Know Before You Go...®
If you’ve chosen Jamaica as your Caribbean destination, then you’re in for an exciting adventure on this unique island. Away from your villa or hotel room, you’ll find scenic natural beauty mixed with a distinct island culture that is unforgettable. Here you can stroll along the beach, swim underneath waterfalls, head to a reggae club, or dine at a great Jamaican restaurant. There’s never a shortage of things to see and do, and you can use the information under this tab to help you plan your vacation in Jamaica.
- Jamaica has world-renowned beaches and is home to the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt.
- The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica, stretching from Port Antonio to Kingston.
- Jamaica is home to the world's first natural botanical garden, the "Hope Botanical Gardens" in Kingston.
- The Jamaican Maroon community of Accompong is the oldest Maroon settlement in the western hemisphere.
- Jamaica has more than 200 species of birds that can be seen throughout the island.
Jamaica, one of the largest Caribbean islands, was inhabited by Arawak natives. When Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in 1494, he claimed the land for Spain. A few decades after Columbus’ death almost all Arawaks had been exterminated. Spain held the island against many buccaneer raids at the main city, which is now called Spanish Town. Eventually England claimed the island in a raid, but the Spanish did not relinquish their claim to the island until 1670.
Jamaica became a base of operations for buccaneers, including Captain Henry Morgan. In return these buccaneers kept the other colonial powers from attacking the island. Africans were captured, kidnapped, and forced into slavery to work on plantations when sugarcane became the most important export on the island.
Many slaves arrived in Jamaica via the Atlantic slave trade during the same time enslaved Africans arrived in North America. During this time there was racial tension, and Jamaica had one of the highest instances of slave uprisings of any Caribbean island. After the British crown abolished slavery, the Jamaicans began working toward independence which was achieved in 1962.
Strolling along Negril's 7-Mile Beach
You can't come to Jamaica and pass up the world-famous 7-Mile Beach in Negril. With so much white sand, there's plenty of room for everyone to spread out and enjoy the sun. Stroll along the beach and you'll find all-inclusive resorts, hotels, villas, beachfront restaurants, water activity vendors and a few locals peddling their own merchandise. A polite "not interested" hand signal usually puts them at bay. This beach used to be a big hippie hang-out and you might still be asked if you want some grass, but mainly the beach is littered with families, vacationers, a few locals and some boozy party-types. The highlight of the day is the beautiful evening sunset. Sitting with your toes in the sand, gazing over the crystal water is a relaxing treat!
Hiking up Dunns River Falls
Dunn's River Falls, Jamaica's most popular attraction, is not only for visitors but film crews and photographers as well. It was prominently featured in the first James Bond movie "Dr. No." and countless other films. Visitors come to scale the waterfall, starting on the beach at the foot of the falls, then stopping along the way to enjoy the sometimes chilly pools. The hike can be challenging in places where rushing water pours over slick boulders, which is why water shoes are recommended. There are also snack shops and a craft market for those not inclined to such a physical activity.
Bobsledding at Mystic Mountain
Who hasn't heard of the Jamaican bobsledding team? You know the one that made its debut in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. They didn't take home any medals but won over fans for the sheer novelty of mastering a winter sport in such a warm country. Now you can experience the thrill of bobsledding under the warm Jamaican sun. Cruise over to Mystic Mountain, near Ochos Rios and strap in for a 90-second, adrenaline-rich ride through the rain forest. This half-mile dive down a maze of rails will have you screaming, then begging for more. Situated on 100 acres of carefully preserved land, Mystic Mountain is surrounded by a diverse ecosystem. The park, also featuring a Sky Lift and a zip-line tour, draws more than 10,000 visitors a year!
Transportation on Jamaica
Getting to Jamaica and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.
Proof of citizenship for Canadian citizens (passport or birth certificate with a photo ID). Passports required for U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries. All visitors must have an ongoing or return ticket.
Airlines Flying Here
Vacationer’s typcially fly into Sangster airport in Montego Bay. Kingston’s Norman Manley airport is the second most highly used airport mostly for business or resident traffic.
On the left - valid driver’s license is required.
Jamaica Weddings and Honeymoons
Vacationers don’t just stay in Jamaica villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! Apply for a marriage license.Cost: Cost of wedding arrangmentsDocuments Required: Birth certificatesWait Time: 24 hours
Know Before You Go...® - Jamaica Travel Tips
Before making their way to Jamaica villas, vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in Jamaica even more relaxing.