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  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-horseback.jpg - Book a horseback ride and swim excursion on your next cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-Half-Moon-Golf.jpg - Book a round of golf at the gorgeous Half Moon Golf Club near Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • The-Caves-Negril-Jamaica-1 - A rock cropping at seaside in Negril on the west coast of Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Rose-Hall-Great-House - Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, which comes with its own legend of a White Witch.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-Cat-Reggae.jpg - A catamaran outing in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • lifeguards-montego-bay-jamaica - Looking into the Caribbean from Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • montego-bay-port.jpg - Arriving at the port of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-Martha-Brae.jpg - Visit the Martha Brae rafting village to catch a lift down the river in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Dolphin-Cove-Jamaica - A tender moment at Dolphin Cove Jamaica: Swim and interact with dolphins, sharks and stingrays in their natural habitat at the island's top marine attraction. Dolphin Cove operates three facilities on the island, in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Lucea.
  • Doctors-Cave-Beach-Club-Jamaica - The scene along Doctor's Cave Beach Club in Montego Bay, one of Jamaica's most famous beaches for nearly a century. It's known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sands.
  • montego-bay.jpg - View of the reef from Rose Hall, a Georgian mansion in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-MontegoBay-ATV.jpg - Join an all-terrain vehicle safari during your cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-river.jpg - Join a river tubing excursion on your next cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-Margaritaville.jpg - Margaritaville in Montego Bay, Jamaica offers bayside fun.
  • guided-raft-tour-Jamaica - A guide takes guests on a scenic tour of one of Jamaica's inland waterways.
  • The-Caves-Negril-Jamaica-1 - A rock cropping at seaside in Negril on the west coast of Jamaica.
  • lady-selling-shrimp-Jamaica - A vendor selling pepper shrimp in Jamaica.
  • lifeguards-montego-bay-jamaica - Looking into the Caribbean from Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • dunns-falls-jamaica - Day trippers line up at Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • ackee-apple-jamaica - An ackee apple in Jamaica. It's the national fruit of Jamaica and a food staple in the diet of many Jamaicans.
  • woman-snorkeler-overlook-Jamaica - A snorkeler surveys the lagoon from a rock outcropping in Jamaica.
  • sunset-over-hut-in-Jamaica - A hut is framed against an orange sunset in Jamaica.
  • hummingbird-jamaica - Gotta have nectar! An electric green-colored hummingbird in Jamaica.
  • GoldenEye-Resort-Jamaica - The view from Golden Eye Resort, nestled among tropical forests and lush gardens in Oracabessa, northeast Jamaica, where Ian Fleming crafted his James Bond novels. It's a bit of a haul for a cruiser, unless you're doing a pre- or post-stay in Jamaica.
  • Bobsled-ride-Mystic-Mountain - The Bobsled Jamaica tandem ride in Ocho Rios, inspired by the famed Jamaica bobsled Olympic team, is the signature attraction at Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain, near Dunn's River Falls.
  • Jamaica-Rose-Hall-Great-House - Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, which comes with its own legend of a White Witch.
  • Jamaican-plantain-tarts - For a snack try some tasty Jamaican plantain tarts (they look like turnovers but the locals call them tarts).
  • Dolphin-Cove-Jamaica - A tender moment at Dolphin Cove Jamaica: Swim and interact with dolphins, sharks and stingrays in their natural habitat at the island's top marine attraction. Dolphin Cove operates three facilities on the island, in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Lucea.
  • fruit-stand-Jamaica - A boy at a fruit stand in Jamaica.
  • Bob-Marley-Museum - At the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica. The music legend used to reside there, mon.
  • Somerset-Falls-Jamaica - Somerset Falls, tucked between Hope Bay and Port Antonio, Jamaica.
  • Seven-Mile-Beach-Jamaica - You'll have room to roam when visiting Seven Mile Beach and its cumin-colored sands in Negril, northwest Jamaica.
  • tropical-flower-Jamaica - A tropical flower in Jamaica.
  • House-on-Blue-Mountain - A blue house on Blue Mountain, Jamaica.
  • Firefly-Hill-lookout-Jamaica - Atop Firefly Hill looking out at the view from the final home of playwright Sir Noël Coward in northeast Jamaica.
  • Dunns-River-Falls-Jamaica - Dunn's River Falls, the top tourist attraction in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • color-boat-Falmouth-Jamaica - A scene along the beach and tropical waters of Falmouth, a popular cruise destination in Jamaica.
  • golf-Falmouth-Jamaica - White Witch Golf Course near Falmouth, Jamaica.
  • Blue-Mountains-Jamaica - The Blue Mountains, the longest mountain range in Jamaica, dominate the eastern third of the island.
