While many of us think only of crystal clear waters and white sand beaches when we hear Jamaica, there is so much more to this island than sunbathing.
If you want to see the local side of this Caribbean island, leave the resorts behind and opt for one of the many houses for rent in Jamaica. It will give you the freedom to head for whatever beaches you choose and explore sights that many tourists often miss out on.
This beautiful terraced waterfall is a playground for adults and children. You can climb up each level and sit beneath the cascading waters to cool off. It’s right beside a beach, so if you don’t want to miss out on your sunbathing for the day, it’s a great option to please everyone.
Bring a pair of water shoes or rent one once you get into the falls, either way it’s much easier to explore the waterfall if you’ve got some grip. There’s a cafe and gift shop on site if you’re feeling hungry (or in need of a souvenir).
If you’re interested in reggae or simply in learning a bit more about Bob Marley’s life, head to this museum housed in his former residence. Every room is filled with memorabilia from his life and you’ll finish the tour with a much greater understanding of the message that Bob Marley was trying to send to the world through his music.
Entry includes a tour guide. There is a nice cafe in the museum as well as a gift shop to grab a Marley souvenir.
The longest mountain range in Jamaica, the Blue Mountains also have the highest peak on the island. If you’re into hiking this is a great way to spend the day.
You can trek up to the peak on a well cleared walking path and stand at 7,400ft (2,256m) to take in the views. At the summit, you can see both the north and south coasts of the island. If it’s a particularly clear day, you’ll even get a glimpse of Cuba.
Taking a tour of the Mayfield falls is a highlight of any trip to Jamaica. Wade and swim through the 21 different cascades that make up this network of falls. It’s a decent hike up the mountain and a strenuous day out, but hikers and outdoor adventurers will be in their element.
Be sure to pack your own water shoes. You can rent them once you arrive, but the price is quite high and they will not allow you to hike without them.
Film buffs will recognize this cave as Doctor Kananga’s hideaway in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. The Green Grotto Caves are a network of caves on the North side of the island, so named because of the green algae that covers the inner walls.
Be sure to go with a guide so you can learn about the history and ecology. Stories include pirates, hidden treasures, and runaway slaves that all used these caves to hide out on the island. There are also nine different bat species hanging around (watch your head!).
If you like a good ghost story, you’ll love a visit to Rose Hall. It involves voodoo, murder, lovers quarrels, and a ghost that still won’t leave her beloved mansion.
Located high on a hill in Saint James, this three-story mansion has incredible views of the surrounding seaside. The house used to be called the Calendar House because it had 365 windows, 52 doors and 12 rooms. It’s a beautiful tour with a haunting story.
A small island off the coast of Jamaica, this lush landscape is a great place to spend the day exploring. Simply hop a boat from the marina at Port Antonio and be prepared for a day of wilderness wandering.
Once filled with bungalows and small resorts, nature has truly taken over. There are narrow paths that will take you through the foliage (wear sturdy shoes). Walk to the far end of the island to enjoy a tiny, isolated beach. There’s not much else to do besides enjoy the solitude, so bring snacks and drinking water.
Article by Laura Bronner
Laura Bronner is a perpetual country hopper. She’s the girl whose feet are always itching for the next adventure, but wondering if I’ll ever find a place that feels like home. In the last seven years she’s lived in Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and England. She blogs at Eternal-Expat.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.