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Negril, Jamaica Beaches
Feel them in the warmth of Jamaica's nearly ever-present sun. The welcoming embrace of white-sand beaches. The buoyant ripple of a crystal-clear, azure sea. Hear them in wavelets lapping at the shore. Trade winds rustling through tall palms and spreading almond trees.

Negril, Jamaica History

Kingston, Jamaica
Kingston, the largest city in Jamaica, is also it's country's capital. Found on the southeastern coast of the island, Kingston is one of the leading ports of the West Indies. From here, Jamaicans export their sugar, rum, molasses and bananas. Full of hotels and trendy resorts, Kingston also is a historic city. Founded in 1692, the city's center was designed in the British fashion. It is home to many restored homes, such as the picturesque Devon House.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ocho Rios, resting on a cove near the middle of Jamaica's northern coast, is famous for water. Dunn's River Falls, the area's top attraction, is a must-see - and a must-do - for travelers to this Caribbean treasure. The waterfall cascades over rocky terraces for most of its 600-foot drop. These stepping stones allow visitors to easily climb the falls. Ocho Rios is aptly named, since it translates in Spanish as "eight rivers." Cutting through the area, a number of rivers make their way to the sea and provide striking natural beauty.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
Montego Bay is one of Jamaica's most popular destinations. Stretching 15 miles along the Caribbean Sea coastline, the bay is an attraction all by itself, with beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters and all the favorite water sports. AguaSol Theme Park, a one-of-a-kind beach park, is home to much more than a fantastic beach. Visitors also will find go-cart racing, children's snack bar, sports bar and grill, tennis, disco, and live music and shows.


Jamaica is a tropical island of lush green vegetation, waterfalls and dazzling white beaches. Columbus was in the habit of declaring that each new island he chanced upon was more beautiful than the last, but he seems to have maintained a lifelong enthusiasm for the beauty of Jamaica, despite having been marooned there for a year on his last voyage. One of the larger islands of the Caribbean, it offers excellent tourist facilities and superb beaches and scenery. For the purpose of this guide, the main resorts in Jamaica have been divided into the following sections: Kingston and the South (including Mandeville and Spanish Town); Montego Bay (including the northwest coast resort of Negril); and the North Coast Resorts (including Falmouth, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio).

Kingston and the South
Kingston is Jamaica’s capital city and cultural center. With the largest natural harbor in the Caribbean (and seventh-largest in the world), Kingston is also an industrial center where Georgian architecture mixes with modern office blocks while, on the outskirts, spreading suburbs house the hundreds of thousands who increasingly work in the city. Although most tourists head for the beaches and resorts, Kingston has much to offer in the way of sightseeing.
The National Gallery of Art has a colorful display of modern art and is recommended. Hope Botanical Gardens contain a wide variety of trees and plants and are particularly famous for orchids. A band plays here on Sunday afternoons. There is a Crafts Market on King Street and the Port Royal, on top of the peninsula bordering Kingston Harbour, is a museum to the time when Port Royal (Jamaica’s ancient capital city that was submerged under the sea after an earthquake in 1692) was known as the ‘richest and wickedest city on earth’ under the domination of Captain Morgan and his buccaneers. The White Marl Arawak Museum is also worth seeing; here, visitors can see artifacts and relics of the ancient culture of the Arawak Indians. The grounds of the University of the West Indies, built on what was once a sugar plantation, are open to the public. Caymanas Park is a popular racetrack, where you can bet on the horses every Wednesday and Saturday and also during public holidays.

Spanish Town
A short drive to the west of Kingston, Spanish Town is the former capital of Jamaica. The Spanish Town Square is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the Western hemisphere. The Spanish Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega is the oldest in the West Indies.

Mandeville is set amid beautiful gardens and fruits, at the heart of Jamaica’s citrus industry, 600m (2000ft) above sea level and the highest town on the island. Mandeville offers cool relief from the heat of the coast, and has a golf course, tennis and horse riding facilities. The town is the center of the bauxite industry, and is a good starting point for trips to the surrounding areas.

South Coast
On the south coast are Milk River Spa, a naturally radioactive mineral bath with waters at a temperature of 33°C (86°F); Lover’s Leap in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a sheer 18m (60ft) cliff overhanging the sea; Treasure Beach and the resort of Bluefields.

