17 things to do in Jamaica
Jamaica is one of the best destinations in the world for couples and honeymooners to experience a once-in-a-lifetime trip. This Caribbean island offers all-inclusive resorts in world-famous beachside towns like Treasure Beach and Montego Bay.
Jamaica’s capital city of Kingston and Bob Marley’s home town museum offers culture vultures lots of interesting exhibits, cool British colonial architecture, and delicious island food.
But there are also lots of things to do in Jamaica for outdoors people and adventurous types. Different varieties of coral reef cover around 50% of Jamaica’s coastline, so it’s also ideal for scuba divers and snorkelling.
The Blue and John Crow Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a Jamaican national park. They have lots of hiking trails and epic views of the rainforests and rivers that make this a stunningly lush place to visit.
So no matter what you like to do on vacation, there are tons of things to do in Jamaica for couples, families, backpackers, and all travel styles! Here’s a list of the top Jamaica tourist attractions so you don’t forget to include them in your Jamaican vacation itinerary.
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Seven Mile Beach
Naturally, being a beautiful island with over 50 public beaches, one of the best Jamaica activities is to enjoy a relaxing beach day! And one of the best beaches in Jamaica is Seven Mile Beach in Negril on the western tip of the island.
This beach is a long, long stretch of clean and soft white sand, crystal clear waters and lots of amenities. You’ll find lots of five-star resorts line the promenade as well as lots of restaurants, bars, and water sports equipment rentals.
Whether you want to lounge in the sun with a cocktail or jet ski in the sea, you’ll be able to do either and more at Seven Mile Beach! And its impressive size means you don’t have to worry about overcrowding at this popular beach because there is more than enough room for everyone, even in the peak winter season.
Bob Marley Museum
Jamaica is famous around the world for its association with laidback, island reggae music. And no one did a better job at popularising reggae than Bob Marley. He was born in a village called Nine Mile in St Ann Parish, just 45 km south of the resort town of Ocho Rios.
Today you will find Jamaica’s Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile, housed inside an old church. This is also the final resting place of Bob Marley and some of his family members, plus it’s close to his childhood home.
Because the Bob Marley Museum is one of the most central attractions in Jamaica, it’s not far to reach via most of the popular resort towns where most tourists stay. There are lots of day trips from Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Ocho Rios that also include other nearby activities.
And if you can’t get to the Bob Marley Museum in Nine Mile, there’s another Bob Marley Museum in Kingston too.
Martha Brae River
Jamaica has lots of exotic jungle rivers that will instantly transport you into the depths of the Amazon… Without all the bugs! One of the most popular activities in Jamaica is river rafting and the Martha Brae River in Cockpit Country Park is one of the best places to do this.
The raft is very solid and easy to manoeuvre so you don’t need to worry about falling overboard and having your first spat as a married couple on your honeymoon in Jamaica! If you’re not keen on rafting yourself, you can hire a raft with two seats where you can let the professionals do it for you.
Rafting excursions are often teamed with a limestone foot massage so you can relax those tired feet after an hour or so of rafting.
John Crow Mountains
The John Crow Mountains in the northeastern corner of Jamaica are part of the Blue and John Crow Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There’s no such thing as the Crow Mountains National Park because the Blue Mountains takes the title as Jamaica’s only national park, but if you love hiking then you shouldn’t miss a hike in this region.
Not only is John Crow Mountain quieter than the Blue Mountains, but it’s just as lush and beautiful with great historical importance. There is incredible biodiversity in the rainforests surrounding these mountains including lots of unique native flowering plants.
Indigenous people also fled the slave systems of European colonisers by living in these mountains and they built several hiding places and trails. It’s a remarkable place!
James Bond Beach
Did you know that the author of the James Bond book series used to live in Jamaica? It’s true! You can rent out his old house which is now part of the GoldenEye resort in Oracabessa.
Also in Oracabessa is the beach that featured in the very first James Bond film Dr No (1962). It’s a very small soft sand beach next to a harbour but it’s a pretty spot with some bars nearby. You can’t miss seeing this beach if you’re a movie fan.
Visit Jamaica’s Capital Kingston
Many people who visit Jamaica will land at one of the international airports closest to the resort towns on the north coast and will never set foot in the capital city of Kingston. This is a mistake! While you’ll see lots of beaches and rainforests in the rest of the country, Kingston is Jamaica’s cultural heart.
This is where you’ll find the best and most authentic bars and restaurants, lots of colourful street art murals, parks, and museums. Join a walking tour to learn more about the city from an informative, local guide.
Swimming in the seas off the coast of Jamaica is a fun way to cool off during the day, but there are some beaches in Jamaica where swimming at night is even more exciting.
The Luminous Lagoon is on the northern coast of Jamaica and is so-called because there are little specs in the water which light up at night. These specs are microorganisms called dinoflagellates which thrive in warm, shallow waters where salt and freshwater mix.
Because the microorganisms prefer shallow water, you won’t have to swim far out to spot them! But if you’re not a strong swimmer and the thought of swimming in the sea at night isn’t your idea of fun, you can join a boat tour instead.
Floyd’s Pelican Bar
There are some bars in Jamaica that are so welcoming or exciting in some way that they gain legendary status amongst everyone who visits Jamaica. You have no choice but to visit and see what all the fuss is about!
One of those bars in Jamaica is Floyd’s Pelican Bar. This unique drinking establishment is located literally in Parottee Bay, in the sea. It has its own jetty and you can hop on a boat that will take you there in just a few minutes. It’s an unmissable experience but be careful you don’t drink too much or you might stumble overboard!
