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VacationWiser.com Guide to Jamaica

Why go to Jamaica            

    

TheRhythm, 
         
        The Sway

                   Do You Feel It?

Here in Jamaica, life takes on a beat of its own. From the gentle rustle of palm trees blowing with the sea breeze to the sizzle of jerk over a crackling grill. Experience the melody of Jamaica with the trip of a lifetime.

(all information and pictures courtesy of visitJamaica.com)

The People and Culture Ensure Jamaica is Safe

One of the main draws of Jamaica is its people. They are famously friendly and laid-back, and, especially in tourist destinations like Montego Bay, are focused on making sure you feel at home. The atmosphere is welcoming and chilled, ensuring you’ll be jamming in Jamaica from the moment you arrive.


Stunning Natural Attractions Will Embrace You with Relaxation

Located in the heart of the Caribbean, with two major airport hubs and one smaller airport, Jamaica is an easy reach from most cities in the eastern half of the United States. Jamaica offers a wide array of breathtaking beaches and phenomenal sunsets. With tropical jungle, outdoor adventure parks, and picturesque waterfalls, Jamaica is a great place to explore with family. Even more, explore the aerial tram of Mystic Mountain, and admire the incredible views from way up above the canopy. Climb Dunn’s River Falls and relax to the sound of rushing water around you. Especially relevant, see Mother Nature at her most glorious at Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon, and don’t forget to bring your camera!


Where to stay in Jamaica

Montego Bay

Home to Sangster International Airport.  A bustling resort town with much to see and do. Stay right in town so you can walk to several white sand beaches and be close to bustling nightlife with open-air bars and endless options for the best Jamaican food. Or, venture a little further out of town for sprawling all-inclusive resorts, guesthouses and villas

 

Negril

A beach town on the western end of Jamaica.  Home to the perfect 7-mile stretch of sandy beach with adorable places to stay along the roads,cliffs and gentle turquoise sea.  Ideal place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the amazing sunsets.  Negril is more than just sprawling beaches –enjoy waterparks, river safaris, an animal playground, great golf courses and energetic nightlife.

 

Ocho Rios

The highlight of Ocho Rios is the abundance of natural water attractions – climb Dunn’s River Falls, go cave-diving, jump into beautiful natural emerald pools or watch turtles hatch and return to the sea.  Ocho Rios hotels feature swanky restaurants dishing up authentic Jamaican feasts and international treats.  Or, step into one of the many outdoor restaurants that are popular with locals and offer a more casual experience

 

Kingston

Located on the south coast,toward the eastern end, of Jamaica, Kingston is the business hub of the island.  There are many modern hotels with world-class technological facilities. Kingston is the cultural hub of Jamaica.

 

Recommended Hotels


RIU Negril

The all-inclusive Club hotel RIU Negril is an all-inclusive resort on Negril’s famous 7-mile beach. The resort’s signature amenities include in-room facilities such as mini-bar, satellite TV, and 24-hour room service. The resort also has several restaurants, swimming pools, spa, gym and fun programs to entertain their guests.  About a 1 ½ hour drive west of Montego Bay


As low as $65.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 – 12, 2019

As low as $94.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 2 - 6, 2020

 

Excellence Oyster Bay, Falmouth

Featuring all-suite accommodations, a variety of upscale restaurants and bars, a world-class spa and impeccable service, this adults-only, Victorian-style waterfront resort redefines luxury standards. Two miles of secluded, virgin, white-sanded beaches, lined by lush tropical vegetation set a romantic atmosphere, perfect for enjoying the most beautiful sunsets in the Caribbean.  About a 50 minute drive east of Montego Bay.


As low as $68.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 – 12, 2019

As low as $95.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 2 - 6, 2020


Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, near Montego Bay

All Inclusive luxury 5-star accommodation. It is the perfect choice for those who want to experience an unforgettable family or couples’ vacation in Jamaica. In this hotel guests can unwind and relax, play sports and enjoy nights filled with music and dancing. In addition, its proximity to the center of Rose Hall allows guests to get to know traditional Jamaican life and enjoy all the entertainment that this beautiful town has to offer.


