Top Five Best Things About Visiting Jamaica
The Best of Jamaica
Jamaica is my favorite place in the world to visit when I need to unwind and relax. I traveled there for the first time in 2007 and have been back every year since. When I'm there I forget about my life back home, relaxing completely in the tropical paradise. Life slows down and I can truly live in the moment. What is it about Jamaica that I find so appealing? Jamaica is easy to get to, the resorts are top-notch, the country is amazingly beautiful, the food is divine, and there's so much to do! Read on to hear about the great experiences I've had while visiting Jamaica.
Jamaica: Easy Travel
If you live in the Midwest, East, or Southeast part of the United States, you can fly to Jamaica non-stop in about three hours. Air Jamaica, now owned by Caribbean Air, has non-stop flights that are reasonably priced and they don't charge extra for baggage. They even still serve food on their flights. It's recommended that you fly into Montego Bay rather than Kingston as you'll find you'll be closer to the major resort areas.
Once you arrive in Jamaica, getting around is pretty easy. It's a small island, only about 140 miles long by 25-50 miles high, and has a system of roads around the perimeter that makes it relatively quick to get to any of the popular resort towns. Negril, my favorite area, is only about an hour and a half from Montego Bay. Ocho Rios is about two hours away in the opposite direction. Either way, many of the resorts offer complimentary bus service from the airport to the hotel so there is no stress or worry about renting a car.
Jamaica: Incomparable Beauty
Jamaica, as you can see from the photos, is an extremely beautiful country. In addition to the famous white sand beaches, like Seven Mile Beach in Negril, the country also has mountainous regions, rain forest type terrain, and cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
When I've visited Negril in the past, I've taken a catamaran trip to the furthest point west where steep rocky cliffs sprout out from the sea. The waves splash white against the rock and numerous resorts line the coast. Most of these resorts have a very natural look to them, blending into the cliff as if they belong there naturally. Some feature patios build into the cliffs with lounge chairs for relaxing. Past these resorts you'll find Rick's Cafe, one of the top rated bars in the Caribbean. Even if you don't drink, it's a great place to go to see people cliff dive.
But my favorite sites in Jamaica are the beach and the water. The sand is silky white and the water is the most amazing turquise blue and clear as a bath tub. You can often see schools of fish or a stingray swimming by along the shore as you relax under the shade of a palm tree.
- Review of Couples Swept Away Resort in Negril Jamaica
If you're looking for a romantic beach destination, look no further than Couples Swept Away in Negril Jamaica. Situated on beautiful seven mile beach, this resort was named the number one all-inclusive in the Caribbean by Travel & Leisure Magazin
Jamaica: Top Resorts
Jamaica has many options for where to stay. They range from small, boutique hotels to large hotel chains to all-inclusive resorts. My favorite place to stay is the award winning Couples Swept Away in Negril. If you're traveling with your spouse or significant other, consider one of the four Couples resorts in Jamaica, Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril, Couples Tower Isle, or Couples Sans Souchi. To learn more about Couples, read the article in link to the right.
If you're traveling with children, consider an all inclusive like Beaches or Breezes. Beaches has two resorts and Breezes has one on the island in Ocho Rios. When I stay at Couple Swept Away in Negril, I often walk up and down the beach or kayak the shoreline. I've seen the Beaches family resort in Negril and it seems like an awesome place for a family to stay. It is a bit expensive though.
If you're looking for a more affordable option, consider a hotel in Montego Bay or Negril with kitchen facilities. There you'll be able to prepare at least some of your own meals to save money on your trip.
Jamaica: Great Food
The food in Jamaica is unique and flavorful. Although you can get some typical American fare, you'd be remiss not to try some of the authentic Jamaican cuisine. Obviously, you'll want to try the jerk chicken. If you're staying at a resort, they'll most certainly have it on their menu. You can also find it at small roadside vendors or restaurants. Another dish to try is the beef or chicken patty. It's a pastry filled with a spicy beef or chicken mixture that's out of this world.
You'll also find foods in Jamaica that aren't usually eaten in the United States. For example, Ackee is a fruit that is found in many Jamaican recipes, including their National dish, Ackee and Salt Fish. They also use plaintains, which are similar to bananas, callaloo, which is similar to spinach, and coconut milk in many dishes.
Whatever the food you try, you'll find that everything is very flavorful due to the many seasonings used such as jerk seasoning, curry, ginger, garlic and allspice.
As far as beverages go, rum is used in many exotic frozen cocktails such as The Hummingbird. Jamaican rum is top notch and something you should try while there. I really like the spiced rum with coke. Another iconic Jamaican beverage is Red Stripe beer, which seems to be growing in popularity lately.
Steel Drum Band in Jamaica
Jamaica: Endless Activities
Jamaica offers so much more than just relaxing on a lounge chair on the beach, although if that's what you want, there's no shortage of beautiful beaches. The resort where I stay has so many actitivities that it's difficult to choose which to participate in each day. There's snorkeling, scuba diving, glass bottom boat tours, a catamaran sunset cruise, beach volleyball, bocci ball, horseshoes, live entertainment, hobie cats, sunfish, kayaking, paddle boats, wind surfing, tennis, golf, a full fitness center complete with classes and weight equipment, ping pong, pool, a full service spa, as well as crafts and activities to learn about Jamaican culture. Whew! Just listing them all makes me dizzy with the possibilities!
My favorite activities are the catamaran cruise, and beach sports. I also love the live entertainment on the beach on Christmas morning as shown in the video above. The steel drum is an instrument that's widely used in the Caribbean and has a unique sound that makes me happy and relaxed.
Going off the resort opens up additional opportunities for exciting actiivities such as hiking Dunn's River Falls, parasailing, renting a jet ski, horseback riding, or even shopping. There really is no shortage of fun things to do in Jamaica.