Is there anything better than stretching out like a cat in a warm patch of Jamaican sun?
Only if you sprinkle your island vacation with a dash of adventure.
Known fondly as “the land of wood and water,” Jamaica’s forests feature prime hiking and bird watching.
History buffs can the heritage sites of Trelawny, while reggae and dancehall fans will love the authentic music clubs of Kingston.
1. Montego Bay
While this Jamaican spring break favorite is great for party animals, it can also be surprisingly low key – if you want.
Montego Bay has excellent duty-free shopping, vibrant nightlife, and calm waters.
Browse the local handicrafts at the open-air Harbour Street market, or the “hip strip” shops of Gloucester Avenue.
The underwater crevices of Widowmaker’s Cave offer an intricate diving experience.
Float serenely down the Martha Brae River on a bamboo raft and let your troubles melt away under the sun.
2. Ocho Rios
You’re on island time the moment you set foot in Jamaica.
Ocho Rios, a port of call for many cruise lines, also boasts some of the most luxe resorts and spas in the Caribbean.
And once you’ve had your stresses melted away in the island sun, you can head out for a night of dancing and reggae music.
The resort town of Negril has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world.
Seven Mile Beach is an inviting stretch of golden sand, perfect for sunbathing or taking a dip in the warm Caribbean Sea.
Jump into the Blue Hole Mineral Spring for a rewarding adrenaline rush, then take in a kaleidoscopic sunset from the comfort of a beachfront bar.
Far from the north coast resort towns, Kingston is Jamaica at its most authentic, a sprawling city of contrasts spread between the east coast and the Blue Mountains.
Kingston’s diversity is reflected in its disparate neighborhoods, from the wealthy northern suburbs to the less affluent downtown.
Travelers can discover the spirit of One Love at the Bob Marley Museum, or sample delicious ice cream at Devon House.
Nearby, the former capital of Spanish Town offers insight into the area’s history.
5. Port Antonio
Cupping an unruffled bay while backing into the sleepy Rio Grande Valley, Port Antonio is the perfect capital for Portland.
The parish’s only sizable town is largely untarnished by the duty-free, tourist orientation of Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, its streets, squares, quayside and market inviting leisurely strolls – invitations freely accepted by the town’s dog and goat populaces.
Wandering away from the bustle past the dilapidated houses lining the potholed streets of Titchfield Peninsula, it’s very easy to think you’ve roamed onto the set of some quaint colonial ghost town.
6. Runaway Bay
Just ten miles west of Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay’s stunning beaches see far fewer footprints than its neighbors.
It’s also removed from the cruise ship herds and pushy vendors.
Perfect for those happy not to wander far from their resort, there are a few nearby attractions nonetheless.
Bob Marley’s childhood home and mausoleum is in nearby Nine Mile.
Jamaican history is on view at Seville Great House and at Columbus Park Museum.
To explore, rent a reliable vehicle and remember to drive on the left.