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all about Jamaica

Reasons to visit Jamaica

Become one with the islands reggae fuelled, carefree spirit! This Caribbean favourite is pretty laid-back and full of charm. Jamaica has some amazing scenery - jungles, mountains and white sand beaches and a range of watersports and activities such as birdwatching, hiking and stunning waterfalls.

The beaches on the north side are safer for swimming and the south is becoming popular with visitors who want to get off the beaten track and enjoy the jungle paths around the Black River. There are plenty of hotels and guest houses dotted around the island.

We love Jamaica for

  • Birdwatching,
  • Deep sea fishing,
  • Golf,
  • Jungle walks and safaris,
  • Mountain scenery,
  • Music,
  • Nightlife,
  • River Rafting,
  • Sandy Beaches,
  • Swimming with dolphins and sharks,
  • Watersports

When to go to Jamaica

The high season runs from mid December to mid April when hotel prices will rise and you will need to book up to a year in advance to get the best deals.

We recommend that you try travelling to Jamaica at other times if you are not bound by school holidays, where you will find some great hotel and airfare deals. Check out our latest deals to Jamaica with Virgin Atlantic.

Weather in Jamaica

On the coast temperatures are typically a minimum of 22°C and a maximum of around 30°C year round.

There is a rainy season in May and October and November. The wettest part of the island is the North Eastern corner around Port Antonio.

You will encounter wetter weather in the blue mountains with cool mornings and evenings. The hurricane season runs from June to November but you can get good weather spells at either side of this period.

Planning your holiday

Cultural and educational holidays in Jamaica

There is a wealth of English history and for anyone wanting to learn more about the times that Nelson served here as a post captain from 1779 to 1780 and commanded Fort Charles. There are plenty of museums in the Port Royal area tracing Nelson’s time on the island and the time that it was frequented by pirates between 1660 and 1692 when Kingston was known as “the wickedest city on earth”. We can also direct you to those offering the best tours of the country and places where a local guide is essential.

Family reunions and holidays to Jamaica

When considering a trip to Jamaica, many UK travellers choose to stay in an inclusive tourist resort such as those that can be found in Montego Bay situated on the North coast which offers lots of entertainment. Ocho Rios is a popular haunt for UK travellers and is also a landing point for many of the cruise ships visiting the Caribbean.
We recommend that you find the time to hire a car and visit the Blue Mountains, the Plantation Houses and some of the smaller island resorts where you will get a much better feel for the island’s culture and experience the amazing vibrant music scene on the island.
Families may wish to consider a rapelling or canopy tour of the jungle or at Mystic Mountain or a tour about Annie, the white witch of Rose Hall Plantation. These tours can all be booked in Montego Bay.

Jamaica for family holidays

Jamaica has a lot to offer kids and whether that is snorkelling or taking a tour in a glass bottomed boat to see all the amazing sea life and coral reefs. You can also see crocodiles, take a river rafting trip or explore the limestone caves with your children.

Places to stay in Jamaica

There are many hotels in Jamaica to choose from ranging from homestays and small friendly B&B to the large all inclusive resorts on the north coast around Montego Bay. We recommend that anyone renting a private villa should ensure there is adequate 24 hour security on the site. We have a range of specially selected hotels in Jamaica for our customers so do let us know how we can help.

Jamaica for weddings, anniversaries and special occasions

If you are looking for help organising a trip to Jamaica for a group, whether that’s for a special family occasion such as an anniversary or wedding just get in touch. We have organised many types of trips, including music tours for some of the most well known bands in Jamaica.

Adventure holidays

There are many adventure holidays on offer in Jamaica from hiking , caving in Cockpit country, safaris, birdwatching and mountain bike tours in the Blue Mountains.  You can take horse riding lessons and do trail rides at Chukka Cove near St Anne’s Bay.

You can take some great tours of the Plantations, as at Prospect Plantation, just east of Ocho Rios and ride horses on their trails. Remember to check your insurance policy carefully as to which activities it covers. Many will only cover horseriding, if you wear a hard hat.

Beach holidays in Jamaica

There is plenty of choice when it comes to sandy beaches and good places for snorkelling or water sports in Jamaica.

Jamaica for couples

The island is often seen as a romantic getaway with some great nightlife for couples celebrating their honeymoon or an anniversary and couple only hotels and resorts.

Getting to Jamaica

There are regular flights to Kingston and Montego Bay from Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Caribbean Airlines via Trinidad. Virgin Atlantic offers three different classes of travel as follows


Upper Class
Premium Economy
Atlantic Economy

Club Caribbee have the best fares and even a flight price guarantee.

There are also a host of charter flights with the package tour operators offering all inclusive deals during the peak season.

For those that love cruising a new cruise port has opened at Falmouth with a port shopping and entertainment area for cruise passengers to enjoy.

Getting Around

We recommend hiring a car in Jamaica. Everyone drives on the left as in the UK which makes travel simple. Car rental makes it easier to see the main sights and we offer some great rates here. Give yourself some time to adjust if you’re arriving at night and pick up your car later.

Things to do and see in Jamaica

Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove is nearby where you can swim with dolphins and sharks.