  • green-parrot-Jamaica - Jamaica is home to a variety of gorgeous parrots, some endangered, some prolific.
  • Doctors-Cave-Beach-Club-Jamaica - The scene along Doctor's Cave Beach Club in Montego Bay, one of Jamaica's most famous beaches for nearly a century. It's known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sands.
  • couple-watching-sunset-in-Jamaica - A couple watches one of Jamaica's scenic sunsets.
  • Blue-Lagoon-Port-Antonio-Jamaica - Blue Lagoon in Port Antonio, Jamaica, is  a popular destination for families and honeymooners. It owes its color to its depth of 200 feet.
  • Jamaica-Devon-House-Heritage-Site - Devon House Heritage Site in Kingston, considered one of Jamaica's leading national monuments and a symbol of the island's cultural diversity.
  • Jamaica-heliconia - A heliconia plant, a vividly colored tropical plant spotted all around Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Montego-Bay-horseback.jpg - Book a horseback ride and swim excursion on your next cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
  • Jamaica-Port-Antonio-Boston-Beach.jpg - Boston Beach is just a few miles from Port Antonio, Jamaica, and is known as the home of jerk seasoning.
  • Jamaica-Port-Antonio-Frenchmans-Cove.jpg - Find some sunny solitude at Frenchman's Cove near Port Antonio, Jamaica.
  • Blackwell-Rum-Bar-Jamaica - Perched on the cliffs overlooking Negril's scenic West End in Jamaica, Blackwell Rum Bar is a sight like no other. The cave, created from two limestone grottos, offers a full open bar. (Talk about your man cave!) Order any drink, but make it rum.
  • Family-at-Dunns-River- Falls-Jamaica - Family time at Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • Rockhouse-hotel-Jamaica - The Rockhouse, a boutique hotel on the cliffs of Pristine Cove just west of Negril, was awarded the No. 1 hotel in Jamaica and the No. 5 Hotel in the Caribbean in Travel + Leisure's list of the "500 World's Best Hotels" in 2014.
  • Jamaica-golf-course - Seeing green: A woman is about to tee off on a golf course hugging the Jamaican coast.
  • The-Caves-Negril-Jamaica - For a memorable dinner, dine at the Caves, an upscale oceanfront gazebo in Negril, Jamaica, with a hand-crafted stone table lit by candlelight. It's owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who made Bob Marley a star.
  • couple-watching-sunset-in-Jamaica - A couple watches one of Jamaica's scenic sunsets.
  • color-boat-Falmouth-Jamaica - A scene along the beach and tropical waters of Falmouth, a popular cruise destination in Jamaica.
  • hummingbird-jamaica - Gotta have nectar! An electric green-colored hummingbird in Jamaica.
  • Jamaican-plantain-tarts - For a snack try some tasty Jamaican plantain tarts (they look like turnovers but the locals call them tarts).
  • tropical-flower-Jamaica - A tropical flower in Jamaica.
  • lady-selling-shrimp-Jamaica - A vendor selling pepper shrimp in Jamaica.
  • golf-Falmouth-Jamaica - White Witch Golf Course near Falmouth, Jamaica.
  • ackee-apple-jamaica - An ackee apple in Jamaica. It's the national fruit of Jamaica and a food staple in the diet of many Jamaicans.
  • green-parrot-Jamaica - Jamaica is home to a variety of gorgeous parrots, some endangered, some prolific.
  • Navigator-of-the-Seas-at-sea-2 - Navigator of the Seas offers two seven-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean, both with several days at sea. One visits Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, and Belize City. The other calls at Cozumel, Mexico, Falmouth, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman.
  • Dunns-River-Falls-Jamaica - Dunn's River Falls, the top tourist attraction in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • dunns-falls-jamaica - Day trippers line up at Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • green-parrot-Jamaica - Jamaica is home to a variety of gorgeous parrots, some endangered, some prolific.
  • Jamaica-heliconia - A heliconia plant, a vividly colored tropical plant spotted all around Jamaica.
  • Family-at-Dunns-River- Falls-Jamaica - Family time at Dunn's River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • tropical-flower-Jamaica - A tropical flower in Jamaica.
  • couple-watching-sunset-in-Jamaica - A couple watches one of Jamaica's scenic sunsets.
  • Jamaican-plantain-tarts - For a snack try some tasty Jamaican plantain tarts (they look like turnovers but the locals call them tarts).
  • Bobsled-ride-Mystic-Mountain - The Bobsled Jamaica tandem ride in Ocho Rios, inspired by the famed Jamaica bobsled Olympic team, is the signature attraction at Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain, near Dunn's River Falls.
  • Dolphin-Cove-Jamaica - A tender moment at Dolphin Cove Jamaica: Swim and interact with dolphins, sharks and stingrays in their natural habitat at the island's top marine attraction. Dolphin Cove operates three facilities on the island, in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Lucea.
  • moon-palace-jamaica-grande.jpg - A digital rendering of the lobby at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • crown-princess-in-ocho-rios2.jpg - Crown Princess in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
  • crown-princess-ocho-rios-2.jpg - Crown Princess in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Jamaica travel guide: Top things to do & see

