20 Unmissable Attractions in Jamaica

Emancipation Park is an oasis of lush greenery and serenity in Kingston
Emancipation Park is an oasis of lush greenery and serenity in Kingston | © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sheri-kae McLeod
Freelance Caribbean Writer11 September 2020

Jamaica may be a tiny Caribbean island but its vibrant culture (don’t miss the Bob Marley Museum) and stunning natural wonders, such as the luminous lagoon, make it a must-visit destination. Here are the top 20 things to see and do here.

Devon House

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
the Devon house in Kingston Jamaica
© Uliana Bazar / Alamy Stock Photo

This Georgian-style mansion is one of the most popular landmarks in Kingston and one of Jamaica’s most celebrated attractions. The grounds of Devon House feature lush green lawns with exotic flowers, towering palm trees and a water fountain. There are also plenty of restaurants available, including the famous Devon House I-Scream ice-cream shop.

Luminous Lagoon

Natural Feature
Map View

The Luminous Lagoon is a true natural wonder. This body of water is an unassuming lagoon by day and glistening waters by night. The phenomenon in the phosphorescent lagoon is caused by microorganisms that glow at night, giving off a luminous effect. The lagoon is located in Falmouth, Trelawny and there is said to be only three of its kind in the world.

Fire Water Pond

Natural Feature
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The subtle interplay of fire and water is hard to ignore at the remote Windsor Mineral Spring. The small area of the spring, about the size of a large jacuzzi, is called Fire Water, as it can actually make fire. This unusual activity is believed to be caused by a high concentration of sulphur in the water. Residents of Windsor in St Ann have told many stories about the healing and rejuvenating properties of the water.

Bob Marley Museum

Museum, Shop
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Bob Marley Museum, Kingston, Jamaica
© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston was the home of reggae singer and celebrated musical legend, Bob Marley. Inside the museum, you will find some of Marley’s most prized possessions and memorabilia. The museum also features his former recording studio, now transformed into an exhibition hall, the Legend Café and the Bob Marley gift shop, which sells the famous Marley coffee.

Fort Charles

Museum
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Fort Charles was the first fort built in the city of Port Royal between 1650 and 1660. The fort was built by the English, after capturing the island, to defend their new acquisition from the Spanish. Today, the set up of cannons on the outer wall of the fort remains unchanged. There is also now a small museum located inside the fort.

Sunken Pirate City

Historical Landmark
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Port Royal, located at the mouth of the Kingston harbor, once had the reputation of being the richest and wickedest city in the world. The massive earthquake of 1692 that hit Port Royal destroyed most of the city, even sending parts of it into the sea. Today, most of the remains of the 17th-century city lie under up to 40ft (12m) of water. Many archaeologists and geographic societies have sent divers down to explore the sunken city.

Green Grotto Caves

Natural Feature
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Inside the Green Grotto Caves in Falmouth, Jamaica.
© National Geographic Image Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Named for the green algae that cover its walls, the Green Grotto Caves is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in St Ann. In touring the caves, you will be sure to see majestic stalactites, stalagmites and other exquisite dripstone formations. The innermost cavern contains a crystal-clear underground lake, while on the outside, you can throw a coin and make a wish in the wishing well.

Kool Runnings Waterpark

Park
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Kool Runnings is Jamaica’s premiere adventure park and provides the perfect mixture of entertainment and excitement for the entire family. The park is divided into two sections: the water park, featuring 10 thrilling water slides, a children’s interactive play area, leisure river and wave pool, while the Adventure Park includes paintball, outdoor laser kombat, go-karts, Jamboo rafting, a kool kanoe adventure and kayaking.

Rose Hall

Historical Landmark
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Exterior of Rose Hall Great House surrounded by colorful red flowers, landmark Montego Bay tourist attraction
© M. Timothy O'Keefe / Alamy Stock Photo

The legend of Annie Palmer awaits you at the Rose Hall Greathouse in Montego Bay. The Greathouse is s 6,600-acre (2,671ha) Plantation House surrounded by miles of beautiful beaches, a golf course and many gift shops and restaurants. The Rose Hall Greathouse is especially noted for the many stories of its former owner, Annie Palmer, also known as the White Witch of Rose Hall.

Emancipation Park

Park
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Nestled in the heart of New Kingston, Emancipation Park is an oasis of lush greenery and serenity in Kingston. The park features three water fountains, lush gardens, various stonework and an 11ft (3.3m) bronze sculpture, named Redemption Song, in line with the Park’s theme of Tribute to Freedom.

Mystic Mountain

Park
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If you want to see the beautiful city of Ocho Rios from a vantage point, then take an adventure tour up to the 700ft (213m) mystic mountain at the Mystic Mountain Adventure Park. This environmentally friendly attraction, located in the heart of Ocho Rios, offers a range of adventure tours suited for the entire family including bobsledding, the sky explorer chairlift and zip-lining.

Martha Brae rafting

Natural Feature
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Rafting on the Martha Brae, river Martha Brae, Rafting Village, region Montego Bay, Jamaica, Great Antilles, Caribbean
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Rafting down the Martha Brae is one of the most relaxing activities that you can do in Jamaica. The Martha Brae Rafting Village in Trelawny includes picnic grounds, a full-service bar, two souvenir shops, a swimming pool and modern restrooms. The purpose of the village is to provide rafting tours that will allow you to peacefully coast down three-miles (4.8km) of the river on a handmade bamboo raft.

National Gallery of Jamaica

Art Gallery
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National Gallery of Jamaica, interior, Downtown, Kingston, Kingston Parish, Jamaica, West Indies, Caribbean, Central America
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
The National Gallery of Jamaica, which was established in 1974, is the oldest and largest public art museum in the English-speaking Caribbean. The gallery features an extensive collection of early, modern and contemporary art from many Jamaican artists along with pieces from other Caribbean artists.

Mayfield Falls

Natural Feature
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Mayfield Falls is a natural, majestic attraction located on the western side of the island, in Westmoreland. It consists of two beautiful waterfalls, 44 mineral pools and 21 natural jacuzzis surrounded by exotic flowers, plant species, birds, butterflies and wildlife native to Jamaica. The grounds are peaceful and well-maintained, featuring a lush botanical garden, a Jamaican restaurant and café.

Reach Falls

Natural Feature
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Reach Falls is a luxurious eco-attraction hidden in the lush forests of Portland. The waterfall is filled with natural holes carved out by water – the most terrifying being the Rabbit Hole – and if you’re brave enough to jump through this narrow passage, it will lead you to a secret underwater cave that leads to the main pool.
These recommendations were updated on September 11, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.