Clear seas, Cocktails, Rastafarianism and Reggae
Jamaica’s motto, ‘Out of Many, One People’, goes some way to describe the eclectic mix of African, South American, Spanish, French and British influences which have contributed to the cultural mix of the island. Although Jamaica’s sandy white beaches come close to paradise, the island is also known for its mountainous terrain, specifically the Blue Mountains on the eastern side of the island; so-called because the blue-tinged mist surrounding them. As well as providing mountaineers with an adventurous goal, Blue Mountain’s own brand of coffee is regarded as one of the best in the world. The capital, Kingston, situated on the south eastern side of the island, offers travellers a wide range of attractions, including the Bob Marley Museum, the 50-acre magnificence of Hope Botanical Gardens, and the swashbuckling history of Port Royal, while further north, Montego Bay’s grandiose golf courses, 18th century stately homes and whitewater rafting trips provide something for everyone.
Jamaica-lovers will also tell you that a trip to the island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios. But like any country, there are treasures to be found all over, and not just the larger, most well known areas. If you fancy exploring Jamaica, there are a few options: travelling by bus is cheap and you will gain the benefit of meeting locals. Hiring a car is another way, but while this offers you freedom, the hole-riddled roads and less cautious drivers may prove challenging to the unintiated.
There is also the other option of hiring a scooter, or taxi; but for the latter, be prepared that unless its an official Jamaican taxi, route taxis tend to be open to all and you may be joined by a local who hops in and travels at your expense. Whichever way you choose to travel, there will be an opportunity to sample Jamaican cuisine: from specialist Jerk centres (serving up jerk-cooked meat and fish), patty shops (patties are like a spicy Cornish pastie), to the mouthwatering fresh fish dishes served up at most beach restaurants across the island.