Dazzling white sand on palm fringed beaches, turquoise sea, jerk chicken, thumping nightlife, diving, pirates, sugar and coffee plantations, Usain Bolt and, of course, Bob Marley – Jamaica has something for everyone.

This small, Caribbean island is remarkably diverse, both in terms of its people and its attractions. Despite a turbulent history, marred by the European slave trade and a perhaps off-puttingly high crime rate, Jamaica has attractions to appeal to everyone. It would seem a shame to stay in all-inclusive beach-side resort whilst in Jamaica and miss out on some of the most delicious sea-food in the world, hiking in the mountains and a chance to experience reggae at its birthplace.

Famously laid back, impossibly relaxing and described by Christopher Columbus as ‘the fairest isle that eyes beheld,’ Jamaica is not one to miss!

Large, touristic hotels are found all over the place in Jamaica. However, there are some other fantastic options to be found, if you are after something a bit more personal. It is also possible to find apartments to rent, if you would rather cook for yourself!

For those whom the beaches are Jamaica’s biggest attraction, Montego Bay will probably be your destination of choice. Hotels offering pools, access to the beach, golf and water sports are ubiquitous in this area. For those on a high budget, Sandals Royal Carribean in Ironshore has much to recommend it.  For those on a tighter budget, try the YMCA, which also offers ping-pong!

In the capital, Kingston, Crieffe Court is a clean and basic budget option. Most mid- and upper-range hotels are more catered to business travel, rather than tourism. Christar Villas is a good option for those wanting cooking facilities.

Jerk chicken ‘n’ peas dominate Jamaica’s culinary exports. However, although Jerk must not be missed, this tropical island has much more to offer. Why not try some goat curry? As an island, Jamaica obviously has fantastic seafood – the adventurous should perhaps try some ‘escoveitched fish,’ pickled fish with peppers and onions.

In addition, Jamaica has some of the most delicious and exotic fruits to be found, and every season has a different one to be sampled. Mangos, papayas, coconuts and guavas are all to be found. However, one not to be missed is the Ugli fruit – not attractive to look at but very juicy and very delicious.

Of course, no trip to Jamaica would be complete without sampling some of the many types of rum the country produces. Watch out for Overproof: it is lethal. Also found is Red Stripe, the local beer, and Tia Maria – a coffee liqueur. Don’t miss a chance to drink at Pelican Bar on Treasure Beach. Hire a boat to get there!

Jamaica is green, lush and colourful. You don’t have to look long to find some of the most spectacular beaches in the world all along Jamaica’s coastline. The Ocho Rios coast offers some of Jamaica’s most spectacular snorkling, and the mountains are verdant and striking.

Kingston houses a Mecca for reggae fans: the house and one-time studio of Bob Marley. Run by friendly Rastafarians with wall painted with brightly coloured murals, it is unsurprising that this is Jamaica’s most visited tourist attraction. Ocho Rios also offers ‘Reggae Xplosion,’ the final resting place of Bob Marley and a museum dedication to reggae music. Easter-time witnesses the Kingston carnival, when the streets are filled with bejewelled costumes and throb with calypso beats.

Port Royal, the famous pirate capital of the Caribbean, is located not far from the capital city. Although certainly requiring a little imagination before one can conjure up images of swashbuckling pirates and buried treasure, this town is on the up, and houses a fantastic maritime museum.

For those wanting to head off the beaten track, Port Antonio on the northeast coast of the island offers an, picturesque, un-developed and more authentic glimpse of Jamaica.Dunn’s River Falls are a stunning string of waterfalls and are one of the biggest attractions in the Island, and have a lively, water-park feel to them.

Jamaica is good to visit year round, as it rarely gets cold enough to be unpleasant. Peak season is from around mid-December to April, and so hotels are more expensive during this time.

The rainy season is usually from May to November, with rain coming in patches. However, showers rarely last more than a couple of hours and it certainly shouldn’t put you off travelling to Jamaica during this time.

Sign-up for our best flight, hotels & holiday deals!
SUBSCRIBE