JamaicaTravel Guide

Wha gwann! Welcome to Jamaica, the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, Olympic sprinters like Usain Bolt and reggae music made famous by Bob Marley. Referred to by locals as the “Rock”, “Jamrock” or simply “Ja”, this easy-going tropical island nation boasts plenty of heart, some seriously good coffee and bold, fiery jerk cuisine. But that’s not all.

African, European and indigenous influences weave through Jamaica's culture, the backbeat of reggae pulsates through its streets and its artistic soul is revealed in galleries and festivals. Best of all, the people are warm and eager to welcome you to their upbeat island life.

Venture out from the capital of Kingston or the port of Ocho Rios, and you’ll discover another side of Jamaica beyond the white sands of the beaches and turquoise waters, including cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests that are home to exotic birds and plants found nowhere else on Earth, and the misty Blue Mountains.  

You’ll also find a good dose of glitz and glamour and areas still quite rustic and laid-back. That’s why we love “Ja” and know you will too! 

Jamaica quick facts


National language



Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

CAD $1.52

Local time




Jamaican dollar

CAD $1.00 = JMD J$112.88

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

CAD $7.30


Plug type: A

2 or 3 pins • 110V

Explore Jamaica

Where to stay in Jamaica?

Jamaica has many accommodation options to suit all preferences and budgets. From hotels and all-inclusive resorts to luxury guesthouses and youth hostels, you can stay your way.

Geejam Hotel is a boutique hotel at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Port Antonio. A rainforest retreat, it features dreamy private villas with all the mod cons to make you feel alright. Get pampered at the spa, find the secret bush bar and enjoy private beach access. There’s even a recording studio if you feel like mixing and mastering your own island grooves!  

Looking for an intimate seaside stay and maybe a room with a view? The Caves in Negril has got you covered! It offers 12 private, thatch-roof, wood and stone cottages set on a cliff with ocean views. A highlight is the cave bar and its “porthole” onto the sea. Other on-site amenities include a hot tub, saltwater swimming pool and a Top Five in Jamaica-rated spa. There’s also plenty to do in the area from kayaking, snorkelling and biking to exploring caves.

Sandals Royal Plantation is the 5-star, all-inclusive beach resort where Tom Cruise’s Cocktail was filmed. If you’re too young to remember, not to worry. All you need to know is that Sandals offers the epitome of luxury plantation living and you’ll get to rub shoulders with the international jet set! Located in Ocho Rios, expect personalised service (your own butler on hand), watersports galore, and not one but two private beaches to enjoy. Jamaica’s only caviar and Champagne bar can also be found on-site.

Five Gables in Montego Bay is wildly popular with the budget-conscious and backpacking set. Set on a hill in a lush garden, you can choose from a mixed dorm, a double room or a single room. A veranda overlooks the pool and the ocean, there’s free Wi-Fi, a fabulous common room and your airport transfers are sorted. You’re also just 12 minutes from the restaurant, shopping and nightlife action on “Hip Strip” in town.

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Two people in swimsuits diving off a high platform into the ocean
    • A waterfall in Jamaica
    • A tranquil purple sunset in Jamaica
    • Three women with their backs to the camera, walking into the surf of a pristine beach
  • Two people in swimsuits diving off a high platform into the ocean
    Two people in swimsuits diving off a high platform into the ocean
    Two people in swimsuits diving off a high platform into the ocean
  • A waterfall in Jamaica
    A waterfall in Jamaica
    A waterfall in Jamaica
  • A tranquil purple sunset in Jamaica
    A tranquil purple sunset in Jamaica
    A tranquil purple sunset in Jamaica
  • Three women with their backs to the camera, walking into the surf of a pristine beach
    Three women with their backs to the camera, walking into the surf of a pristine beach
    Three women with their backs to the camera, walking into the surf of a pristine beach

Things to do in Jamaica

Jamaica’s packed with activities, adventures and experiences for all kinds of visitors, whether you’re the outdoorsy type, enjoy ticking off all the tourist hotspots or cultural immersions get you excited. 

Ever done bamboo rafting? This gentle excursion offered on the Martha Brae River tops the list for taking in the magical tropical scenery. Picture it: crystalline waters, shimmering hummingbirds and colourful butterflies flittering among the mango trees while you drift quietly down the river. 

The mysterious luminous lagoon on the north coast of Jamaica can be found where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea. It’s so called because thousands of microorganisms called dinoflagellates light it up with their phosphorescent light when they are disturbed, and it’s one of just four such places in the world. Best visited at night, boat tours take you out into the lagoon where you can also swim in the warm, shallow water among these harmless and intriguing creatures.

For your culture fix, head to the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, also in Ocho Rios. Dubbed the birthplace of reggae, the soul of Trench Town is captured here. Get up close to the history, the music, the art and the locals. Tours into the rest of Trench Town are also offered.

Learn more about the art of Jamaica’s delicious rum at the Appleton Estate in Siloah. During a dedicated tour, you’ll learn about the rum-making process and the history behind the property. This premium rum distillery also features a shop where you can stock up on rum and a restaurant with a wide range of tasty dishes and cocktails. Jamaican mule, anyone?