As low as $71.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 – 12, 2019

As low as $96.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 2 - 6, 2020


RIU Hotel Montego Bay

The resort offers guests an array of activities and amenities to make any vacation superb. From freshwater swimming pools, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and wellness center with a range of different treatments and massages to white sand beaches, RIU Montego Bay is the premium vacation choice. The hotel’s all-inclusive service allows guests to enjoy a wide variety of dishes prepared in the themed restaurants. Daily entertainment and sports options - table tennis, volleyball, windsurfing,sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving – are all available for the pleasure of the resort’s guests.


As low as $67.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 – 12, 2019

As low as $94.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 2 - 6, 2020


Grand Bahia Principe, Runaway Bay

The all-inclusive Grand Bahia Principe resort in Runaway Bay, promises guests the authentic vibes of Jamaican culture. This family resort boasts entertainment programs for adults and children, a variety of sports and three a la carte restaurants.


As low as $50.00 bi-weekly for 2 people December 8 – 12, 2019

As low as $75.00 bi-weekly for 2 people Feb 2 - 6, 2020

 

What to do in Jamaica


DREAMER MONTEGO BAY FAMILY CRUISE

Sail to Montego Bay Marine Park for an unforgettable swim and snorkel.Also keep the music and the drinks flowing aboard the catamaran as you head toward the famous Margaritaville.


BLUE HOLE AND DUNN"S RIVER FALLS

Splash around and wash away your worries at Blue Hole’s hidden cascades and natural water pools, then do the same at the 600-foot-long Dunn’s River Falls, one of Jamaica’s most iconic natural attractions.


ULTIMATE THRILL SEEKERS PASS

A complete adventure that includes a dune buggy or ATV tour, a zip line canopy circuit, a tubing or kayaking river experience, a rope course, a tour of the 18th century Great House and an Appleton Rum tasting experience


DOLPHIN COVE NEGRIL

Play and interact with the dolphins of Negril as they fly through the waters around you. Select from several programs to experience some of the most “phin-tastic”water activities in Jamaica!


LUMINOUS LAGOON

Start with an adventure you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world. Just outside of Montego Bay lies the Luminous Lagoon, a glowing cove that harbors bioluminescent water—meaning you’ll glow in the dark if you go swimming at dusk. There are only a few spots in the world where you can do this.


ROSE HALL GREAT HOUSE

A visit to Annie Palmer, the “White Witch” of the Rose Hall Great House, should also make your list. Legend has it that her spirit still roams the halls of the great house where she offed several husbands and slave lovers. She’d love it if you popped in.


RICK’S CAFE

Rounding out some of the top things to do in Jamaica is a stop at Rick’s Cafe in Negril. Join daredevil divers as they leap into the most gorgeous gem-colored sea from dizzying heights above. If adrenaline isn’t your thing, watch them go at it while sipping a cold local brew against the most amazing sunsets this side of the rock.

 

For more fun things to do in Jamaica go to www.visitJamaica.com/things-to-do.

 

What to eat in Jamaica


JERK

There's simply nothing like eating jerk fresh offflavorful pimento wood, or the taste of an ice cold Red Stripe on a hotsummer's day. Jamaica is a feast for the taste buds and at every corner of ourbig little island you'll find something to whet your appetite.  For the best jerk on the island go toScotchie’s, rated #1 restaurant in Ocho Rios.           




The Cuisine of Rastafari

Ital cuisine is a natural method of preparing Jamaican food developed by Rastafarians in support of a healthy lifestyle. It involves no red meat and a celebration of the fresh fruits and vegetables that come straight from the earth.  Ital food is Jamaica’stake on vegetarian cuisine.  


The Jamaican Patty

Deliciously savory filling encapsulated by golden pastry that flakes at the touch... that is the Jamaican patty. A derivative of the Cornish pasty, the Jamaican patty is a staple food and a must-try on any visit to Jamaica. These half-moon shaped delights are sold by patty shops and bakeries around the island. 




