Jamaica's exotic, with striking tropical beaches and lush, green rainforests and mountains. Add ocean breezes, tropical birds, warm weather, cities with ambiance and nightlife, and its signature music, reggae, and you have a scene that exudes romance and adventure just waiting to be experienced. Here are Jamaica's top options to turn up the heat and make it a memorable vacation.
Dunn’s River Falls near Ocho Rios is a must-see. Part of the fun is climbing to the top of this spectacular formation in a human chain that’s led by a sure-footed guide.
Northeast of Kingston, the Blue Mountains of Jamaica are notable for more than the world-famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee that’s grown there. These majestic green peaks, part of 195,000-acre John Crow Mountain National Park, are truly spectacular. Explore them on foot, on a bicycle, or by car, or you can take a tour.
Four-acre Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios is next to Dunn’s River Falls. Exotic animals and tropical birds such as colorful macaws are along the trail, and you can swim with the dolphins, a 30-minute experience in which you can touch, kiss, and frolic with these lovable animals.
Take a treetop canopy tour of the lush rainforest in Jamaica. On the Chukka Caribbean Adventures tour, for example, thrill-seekers venture into the dense Laughlands River Gorge, where they glide from platform to platform, high among the trees, via a system of harnesses and pulleys. The ride extends as far as 600 feet, and the 45-foot-high platforms offer unparalleled views of the dense and exotic vegetation of Jamaica.
Both pirates and runaway slaves used this complex of limestone caves and tunnels near Discovery Bay in the Ocho Rios area as a hiding place. Today you can stroll through the shadowy caves and see stalagmites, stalactites, and primitive artwork left by the first Jamaica inhabitants, the Taino.
What could be more intimate than cruising along on a 30-foot raft that holds only one couple and a guide? While being propelled by a bamboo pole on this two-hour trip on the Rio Grande, you'll drift past banana plantations and through the “Tunnel of Love,” a limestone cave that will bring out the romance in anyone.
Mayfield Falls in the Dolphin Head Mountains of Jamaica near Negril has 22 waterfalls, natural whirlpools, and several swimming holes for cooling off. More adventurous types can swim through an underwater cave or dive off cliffs. You'll see peacocks, colorful tropical flowers, and the lazy Mayfield River, shaded by a canopy of tall, leafy trees.
Montego Bay Marine Park, a 6,000-acre marine reserve, was recently created to protect the coral reefs of Jamaica. But you can still go snorkeling or scuba diving here. If that's not your scene, you can also go fishing or take a ride on a catamaran or glass-bottom boat.
No music lover's Jamaica trip would be complete without a visit to Nine Mile, Bob Marley’s childhood home in St. Ann. Marley is widely regarded as the king of reggae, and fans will find inspiration in this music icon’s humble beginnings. The music legend, who died of cancer at age 36, is also buried in Jamaica. True Marley aficionados can stay overnight at Marley Resort, where Marley used to take vacations.
The Blue Lagoon near Port Antonio was used in filming the 1980 movie "Blue Lagoon" starring Brooke Shields. According to legend, the water, which reaches a depth of nearly 200 feet, has an aphrodisiac effect. Check that out for yourself with a dive into the warm water, which changes color from deep blue to luminescent green throughout the day.