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standard Highlights of Jamaica

Jamaica is one of those places that really surprises people.  It is such a small island and yet it is literally packed with things to do.  There is such a variety of attractions and choosing just a handful of highlights is nearly impossible.  If you like beaches, there are plenty of those. There are a lot of nice hotels in Jamaica too. Love Jamaican music? There are museums, festivals, great local bars with live music, and much more.  If you like hiking, the Blue Mountains are filled with great treks.  The highlights below are just a sampling of literally thousands of great places to see and things to do.  Hopefully they peak your interest enough that soon you will be swept up in planning your own perfect visit to Jamaica.

Bob Marley Museum

Most people’s first introduction to Jamaica is through the music of Bob Marley.  As the icon of reggae music, Bob Marley introduced the world not only to a new music genre but also to his home country of Jamaica.  The soul of reggae can still be felt around the island and there are plenty of opportunities to hear the music live, from the yearly Reggae Sumfest to local beach bars.

At the heart of Jamaica, in the original reggae capital of the world Kingston, sits the modest Bob Marley Museum.  Built in honor of the man and housed in his old home and studio, the museum tells the life history of Marley, from Jamaica’s shores to the international stage.  It has become somewhat of a shrine to the legend and is one of the island’s most visited spots.

The Blue Hole

Many tourists to Jamaica, especially those coming as part of a cruise, visit Dunn’s River Falls.  It is a very beautiful spot but usually also very crowded, which can take away from the appeal.  As an alternative, head for the Blue Hole, also in Ocho Rios.  This beautiful swimming hole is hidden up a long, bumpy dirt road but trust me, the drive is worth it.  The water here is so blue and clean, making it a great swimming hole.  You can jump off the short cliffs into the water or if you want, there is even a rope to swing out over the water with.

In the mornings and early afternoons, the Blue Hole is often deserted, making it your own private jungle paradise.  Even in the middle of the day it is rarely crowded with more than a few people.  Arrive early and enjoy the pool before anyone else shows up and then in the afternoon, take the short 10 minute or so high up to the nearby waterfall.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

Jamaica is home to literally one of the most unique natural phenomenons in the world – the bioluminescent life of the Luminous Lagoon.  It is said that this type of glowing phenomenon can only be seen in 4 places in the world – and the lagoon here is the best of them all.  The lagoon is home to a rare phosphorescent dinoflagellate microbe that thrives in this area due to the mix of the fresh water from the Martha Brae River combined with the saltwater of the Caribbean Sea.

Visitors can sign up for nighttime boat rides and swims to see the effects of the glowing microbes.  As people, boats, or even fish move through the water, the microbes light up, creating bright neon-green trails.  The fish here have been said to mimic shooting stars as the glide through the water, creating a glowing trail in their wake.

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