Do yourself a favour and include a visit to Jamaica’s edgy capital, Kingston. There’s more than enough to keep you busy here, but we highly recommend a stop at the Bob Marley Museum — once his former family home and now a museum of his personal treasures. There’s also an 80-seater theatre on-site, a record shop and a gift shop where you can snap up Bob Marley memorabilia.  

Once a quaint fishing village, Ocho Rios is now the island’s major port of call for cruise ships. It boasts many beautiful beaches and is popular for watersports. And if you’re an adventure-seeker, take note! The spectacular 292.6m (960ft) Dunn’s River Falls are also situated here — hike to the top or zipline across! Near Ocho Rios, the Blue Hole is another exciting attraction — a series of azure pools and a small waterfall where tour operators offer cliff diving, cliff jumping, rope swinging and exploring the caves. 

The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are the famous home of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee — one of the world's most prized and expensive coffee varieties. Get the inside scoop on the island’s coffee culture “on the ground” by taking a guided tour offered by one of the working farms. Learn about the process behind cultivating and processing this delicious Arabica varietal and enjoy the brew for yourself. For a unique spin, opt for a bicycle tour and experience the scenic terrain on two wheels while visiting local estates.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Jamaica

Jamaica food and drink

Delight in Jamaica's unique cuisine and fusion of flavours that speak to its different cultural influences. As you would expect, seafood features on most menus — saltfish (a white fish cured in salt and dried) is a local favourite. Spices originating from Africa and India are used freely and must-try traditional dishes include curry goat and the famous jerk dishes (meat that is either rubbed with or marinated in Jamaican jerk spice). 

Romantic with a capital “R”, the award-winning Sugar Mill Restaurant in St James is set on a historic plantation within the Half Moon Golf Course. Dine by candlelight on the terrace under the trees and tuck into their signature dish — the Solomon’s Brochette (skewered meat flambéd with rum in front of you).

The Rockhouse in Negril is another romantic fine-dining hotspot perched on the edge of a cliff with spectacular views. The eclectic dinner menu features local dishes (Rockhouse lobster steamed in coconut milk), Italian (seafood linguine) and American (BBQ spare ribs).

From street corners to specific areas where you’ll find specific dishes, street food is part of Jamaican life. The national dish is akee and codfish. Akee is a tropical fruit that’s eaten like a veg and can be tucked into every meal of the day, as a side and, of course, as street food. Jamaican patties are also everywhere and also in patty shops. They’re like thin-crust pies stuffed with meat and cheese. Hunt down the best peppered shrimps in Middle Quarters in St Elizabeth Parish and head to Melrose Hill for roasted yellow yam.

For home-style Jamaican food, snap up a table at Miss T’s Kitchen. A riot of colour, this local haunt based in Ocho Rios promises flavourful fare and a fun dining experience you’ll remember long after you leave. The menu will leave you spoilt for choice, but you can’t go wrong with their curry goat or traditional oxtail stew. There are also plenty of vegan options to sink your teeth into. 

For good vibes, you’ll love Jack Sprat Restaurant and Bar on Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth’s Parish. Vintage movie posters adorn the walls, and the old-school jukebox has reggae tunes on repeat. Their grilled seafood dishes are to die for, as are the wood-fired pizzas. They also host weekly bonfires right on the beach. Yah, mon!

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Jamaica through your eyes

Where to shop in Jamaica?

The shopping scene in Jamaica is exciting and ranges from swanning around in upmarket boutiques to haggling at markets and souvenir shops. The shopping hubs include Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Kingston and Port Antonio. Look out for authentic Jamaican items like wooden carvings and beads, rum cake, jerk spices and Blue Mountain Coffee.

Hip Strip is a tourist hotspot with all the action (shopping, dining, partying) happening along its 3km. Its real (and posh) name is Gloucester Avenue and here you can bag duty-free items, jewellery and printed t-shirts, and have fun haggling with street vendors. 

Looking for a more relaxed experience? Then you’ll enjoy the delightful shopping plaza Main Street Jamaica. You can find just about anything here, from handmade items, coffee and cigars to luxury brands such as Dior and Chanel.

Another laid-back choice is on the outskirts of Montego Bay. The Half Moon Shopping Village is a collection of charming pastel buildings in the form of an outdoor mall. Find designer wear made by locals, quality crafts and more. When you need to rest your legs, grab a coffee or cocktail and enjoy the view over the garden. There’s also the Bob Marley Experience Theatre with a documentary about him that plays on a loop all day.

Island Village in Ocho Rios features a variety of open-air boutique stores and restaurants. Since it’s close to the cruise terminal, it’s easy to reach should you arrive by sea. Shop for rum, Bob Marley souvenirs, Blue Mountain Coffee and handmade jewellery, and enjoy duty-free shopping at its best.

