Close your eyes and think about a heavenly place with a deep blue ocean and sand that seems golden; go beyond that, and think about the beautiful green nature and a warm breeze that softly caresses your skin. This is just an attempt to describe what you find once you get to the land of wood and water, Jamaica.
The island has always been a highly sought after destination, and now it continues being a recommended destination because of what it offers and also because of its safety protocols. They are putting real effort into enhancing their preventative practices so you can enjoy all the activities with no worries but all the relaxation and fun.
In this article, you’ll read about the different places in Jamaica, the features of all of them, and the activities you can do at each one. There are many recommendations to keep in mind when planning your trip to this charming island.
All this information is taken from a Travel Talk Thursday with Travel Time interview with Louise Paquette, from the Jamaica tourist board. Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen to the interview and Louise’s full presentation!
What do you need to know before travelling to Jamaica?
Although the borders were closed due to the Covid-19 shutdown, Jamaica opened its doors to international visitors on June 15. It’s going extremely well but there are certain measures in place that are revised on a regular basis to ensure that the number of confirmed cases stays low.
You need a travel authorization before taking the trip to the island. The best place to get this document is on their website, visitjamaica.com, where you will get all of the information that you need to know.
There are different protocols for different categories of travelers. Some need a negative Covid-19 test to travel, while others from certain countries don’t need a negative Covid-19 test but they need to fill out a form, then within 24 hours, the travel authorization is received by email so you can either print it or have it on your phone.
Another important point is that all of the hotels also need to meet certain protocols so if you want to know about your hotel just scroll down to the resource section on their web page and it will tell you about the hotels that are currently open and all their safety and cleanliness protocols.
The key point is that visitors have fun while being safe. The Jamaica Tourist Board, the Jamaican government, and all of the service providers in the tourism sector are making sure that guests are protected, and that the staff at the hotels are taken care of, as they’re essential for safety to be maintained.
What does your arrival to Jamaica look like?
A common starting point on the island is the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. It’s a modern airport where you can enjoy eating at excellent restaurants or buy goods, souvenirs, gifts and so on.
There is a service managed by VIP Attractions called Club Mobay, and they offer an arrival and departure service. It’s a package that gives many benefits and also an advantage since you can skip lineups if you select the services of the VIP lounge. You’ll be escorted through the airport and put in different lines, so you won’t wait as long for customs processing and/or security checks.
From the airport, you’ll need transportation. If you have bought a vacation package your transfer is typically already included so that’s not a problem. However, if you take a taxi, make sure it’s a member of the Jamaican Association of Taxis and Transfers and it has a Jamaica Tourist Board sticker on its window.
Keep in mind that driving time to most common destinations from the airport will average around 90 minutes.
Why choose Jamaica over other vacation spots?
Its location in the Caribbean Sea assures amazing warm weather all year long. The water is warm and calm, making it perfect if you travel with children and gives many romantic evenings on the seashore. It has some regular rain in some months, mainly May and October, but they don’t last long- plus, they keep the greenery lush and beautiful!
There is a real diversity of landscapes, such as stunning beaches, lush tropical forests, high peaks and mountains, savannas, plains, and numerous rivers and waterfalls. Jamaica displays nature at its best.
Its extremely rich history is vivid across the entire island. Jamaica is a multicultural country because of all the people who came throughout the years. This explains the richness of flavours of Jamaican cuisine.
There really are activities for everyone. Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, you will find the perfect entertainment. Jamaica’s people are really engaged in giving you all that you need to make your vacation memorable.
What is offered on the island and its different areas?
Everywhere in Jamaica presents many options for your entertainment. There are plenty of sports to enjoy, such as golf, water sports, cycling, hiking, bird watching, racing, and the list continues.
Its gastronomy is a mix of the best of the world’s flavours, and this is one of the reasons why this island is world-famous. The most recommended food is jerk chicken, pork, or fish and there’s a kind of Jamaican fast-food called patties, which are delicious little meat pies.
For accommodation, Jamaica has it all, different types of hotels, guest houses, and apartment villas. Most of them are certainly well-known places. Sandals Resorts, for example, is one of the world’s top brands for all-inclusive destinations, and they are one of our top choices at Travel Time – TPI. They have more inclusions than any other brand, and they have many couples-only resorts, a handful of which are found in Jamaica (which is where the company started). They have family resorts as well, as part of their sister brand, Beaches Resorts.
One of the great strengths of the island of Jamaica is the beautiful white sand beaches and clear water. You can walk in for a long time before it becomes deep, and it’s calm water so it’s perfect for relaxing or spending time splashing around with children.
Jamaica is also known as a true wedding and honeymoon destination. Some of the reasons are the scenery, in the first place, but it’s worth mentioning, as well, that it’s easy to get married there and you also find a wedding coordinator to assist you at every hotel.
Another important feature is that Jamaica is a great cruising destination. There are three major ports: Montego Bay, Falmouth, and Ocho Rios, but in the past few years, they’re getting more and more cruise ships stopping at either Port Antonio or Port Royal so that’s something new to discover if you’ve already done the first three ports.
The people of Jamaica deserve a special mention. They are warm and loving people who have an interesting sense of humor. It’s worthwhile to discover their culture, their way of life, even their local accents, particularly made famous by Bob Marley’s music. People will consider you their friend and they will go out of the way to help you whenever you need it.
In Jamaica, you will find six well-defined tourist areas. Each of them has its own beauty and individualities:
- Montego Bay: It has the advantages of the city, the historical sites, the museums, the nightlife, and the restaurants. It is called the “3 S’s” that stand for sun, sand, and sea. Here, you can experience the Luminous Lagoon evening tour, Martha Brae River rafting, the town of Falmouth excursions, golf courses, and more.
- Ocho Rios: Here you will find a soft adventure type of excursion. It is a little bit cooler region because of its mountains and it’s also rainier so you will see a great tropical forest. There are lots of waterfalls, adventure parks, caves, and Bob Marley’s birthplace, meaning it’s also the birthplace of reggae music!
- Negril: Negril is the main beach destination. It has two beautiful white sand beaches giving you more than 11 km of coastline to walk, with gentle waves on the sand. It has smaller hotels, gorgeous sunsets, lots of water sports and it’s also a popular area for weddings.
- Kingston: Kingston is the capital of the country but it’s also the capital of arts and culture for the island nation. It offers lots of excursions where you can enjoy its architecture, shops, the Bob Marley museum, Port Royal, the Blue Mountain National Park, and so on. It is ideal for coffee lovers.
- South Coast: The South Coast is what they call off the beaten path, full of magnificent scenery. Here you can climb waterfalls and jump into them by swinging on a rope, you can also do an excursion to see crocodiles, enjoy the Joyce Pence Appleton Estate Rum and go to the Pelican Bar
- Port Antonio: This area of Jamaica really meant for eco-tourism. It’s also known for a lot of great banana plantations, rafting on the Rio Grande, and enjoying the Blue Lagoon. In this area you’ll find mostly small hotels which are very intimate, the style of these resorts is where you meet staff, see them daily, and become friends.
Do you need more reasons to visit Jamaica?
Jamaica is, without a doubt, a favorite destination where you can find everything that you dream. The place itself is a paradise with its lovely people, plentiful history and culture, cuisine, attractions and activities, and now more safety than ever.
It is a captivating island that waits for you all year long!
Our team at Travel Time – TPI is your Jamaica travel experts, having won awards from the Jamaica Tourist Board repeatedly. Contact us today to discuss your travel plans!