Caribbean Tourism

Jamaica

Dreadlocks to Reggae: Jammin’ in Jamaica

Followers of the Rastafarian cult are easily recognizable by their long dreadlocks. They are non-violent, do not eat pork and believe in the divinity of the late Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari). Haile Selassie’s call for the end of the superiority of one race over another has been incorporated into a faith which holds that God, Jah, will...

Hurricane

“He huffed and he puffed ...” Most of the earlier historical landmarks have been destroyed by hurricanes and earthquakes. Very few traces, apart from place names, therefore remain of the Spanish occupation. In 1692 an earthquake destroyed Port Royal which, because of being the base for English buccaneers such as Henry Morgan, had become famed as the most...

Culture

Kingston is the main cultural centre of Jamaica. There are two important institutes which can be visited: the African Caribbean Institute (ACIJ, on Little North Street) is involved in research into African traditions in Jamaica and the Caribbean; the Institute of Jamaica (East Street) has historical sections, including Arawak carvings, the National Library...

Crime & Tourism

The impact of tourism on a population of around two and a half million is massive, both economically and socially. Bad publicity abroad or a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Gilbert, can have a devastating effect. The crime rate is high but most of the serious crime is around Kingston, principally in West Kingston. Many country districts and north coast...

Excursions

Kingston Among older buildings of note in the Down Town area are Gordon House (on Duke Street), which dates from the mid-18th century and houses the Jamaican legislature. Visitors are allowed into the Strangers’ Gallery but must be suitably dressed (jackets for men and dresses for women). There is also the early 18th century parish church south of Parade,...

West to Falmouth

Continuing west along the coast is Runaway Bay, an attractive and friendly resort. It is named for the Spanish governor Ysasi, who left quickly for Cuba in a canoe when he saw the English coming. Only five miles away is Discovery Bay where Columbus made his first landing. The Columbus Park, an outdoor museum, has exhibits and relics of Jamaican history....

The Road to Mandeville

On the south coast past Black River is Treasure Beach, a wide dark sand beach with body surfing waves, it is one of the most beautiful areas on the island. It is largely used by local fishermen as it is the closest point to the Pedro Banks. There is one small grocery shop and a bakery. A van comes to the village every day with fresh fruit and vegetables....

Spanish Town

Spanish Town, the former capital founded in 1534, some 14 miles west of Kingston (bus from Half Way Tree and from Orange Street ), is historically the most interesting of Jamaica’s towns and in desperate need of funds for renovation. Its English-style architecture dates from the 18th century. Well worth seeing are the Cathedral Church of St James, the...

The South Coast

Bluefields Outside Savanna-la-Mar, the main south coast road (A2) passes by Paradise Plantation, a huge private estate with miles of frontage on Bluefields Bay, a wide protected anchorage with unspoiled reefs and wetlands teeming with birds. Just after Paradise, you come to Ferris Crossroads, where the A2 meets up with the B8 road, a well-maintained north-...

East to Savanna - La-Mar

About 18 miles east of Negril, on the coast, is Savanna-la-Mar, a busy, commercial town with shopping, banks and so on, but no major attractions for tourists. It does not have a good beach, nor good quality restaurants and accommodation. Regular concerts are held at the remodelled St Joseph’s Catholic Church, T9552648. Talented local musicians play under...

Port Royal

Port Royal,the old naval base, lies across the harbour from Kingston. It was founded in 1650, captured by the English and turned into a strategic military and naval base. Merchant shipping developed under naval protection and the town soon became prosperous. It also attracted less reputable shipping and in 1660-92 became a haven for pirates such as Henry...

Roads into the Interior

Between Port Antonio and the Buff Bay area there are several roads into the interior from such places as Hope Bay and Orange Bay. It is worth a detour if you have a car, but well off the beaten track and public transport is minimal. However, just to the east of Buff Bay is Crystal Springs with beautifully laid out gardens, a variety of fish in the clear...

Port Antonio

Once the major banana port where many of the island’s first tourists arrived, on banana boats, Port Antonio,dates back to the 16th century. Its prosperity has for many years been in gentle decline and it is now run down, but it has an atmosphere unlike any other town in Jamaica with some superb old public buildings. It is an excellent base from which to...

Ocho Rios

On a bay sheltered by reefs and surrounded by coconut groves, sugar cane and fruit plantations, is Ocho Rios. The town has become very popular, with many cruise ships making a stop here. It is 64 miles east of Montego Bay and claims some of the best beaches on the island. The beach in town is safe and well-organized with facilities, 200 yds from Main Street...

The North Coast

The Kingston to Port Maria road (the Junction Road) passes through Castleton Botanical Gardens (in a very tranquil setting, well worth a visit, ask Roy Bennett to be your guide if available). The journey takes about two hours and there are plenty of minibuses. Port Maria itself is a sleepy and decaying old banana port but not without charm and lots of goats...