Blue Mountains

Enjoy the spectacular views from the Blue Mountains over Kingston and the island. If you look out over Kingston on a Saturday night from the base of the Blue Mountains you can hear the parties happening all over the city. You can also enjoy the legendary Blue Mountain coffee in many of the mountain guest houses.

Music

Jamaica has a vibrant music scene – reggae, reggae everywhere, which is the music most strongly associated with Rastafarianism. If you’ve never seen a sound system that covers an entire street then be prepared as you’re bound to see one at a street party in Jamaica.

Black River

Watch crocodiles and birdlife on the banks of the Black River in the South

Snorkelling

Great snorkelling can be enjoyed to the West of Negril, near some interesting caves.

Dunn's River Waterfalls

Dunn's River Falls and Roaring River Falls are beautiful waterfalls near Ocho Rios.

Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing trips can be organised from many of the north coast hotels. The Montego Bay Yacht Club will also have information on how to charter boats to catch marlin, tuna and dolphin fish.

Rafting

Rafting on the Rio Grande near Port Antonio at Berrydale is a great way to see the spectacular local scenery or you can go rafting from Martha Brae village near Falmouth.*

Crocodile Farm

Visit a crocodile farm such as Jamaica Swamp Safaris or go horseriding at Good Hope both near Falmouth.

Jamaican Cuisine

Try the Ackee and Saltfish (salted cod), goat curry and the fearsome ginger beer which can be quite a shock to the system as it’s very strong but so good. However it’s not quite as ferocious as the Scotch bonnet chillies which will blow your head off.

Green Grotto Caves

See the limestone Green Grotto caves with an underground lake near Falmouth.

Jungle Tours

Enjoy a rapelling and canopy tour in the jungle or at Mystic Mountain*. 

Shopping

Stop off for some retail therapy at the new Falmouth cruise port shopping and entertainment complex.


* Please ensure you have adequate travel insurance before embarking on any adventure activities. Inspect all safety equipment provided and use it as recommended.

Events & Holidays

New Years Day - New Year holiday
Mid Jan - Rebel Salute in St Elizabeth
6 Feb - Bob Marley day
Mar - Fun in the Sun Gospel festival in Ocho Rios
Carnival - Lots of parades and dancing around the island at Easter
Easter - Ash Weds, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday.
Easter Monday - Trelawny Yam Festival, Albert Town, Trelawny
23 May - Labour Day
End of May - Calabash Literary Festival on Treasure Beach
July - Reggae Sumfest, huge reggae festival
November - Jamaica Film and Music Festival
1 August - Emancipation Day
6 August - Independence Day Montego Bay
3rd Monday in October - National Heroes Day
December - East Fest, reggae show in St Thomas
25-26 Dec - Christmas Holidays

Useful Jamaican travel information

Emergencies - Dial 119 for police emergencies and 110 for Fire and Ambulance.

Tipping - Restaurant and hotel staff expect 10-15% of the bill and a small amount if the service is already included.

Voltage - This varies from 110 to 220 volts depending on the hotel so best to check directly.

Time Difference - GMT - 5 hours (- 6 hours during British summertime).

Country dialing code +876.

Departure tax – This is normally payable in Jamaican or US dollars but check at your hotel on the specific amount payable.

Security in Jamaica - Many visitors travel to the island each year and do not have any incidents however we recommend that you do not walk about in downtown Kingston at night and exercise extreme caution at all times. Take advice from the locals as to any city areas you should avoid at all times. Use your hotel safe or security boxes to store your valuables. Avoid driving at night outside towns, especially in the mountains.

Useful Links

Jamaica High Commission in the UK
1-2 Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ, UK
Tel: (020) 7823 9911.
www.jhcuk.org

Opening hours:
High Commission - Mon-Thurs 0900-1700; Fri 0900-1600
Consulate - Mon-Fri 1000-1430

Jamaica Tourist Board in the UK
Address as above.
Tel: (020) 7225 9090.
www.visitjamaica.com

Handpicked hotels

 

Rooms on the Beach
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Sunset at The Palms
Negril, Jamaica

 

El Greco Resort
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Couples Swept Away
Negril, Jamaica

 

Couples Negril
Negril, Jamaica

 

Couples Sans Souci
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Couples Tower Isle
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

The Oasis At Sunset
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Royal Decameron Club Caribbean
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Hilton Rose Hall
Montego Bay, Jamaica

 

Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Montego Bay , Jamaica

Insider tips

Floyd's Pelican Bar

Parottee Bay, Jamaica

You don’t have to worry about taxi home from this bar... but you will have to find a boat.

Ask for Floyd, the genius fisherman behind this spot, and then knock back some local Blackwell rum with him. Another drink on your list should be the Pelican Perfection, which is made with lime juice, rum, and ginger beer.

Ask a local fisherman for a ride and be prepared to spend around 15min on a boat. We hope you're good at holding your liquor.

“...I would like to thank you for looking after one of my friends who used your service, she was very happy with it and said to me “I have never been treated like that by any travel agent before, I not only would be using them again and again but I have told all of my friends about them also…” she was very impressed with your professionalism. Ricardo. Last contacted us Sep 14. ”

Ricardo Thomas - Read more