Featured Hotels in Jamaica
Luxury Jamaica Holidays
They say that if you can only visit one Caribbean island, that island should be Jamaica. Jamaica is one of the Caribbean's liveliest and most captivating countries, and is certainly among its most beautiful, with an abundance of unique and engaging ways to experience its many attractions. Jamaica holidays offer you the best of all worlds -- idyllic beaches, a flawless year-round climate, sensational scenery, and unforgettable excitement and adventure.
If there's one factor above all that distinguishes Jamaica from the other Caribbean islands, it is the rich culture and strong African identity, which not only pervades every aspect of being, but sets the pace for the whole of island life, including its history, and of course its music. Jamaica is the home of reggae, and on hearing the music playing, even the most buttoned-up visitors will find themselves swaying and dancing, with all their inhibitions melted away. Jamaicans love you to leave your hotel and learn how they shop for their food in the markets and catch their fresh fish, drink the milk of a coconut by the roadside, and understand about the traditional healing practices of the Rastafarians.
An intrinsic part of the culture is the exotic cuisine, and you can benefit from leaving behind the bland hotel menus and experiencing food the way Jamaicans like it -- you will get some of the freshest and most succulent meat, seafood and vegetables in the world, as it is all locally sourced. The national dish is saltfish -- salted cod -- with ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica, which is sautéed with onions, peppers and spices like pimiento and black pepper, and garnished with bacon and tomatoes. Also not to be missed is jerk-seasoned chicken or pork, one of Jamaica's best-known dishes.
Miles of Beautiful Beaches
Of course, one of Jamaica's top attractions is its miles upon miles of beautiful white-sand beaches, among the best in the Caribbean. One of the most famous is the Seven Mile Beach at Negril -- no longer empty and unspoiled as it once was, but still beautiful with its coral reefs and swaying palms. More gorgeous beaches, backed by steep-sided mountains, are found in Montego Bay, including Doctor's Cave Beach with its golden sands and tranquil waters, and in Ocho Rios, such as Mallards Beach and the less crowded Turtle Beach. If you like your beaches more secluded, one of the island's best is Winnifred Beach, only reached via a dirt track off the road from Boston Bay to Blue Lagoon -- on weekdays you could have its beautiful golden-white sands to yourself. As well as swimming, snorkelling and surfing, one experience not to be missed is taking a glass-bottomed boat tour.
Away from the beaches, Jamaica's terrain rises steeply past lush banana groves to sheer towering mountains, covered with dense rainforest. The highest point is 7,402-foot Blue Mountain Peak, the summit of the 28-mile Blue Mountain range, shrouded almost perpetually in the mists that give them their blue colour, and embracing Jamaica's last remaining original rainforest, with over 800 species of endemic plants. Many visitors like to scale the Blue Mountain Peak before dawn, so as to experience the awe-inspiring sight of the sun rising over the mountain ranges, and then enjoy the trail on the way down, passing through an elfin forest of Rodwood and Soapwood trees, giving way to primeval bamboos and tree ferns.
Jamaica's Famous Waterfalls
Jamaica also abounds in waterfalls, by far the most famous being Dunn's River Falls at Ocho Rios, probably Jamaica's top tourist attraction. You can scale great tiers of limestone rock, which descend in a series of beautiful cascades and pools. The pools are refreshingly cool, shaded by towering rainforest trees, and are delightful for swimming.
Even more beautiful, but less well known, are Reach Falls at Port Antonio in the east of the island -- considered one of the most amazing natural waterfalls in the world. The rushing, foam-topped cascades are enclosed within an inverted dome of original rainforest, and tumble down limestone tiers from one deep jade-coloured pool to the next, surrounded by luxuriant vines, bamboo and rich plant life, including many species found nowhere else on earth. Behind the falls you can find hidden holes naturally carved out by the water, and at the top is Mandingo Cave, which you can step into behind the cascade, and climb out just above it.
Jamaica's spectacular jungle and mountain interior offers ample opportunity for exciting activities, such as white water tubing adventures and bamboo river rafting. Tubing takes you down small rapids, past coconut plantations, bamboo groves and luxuriant native plants, and gives you a unique insight into the life of people who live on the river banks, which you would not see any other way. Bamboo river rafting, on the Martha Brae River, affords some of the loveliest scenic views you will ever see -- it is so lush, verdant and beautiful. Along the route there are mango trees and black castor oil trees, and you can have fresh sugar cane cut for you to suck.
Jamaican people really know how to relax and enjoy life, and love nothing more than to dance and sing, and enter into the rhythms of island living. This joy is totally infectious, and it is hard to avoid catching it, which is why Jamaica holidays can't help but be an irresistible experience. Of course, the breathtaking landscapes, the exotic cuisine, the continuous sunshine and the gorgeous beaches all help as well!