Holidays in Jamaica 2013/2014:
This beautiful, large, mountainous tropical island is full of stunning scenery, inviting sandy beaches and lush rainforests, and to say that your Jamaica holiday will be memorable doesn’t even begin to cover it. This laid-back, relaxing and mega-friendly island offers an impressive range of activities and adventures for everyone taking a holiday in Jamaica, where you can be as secluded as you wish
The rolling hills, deep ravines, misty Blue Mountains, waterfalls and tranquil rainforests of the “real Jamaica” all beg to be explored. You can go horse riding on the beach, diving, fishing, mountain biking, river rafting, climb the spectacular cascading Dunn’s River Falls, swim with dolphins, and go ziplining through the rainforest canopy. Of course, if you prefer a slower pace, there are superb championship golf courses to play, fabulous beaches, boat rides, catamaran cruises, gardens, historic Great Houses and excellent shopping.
The beaches are a lure for many, especially Negril with its 7-mile white sand beach, lively Ocho Rios with its collection of beaches for sun-worshippers, and Montego Bay with its calm waters - great for families and water sports. The spirit of legendary Bob Marley and reggae music is ever-present in Jamaica, renowned for its strong musical culture, and Jamaican cuisine is a melting pot of flavours that reflect the different cultures that have influenced the island over the years.
Things to do/Attractions
Check out the craft markets and shopping in Ocho Rios and combine it with an excursion to the spectacular Dunns River Falls where you can climb up the 600 feet cascade. Swim and play with friendly dolphins in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay after a brief introduction, venture out on a safari up the Black River, take a gentle glide down the Martha Brae on a bamboo raft, or an excursion to Nine Mile village, the birth place and final resting place of the King of Reggae Bob Marley. There are also superb championship golf courses in Montego Bay, and historical houses to visit such as Rose Hall Great House, Bellefield Great House and Bloomfield Great House. As for water sports, you’ll find a great choice on the beach waiting for you at your hotel, the majority of them complimentary although Scuba diving and diving lessons are generally available at a supplemental cost, but well worth it.
Looking for somewhere elegant to dine in the Montego Bay area? Then go to the Sugar Mill on the Golf Course at Half Moon, a RockResort, one of the top restaurants in Jamaica and rather special. Dress code is casual elegant and the setting romantic, especially the tables on the terrace. Also in Montego Bay there’s the original Scotchies Jerk Centre, popular with locals and visitors alike. You’ll find some of the best jerk cuisine on the island at Scotchies, also now located in Ocho Rios - it’s very rustic, casual, and inexpensive. The Vineyard at Coyaba Hotel, a member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”, is also well worth a visit, the Chef is renowned and the open-air sophisticated restaurant is classically Caribbean. In a romantic setting next to the water in Negril try Catch a Falling Star restaurant for traditional dishes, the grilled conch and jerk trio are favourites.
Head to Montego Bay for nightlife, you’ll find the lively “Hip Strip” Gloucester Avenue with shops, restaurants and a long line of bars. Vibrant Margaritaville is an action-packed noisy bar with Karaoke, in-house DJ, and party theme nights; the bar is famous for 22-ounce bongs of beer and tropically flavoured margaritas. Funky Pier One, on Howard Cooke Boulevard, hosts Mo’Bay’s biggest Friday night party with Star-Struck stage shows on Wednesdays, and weekday sunset happy hours. There’s lots of dancing and the place is jam packed after midnight. Afterwards enjoy a Jamaican jerk pork and chicken snack served until the early hours from roadside food trucks.
In Negril, a visit to Rick’s Café is a must; it’s one of the top gathering spots in the area where the setting and view of the sunset from the cliffs is unrivalled, and where you’ll find the renowned fearless divers jumping from the towering rocks.
Not to be missed
Climb hand in hand with a group up the famous cascading waterfalls, the Dunns River Falls, in Ocho Rios. Go ziplining in Montego Bay or Negril and soar from one platform to another in the rainforest canopy. Don’t miss the thrilling bobsled ride experience at Mystic Mountain.
Best for families
Many of our hotels have water parks, supervised kids clubs and activities for teens such as at family-friendly Beaches Resorts found in Negril and Ocho Rios, and Sunset Resorts in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. At the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, kids can float down a ‘lazy river’ or try one of many slides - it’s the largest water park in Jamaica.
Best for couples
Drift down the Martha Brae River on a guided bamboo raft for two, it’s a romantic way to spend an afternoon, or take a night boat ride to see the ocean phosphorescence and see your body glow when you swim in the luminous lagoon. As well as ‘couples only’ hotels such as Sandals Resorts, Couples Resorts and Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, you’ll find a variety of options to match the romantic in you. How about Sunset at the Palms, an eco-friendly retreat with exquisite wooden cabins which sit on sturdy stilts, or Round Hill, from our HIP hotels collection, a lush former pineapple plantation where Jacqueline and JFK honeymooned. Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay has a private island where you'll find a romantic Thai restaurant. Lots of our hotels offer room upgrade choices that include suites with butler service and more romantic locations. Couples Resorts in Negril have films on the beach by starlight.
