Jamaica is an island country found in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third largest island of the Greater Antilles. It lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola, the island nursing the nation-states of Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Once a Spanish territory under the name 'Santiago', it came under the rule of the United Kingdom and was renamed as Jamaica. It achieved full independence in 1962, while remaining loyal to the Queen.
What to see & do
Montego Bay – while this Jamaican favourite is great for partying the night away with co-party animals, it can also be surprisingly low-key. Montego Bay has a highly developed tourist strip consisting of duty-free shopping, vibrant nightlife, and of course, local flavours. Browse the local handicrafts at the open air Harbour Street market, or the trendy shops of Gloucester Avenue. Float on a bamboo raft down the Martha Brae River, or dice your heart's desire through Widowmaker's Cave.
Ocho Rios – as expected, Jamaica has various destinations set on water, and Ocho Rios is one of them. The port is in fact, a necessary stop for all cruise lines, as it boasts of some of the more luxe resorts and spas in the Caribbean. After pampering yourself, you may as well head out for a night of dancing and of course, signature and authentic reggae music.
Kingston – Kingston is Jamaica's most authentic description – it is, well, its capital city. The city is a sprawling metro of contrasts and colour, reflected through its coasts, mountains, and neighbourhoods. Discover the spirit of One Love here at the Bob Marley Museum, or sample delicious ice cream at Devon house.
How to get around within Jamaica
Primary ways to get around the country are taxi cabs, buses, and cars. There are about two kinds of taxis in the country, one so-called tourist taxis, and the other is called local taxis. Tourist taxis tend to ask higher fares, while local taxis are relatively cheaper. Flag one down from the street, and make sure to greet the drivers when getting in before telling them as to where to go. Buses are aplenty around the city centres and even outside, and locals are really helpful. Driving private vehicles are another adventure – quite dangerous but laidback, as drivers and roads here are not renowned for their upkeep, but the beauty of the cities (whilst congested) is often times adorable to check on. If travelling to other islands of Jamaica and have some cash to spare, you might as well take a chartered flight instead of a boat, unless the service is operated by a hotel or a tourism company.
How to get there
The Norman Manley International Airport and the Donald Sangster International Airport in Kingston and Montego Bay respectively, are the main airports serving the key cities in Jamaica. A vast number of international and local flights run here, including flights from Air Canada Rouge, American Airlines, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Copa, Delta, Insel Air, JetBlue, and many others. For cheap flights, check out www.skyscanner.com. Skyscanner is an online resource of the cheapest flights from over 600 airlines nationwide.
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