The Best Things to Do in Jamaica

Some of the best things to do in Jamaica include rafting on the Martha Brae River in Falmouth
Some of the best things to do in Jamaica include rafting on the Martha Brae River in Falmouth | © Mark Bassett / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lola Mendez
6 August 2020

Jamaica has it all, no matter what’s on your island itinerary. Whether you’re looking for adventure – from cliff jumping to night swimming in phosphorescent water to zip-lining through the jungle – or for relaxing vacation moments – from sunbathing on the beach to sipping cocktails at sunset to floating down a river, you’re sure to have a great time. Here are some of the best things to do in Jamaica.

Glistening Waters

Natural Feature
Map View

Be mesmerized by a rare natural wonder at Glistening Waters. This phosphorescent body of water glows at night due to microorganisms that create a luminous effect when the water is disturbed. Dinoflagellates, the glowing organisms in the lagoon, were discovered by scientists in the 18th century. Several tour operators offer night-time boat rides through the lagoon, and you can even jump in to witness the sparkling phenomena up close and personal. The spectacular glow-in-the-dark effect will make you feel like you’re swimming through a sea of stars.

Martha Brae River Rafting

Natural Feature
Map View
Rafting on the Martha Brae, river Martha Brae, Rafting Village, region Montego Bay, Jamaica, Great Antilles, Caribbean
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Head inland to experience Jamaica’s tropical interior on the freshwater Martha Brae River. Peacefully floating on a handmade bamboo raft on the three-mile river is a quintessential Jamaican experience. A local river captain will maneuver your raft and point out local flora and fauna. There are a few small rapids, but don’t worry, your guide will let you know when it’s safe to jump in for a swim and cool down in the refreshing, crisp water.

Joy Spence Appleton Rum Estate Experience

Historical Landmark
Map View

Rum and Jamaica go hand-in-hand. Get to know the preferred spirit on the island by taking a tour at Appleton Estate in the Nassau Valley, which has been operating for 265 years. The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience is a multi-sensory learning program about the world-famous Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum range. You’ll see the entire rum-making process – from sugar cane to the beloved rum. Yes, there will be rum tasting and cocktails.

Rick’s Cafe

Cafe, Jamaican, $$$
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Rick's Cafe, well-known location on the beach in Negril, Region Westmoreland, Jamaica
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Rick’s Cafe is one of the most popular places to visit in Jamaica. Tucked away high on the cliffs outside of Negril, this place attracts patrons due to its incredible coastal views, celebrated flavorful Jamaican cuisine, strong traditional Jamaican cocktails and buckets of the beloved local Red Stripe beer. Folks stick around to take in the phenomenal sunsets over the Caribbean Sea, relax on the edge of the cliff and witness the awe-inspiring cliff divers as they jump off the 35-ft-(11-m-)high cliffs. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as diners are welcome to use the swimming pool.

Chukka Caribbean Adventures

Natural Feature
Map View

If you’re after an adrenaline rush, book a tour with Chukka Caribbean Adventures in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Falmouth or Negril. Pick your adventure from an array of exciting options including cliff jumping, ATV rides, zip-lining, river tubing, whitewater rafting and much more. Opt for the Chukka tours at the historic Good Hope Estate in Falmouth to enjoy swimming pools after your adventure. The former sugar plantation is located on 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of jungle.

Mystic Mountain

Park
Map View
Bobsled-Jamaica
© Royal Caribbean International
Located in the lush rainforest of Ocho Rios, the 700-ft (213-m) Mystic Mountain is a nature theme park offering a range of family-friendly adventure rides. The adventure park features birdwatching activities, zip-line courses, water slides and sweeping unobstructed views of the surrounding jungle on a romantic chairlift canopy ride. Mystic Mountain is the best place in Jamaica to go bobsledding – a popular sport on the tropical island that is usually reserved for winter destinations. Hop in a bobsled for a rollercoaster-like experience as you glide along the track in a brake-controlled sled.
These recommendations were updated on August 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.