Jamaica’s 635-mile-long coastline has hidden surf spots for all skill levels. Trade winds provide a consistent year-round surf and the tropical environment keeps waters warm. These are six of the best places for surfing in Jamaica.
The most popular beach for surfing in Jamaica is picturesque Boston Bay in Port Antonio parish. There are surfable waves year-round in the bay and you can always find a handful of local surfers out in the water. The waves are gentle, making this a great spot for newbies. Several surf schools operate on the beach if you need some help getting up on the board.
Some of the best surf spots in Jamaica are around the southeastern side of the island including Zoo, which is near Bull Bay. Zoo is popular among local surfers, and is best suited to intermediate riders, as the reef break produces waves with a short ride on a barreling right. Before Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed the reef here, Zoo was widely considered to be the best place for surfing in Jamaica.
The most iconic surf camp on the island is Jamnesia – based out of Bull Bay and also known as Copa Bay – near Kingston, also considered to be the place where surfing first gained popularity on the island. Jamnesia is operated by the Wilmot family and was founded in the 1970s as the first surf school in Jamaica. Bull Bay local Elishama Beckford, affectionately known as Shama, was the first Jamaican professional surfer and has a celebrated international career. The bay has consistent surf year-round with big waves on the right reef break and long rides.
Surfers love to take on the swells in the Saint Thomas Parish at Makka in Yallahs. The small beach boasts world-class water tubes that give surfers the chance to enjoy fairly long rides on breaking waves. Jamaica’s first professional surf competition, the Makka Pro Surf Contest, is held here annually, and is one of the largest surfing events in the Caribbean. Surfers from all across the planet come to Jamaica for the festivities.
Runaway Bay is located on Jamaica’s scenic northern coast – near the resort town of Ocho Rios – and is a great spot for surfers of all levels. Check the wind pattern before paddling out as onshore trade winds often affect the quality of the waves. The bay’s exposed point breaks sometimes create choppy waves that can sometimes be staggering, so take care.
This surf spot is conveniently located near the Norman Manley International Airport – useful if you feel the need to catch a wave immediately upon your arrival in Jamaica. You can expect to find a steady swell of three-to-six-foot waves here. If you enjoy watching surfers take on epic waves from the safety of the beach, this is a great place to watch folks participate in the sport.
For more options, discover our guide to the best hotels in Kingston, Jamaica, and book now on Culture Trip.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.