Jamaica Travel Guide

Published on: Feb 02, 2021
Jade Lamb
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For many, Jamaica is the ultimate Caribbean destination – an intoxicating mix of white-sand beaches, towering green mountains and a warm and welcoming culture. Adventure is never far away, whether you choose to explore the verdant interiors home to dramatic waterfalls, rivers and forests or stick to the pristine coastline, where you can paddle, sail or surf to your heart’s content.

With an excellent selection of oceanfront resorts, restaurants, bars and cafés, you’re spoiled for choice on this tropical island where nothing ever seems like too much trouble. Listen to laidback tunes in the famous reggae bars, and sample the richly flavoured cuisine and delicious rum for which the country is known. 

Check out our in-depth guides to Jamaica and get inspired for your next holiday to this incredible island. 


When is the best time to visit Jamaica?

Jamaica enjoys great weather all year round with many holidaymakers flocking to the island between December and April for the perfect combination of sunny days and high temperatures. Jamaica is a great winter sun holiday destination when you need to escape grey skies and rainy days in favour of basking in the sunshine. 


What is the temperature in Jamaica between December and April?

If you visit in this high season, you'll enjoy average temperatures of 29°C to 30°C – perfect for poolside lounging! 


When is the rainy season in Jamaica? 

The island's rainy season typically lasts between May and November. Generally you’ll enjoy long spells of sunshine for most of the day but may experience a heavy downpour in the afternoon quickly followed by pleasant weather again. 


It's worth noting that Jamaica's hurricane season occurs between June to November. Storms can take place from August to October, which is something you may want to keep in mind when booking your holiday. 

What to pack for a holiday in Jamaica 

Aside from swimwear and flip flops – really all you need for a day beside the pool or on the beach – we suggest packing lightweight clothing for both day and night, along with a couple of smart-casual options for dinner as some resort restaurants have an evening dress code. 

Other non-clothing essentials include insect repellent, sun cream, shades and a brimmed hat. But be sure to leave space in your suitcase for souvenirs! 


Getting around in Jamaica

Planning on heading beyond your resort and exploring on your own? Here are the best ways to get around the island.


Route taxi 

A popular and affordable mode of transport, route taxis pick up passengers until the car is full and drop them off along a set route. Route taxis can be identified as white station wagons with red registration number plates and the words 'Route Taxi' on the side. 


Private minibus 

A good option for both short drives and cross-island travel. Look out for the red registration number plates with the initials PPV (Public Passenger Vehicle).

Another option is JUTA Tours (Jamaica Union of Travelers Association) offering a number of services including airport and hotels transfers and guided tours. 


Public buses 

Typically, public busses do not run to a scheduled timetable, instead setting off when the bus is full – and it’s worth noting that they can get very full!  However, they are an inexpensive way to get around. Many busses do not have bells or buttons to signal when you wish to get out, instead let the driver know by shouting 'one stop' or 'let down'. 

What is the currency in Jamaica? 

The Jamaican dollar is the currency used on the island. In some key tourist areas, the US dollar is also accepted. However, Jamaican dollars typically work out at a better rate and ensure you're getting the best price wherever you travel during your stay. 


Can I use my debit or credit card in Jamaica? 

It's worth checking with your bank provider before you fly that you can use your card abroad without incurring charges. Most big establishments such as hotels and chain restaurants accept both debit and credit cards. You can also use a debit card to take out cash at an ATM. 


Where to stay in Jamaica 

It’s all about location, location, location! From bustling cities to seaside towns, we've rounded up the most popular areas to stay when holidaying to Jamaica... 

Montego Bay  

Nowhere captures the spirit and vibrancy of Jamaica quite like Montego Bay. In the north of the island and a major cruise ship port, the capital of St. James Parish boasts incredible beaches, a thriving nightlife scene and plenty of places to wine and dine. 

Explore the area and you’ll come across sprawling white sands, reggae music practically everywhere you go and the smell of authentic Jamaican cuisine. MoBay – as it’s known locally – is a great location if you’re visiting Jamaica for the first time, letting you experience the island's heart and soul. 

