Well known for steel drums, dark rum, white beaches, blue water, and friendly locals, Jamaica is a top Caribbean resort destination. The home of Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, and Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s natural beauty and remarkable culture have lured vacationers for generations. As the third largest island in the Caribbean, you could spend weeks exploring it’s sandy shores and verdant highlands, and with over 200 hotels to choose from, here’s how to select the your personal Jamaican paradise.
The island is divided into 14 regions, or parishes, each with similar weather, climate, and scenery. Most vacationers choose the north and west coasts. Among the most popular destinations for holiday getaways are Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and St. Thomas.
Choosing Your Ideal Resort Area
One of your top priorities, obviously, is budget. After you weed out the hotels you can’t afford, you’ll likely still have overwhelming options. Jamaica is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, and it contains an astounding number of resorts that fall into several categories.
All-inclusive resorts include your room, food and drink, gratuity, entertainment and activities in one bundled package. Boutique resorts tend to be smaller and more upscale. There are also numerous specialty resorts, including family resorts, honeymoon resorts, and singles resorts that target specific groups of people.
Deciding On Which Resort Area Suites Your Vacation Personality
A mountain backdrop makes Montego Bay picturesque even by the standards of the Jamaican coast. Its duty-free policy makes it wildly popular with vacationing shoppers. Montego Bay is a true Jamaican hub, contained by two main roads, a cruise ship port, a rail system, and Jamaica’s largest airport. Most travelers to Jamaica arrive in Montego Bay, so if you’re looking for a resort without having to travel very far from the airport, this is a great choice. Vacationers in Montego Bay will find lots of nightlife and restaurants close by.
Montego Bay is designed for vacationers who are drawn to the vibrant hustle of a thriving city.
The resort town of Negril is known for 7 Mile Beach, which routinely appears on top-10-beaches-in-the-world lists by travel publications. The big, all-inclusive resorts are concentrated in the north end of the town, while the smaller mom-and-pop stores are clustered in the south. The pristine waters include protected coral reefs that make for especially good diving and snorkeling. Negril is home to the popular Rick’s Resort where having few cocktails and jumping off the cliffs have become legendary (if not a bit dangerous).
If you’re the kind of traveler who thinks of the beach when you think of vacation, pick a resort in Negril.
Ocho Rios, or Eight Rivers, was featured in the first James Bond movie ever, Dr. No. The resort town boasts guided mountain tours, bike rides through the rainforest, and a water reserve where tourists can swim with dolphins. Many vacations travel to Ocho Rios just to take part in the famous Dunns River Falls climb.
Vacationers craving a lush, rugged, untamed atmosphere will be swept away by Ocho Rios.
Located on the far east of the island, St. Thomas is rich in history and tends to attract vacationers who are drawn to adventure and adrenaline.
Attractions include Reach Falls, Maroon Trail Cunha Cunha Pass, Blue Mountain Peak, and Morant Point Lighthouse. Far away from the worn trails of the west and north coasts, St. Thomas is the insider’s parish. St. Thomas is for the bold vacationer who seeks adventure off the beaten path.
Jamaica is the crown jewel of the Caribbean. Rich in history, culture, entertainment, and natural beauty, the island boasts so many resorts, it’s almost impossible to count. Pick your region, find one that meets your budget and style, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
About The Author: Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about travel and has profiled several top business leaders including Steve Wynn.
Photo Credits: Google Commons