Jamaica has everything that makes the Caribbean the ultimate vacation destination:Â affordability, beautiful beaches, amazing attractions and authentic jerk chicken! Once Jamaica’s best kept secrets, Kingston and Ocho Rios are becoming the island’s top travel destinations. And there are plenty of other ways to amuse yourself on the island besides the beaches! With its rich culture and deeply rooted history, tourists now have numerous active pursuits to choose from, along with a vibrant after-hours scene to cap off long days in the sun and playing on the island.
Where To Stay
Affordable meets luxury at The Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston which is the perfect jump off point for visits to the old pirate city of Port Royal. Located only 25 minutes away from the Norman Manley International Airport in the heart of the city’s premiere financial district, New Kingston, Jamaica, the hotel offers to discerning guests, unparalleled personalized service. Kingston’s top shopping, cultural and entertainment centers; nightclubs, restaurants, international business offices and embassies are within a five-minute walk.
BE Tip: Hands down the best rum punch on the island!
Looking for a cozy bed and breakfast getaway? The Blue House in Ocho Rios is a fabulous alternative to a traditional Caribbean boutique hotel. Family owned, this quaint B&B features lovely rooms, beautiful gardens and attentive staff. The added bonus? You’ll never know who you’ll meet during your stay at the “family styleâ€ dinners.
BE Tip: Elsie and her staff are sweet, attentive, warm and friendly. They immediately make you feel at home!
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive option, Riu Ocho Rios is Jamaica’s newest all-inclusive hotel that has more than 856 rooms, two swimming pools and world-class dining. Because this hotel is all-inclusive, you don’t have to worry about when or where you can eat, since all meals, snacks and drinks are covered!
Where To Play
While in Kingston, navigate your way through the Devon House which features many souvenir shops, as well as restaurants and bars. Built in the late 19th century as the home ofÂ Jamaica’s first black millionaire, Devon House is a masterpiece of Caribbean Victorian architecture. There are some authentic gems to be found with local artists and jewelry shops who have studios on the island.
BE Tip: The Devon House is home to the island’s most celebrated ice-cream stand. People won’t stop raving about it — grab a cone and enjoy the beautiful garden landscape!
For those who like adventure and thrills, Jamaican Bobsledding at Mystic Mountain, with more time at the 700-foot summit, you might soak up the view of Ocho Rios’ curving bay, first glimpsed from the chairlift as it ascends into a canopy of flamboyant trees. But Mystic Mountain’s one-man “bobsledsâ€ (roller-coaster-like cars) quickly pick up speed, propelling riders on a wild journey along 3,280 feet of track. You’re able to even adjust your speed as you’re hurtling through the forest and plummeting more than 300 feet down the mountain is cool runnings indeed.
BE Tip: If you’re not too afraid of heights, check out the beautiful view of the island on the air lift up the mountain. It’s breathtaking!
The Bob Marley Museum is former residence and studio of the legendary reggae singer, Bob Marley. For anyone who has long been a fan of Bob Marley (who is arguably the godfather of Reggae music), no trip to JamaicaÂ is complete without visiting the museum.
BE Tip: The museum is still frequented by the Marley children, so you never know who you may run in to.
If you love art and culture, stop by The National Gallery which houses an impressive collection of local art, including a large display of paintings by ‘Intuitive’ artists.
BE Tip: Take the featured tour, and you’ll get a brief history lesson on some of Jamaica’s most famous artists.
Dolphin Cove is Jamaica’s #1 marine attraction and the perfect addition to your Jamaica excursions list.
BE Tip: Although a little pricey, there’s no other place on the island where you can shop, snorkel, kayak, see sharks, exotic fish and birds, and of course a hands on experience with dolphins as well as stingrays. Spend an hour, or even the day!
Where To Eat
Frequented by the likes of Grace Jones, Mick JaggerÂ Bono of U2, Phil Collins, Lee “Scratchâ€ Perry, Bob Marley ( he wrote”Natural Mysticâ€ here) and Stevie Wonder, Strawberry Hill is a signature mountaintop oasis nestled in the hills of Kingston which offers an enchanting mix of rich Jamaican heritage balanced by healthy conscious living.
There’s nothing more beautiful than being perched in the Blue Mountains, and located 3,100 feet above sea level than this unique boutique property houses – a Living Spa, a Main House, and twelve handcrafted 19th century Georgian style cottages, including one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, studios and a deluxe villa; each is carefully situated in a private tropical haven with magnificent mountainside and city views.
BE Tip: Go for the Sunday brunch and try the signature strawberry bliss cocktail. You have never experienced brunch like this before. Thank Black Enterprise later! Say “Hello” to Chef Katherine!
For years,Â Scotchie’s has lured the hungry to its ramshackle Mo’ Bay compound with tantalizingly aromatic, piping-hot, foil-wrapped bundles of pork, chicken or sausage.
Kingston’s newest and exciting themed restaurant, Manhattan Global Cuisine Lounge. The restaurant provides high end food, delicious drinks and unlimited 5 star amenities at an affordable price. The stylish dÃ©cor also features outdoor seating and lounge style cabanas.
BE Tip: Say hi to owner, Anthony Archer. He’ll take care of you!