20 Things To Do In Jamaica

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Jamaica is the cultural capital of the Caribbean and an excellent destination for a tropical vacation. A trip to Jamaica is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in reggae music, try great food such as jerk chicken and patties, and relax in the sunshine. The island is a popular destination year-round thanks to its warm climate, swimmable waters and beautiful natural landscapes.

Outside of the towns and cities expect to find dramatic waterfalls, lush green forested landscapes and pristine beaches. Jamaica has long been a popular honeymoon destination with many excellent hotel resorts to choose from, and plenty of opportunities for romantic escapes. Be sure to visit Jamaican towns and cities to be welcomed by friendly locals and enjoy the culture first-hand. For more things to do in Jamaica, keep reading!

Jamaica

20 Things To Do In Jamaica

1- Visit Reach Falls

Reach Falls is one of the most beautiful and most popular waterfalls in Jamaica.

The falls have an entrance fee for adults and children, with the fee covering your expert guide who will take your through the thick green forest to the falls.

Guides are crucial if you want to explore the upper pools too, and will help you access the popular ‘rabbit hole’, an underground and underwater swimmable tunnel that leads to further pools.

Guides will also share with you their knowledge on the local plants and wildlife, as well as the story of the runaway slaves who discovered the falls after seeking refuge in the forests nearby.

Reach Falls is at Manchinoeal.

2- Relax On A Beach

things to do jamaica 7 mile
One of the top things to do in Jamaica is to spend time on 7 Mile Beach.

Jamaica is filled with many beautiful beaches to relax and unwind on, with many often overlooked by tourists.

Winnifred Beach in Portland is a free public beach and one that is very popular as a local hangout.

The beach is accessible following a short walk through the rainforest, before you step out onto the pristine white sands dotted with hammocks.

Treasure Beach is another best-kept secret beach that is often uncrowded and quiet.

The waters here are crystal clear making them perfect for snorkelling, and along the 6-mile (9.65 kilometres) stretch of sand are hidden coves and waterfalls just waiting to be explored.

While on Treasure Beach make the most of the fresh seafood available from many stalls along the beach.

Another must visit beach is 7 Mile Beach, which has long been a popular destination for water sports.

The waters here are warm and swimmable and are perfect for snorkelling and diving.

Recommended tour: Beach Pass to Chukka Ocean Outpost Park

3- Indulge In Local Dishes

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings
Tasting Jamaican Jerk chicken wings is one of the things to do in Jamaica you can’t miss.

When in Jamaica make the most of the delicious Caribbean dishes on offer and try something new, unique and local.

One of the best places to indulge in jerk flavours is at Scotchies Jerk Centre in Montero Bay.

The eatery is very casual and low key, and is the perfect place to begin your journey into jerk flavours and other traditional Caribbean dishes.

Try chicken or pork in traditional jerk spices with a range of side dishes including yams, sweet potato and rice and peas.

Scotchies Jerk Centre is at Montego Bay.

4- Cycle The Blue Mountains

The leafy landscape of the Blue Mountains are home to many of Jamaica’s coffee plantations where some of the best coffee in the world is grown and roasted.

One of the best ways to explore this part of the island and to enjoy many cups of coffee is by hiring a bike and cycling through the mountains.

There are many trails and paths that can be followed, however more confident and experienced cyclists may want to follow the winding road through the mountains.

Some tour operators offer guided cycling tours of the Blue Mountains that also take in tours of coffee plantations, with tasting opportunities at the end.

5- Explore Port Royal

Port Royal From Jamaican Money
Wandering around Port Royal is one of the things to do in Jamaica.

Port Royal lies on the mouth of Kingston Harbour where historically, it was the largest city in the Caribbean.

Port Royal is known the world over for its links to the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and its pirating history is a key part of its allure today.

This now small town still has plenty of historical sites to explore including Fort Charles, a large fortress with a museum filled with pirate artefacts.

If you enjoy scuba diving, be sure to dive the waters surrounding Port Royal to explore the sunken areas of the city that are dotted with shipwrecks.

6- Uncover Ghosts At Rose Hall Great House

Those who are brave enough can explore one of the most historic, and believed to be haunted, buildings in Jamaica.

Built in the 1700s, Rose Hall was built as a dramatic mansion set inside a 650 acre estate with views overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

The house and gardens have a dark history, as more than 250 slaves were forced to work on the surrounding sugar plantation.

When exploring the house on a tour listen to the story of the White Witch who is believed to be the spirit of Annie Palmer, a Haitian voodoo practitioner rumoured to have murdered three of her husbands and several slaves at the house before being killed in retaliation by those she mistreated.

Tours typically run at night, adding to the overlap spooky atmosphere of the tales told.

Rose Hall Great House is at Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay.

7- Visit The Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong International Recording Studio

Experience the magic of Bob Marley’s music at both the Bob Marley Museum and Tuff Gong International Recording Studio.