Head to downtown Kingston to experience its largest farmers' market — Coronation Market. It’s a vibey, busy place offering not only fresh produce for sale but also food, clothing and footwear. Looking for handmade items and crafts? Pop in at the Kingston Craft Market for tie-dye t-shirts and artwork, the Harbour Street Craft Market in Montego Bay for bags and straw hats, the Pineapple Craft Market in Ocho Rios for coffee-bean necklaces and the Port Antonio Craft Market for artwork, liqueurs and spices.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Jamaica?

Jamaica has a tropical climate with warm sunny days and mild winters so it’s a great year-round destination. Summer is May to September with temperatures around 30°C –33°C (86°F–91.4°F). This is also the rainy season, and you can expect increased humidity. Winter is December to February with temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit) and less rainfall, making it perfect for hiking or going on tours.

Best to avoid hurricane season from June to November. A heads up that August and September are the peak hurricane months of the year.

November through to mid-December is low season, so this is when you can score good travel and accommodation deals. Mid-April to May is also less busy, but you can still take advantage of pleasant weather just before the rainy season kicks in.

The best time of year to visit for excellent weather is from mid-December until the start of April. But this is also the high season when hotel and resort rates spike. Spring break falls in March, so beware the influx of party-mad American students, although luckily, they tend to be spread across the Caribbean.  

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Jamaica

Buses are your best and most affordable bet for getting around in Jamaica. The Knutsford Express runs a comfortable network of buses between the major hubs. But if you’re the adventurous type, you can "small up yuhself" (squeeze up) in a minibus taxi. These vehicles stop anywhere to pick up and drop off passengers and only hit the road when full. Fun to experience for short trips and to get a sense of Jamaican daily life, but the downside is that they tend to be a bit chaotic and unpredictable.  

If you prefer more reliable transport, use the public transportation buses. There are regular, express (faster schedule, fewer stops) and premium express (direct services from where commuters live to the central business district) services available with their own pricing.

Many resorts offer scooters and motorbikes for rent, but Negril is your best option if your resort doesn’t have this service. Taxis are also everywhere, and you can hail them in the streets. Just be sure to look out for the ones with red number plates and “PP” or “PPV” on them, as these are the licensed operators.

Jamaica is a popular destination for cruise vacations, with dedicated cruise ports in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth. If you’ve opted for a cruise, you can take organised day trips to explore the island from these ports. 

Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Jamaica?

Jamaica’s stunning beaches offer a combination of amenities and activities, and each with its own natural beauty. 

Once a popular haunt for swashbuckling pirates, Seven Mile Beach in Negril is one of Jamaica’s most popular stretches of white sand and calm waters. Enjoy snorkelling and scuba diving, go on banana boat rides or take a glass-bottom boat tour. It’s also lined with many bar and restaurant spots where you can enjoy rum cocktails, local food and reggae beats.

Taking its name from The Treasure Beach Hotel, established in the 1930s and still going strong, this beach in St Elizabeth Parish is lovely and quiet, stretching for 9km (5.6 miles), with sandy and rocky areas. Sometimes a strong undercurrent makes swimming a little tricky, but it’s still a great beach to enjoy away from the crowds. You can ride horseback along the shore and tuck into street food from the local vendors.

On Jamaica’s north coast, Runaway Bay is known for its coral reef and gorgeous beaches, like Cardiff Hall Beach and Fisherman’s Beach. The Green Grotto Caves are a must-see attraction between Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay. Featuring an underground lake, these caves were used by Arawak Indians, pirates and runaway slaves, among others, and are fascinating to explore — but you have to book a tour.  

This gem of a small beach is in the delightfully named Fairy Hill community near Port Antonio. It is unspoilt, popular with the locals, and adding to its natural beauty is the surrounding lush tropical forest. There’s also a reef offshore where you can snorkel and get close to the marine life.

If you’ve been dreaming of white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay won’t disappoint. In fact, it’s among the island’s most beautiful beaches. Popular with tourists, restaurants and bars are nearby and the beach pumps at night. Plus, the water is believed to have healing properties!


Jamaica Frequently asked questions

10 days is the perfect length of time to relax, explore & indulge in the culture, food & festivities of Jamaican hospitality.

Hiring a car is a great way to see the island at your own pace. Alternatively there are taxis, uber or buses to help get around.

Avoid the crowds and arrive in November for the best deals, otherwise December to April offers optimal weather for a Jamaican break. 

Make music at the Bob Marley Museum, relax in all-inclusive luxury or make a splash at Dunn's River Falls - there is something for everyone.

Flight Centre's team of Travel Experts know Jamacia like the back of their hand and have worked hard to curate the best vacation packages on the market. Check out what we have available online or in store today! 

Montego Bay offers bustling beaches, buzzing nightlife & world-class resorts. For a slower pace, head to Negril where it's more laid-back!

Don't forget your universal power adaptor, passport & the most comfortable pair of shoes you own to explore. For main character vibes, we recommend headphones & a great playlist! 

Travelling with the family? Stay in Montego Bay for all-inclusive resorts that offer great activities for all ages. If you love watersports, head to Ocho Rios to swim, hike & cliff dive into the Cool Blue Hole.

Our latest info can be found in our Help Centre here

The current requirements for travelling to Jamaica

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