The best places to stay in Montego Bay

  • Excellence Oyster Bay this adults-only resort offers everything loved up couples need to enjoy a romantic getaway. Facilities include two beachfront swimming pools, Jacuzzis, fitness facilities and a range of sporting activities to choose from including tennis, sea kayaking and beach volleyball
  • Half Moon Stretching out over 400 acres, the rooms, suites and villas at this sprawling resort boast private patios and balcony spaces. You’ll also have access to two private beaches, an 18-hole golf course and babysitting and childcare facilities, ideal for parents who need a night to unwind. Montego Bay and its vibrant tourist scene with shops and bars to explore is just a short drive away
  • Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa this resort was created to accommodate those looking to truly relax and unwind. Expect luxurious double beds on the beach, a rooftop swimming pool with incredible views, a fitness centre and watersports to keep you entertained and a wide range of culinary delights at the many restaurants on site. Plus, Breathless is within easy reach of the main Montego Bay area and just 10 minutes by car from the popular Doctor's Cave beach

Ocho Rios 

This former port town on the northeast side of the island buzzes day and night but head beyond the city limits and you'll come across tropical rainforests, bubbling rivers and cascading waterfalls. 

In the hills of St. Ann, Konoko Falls and Park is worthy of a visit during your stay in Ocho Rios. Only a five minute drive from the centre of the town, you’ll find botanic gardens, a climbable waterfall, cooling pools and a mini zoo. Other animal encounters can be experienced at Turtle River Park, a 15-acre tropical garden with Japanese koi pond and, of course, turtles!  

And if you're looking for adventure, Mystic Mountain offers a bird’s eye view of Ocho Rios, taking you 700 feet above the town in a chairlift. Once at the top, hop in the Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica and whizz down the 1,000-metre shoot through the lush vegetation at incredible speeds. 

Where to stay in Ocho Rios

  • Beaches Ocho Rios complete with a waterpark, golf course and three swimming pools, this resort has something for every member of the family. Parents can unwind in the on-site spa, while kids and teens are entertained at the dedicated clubs. And with seven dining options taking you on a culinary journey from the Caribbean to Italy, you’re sure to find something to tempt your taste buds.
  • Couples Sans Souci designed exclusively for couples, this resort delivers unadulterated luxury in a stunning setting between the mountains and the sea. Sip cocktails on by one of the four swimming pools, play a round of tennis in the late afternoon sun and then dine under the stars with the sand between your toes come evening. 
  • Goldeneye are you a fan of Bond… James Bond? Once the home of 007’s creator, Ian Fleming, who wrote many of his famous James Bond novels while living in Jamaica, it’s now a 4-star resort with a collection of cottages and villas. With a private 500 foot beach and a 4-acre lagoon, there’s a sense of seclusion here, but luxuries are not forgotten with an on-site spa and private dining options.


Our top choice of places to stay in western Jamaica and Negril, famous for its Seven Mile Beach and bustling bar and restaurant scene. Get up and dance with live music playing throughout the week at the likes of Alfred's Ocean Palace or Roots Bamboo, located along the seafront. 

Explore further – around an hour and a half by car – and you'll find an entrancing natural realm of jungles and waterfalls. YS Falls could be considered one of Negril's top tourist attractions, featuring seven waterfalls as well as lush gardens and tranquil pools – ideal for cooling off in. 

The best resorts in Negril

  • Couples Negril All Inclusive holidaying never looked so chic! This stunning adults-only hotel has everything you could ever need with two swimming pools, unlimited access to a championship golf course, round-robin tournaments at the tennis courts and scuba diving off the resort's private beach – plus all the kit is included at no extra charge! For those who love to dine out, free shuttle buses are available to Margaritaville but in-suite dining is also available if you prefer a cosy night in. 
  • Sandals Negril Beach and Spa Resort the Sandals brand is synonymous with all things luxury and this certainly awaits you at this incredible resort. Choose a swim-up suite for privacy and ease, and enjoy unlimited dining at seven restaurants, premium brand drinks and complimentary watersports as part of the Luxury Included® package. 
  • Sandy Haven Resort located on Negril's Seven Mile Beach, this resort gets you close to the action. Enjoy all the amenities on offer – from the swimming pool and jacuzzi to the beach cabanas and spa – but also be sure to check out the nearby sights and attractions such as the Cool Runnings Water Park for a day splashing around in the sun or the impressive Negril Cliffs towering 40 feet above the sea. 


Feeling inspired to plan your holiday to Jamaica? Check out our range of incredible resorts and holiday offers, all with flights and accommodation included in the price. You can also speak to our Caribbean experts, who can help you create a tailor-made holiday that works for your needs and budget.

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