Begin at Tuff Gong and see the state of the art recording studio where Bob Marley himself recorded many of his songs.

As part of the tour you will also learn about how records were traditionally made and uncover the stories of many legendary reggae artists who have recorded within its walls.

Next, visit the Bob Marley Museum which is set inside the musicians former home.

Inside are many personal items from Marley’s home and from his career, with many showing his outstanding achievements as a musician.

As you explore with your knowledgeable guide, you will learn more about the man and the music as you see awards, gold records and even his bedroom and items of clothing.

Bob Marley Museum is at Nine Mile.

Tuff Gong International Recording Studio is at 220 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston.

Recommended tour: Bob Marley’s Nine Mile Day-Trip with Admission & Guided Tour from Montego Bay

8- Watch The Lights At Luminous Lagoon

One of the most beautiful places to visit in Jamaica is the Luminous Lagoon.

Nestled inside the Trelawny marshes and close to both Rock and Falmouth is this beautiful pool of water.

Visits during the daytime are pleasant enough, however at night the lagoon comes to life.

Dinoflagellates, a microscopic organism that naturally glows, come out at night and cause the waters to light up in a magnificent display of bioluminescence.

These lights illuminate other species in the water such as fish and crocodiles.

Tours of the waters by boat depart nightly and even allow you to swim in the glowing waters to really be immersed in this unique phenomena.

Luminous Lagoon is at Falmouth.

9- Visit The Rastafarian Indigenous Village

Experience a more traditional way of life at the Rastafarian Village.

The village opens daily to a small number of visitors for tours and immersive experiences.

While in the village see what daily life is like for its residents and visit artists, gardeners, musicians and chefs.

Learn more about plants and vegetables and how they can be used in traditionally healing practices before learning to cook delicious and traditional dishes.

One of the best things to try during your visit is traditional chocolate tea using cacao plants.

Further tours can also be booked onto for those who have already experienced the initial tour, including craft workshops, cookery courses and other special interest experiences such as art and soap making.

Rastafarian Indigenous Village is at Montego River Gardens, Porto Bello, Irwin Close, Montego Bay.

Recommended tour: Rastasafari Experience from Montego Bay

10- Black River Safari

Head out on a safari tour of the Black River to experience the beauty of Jamaica’s natural landscape up close.

The Black River stretches for 33 miles (53 kilometres) and takes its name from the dark riverbed, giving the appearance that the water is black.

The river has a diverse ecosystem, both in and out of the water with many interesting species to look out for during your safari.

As you gently float down the river with your knowledgeable guide you will be up close with some of the country’s native wildlife including crocodiles and exotic birds.

Black River Safari is at Riverside Drive, Black River.

11- Climb Dunns River Falls

Dunn's Falls In Jamaica
Visiting Dunn’s Falls is one of the things to do in Jamaica.

Climbing a waterfall is one of the best things to do in Jamaica during your vacation.

Whether you choose to climb Dunns River Falls dry or wet, both routes are filled with adventure and plenty of beautiful vistas.

Wet climbs of Dunns River Falls are completed with a guide who will provide you with help and guidance throughout.

Wet climbs end in a swim, and take you close to the waters as it cascades down.

Dry climbs typically last for 1 hour 30 minutes and take you through the pathway and the trees surrounding the falls.

Despite dry climbs typically avoiding the wettest route to the top of the falls, there are still plenty of opportunities for a quick dip in one of many small natural pools.

Dunns River Falls is at Ochos Rios.

Recommended tours:

12- Visit the Blue Hole in Ochos Ríos

Aerial view of Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Exploring Ocho Rios is one of the things to do in Jamaica.

Another great thing to do in Jamaica is spending some time swimming and relaxing in the Blue Hole.

The Blue Hole is a natural limestone sinkhole that has become filled with water that when reacting with the limestone turns the water a deep blue colour.

There is plenty of space in the Blue Hole for swimming and snorkelling, a small waterfall cascades into the water and there is even a rope swing to enjoy.

There are also mini waterfalls around the Blue Hole to explore and a cave that can be swam into.

To preserve Blue Holes natural surroundings there is an entry fee which will allow you to enter the park, spend time at Blue Hole and to explore the surrounding woodland with a guide.

Blue Hole is at Ochos Rios, Saint Ann Parish.

Recommended tour: Blue Hole, Secret Falls, and Dunn’s River Falls Combo Day-Trip from Montego Bay

13- Drink At Pelican Bar

Pelican Bar is one of the most famous bars in Jamaica and one that cannot be missed during your trip.

Floyd Forbes opened Pelican Bar in 2001, an unusual bar that is built on stilts and sits 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) into the Caribbean Sea.

A number of pelicans are frequently seen near the bar, giving it its name.

The only way to get to Pelican Bar is by boat, and these leave daily from the closest towns to the bar; Black River, Treasure Beach and Parottee Point.

