Parasailing on the Caribbean Sea in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Explore: Jamaica

Jamaica is large and lively by Caribbean standards and your best bet for finding local island life.

Holidays to Jamaica

Like the rhythm of its beloved reggae music, the best of Jamaica is offbeat — with stylish hideouts among huge and humming resorts, and a laconic ‘Yeah, man’ in place of the ubiquitous ‘You’re welcome’ of hotel stays elsewhere.

This is one of the more naturally beautiful islands of the Caribbean – mountainous, with unending vistas and secretive corners, all impossibly green and fertile with coffee, cocoa and banana plants.

Negril, in the west, has a laid-back atmosphere, with cool bars and hotels along the beautiful sunset-facing sands. Treasure Beach, in the southwest, is quieter but equally relaxed. And at the other end of the island is Port Antonio, a favourite jungle hideaway for artists and hedonists — including Rudyard Kipling and Errol Flynn.

This is one of the more naturally beautiful islands of the Caribbean – mountainous, with unending vistas and secretive corners, all impossibly green

Where to go

Kingston is the heart of the Jamaicans’ Jamaica — crowded, hectic and unrelenting, but also the untouristy hub of island culture. Marley fans should visit Tuff Gong Studio, the singer’s former home. Then retreat to the gardens of Devon House, a lovely Creole mansion, for a spicy Jamaican patty and legendary Devon ‘Iscream’.

The vertiginous Blue Mountains above Kingston, where the intensity of the city evaporates in an instant, are home to some of the world’s finest coffee. Visit Mavis Bank Coffee Factory to see the beans floated, hulled and dried before they’re bagged.

When to go

Jamaica is warm all year round. Whilst the east coast and Blue Mountains can receive lots of rainfall in May and October, the south coast remains mostly dry throughout the year. The most popular time to visit is between December and April.

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