweetheart with many wonderful bed and breakfast locations throughout Jamaica.

Immerse Yourself in the Jamaican Culture

Looking for some culture along with your cocktail? Jamaica events and festivals are the perfect time to plan a trip to the island. Festivals throughout the year celebrate all forms of island culture including music, art, and cuisine.

In the fall, plan a trip around the Jamaican Coffee Festival or Heritage Fest. Travelers looking for the next big party should book a vacation rental in Jamaica for the week before Easter when the island celebrates Carnival. Musical entertainment, parades, and plenty of tropical drinks will keep the party going until sunrise!

Other Jamaican events are planned around music. Experience the flowing rhythm of reggae by attending one of the many music festivals throughout the year. If you can see yourself dancing a week away in the Caribbean, plan a trip around International Reggae Day, Reggae Sumfest, or Heineken Startime.

Take a Deep Breath and Relax

Does an uninterrupted day on the beach sound better than a reggae dance-fest? There are plenty of quiet locations on the island to revel in the secluded island atmosphere. Negril, Jamaica is known for its seven-mile long sandy beach and a historic lighthouse. Add a little exercise to your day by climbing 100 stairs to reach the top for incredible views.

From water sports to coastal drives and from scuba diving to delving into a novel, there are many things to do in Jamaica. Part of the pleasure of waking up at your own vacation rental is the ability to have an endless list of answers to the question, What will I do today? Each day you can choose from exploring a fishing village, discovering endangered wildlife, or just taking it easy in the sugary sand.

Back to top

What to See in Jamaica

Every moment of visiting Jamaica reveals spectacular sights: long stretches of beaches, orange sunsets, and picturesque coastal roads. Besides the fantastic landscapes (the drive from Ocho Rios to Port Antonio along the north coast is especially spectacular), there are some historical attractions showing there is more to Jamaica than just beaches.

Your kids will love looking for ghosts at Rose Hall Great House, and the historical buildings of the eighteenth century port town Falmouth provide new depths to Jamaica’s past. Discovery Bay is home to a museum featuring historical artifacts about Columbus’s landing in 1494, and Goldeneye is the beachfront estate of the famous author of the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming.

Music fans will want to visit the Bob Marley Museum in the city of Kingston. It is also possible to visit Nine Mile, the location where Jamaica’s most famous resident was born and now hosts his grave. Don’t be surprised to see Marley’s influence across the island: his music and style live on!

Visiting Jamaica wouldn’t be complete without seeing the world-famous Dunn's River Falls, and maybe even snapping a photo as you climb the "staircase." Don’t skip Treasure Beach and Lover’s Leap during your trip—these sights will be indelible in your mind for years to come.

Back to top

Where to Shop and Eat in Jamaica

jamaica vacationsIf there is one activity that can lure travelers away from the beach in Jamaica, it is the shopping. Duty-free stores make shopping one of the top things to do. Jamaica vacations should include at least one day exploring Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, two of the most popular areas for shopping.

Bring home a little taste of Jamaica. Blue Mountain coffee, specialty rum, and jerk seasonings will all remind you of your blissful trip to the Caribbean. Visiting Jamaica is also a great chance to bring home some unique gifts for friends and family, including paintings, Jamaican cigars, and local liqueurs.

When you think of Jamaica events, you may not think of the evening meal, but you should! Dining in Jamaica is a cultural experience, and features the flavors and sounds of the island. From fresh fish along the seaside at Little Ochie to sampling local rum at the Appleton Rum Estate, the flavors of Jamaica can be intoxicating in more ways than one!

Back to top

When to Visit Jamaica

Steady sunshine makes visiting Jamaica a year-round possibility. While temperatures remain constantly warm all year, the one factor worth considering is the rainy season. Reaching a peak in May, June, October, and November, the rainy season may cause daily showers in the afternoon during these months.

The peak season for visiting Jamaica is from December through April. Expect airfare to be higher during this period. Many travelers relax in the sand of Jamaica during the summer, but these months are known for being particularly hot.

If saving on airfare is your top priority, there are plenty of ways to keep cool during the summer months. Enjoy the discounted flight and be rest assured that with your own vacation rental, a refreshing dip in the pool or ocean will never be more than a few steps away!

Back to top

What to Bring on a Jamaica Vacation

Beach essentials are all you really need for a Jamaica vacation. Bathing suits, sandals, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen will do the trick. Other things to do in Jamaica might require specific gear—such as hiking boots, golf attire, and snorkeling equipment.

Planning on dancing the night away or indulging in fine-dining? Bring a fancy outfit or two to make a romantic evening extra special. Don’t forget your credit cards—you might just be tempted by the luxury items found in duty-free shops across the island.

Thinking about purchasing (or upgrading) a digital camera? Your trip to Jamaica is the perfect time to get snapping. The bright colors of the island will be a stunning background for your next family album.

Back to top

Local Services in Jamaica

Things to do in Jamaica won’t be prohibited by a lack of local services. Car rental agencies make it possible to cruise along the coast of the island in your own rental with the windows down and reggae music on the radio.

ATMs make getting cash a breeze, and many restaurants also accept US dollars. Most travelers arrive at Donald Sangster International Airport, near Montego Bay. The Jamaican Tourist Board at the airport can help answer any questions when you arrive.

Back to top

What to Know About Jamaica

Jamaica is an excellent place for deep-sea fishing, as the Caribbean waters are full of marlin, barracuda, and kingfish. If you’ve never been fishing before, you might want to try it. You may never get the chance to experience fishing on the open sea like you can in Jamaica. It truly is exhilarating.

Back to top

Getting to Jamaica, Caribbean

Smack in the center of the warm Caribbean Sea is the friendly island of Jamaica. Visitors are required to hold a valid passport for entry, and the documents will be checked both on arrival and departure.

International airports in Jamaica make flying to the Caribbean paradise almost effortless. Some visitors also choose to arrive by cruise and extend their trip with a luxurious vacation rental.

Once you’ve reached Jamaica, many travelers choose to rent a car. Having a rental car gives you a lot more freedom, allowing you to access many of the sites and activities available on this island.

Back to top

Why Jamaica Vacation Rentals?

Experience an authentic side to Jamaica outside of the impersonal all-inclusive resorts. Your family deserves the extra space and comfort that a vacation rental allows—after all, what hotel can offer a private pool just for you and your guests?

Although it's nice to stay in a bed and breakfast, Jamaica can offer so much more when you stay in your very own villa that is only steps away from the miles of sandy beach and warm Caribbean waters. With the extra cash you save on booking a vacation rental versus an overpriced hotel, you can treat your family to more activities, adventurous tours, and scrumptious meals.

But a private vacation home in Jamaica is not just for individual families or small groups—the size of some vacation rentals might just surprise you! Villas with four or five bedrooms are the perfect excuse for a family reunion or group trip. Bring along some playmates for your kids, but be sure to plan some adults-only time for a cocktail with local rum or dance under the stars.

Back to top

You might also like...