Do you dream of getting married on a stretch of beautiful white sand beach? In Jamaica you can, so look no further. With beautiful beaches in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, and a spectacular 7-mile beach at Negril you’ll be spoilt for choice. Other romantic wedding locations include gazebos overlooking the ocean, amongst tropical gardens surrounded by Caribbean flora, or alongside a palm-fringed beach as the sun sets.
For a honeymoon to cherish, take it in Jamaica and you’ll enjoy the best of the Caribbean… spectacular sunsets, palm fringed beaches, crystal clear waters, candlelit dinners under the stars, and evenings strolling hand in hand barefoot in the sand.
Take a look at our Jamaican hotels, we sometimes have great offers for weddings or honeymoons.
You’ve got to have contacts to know about The Pelican Bar on the southwest coast of Jamaica and a taxi driver to get you there. It’s a ramshackle cool bar built on stilts on a sandbar a few hundred yards out to sea, reachable by boat. It’s quite whacky, there are pictures of Bob Marley dotted around, and the Jamaica flag hangs from the driftwood rafters.
Weather/Best time to go
The best months to visit Jamaica are from December to April but the island enjoys consistently hot temperatures year round averaging out at about 8 blissful hours of sun daily. The popular tourist area along the north coast is much dryer than elsewhere, and sea breezes help to keep humidity down. The rainy season is from May to October, but the Blue Mountains get quite a bit throughout the year. There is a risk of a hurricane during the latter half of the rainy season.
There are plenty of adventure experiences in Jamaica including bungee trampolining, river tubing as well as rafting down Rio Bueno and ziplining through rainforest treetops. There are huge water slides to slither down and the Dunns River Falls to climb up. You can hire a mountain bike to hurtle down the Blue Mountains, and there’s even a wicked fast bobsled ride at Mystic Mountain.
So, if a holiday in Jamaica sounds like a perfect beach getaway, check out our fantastic Jamaica hotels and package holidays!
January - Jazz Festival.
February - Bob Marley Celebration.
March - Spring Break.
June - Jerk Festival.
July / August - Reggae Sumfest.
August - Independence / Emancipation cultural events.
Please note: all events listed are for helpful information only and many are subject to entrance fees and/or prior reservation, and may be cancelled at any time. Please check with the relevant tourist office if you need further information on these or any of the other events in this region.
You simply can’t leave Jamaica until you’ve experienced some of the island’s best attractions and activities:
• More than 200 miles of incredible beaches
• Amazing mountain scenery
• River rafting on the Martha Brae
• Great nightlife
• Downhill trail biking in the Blue Mountains
• Sparkling rainforest waterfalls
Postcards from... Top ideas from our travel experts
Our Top 5 hotels
Lying on a beautiful, long stretch of private beach, this tropical resort is situated in 400 lush acres of an 18th-century sugar plantation. There’s a large main swimming pool but everyone (kids especially) loves the Sugar Mill Falls Waterpark, which is the largest in Jamaica. Why not grab a tube and float down the ‘lazy river’ or try one of the slides.
Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort & Spa is a firm favourite with Virgin Holidays and it’s not hard to see why! A complete all-inclusive resort, it occupies a prime location on the longest beach in Ocho Rios and offers a wide range of lavish amenities in an atmosphere that combines grandeur with excitement.
Couples Negril is an attractive, contemporary hotel right on the sugar-white sands of Bloody Bay and surrounded by 18 acres of lush, tropical gardens. There's plenty to do for those who enjoy more than just soaking up the sunshine: you can play tennis, work out at the fitness centre and even water-ski or scuba-dive.
This really is a lovely resort that exudes British colonial charm through the gracious Georgian great house to intimate gardens and courtyards. Enjoy 2 holidays for the price of 1 with the resort's private offshore Sandals Island, home to the delectable Royal Thai restaurant and with shady, secluded beaches for peaceful relaxing.
Drenched in romance, Couples Swept Away is the perfect tropical hideaway, combining peace and tranquillity with an impressive range of amenities. Gourmet dining, lively bars and regular evening entertainment are all on offer, as is a 10-acre sports and fitness complex with a fantastic 7-lane training pool.
Tailor-make your ideal Caribbean holiday by combining hotels we feature in different destinations. Try a twin- or triple-centre holiday across the different resorts of Jamaica or combine with a US city or theme park visit.