our guide

The vibe

Jamaica is the reggae heartbeat of the Caribbean, and you'll feel it as you walk throughout the island. The air is slightly humid with warm sand beneath your feet. The smell of Jerk chicken and curried goat wafts across your path. An afternoon drink might include some locally produced rum mixed with sweet fruit juices. Before you is the beautiful Caribbean, with gentle waves lapping the shore. In so many ways, Jamaica is a feast for your senses.

 
  CRUISEABLE PORT GUIDES
 
 
 

Jamaica’s capita, Kingston, is the largest city on the island and most famously known for its many reggae nightclubs and the Bob Marley Museum. Montego Bay in Cornwall County is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean, with it all-inclusive resorts, duty-free shopping and the hip Gloucester Avenue. Negril is known for its seven miles of white sand beaches and laid-back atmosphere. Ocho Rios, on Jamaica’s northern coast is home to both large resorts and smaller family-run hotels, with natural falls and world-class scuba diving. And Falmouth and Port Antonio have become popular cruise port destinations. 

Cruise ships that call on Jamaica

Top reasons to go

  • Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is globally known for its biodiversity, including the Giant Swallowtail butterfly and the Jamaican Boa.
  • Find your favorite beach: Choose from Seven Mile Beach, Doctor's Cave Beach, Treasure Beach or one of the 67 other public beaches.
  • Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios are spectacular to view and even more fun to climb.
  • Go for the music. You'll find Jamaican folk music as well as other popular genres such as ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall.
At the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica. The music legend used to reside there, mon.
Jamaica Tourist BoardAt the Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica. The music legend used to reside there, mon.

Top things to see & do in Jamaica

Bob Marley Museum

Islanders take a lot of pride in Bob Marley, possibly the most famous resident of Jamaica. . The Bob Marley Museum (876-978-2929) in Kingston was the famous reggae musician's recording studio and home, where he lived until his death in 1981, and it is filled with memorabilia and personal belongings. Tours last approximately one hour and run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mystic Mountain

This destination in Ocho Rios offers visitors a different view of the Jamaican rainforest. At Mystic Mountain (876-974-3900), you can zip line, take a chairlift with the Sky Explorer or, most famously, bobsled through the jungle. Either way, you are sure to get a spectacular glimpse of the greenery and rivers in the region.

A blue house on Blue Mountain, Jamaica.
Jamaica Tourist BoardA blue house on Blue Mountain, Jamaica.

Blue Mountains

A destination probably most famous for its coffee, this mountain range outside of Kingston is breathtaking for its natural scenery, complete with waterfalls, wildlife and lush flora. Arrange a bike tour, take in a local sunrise, or arrange to taste the coffee, which is harvested for a variety of different coffee companies all over the world. Part of the range is protected as Blue & John Crow National Park.