Desserts and Pastries

Grater cake - This sweet treat is made from shredded coconut, sugar and food coloring and is often referred to as Pink on Top. 

Gizzada - Also known as Pinch Me Round because of its crimped pastry, gizzadas are a combination of the earthy flavor of nutmeg with sugar and coconut, atop a light buttery pastry.

Jackass corn - Jackass Corn is a sweet thin biscuit known for its primary characteristic, it’s tough as nails! Take a hard bite and you’ll discover this treat to be a delight.

Blue drawers/Tie A Leaf/Dukunu - Green bananas, sweet potatoes and coconut make up this boiled pudding, wrapped in banana leaves to preserve its shape and give flavor. 

Tamarind balls - The tartness of tamarind covered/rolled in sugar.A delicious and quite sweet confection easily found from supermarkets to gas stations and even in exotic flavors like coffee and ginger. 

Busta - This dark hard candy, a mix of coconut and wet sugar, is said to be named after Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, the Hon. Alexander Bustamante. 

Chocolate tea - No powdered or packaged cocoa can compare to a cup of Jamaican chocolate tea. This soothing drink is traditionally prepared steeping grated chocolate balls with milk and spices. The perfect way to end the day.


Fruits and Vegetables

Ackee: (at right) Our very own national fruit ackee, is not only a good source of protein but truly delicious. It is essential to wait until the pod has opened before eating it, otherwise, the results aren’t totally pleasurable.


Breadfruit: One of the most versatile and delicious fruits around,the exotic breadfruit tastes of bread. Whether you roast or boil it, you’ll enjoy a potato-like consistency and sweet taste.

Callaloo: A breakfast staple, callaloo is a very nutritious plant,noted as a rich source of vitamins and minerals. This leafy vegetable is commonly served steamed and tastes like spinach, but not quite as bitter.

Cho Cho (Chayote): Not the typical fruit, the cho cho is best enjoyed in savory dishes such as soups and stews. This pear-shaped fruit is found rather bland when raw but tastes like a cross between a cucumber and potato when cooked. 

Guinep: appear as a cluster of drupes (similar to grapes), with a thin layer of green skin which, when bitten, reveals an orange-hued gelatin flesh. The tart like taste is quite addictive, but be careful, the juice from this fruit can cause stains. 

Jamaican Coco: A treat in soups and breads, the Jamaican coco has a creamy, comforting taste. With big spade-shaped leaves, it takes close to a year to mature. But we think it’s worth it.

Otaheite Apple (Cocoplum): The refreshing, Otaheite apple is a burst of balanced sweetness. Its deep crimson red skin coats its crisp white flesh,in a pear-like shape. This fruit is noted as being a good way to hydrate and has even been used for treating diabetes and other maladies.


Star Apple: This luscious fruit appears in variations of dark purple to green with a soft pulp flesh core. Jamaicans often refer to the star apple as the “mean” fruit as they never fall from their stems even after they’ve ripened.  You should try to avoid the skin as it can be rather bitter.

 

Stinking Toe: This rather peculiar fruit gets its name from its semblance to a big fat toe. Its accompanying odor may make you hesitant;however, the large seed pod houses a delicious, sweet but mealy pulp. Found on one of the largest trees in the Caribbean, ‘Tinking Toe’ is also used in folk medicine to alleviate headaches and rheumatism. 

 

Citrus Fruits

 

Ortanique: A cross between a tangerine and orange, the Ortanique is a seedless and exceptionally juicy citrus grown in Jamaica.


Sour Orange: Also known as bitter or Seville orange, this citrus is usually enjoyed by locals as an alternative to lemons and makes refreshing lemonade. Though many have found the fruit too unpalatable to be consumed straight from the tree, the sour orange is very useful for making marmalade and flavoring for baking, cooking and even liqueur.

