Jamaica really sets itself apart from the rest of the Caribbean with the Georgian influences of Falmouth, the largest waterfall in the Caribbean at Dunn’s River Falls, the resting place of legendary reggae icon Bob Marley at Nine Mile, hiking and climbing opportunities at Blue Mountain Peak and amazing watersports at Negril.
Of course there are the usual Caribbean-wide golden beaches that stretch for miles, year-round sun and a lively carefree atmosphere. But Jamaica seems to boast of that little bit extra both culturally and historically and hits travellers with something of a surprise, call it the Usain Bolt effect!
Explore Georgian Falmouth
The northern areas of Jamaica such as Falmouth are considered an ideal place to enjoy the Georgian architecture of the 19th century. Falmouth is a beautiful coastal town in Trelawney parish and it offers some excellent facilities of lodging, eating and roaming around. Further, its proximity to both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios attracts more tourists to this town.
St Peter’s Anglican Church, the biggest church in Jamaica is one prime attraction of Falmouth. Take a heritage walking trip that explores The Barrett House where Jamaica’s founder Edward Barrett lived and The Tharp House where the wealthy trader John Tharp lived. Visitors can also discover Good Hope Great House, Falmouth Court House, Vermont House and the Pottery House are the prime tourist attractions.
Falmouth is also the birthplace of Usain Bolt, who is the current Olympic champion and the fastest man on the earth. It is not a bad idea to walk and explore the local culture, while trams, cabs and shuttles are easily available to roam around.
Navigate Dunn’s River Falls
One of the other main reasons to visit Jamaica is Dunn’s River Falls. Every year thousands of travelers visit this place to enjoy a mountaineering delight of around 600 feet long. Located very close to Ocho Rios, Dunn’s River Falls are surrounded by lush green foliage that enhances the charm of this place.
Dunn’s River Falls is almost 180 feet (55m) tall and it drops directly into the sea. The beauty of this place is not only attractive for the travelers, but this place also persuades many Hollywood directors to picture the scenes of their movies. It is a thrilling activity to climb up the waterfall, make sure you recruit a local travel guide to help you hike and navigate the local area.
Visit Nine Mile Village and the Bob Marley Mausoleum
Although Nine Mile is a very small place with a population of only around 300 residents, it is one of the most prominent traveling destinations in the entire region thanks to one man. For this is the village where Bob Marley, the famous Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician, and often known as the king of reggae, was born and laid to rest following his death in May 1981. The Bob Marley Mausoleum is run by his family and there are photos, guitars and awards on display. Anyone that’s ever visited a Caribbean island will have experienced many tribute reggae nights at their resorts, belting out his hits such as No Woman, No Cry, I Shot The Sheriff and Buffalo Soldier, but this is the real deal!
Besides the Bob Marley Mausoleum, the incredible landscape around Mt. Zion and Nine Mile simply takes the tourists out of this world. Travelers can stay at Montego Bay, and make this place a base to reach Nine Mile.
The Blue Mountain Peak is located on the boundaries of Saint Thomas and Portland. With a height of 7,402 feet (2,256m) it is best suited for keen mountain climbers and trekkers. This is the second highest peak of the region that offers a trek, which is almost 10 km long, and is full of botanical beauty. After reaching at the top, one can see some spectacular views of the surrounding islands and seas.
The southern side shows the views of Kingston, and St Thomas’ coast, while Port Antonio’s Navy Island is clearly visible to the north. Cuba, which is just 90 miles away, can also be seen to the north on a bright and sunny day.
According to the local guides, it is ideal to start hiking as early as possible in the morning as the views of sunrise from the top of the peak are simply breathtaking. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is the other identity of this place. This blend of coffee, which is famous for its aroma, is cultivated in the same mountains.
It is very easy to reach Negril, a romantic beach, which has been rated as one of the most breath-taking beaches in the world. The place is just an hour and half shuttle van ride away from the Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. Negril is billed as the genuine and authentic Jamaica and visitors come to swim, snorkel and try watersports at The Half Moon Beach, Bloody Bay, Negril Cliffs and Booby Cay Island. Families will love the Kool Runnings Water Park, Blue Hole Mineral Spring and the Negril Lighthouse. Adults will love The Royal Palm Reserve and the Appleton Rum Estate.
Another entertaining activity is the bamboo raft ride that can be taken from the Martha Brae River. One of the most popular activities in Negril is snorkelling tour in the glass bottom boats. It is so pleasing to walk at the white sandy beaches with crystal clear warm waters. It is always a treat to watch the stunning sights of dusk in the Negril, while the local specialties like coconut jelly, sugar cane and jerk chicken are incredibly tasty.
By Julie Bowman