Black River Safari
The Martha Brae River isn’t the only river in Jamaica with fun activities, the Black River that runs into Jamaica’s southern coast is pretty awesome too. But instead of enjoying a leisurely raft before getting a relaxing foot massage, the Black River Safari is a bit more adventurous.
While sailing along the river, you’ll spot lots of Jamaica’s native wildlife like crocodiles and a range of bird species. There’s also a small nursery that cares for old or sick animals where you can see them up close and personal too.
Blue Mountains National Park
If you love hiking then you can’t just visit the John Crow Mountains, you should also visit the Blue Mountains too! Jamaica’s only national park is based on the northeastern side of the island just north of Kingston and west of the John Crow Mountains.
Some of the best hiking trails are Blue Mountain Peak and the trail up to Langley Great House. There are also some amazing rainforest waterfalls like the Blue Mountain World Pool and the Falling Spring Falls where you can take a dip in the water to cool down after your hike.
Rose Hall Great House
Parts of Jamaica’s history are very dark and tragic as over two million slaves ended up in Jamaica before the Slave Trade was abolished in 1807. There are still some remnants of this era in Jamaica that you can visit, like Rose Hall.
Rose Hall Great House is a Georgian plantation dating back to 1770 that sits near the coast just east of Montego Bay. It is fully restored with period furnishings and manicured lawns, but it’s also reportedly haunted! Visit it for yourself to find out… If you dare.
Dunn’s River Falls & Park
Jamaica’s rainforest landscape means there are lots of gorgeous and dramatic waterfalls dotted inland all over the country. One of the best is Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios.
This is a huge waterfall nestled in the centre of a sheltered, overgrown park so you can avoid the heat of the midday sun.
It’s a huge waterfall with several pools that you can climb up. So while it’s a popular spot, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy these waterfalls!
Mystic Mountain Adventure Park
Are you visiting Jamaica with your children? Just a few km east down the coast from Dunn’s River Falls is the Mystic Mountain Adventure Park.
This is a theme park with rollercoasters, bobsleds, zip lines, and climbing walls in the middle of the rainforest.
For those who aren’t thrill seekers, they also have swimming pools with slides and chairlifts so you can get gorgeous views across the coastline.
Raft Along the Rio Grande River
Rafting on the Martha Brae River is perfect for couples and honeymooners because it’s very calm and not very wide. More intrepid travellers might prefer to raft down the Rio Grande. It’s one of Jamaica’s longest rivers which runs off the northeastern coast and it’s also, generally, a lot wider than the Martha Brae.
Rafting on the Rio Grande River is a great excursion from Kingston because it’s only a short drive away. And you will still be able to hire a raft where you can sit down and enjoy the views while your rafter does all the hard work for you. For an extra fee, of course!
Blue Hole Mineral Spring
The Blue Hole Mineral Spring is Jamaica’s answer to swimming in the Dead Sea in the Middle East or relaxing in the thermal spas in Iceland.
You find this swimming hole on Jamaica’s south coast not far from the resort town of Negril. It’s a deep, rich turquoise colour inside a cave where you will also find a pool, spa, and restaurant nearby.
This is the perfect honeymooning activity because it’s picturesque, relaxing yet a little bit adventurous.
Drink Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaica isn’t very as well-known for its coffee beans as Brazil or Colombia and one of the most obvious reasons why is that it’s a much smaller country so it can’t grow coffee in the same large quantities.
Coffee experts will attest that coffee beans grown in the Blue Mountains are some of the best in the world thanks to the high quality and unique growing conditions.
Blue Mountain Coffee must grow between elevations of 3,000 and 5,500ft and only in the Jamaican parishes of Portland, St Andrews, St Tomas or St Mary. Make the most of your vacation by tasting some in the land where the coffee is grown!
You’ll find lots of cafes and restaurants serving Blue Mountain coffee in Kingston.
Eat Authentic Jerk Chicken
Speaking of Jamaican delicacies, you cannot leave the island without tasting Jamaica’s best culinary delights. Ackee and salt fish might be Jamaica’s national dish, but jerk chicken is a crowd-pleaser. ‘
Jerk’ is a style of cooking that involves coating meat in spices and slow cooking it over a fire or grill. Traditionally, it would be a green pimento wood fire or coals so that the smoke sticks to the meat.
Jerk seasoning includes a range of herbs and spices such as cayenne pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, barley, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lots more.
So while many types of meat can be cooked this way, chicken is the most popular! You won’t struggle to find restaurants serving authentic jerk chicken whether you’re in a resort town or a big city.
Recommended tours in Jamaica
- Food Tasting Tour of Local Jamaican Cuisine
- Mystic Luminescent Lagoon Night Cruise & Swim in Jamaica
- Private Martha Brae River Bamboo Rafting Tour Inclusive with Bus Transportation
- Blue Hole, Secret Falls, and Dunn’s River Falls Combo Day-Trip from Montego Bay
- Blue Hole only-from Ocho Rios
- Private Tour from Montego Bay to Martha Brae River Rafting & Dunn’s River Falls
- Chukka Eco Explorer with Ziplines & River Tubing at Good Hope, Falmouth
- Bob Marley’s Nine Mile Day-Trip with Admission & Guided Tour from Montego Bay
- Jamaica Bamboo Rafting Experience with Lime Stone Massage