Tangerine: The second best thing about a Jamaican tangerine is how easily they can be peeled. The first would have to be the delicious sweet flesh you’ll come to discover. The carpals (sections) come apart with ease, making the feasting of this fruit even more gratifying.

 

Uniq (Ugli Fruit): Indigenous to Jamaica, the ugli or uniq fruit is an exotic tangelo available between November and April. Although the name may not sound appetizing, this citrus fruit is quite a juicy indulgence.Said to be created by the hybridizing of a tangerine, orange, and grapefruit(pomelo), it is sweet and tangy, perfect for refreshing juices. 

 

Where to eat in Jamaica

Here are some suggestions of restaurants provided by visitJamaica.  For the complete list click here


·        Bamboo Beach Club: Tower Isle, Ocho Rios

·        F&B Downtown: Kingston

·        Miss T’s Kitchen: Ocho Rios

·        House Boat Grill: Montego Bay

·        Pier 1 on the Waterfront: Montego Bay

·        Jack Sprat Restaurant: Treasure Beach

·        Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Ocho Rios

·        Margaritaville Montego Bay

·        Usain Bolt Tracks & Records: Ocho Rios



Good things to know about Jamaica

Banking and Currency:Jamaican dollar.  Can exchange in licensed cambio centers and commercial banks. Exchange rates vary daily so best to shop around before converting your cash.  Most ATMs accept international bank cards.  As of 10/28/19 One US Dollar would get you 138 Jamaican Dollars


Climate: Hot and humid tropical climate all year round.  Temperatures range from 66 degrees Fahrenheit to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Two rainy seasons a year, from May to June, and September to November. Hurricanes may pass over the island during the months of June to November.


Clothing: Lightweight, breathable fabrics are the way to go here on the island. A thin sweater will keep you cozy in the evenings. And semi-casual wear for women, and a jacket for men, will get you into all the fine dining restaurants.

   

Communications: Direct international telephone service operates in all areas, 24 hours a day, and telephone operators will gladly facilitate collect, third-party or credit card calls. E-mail and Internet access is available too, usually at hotels and parish libraries, but also at local Internet cafes.


Driving: Drive on the left side of the road. The speed limit is 50 kmph (30 mph) in built-up areas, and 80 kmph (50 mph) on highways, and all drivers are required to carry a valid license. Jamaica recognizes valid International Driver’s Licenses, but visitors from North America may use their country's license for up to three months per visit.


Drugs: In Jamaica, the use, sale and possession of drugs such as ganja (marijuana), cocaine, crack, ecstasy, heroin and any other controlled substance is illegal. Violators are subject to severe punishments – specifically arrest, fine and imprisonment.


Electricity: The electrical supply in Jamaica is 110 volts/50 cycles standard, and electrical appliances use plugs that are two-pronged and flat (such as those used in the United States and Canada). Most hotels will provide you with hair dryers, alarm clocks, radio and a clothes iron, but make sure you find out first.


Language: Officially, we speak English, but we like to mix it up with our own island version of patois. It takes a little getting used to, but you’re sure to have lots of fun trying out a few of our expressions.


Time Zone: Jamaica falls within the Eastern Time Zone (UTC/GMT -5 Hours) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. At approximately 18 degrees north of the equator, the island falls within the tropics, and as such does not experience drastic seasonal changes in sunrise and sunset times. Year-round, the island averages between 11.5 and 12.5 hours of sunlight per day.


Water: Jamaica has hundreds of natural springs and rivers, both above and underground and has developed extensive water treatment and supply systems island-wide, so all drinking water in Jamaica is purified and filtered by modern methods.


Entry Requirements:U.S. Citizens traveling to and from Jamaica must present a valid passport when leaving and or re-entering the United States.  Residents must present their Alien Resident Card (Green Card) together with passport of country for which they hold citizenship. All visitors are required to travel with a return ticket or onward ticket for entry into Jamaica.



For more information see www.visitJamaica.com or call your VacationWiser.com travel specialist at 1-800-358-2883 or send an email to vacationadmin@vacationwiser.com


SEE YOU IN JAMAICA, MON!



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