Rose Hall Great House

This plantation house near Montego Bay was built in 1770 and is now surrounded by a variety of beachside golf resorts. However, the original Rose Hall plantation house (888-767-3425) is a great visit for ghost-story lovers. Here, the legend is about Annee Palmer, the once-mistress of the plantation, who is referred to as the "White Witch of Rose Hall." For an extra-spooky experience, arrange for a candlelit visit at night.

Best bets for dining

Jamaican cuisine is a vibrant blend of spices and fresh, sustainable products. With a countless array of fine dining establishment and roadside jerk huts, the gastronomy of Jamaica offers much more than the national dishes of ackee and salt fish.

For a truly Caribbean dining experience in Ocho Rios, check out the Almond Tree Restaurant (876-974-2676), which has an actual tree growing through the roof, for the lobster thermidor or roast suckling pig. For an upscale restaurant with international flair, try the Palm Court in the Kingston Hilton (876-926-5430). For famous Jamaican jerk chicken and pork right on the beach, head over to the Pork Pit in Montego Bay (876-940-3008). This casual lunchtime favorite of both locals and tourists is the perfect spot to settle down with a Red Stripe and plate of island-spiced meats.

For a snack try some tasty Jamaican plantain tarts (they look like turnovers but the locals call them tarts).
Jamaica Tourist BoardFor a snack try some tasty Jamaican plantain tarts (they look like turnovers but the locals call them tarts).

Fun fact 

Jamaica’s Blue Mountains have just been declared the island’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Best time to go

With little seasonal variation, Jamaica has a tropical climate that produces warm weather year-round. Rainy season can occur any time between June and November, though the wettest months tends to be September and October. Peak season is during the winter months (December to April), as this is when the temperature drops a bit.

When you arrive

Docking information

Jamaica has three cruise ports which all lie along the northern coast. Ocho Rios is the busiest of the ports and is only a five-minute walk into town. Montego Bay’s port, known as Freeport, is just outside the city and is teeming with shuttles, taxis and buses to take tourists on the five-minute ride into the heart of the city. Though Port Antonio can only accommodate smaller ships, it’s the ideal cruise stop to explore the nearby Blue Mountains. 

Getting around

For navigating around the island, local buses are the best bet, as they are cheaper and require less negotiating than taxis. If you do choose taxis, avoid expensive "tourist taxis" and stick to the local ones, which have red license plates as opposed to the white ones for private cars. They can be flagged down almost anywhere. If you do choose to rent a car, note that the roads can be very difficult to traverse, as there hasn't been a lot of upkeep, and drivers drive on the left side of the road.

Need to know

Documents: U.S. and Canadian citizens will need a valid passport.

Currency: The Jamaican dollar (J$)

Language: Although English is spoken by the majority of residents, accents are thick are sometimes local slang can be hard to understand. However, Jamaicans tend to be friendly and patient with visitors.

Safety: As always, use caution at night and/or when exploring beyond the tourist areas. Do not do business with or travel with strangers who approach you, and avoid frequenting ATM machines after dark. In case of emergency, dial 119 to get the police.

Your take

Have you been to Jamaica? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight for you? Please share in the comments below.

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The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.

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Overheard

“Within 30 minutes of Port Antonio are the birthplace of jerk (Boston Bay), a natural shower (Reach Falls) and a bay as calm as the vibe (Winnifred Beach).”

Islands magazine

“Fringed with white-sand beaches, misty mountains, and lush forests, Jamaica is dramatic and diverse, with a vibrant nightlife scene and an array of sensuous sights, from world-class diving reefs to pristine waterfalls and, of course, unforgettable sunsets. When it's time to explore, go shopping in luxury plazas, swim with dolphins, or party it up to live reggae in local dance halls.”

Travel + Leisure

“If Montego Bay is your port of call, feel the i-ray-tions at the Indigenous Rastafarian Village. For a local bite, scarf down the best in fusion Jamaican cuisine at the Native Restaurant.”

Lonely Planet

“Eat like an Olympic legend at Usain Bolt’s restaurant Tracks & Records, or get all things jerk at the latest hot spot Chateau 7 Gourmet Jerk Centre in Kingston.”

New York Times

“If Ocho Rios is your port of call, head to Mystic Mountain for what is possibly the best canopy tour in Jamaica. Plus, try their signature ‘bobsled’ ride through the dense foliage.”

Lonely Planet

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