Escape to Jamaica

After days of research and sheer anticipation, my must see list on visiting Jamaica read something like this: watch the sunset, go cave diving in Negril, head to a beach party, conquer the 600 ft waterfalls of Dunn’s River Falls, venture up into Kellits countryside, mingle with the locals…  and so on. Despite being famed for its spectacular beach resorts and reggae roots – I focused on sampling the traditions of Jamaica, a country so culturally rich and brimming with history, its like the holiday equivalent of time travel.

Touching down in Jamaica, was like the ‘home coming’ as Kanye so aptly put it. Yep…think coming to America meets Lion king. Ok so there wasn’t the usual cultural welcome party in festive attire, assembled in front of a row of beating drums, with brightly dressed dancers, singing the Queen has returned or nothing. But there was a friendly face to greet me and with it an overwhelming sense of euphoria. The magnitude of the country’s beauty its breath taking, its sky high mountains, vibrant red cliff tops and endless crystal clear beaches are simply spectacular – you’ll wonder how you’ve lived without it.

The country is so steeped in tradition you’ll need weeks to cover it all in.The kind of time (Johnny Dept had on his hands whilst shipwrecked in Pirates of the Caribbean). I had to cut so many things from my wish list; taking a cycle through to Blue Mountain went, a trip to the National Gallery relaying the history of Jamaica art and sculpture went,  even tuning into the interactive history of reggae’s musical roots at museum-Reggae Explosion had to go. If you can stay with family/friends in Jamaica, do it; the best way to get a real feel of this spectacular country (and experience it in full) is to fully amerce yourself in its laid back way of life. With a clever wish list matched with the right places to stay,  you can take in a huge chunk of Jamaica in just three weeks.

For those of you wanting to leap headfirst into Jamaica’s rich history, Kingston is the place to start. Kingston, Jamaica’s capital is also a cultural hub with much to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. Head to the 127 year old site of Devon House Heritage site, a far contract to hustle and bustle of the city , the 11-acre property with beautifully kept lawns is a beauty to look at. Visitors can listen in on the site’s fascinating history which was built by Gorge Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire. Alternately you can delve into the past and stroll through the coffee plantation along the south coast city of Mandeville, which dates back two centuries.


For a day trip abandon your sun lounger, load up the car and head to Dunns River Falls. Situated in Negril, Ocho Rio, Dunn’s River is one of Jamaica’s national treasures and it doesn’t take much to see why. Coined the  “Las Chorreras”, the waterfalls or springs, the waterfall sends crystal clear water, cascading over a series of stone steps and extends across over 600 feet. The best way to get the most of this spectacular sight is to take a tour around the water fall, where an experienced guide will accompany you.

Jamaica's Dunn's River Fall

To soak up the glorious sun, opt for Negril Beach. It’s a picturesque 7-mile long sandy white beach with a magnificent crystal clear ocean, is one of the finest beaches in Jamaica. Beach bars and open-air restaurants, line the fringes of this beautiful place. The beach is the perfect place to pass time soaking up the sun or cooling down with a refreshing dip in the ocean. Best of all the beach serves up freshly prepared fish with festival (a type of fried dough), just caught by the fishermen and handpicked by you, before being grilled before your eyes.

My favourite thing about Jamaica is its hidden gems and Negril’s Roaring River Estate, near Westmoreland is certainly one of them. Named for the gushing waters of the river, Roaring River is a series of caves and flowing mineral springs surrounded by lush tropical gardens. A much loved spot by naturists, Its underground caves are also the perfect place for the adventurous among you. Here guided tours are provided which take visitors around its well lit caves, and for the brave, there is the opportunity to take a dive in the fresh water sinkhole, the cave’s natural pool. The most intriguing place of our stay, its beautiful caves were a pleasant sight, its electric lights and paved paths with stony steps make the caves an easy walk for tourists.


Kingston kicks up a more edgy, urban vibe with vibrant night clubs. We opted for a late night partying at one of them, but if the club scene is not for you, ensure to spend at least one evening at one of Negril’s beach party’s. With great music playing, friendly crowds, and plenty of dancing, it made for a very enjoying evening. More than anything, Negril feels alive.


Across the other side of town lyes another must stop destination, Montego Bay, it’s a beautiful city with a number of lovely beaches where you can take part in a range of water sports. Diving enthusiasts can also enjoy discovering the marine life at Window Maker’s Cave within Montego Bay Marine Park. Driving through Montego Bay we made a stop off at one of its many side road cook shops.The food here was superb, we polished off barbecued jerk chicken with festival and a cooling drink.


You don’t know a country until you ventured out to its countryside, no seriously. Tucked away high up in the mountain tops, lyes the enchanting town of Kellits. A world away from the hustle and bustle of Jamaica’s cities, with side road tuck shops, steep hilly roads, open streams (should you want to take a dip), sugar cane fields, pigs, horses and other barn animals seen freely roaming in peoples back yards, Kellits is every much the antithesis of the countryside and serves as a constant reminder that you are no longer in the city. Hire a car or catch a local bus to get there, but be warned this trip is not for the faint hearted, expect to be holding on to the edge of your seats, as drivers take you up winding roads, with no fences. Get over of that and you can look forward to break taking views of the city and surrounding landscape.

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