11 Top Things to See and Do in Jamaica

Dunns River Falls, Jamaica
Dunn's River Falls, Jamaica | © WikiCommons

Freelance Caribbean Writer

There are plenty of amazing activities and sights in Jamaica. From bamboo rafting down rivers to cliff diving and everything in between, Jamaica is the land of wood, water, and adventure. With the range of tourist attractions across the islands, hotels, historical sites, and hidden gems, you will never be bored. Here is our list of 11 things to see and do in Jamaica.

Diving off Ricks Cafe’s cliffs

Rick’s Cafe in Negril is one of the most popular tourist attractions and hot spots on the island. Rick’s Cafe is a restaurant and bar, and while the food is great, that isn’t the main reason why it’s so popular. At the edge of Rick’s Cafe is a 35-foot cliff that boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets in Jamaica. The cliff is also the place where people engage in the most heart-throbbing, nerve-racking cliff diving in Jamaica. Those who love adrenaline and adventure have even climbed to the top of trees, above Rick’s Cafe, and dived 80-feet into the water. It is one of the most popular activities among locals and visitors in Jamaica.

Rick’s Cafe

Swimming with horses

At specific resorts in Jamaica, such as Half Moon, thoroughbreds are trained to swim in the water with guests on their backs. Many horses actually enjoy the water and their powerful legs have made them very good swimmers. Visitors can enjoy a ride through the Caribbean sea on a horse or engage in other equestrian activities, like walks on the beach or jumping.

Horses swimming

Hiking in The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica and features majestic scenery and a lush forest. The mountains are the number one place in Jamaica where locals camp and hike. There are even a few hostels and inns nestled in the hills of the Blue Mountains that cater to hikers and campers. The Blue Mountains is also the home of the world-famous Blue Mountain coffee.

Blue Mountains, Jamaica

Try the best Jerk Chicken in its home

Jerk Chicken has become the most popular dish that Jamaicans have created. Around the world, people have fallen in love with this style of cooking and have even tried to imitate the original markers and create their own jerk spices and sauces. But where better to eat Jerk Chicken than the place where it was first made, in Portland, Jamaica? Portland has the best and most authentic Jerk Chicken in the world. Residents and chefs in the town have done their best to preserve the taste and methods that were made famous by their Maroon ancestors.

Jerk chicken

Swim in the glistening waters of the Luminous Lagoon

The Luminous Lagoon stretches along the wetlands of Trelawny from the small community of Rock to the town of Falmouth in Jamaica. But what’s so special about this lagoon? In the 18th century, scientists discovered glowing microorganisms in the waters of the lagoon called dinoflagellates, which thrive in the layers where salt and fresh water combine. At night, the lagoon sparkles and glistens when disturbed, giving off a “glow in the dark” effect. Every night, there are boat tours from the Glistening Waters Marina to the lagoon where guests get a chance to swim in the luminous lagoon.

“Luminous Lagoon” in Falmouth

Explore Bob Marley’s legacy in the Bob Marley Museum

Bob Marley is the most famous reggae artist that ever lived and one of Jamaica’s most known international icons. The legacy of Marley has been captured and put on display in the house where he lived in Jamaica from 1975 until the year of his death, 1981. The house, now known as The Bob Marley Museum, features memorabilia such as his gold and platinum records, clothing, instruments, photos, and so much more.

Bob Marley Museum

Swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove Jamaica is the number one marine attraction on the island. The Marine Park essentially has three locations—Montego Bay, Moon Palace, and Ocho Rios, the Ocho Rios location being the largest and most popular. Visitors to Dolphin Cove get the chance to interact and swim with dolphins, sharks, and stingrays in their natural environment. The dolphins are trained to showcase water tricks and stunts and have a reputation for being charming and friendly towards guests.

Dolphin show at Dolphin’s Cove, Jamaica

Climb the Dunn’s River Falls

The Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s national treasures and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire Caribbean. The popular waterfall in Ocho Rios extends across more than 183 meters (600 feet). The falls is naturally terraced, like a giant staircase, which makes it perfect for climbing. Proper footwear is to be worn when climbing the falls (special shoes are sold on the property) and small children are advised not to attempt to climb without assistance from an adult.

Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica

Go rafting on Rio Grande or Martha Brae

Rafting was made popular by Hollywood movie star and former resident of Jamaica, Errol Flynn, in the 1950s. The famous Jamaican activity involves rafts made of bamboo and transport typically two people down the streams of Jamaica’s popular rivers. The rafts are operated by licensed and experienced raft captains. Rafting is done along the Martha Brae River in Falmouth or the Rio Grande River in Portland.

Rafting on the Martha Brae

Bobsled through the Mystic Mountain

The Rainforest Mystic Mountain is the best place for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Jamaica. Mystic Mountain offers guests a range of adventures, the most popular being bobsledding. Guests are transported to the 700-peak Mystic Mountain and go twisting down the mountain in a brake-controlled sled which runs on a track, similar to a rollercoaster. Other activities at Mystic Mountain involve canopy ziplining and SkyExplorer.

Bobsled in Mystic Mountain © Royal Caribbean International

Visit the Rose Hall Great House

The Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica is the most impressive and famous Great House on the island. The Jamaican Geogerian-style mansion is known for the tales of Annie Palmer—the “White Witch of Rose Hall.” Although the story of Annie Palmer has been proved to be fiction, the tale is still attached to the Great House and the story is a popular one, often recited by locals. The Great House features a museum, the “white witch gold course,” luxury villas, and miles of beautiful beaches.

Rose Hall Great House

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