After enjoying a cool Red Stripe, be sure to take part in the Pelican Bar tradition of carving your name into the wood.

Pelican Bar is at Salt Spring Junction.

14- Bobsled Down Mystic Mountain

Spend an adventure-filled day at Mystic Mountain.

Reach the top of the mountain by taking a chairlift 700ft (213m) up and through thick green jungle with plenty of beautiful views out across the coastline and the town of Ochos Rios below.

Mystic Mountain has plenty of attractions including theme park rides, swimming pools and many dining opportunities, however its biggest allure is the bobsled.

The ride, which uses gravity to propel thrill-seekers down the mountain, covers 3280ft (999m) of twisting turns.

The ride is inspired by the 1988 and 1992 Jamaican Bobsled teams, and follows the natural curves and turns of the mountain without disrupting the nature surrounding it.

Mystic Mountain is at Ochos Rios.

15- Visit The Green Grotto Caves

Explore the underground world of Green Grotto Caves during your Jamaican Vacation.

The caves were once inhabited by the Arawak Indians, and over the years has served as a hideout for the Spanish during the English invasion of the 1700s and was used by smugglers running arms during the 20th century.

The caves feature a labyrinthine limestone structure stretching for 1525m (5003ft) underground and includes an underground lake which supplies water to the lush jungle surrounding the caves entrance.

Green Grotto Caves is at Main Street, Discovery Bay.

16- Party At Montego Bay

Tropical Caribbean Beach With Turquoise Waters
Finding a luxury resort to enjoy the water of Montego Bay is one of the fun things to do in Jamaica.

Montego Bay is the heart of Jamaica’s tourism and party scene, and one that is well worth visiting during your trip.

If you are visiting Jamaica as part of a cruise you will spend time in Montego Bay as the cruse ships dock here.

One of the best places to go for beach party vibes is Tropical Bliss Beach.

Here you will find live DJs, plenty of tasty rum cocktails and entertainment including dancers and stilt walkers.

In Montego Bay itself, head along Gloucester Avenue otherwise known as Hip Strip, for the best selection of bars and clubs.

Here you will find something for every taste including clubs with reggae or jazz focuses, or typical nightclubs blasting the latest songs.

Recommended tour: Private Half Day Tour in Montego Bay, Jamaica

17- Float Down The River On A Bamboo Raft

man standing on bamboo raft
One of the things to do in Jamaica is to go rafting.

One of the best things to do in Jamaica is to float along the Martha Brae on a bamboo raft.

Begin your day at Rafters Village and explore beautifully landscaped gardens, enjoy a picnic or take a swim.

Be sure to explore the herb gardens where many medicinal Jamaican plants grow.

After, board your 35ft (10.66m) bamboo raft with a highly skilled captain and slowly punt downstream.

On your 3 mile (4.828 kilometres) journey your guide will teach you about Martha Brae, and give you the opportunity to swim in the river.

Martha Brae Rafting is at 66 Claude Clarke Avenue, Montego Bay.

Recommended tour: Private Martha Brae River Bamboo Rafting Tour Inclusive with Bus Transportation

18- Snorkel To Pirates Cave

Only accessible from the water is the mysterious Pirates Cave.

This hidden cave is the perfect destination to swim or snorkel to, and once inside it is possible to stand up and explore, as during low tide the water in the cave reaches a maximum of 5ft (1.52m).

The cave is famous for being used as a filming destination for movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Enjoy the warm and crystal clear blue waters surrounding the cave, and keep your eyes peeled for schools of tropical fish swimming close to the walls.

Pirates Cave is at Negril.

19- Explore Negril

Dramatic Sky Over Beach With Motorboat, Negril Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
Looking for things to do in Negril, Jamaica? You won’t have trouble finding activities.

Negril is the ultimate Jamaican destination for own sits on the waters edge and has miles and miles of inviting white sandy beaches.

In the city enjoy the casual vibes of Rick’s Cafe as the sun sets, or dance the night away at Jungle Night Club.

In the day time reconnect with nature at Barney’s Flower and Hummingbird Garden where these fast and colourful birds zip between the flowers or bottles of sugar water which eager visitors can use to feed them.

For a unique experience, join this horseback ride on the beach

20- Tour The Appleton Estate

The Appleton Estate is a historic rum distillery that tells the story of rum and its influence on Jamaican culture.

During a guided tour visitors can experience a multi-sensory journey through rums rich history.

Tours start with a cocktail in the welcome centre before moving to the estates small theatre to watch a short film on the history of rum making in Jamaica.

Outside visitors can experience the full process of taking sugar cane and transforming it into the drink, and discover how the estate has made rum for more than 200 years before heading back inside to sample three rums with different ages and distillation processes.

After your tour of the distillery visit the gift shop and purchase some rum and other souvenirs before enjoying a delicious meal and tasty rum cocktail at their Black River Lounge and Bar.

Appleton Estate mis at Siloah P.O. Santa Cruz.

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.