When we think of Jamaica, we can almost tell in a few minutes what the country is known for. No doubt, on a yearly basis, travellers visit the Caribbean island for its beaches, tropical weather, reggae music and food.
Though, every time I set foot elsewhere I am always in search of unique experiences — it is no different when I am in Jamaica.
In the last couple of years, going back and forth have somewhat given me fresh pair of eyes to discover and re-discover experiences that are special and distinctively different from the island.
Here are 5 cool and surprising things you can do in Jamaica whether you’re a local or a visitor.
1. Surf in Boston Bay
Jamaica doesn’t score high on the surfer list. Usually, the Caribbean coast doesn’t produce that many waves as compared to the coasts of Australia or Hawaii. Though surprisingly, aside from the snorkeling or diving you can actually surf in Jamaica. Located on the northern coast of the country in the parish of Portland, you will find one of Jamaica’s premium surf spots; The Boston Bay Beach. I visited Boston Bay last year and though I am not yet a Surfer (wishful thinking), I’d be happy to give it a try here. If you’re wondering, surf lessons are frequently offered here by the locals.
Also, not very far from the city of Kingston, you will find Bull’s Bay. The Bull’s Bay coast is on the south-east coast of Jamaica with not more 10 miles east of Kingston. Another surprising fact, you will find Jamaica’s first surf camp here; Jamesia which is operated my “Mystic”, a long-time lover of the sport. Though surfing doesn’t score high in Jamaica, I can see where it is up and coming and I couldn’t be more excited about this. It will be a new experience for many Jamaicans and travellers to surf on the island. I recommend giving it a try!
2. Camp on Blue Mountain Peak
Resorts in the Caribbean are great and we all love them. But, if you’re on the more adventurous, outdoorsy side of things and looking to escape the city to re-energize and revitalize, you might want to consider camping on Jamaica’s highest Peak. The Blue Mountain is no stranger to travellers or locals, but camping on the country’s highest peak is something else. With an elevation of 7,402 feet/2256 meters above sea level, the Blue Mountain Peak is the highest peak in Jamaica and one of the highest in the Caribbean.
There are 2 ways! You can access the trails to the Blue Mountain Peak from Kingston (south-side of the island) or from Port Antonio (north-side of the island). Though, Kingston is known to be the more frequent route.
Also, the entrance fee to the mountain as of 2017 is $20.
Camping here is quite affordable. You can camp at the Whitefield hall for just $10 per person. Inn’s and cabins are also available.
Best Time to Visit
Supposedly the best time to submit the mountain is between January and March and in late June and July. These are supposed to be the drier months. I am extremely excited to summit the peak this coming January.
3. Mountain Biking
This is actually one of the longest running mountain biking events in Jamaica. In operation since 1990, Single Track Jamaica is set to host their next event in February of 2018 which is known as Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival. The festival is scheduled to cover trails in Ocho Rios, Robin’s Bay and on the Blue Mountain. Mountains? Biking in the tropics? If this is your sort of adrenaline adventure… This might be one to add to your list of cool things to do in Jamaica.
4. Swim in the Luminous Lagoon
Lagoon by day and then glistening waters by night. Though I have no first-hand knowledge of this lagoon, my friends who’ve had the chance to visit have shared their experience which they really liked.
Here’s what you need to know before visiting. It is located in Falmouth, Trelawny and about 20 minutes east of Montego Bay and 45 minutes west of Ocho Rios.
Tours out into the lagoon are on nightly once the sun sets. Usually, the boat operators fill you in with the truth and the story behind the lagoon. Visitors are allowed to float in the waters and enjoy the illumination of this natural gem.
It promises to be a cool and unique experience.
5. Cruise the Black River Safari
If you’ve never had an up-close and personal encounter with the wildlife, then this might be your chance. The Black River in the parish of St. Elizabeth is one of Jamaica’s longest rivers. For years, it has been offering tours to visitors who’d like to experience the wildlife and literally cruise along a Safari of Crocodiles. Personally speaking, if I were you I would give this one a try. I have done this four years ago and hope to do it soon again. 🙂
Tours are usually an hour-long with a $20 entrance fee.