Montego Bay and the West
Montego Bay
Montego Bay (or Mo’Bay, as it is more colloquially called) is the capital of Jamaican tourism and market town for a large part of western Jamaica. Dating back to 1492, Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second-largest city and one of the most modern in the Caribbean. From Gloucester and Kent Avenues, there are superb views onto the clear Caribbean waters and the long reef protecting the bay. Most of the hotels are found on a strip of coastline about 2.4km (1.5miles) long. There are three main beaches: Doctor’s Cave Beach (so named because it was once owned by a Dr McCatty and had a cave that has since eroded away) which has beautiful white sand, and where the exceptionally clear water is believed to be fed by mineral springs; Walter Fletcher Beach, nearest the center and a short walk from the Upper Deck Hotel; and Cornwall Beach, which is a few yards from the local Tourist Board Office. A short way inland from the Bay is Rose Hall, a restored Great House on a sugar plantation.

Rocklands Feeding Station is home to some of the most exotic birds in the world, such as the mango hummingbird, orange quit and the national bird of Jamaica, the Doctor Bird. Visitors are allowed to feed the birds at certain times of the day. Very popular is a motor coach ride through thick mountain forests into the interior, passing through banana and coconut plantations and Ipswich Caves (a series of deep limestone recesses) to the sugar estate of the famous Appleton Rum Factory and onwards to Catadupa, where shirts and dresses are made to measure.

Negril is 80km (50 miles) west of Montego Bay and has a beach stretching for 11km (7 miles) which offers sailing, water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, parasailing and windsurfing. First coming to attention as an artists’ center, and later as a focus of ‘alternative’ culture in the 1960s, it is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination which seems likely to preserve much of its original character – indeed, the law requires all buildings to be of modest proportions. Along the street, entrepreneurial Jamaicans sell a variety of craft goods from the many shanty-like shops in Negril. There is also a hectic nightlife in the many clubs that have, over the years, proliferated along the beach. Rick’s Café, located at West Point (which is as far west as Jamaica goes), is a favorite haunt both for Jamaicans and visitors and is famous as the place from which to observe the sun going down.

North Coast Resorts
Falmouth is a delightful harbor resort, 42km (26 miles) east of Montego Bay. From here, you can visit Rafters Village for rafting on the Martha Brae, and a fascinating crocodile farm called Jamaica Swamp Safaris. There is also a plantation mansion, Greenwood Great House, once owned by the Barrett Brownings. The Church of St Paul has Sunday services, where visitors can listen to the choir singing.

Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios lies roughly 108km (67 miles) east of Montego Bay. The name is said to have come from the old Spanish word for roaring river or, in modern Spanish, eight rivers. Ocho Rios was once a sleepy fishing village, and although there are now resort facilities, international hotels and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, the town has kept something of the sleepy atmosphere of small-town Jamaica. One of the most stunning sights in Jamaica is Dunn’s River Falls, a crystal water stairway which leads to the nearby botanical gardens. Ocho Rios is known as the garden-lover’s paradise, and the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens exhibit the fascinating variety of the area’s exotic flora, for which the town is celebrated. Not surprisingly, two of the most popular tours available are to working plantations at Brimmer Hall and Prospect where sugar, bananas and spices are still grown and harvested, using many of the traditional skills handed down through generations. Any sightseeing itinerary should include a drive along Fern Gully, a road running along an old river-bed that winds through a 6.5km (4 mile) valley of ferns. Another tour is the Jamaica Night on the White River, a canoe ride up the torchlit river to the sound of drums. Dinner and an open-air bar is available on the riverbank (Sunday evenings).

Columbus Park, at Discovery Bay, commemorates Columbus’ arrival in Jamaica with a museum and 24-hour open-air park exhibiting relics of Jamaican history. Other tours include Runaway Bay, which has fine beaches, excellent scuba diving and horse riding; and the Runaway Caves nearby, which offer a boat ride 35m (120ft) below ground on a lake in the limestone Green Grotto.

Port Antonio
Set on one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful bays, Port Antonio is surrounded by the Blue Mountains. The town dates back to the 16th century, and sights include Mitchell’s Folly, a two-story mansion built by the American millionaire Dan Mitchell in 1905, and the ruins of the 60-room Great House. The surrounding sea is rich in game fish, such as kingfish, yellowtail, wahoo and bonito. Blue marlin, however, are the great prize and there is an annual Blue Marlin Tournament run alongside the Jamaican International Fishing Tournament in Port Antonio every autumn. Rafting is available on the Rio Grande, comprising two-hour trips on two passenger bamboo rafts, which begin high in the Blue Mountains at Berrydale, sail past plantations of bananas and sugar cane, and end up at Margaret’s Bay. The scenic Somerset Falls nearby are a popular picnic spot. Beaches in the Port Antonio area include San San and Boston (where the Jamaican ‘jerk pork’ is found), while the Blue Lagoon is a salt-water cove offering fishing, swimming and water-skiing and is considered one of the finest coves in the Caribbean.
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