Discover Jamaica

July 23, 2018

10 Things I’ve Learnt Living in Jamaica

Jamaica is an island filled with quirky cultural nuances and a rich, colourful language that still sometimes leaves me scratching my head. There are some things only a Jamaican knows:  even now, I still learn something new every day.  Here's a few of the things I've picked up along the way. 10 Things I've Learnt Living in Jamaica  1. Food: Jamaican...

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12 Hours in Kingston
July 20, 2018

12 Hours in Kingston, Jamaica

The cultural capital and the heart of Jamaica, Kingston is home to the Jamaican Parliament, the National Gallery, Bob Marley lived here, Usain Bolt still does and from Kingston it’s possible to reach the Blue Mountain summit - the highest peak in Jamaica and home to the world famous coffee. But what if you only have 12 hours here? No problem, it's...

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41 Fleet Street, Kingston
December 30, 2017

Street Art at 41 Fleet Street, Kingston

  When I first moved to Kingston in 2014 I remember being taken to the Paint Jamaica project . I was absolutely stunned by the amazing street art. I'd been involved with a couple of  initiatives in London in which teens from inner city areas who were at risk of gang involvement were encouraged to get involved in a creative arts...

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December 2, 2017

Firefly House, Ocho Rios

Needing to escape the heat and bustle of Kingston town, we set off over the hills, to the cool green mountains of the north coast.  Not to the beach, but a place of serene calmness and spectacular views. Elevated above the coast, and commanding the most wonderful views of the sea, Firefly, the former home of Noel Coward has to be one...

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October 4, 2017

Solo Hiking the Highest Mountain in Jamaica (at night)

Original post 05/10/16 Republished August 2017 Ever had those Friday nights when you're home alone and can't face anymore Netflix? Maybe it's just me. Feeling bored but sufficiently fuelled from my recent climbing adventures in the Rockies, I decided to solo hike the to the Blue mountain peak.  That's right - the highest mountain in Jamaica (at night). The Blue Mountain is the sixth highest peak in the Caribbean at 2,256 m...

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Reggae Falls -known locally as Damhead, st Thomas, Jamaica
September 25, 2017

Reggae Falls, St Thomas.

For my husband's birthday, I planned a surprise breakfast at Reggae Falls. He looks at me sleepily and I can tell he wishes he'd just got the new ipad he'd asked for instead. However, I'm confident that he's going to love the falls. We reach Hillside quickly - it's early and the roads are clear and Jamaica just after sunrise I think is probably...

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San San Beach, Portland, Jamaica
August 16, 2017

San San Beach

Visit Beautiful San San Beach on Jamaica's North Coast

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Morant Point Lighthouse, Jamaica
July 30, 2017

Morant Point Lighthouse, St Thomas.

  In the sleepy parish of St Thomas, you'll find the easterly most tip of Jamaica at Morant Point. En-route you'll pass Morant Bay; known for the 1865 rebellion led by Jamaican national hero Paul Bogle. Reaching Morant Point is a long drive from Kingston and involves journeying through acres of sugar field on dirt tracks. Three hours after leaving K-Town we arrive...

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NATIONAL HEROES JAMAICA
October 17, 2016

National Heroes Park, Kingston

A series of moving sculptures commemorates the Jamaican National Heroes. Nestled in downtown Kingston is the welcoming tranquil space of National Heroes Park. The park has had a lively history and for over one hundred years was variously used as a racecourse and site for the occasional visiting circus. However, since 1973 this special space has been honouring Jamaican National Heroes, former Prime...

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Hellshire Beach, Jamaica
October 15, 2016

Hellshire Beach, St Catherine

A short drive from Kingston Town, Hellshire Beach is a full-on vibrant community centred around rows of seafood restaurants and bars right on the beach.  This is one of the more instantly authentic Jamaican experiences a visitor to this corner of the island can have.  Driving through the high arches onto the sandy lane, the track narrows as you near the...

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September 25, 2016

Boston Beach, Portland

Before I visited Boston beach, I'd read so many blogs warning it was hard to find and easy to miss. Neither could be further from the truth. Located just a stone's throw away from the famous Boston Jerk Centre stalls, the stunning public Boston beach is easy to reach. There's even a huge sign right by the turning - so don't...

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Fort Clarence
September 15, 2016

Fort Clarence Beach, St Catherine

It's no secret that Jamaica has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But you might be surprised to discover that one of them is located only twenty minutes outside of Kingston. As one of Kingston Towns biggest fans, I'm not at all surprised. Kingston never ceases to amaze me, it has it all. That's just how it rolls.  Ok, so Fort...

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Fishing boat, Trelawny Jamaica
September 3, 2016

Stewart Castle and Secluded Beach,Trelawny.

My husband doesn't normally bother with my Saturday morning expeditions, but since his birthday visit to Reggae Falls he's wanting a piece of the action. As we rock up to a secluded Stewart Castle at sunrise,  I spot a pair of feet in the long grass, and realise that on closer inspection there is a man laying face down on the ground. The last...

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August 20, 2016

18th Century Sugar Factory, Trelawny.

It's 4am on a Saturday morning. I'm about to drive 100 or so kilometres to a rural outpost on the other side of Jamaica. After two hours in the car with Hall & Oats (a CD not the actual 80s pop duo), I find the ruins of the 18th Century Sugar Works at Kent Estate, Trelawny. Located along the Saltmarsh...

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Clydesdale Great House, Blue Mountains
August 13, 2016

Clydesdale Coffee Plantation and Great House

From Jacks Hill it takes us about an hour and forty five minutes to reach Clydesdale ruins (there is also a hikeable route that starts at Gordon's Town).  The last few miles are spent slowly driving along what is essentially a narrow dirt track road to reach the old plantation and great house.   I'm glad my husband is driving as, in all honesty,...

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Winnifred Beach, Portland
August 8, 2016

Winnifred Beach, Portland.

About a mile before you reach Portland's famous Boston Jerk, there's a small sign saying 'Winnifred Beach' in Fairy Hill. Blink and you could almost miss it. Follow the long dusty, unpaved road, lined with tropical foliage down to a sheltered bay and you've just discovered one of the best (if not the best) public beaches in Jamaica. Forgot your...

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New Hope Great house - once home to the Resident Magistrate of St Ann
August 6, 2016

Minard and New Hope Estate.

I had been eager to find the Minard estate for some time, as I'd heard the great houses were fine examples of Georgian architecture. They sit a few miles inland from the north coast of Jamaica in St Ann.  I'm still marveling at how much Highway 2000 has improved my life. A couple of years ago, getting to St Ann...

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Colbeck Castle
July 23, 2016

Colbeck castle, St Catherine

Situated in open country about two miles north of Old Harbour, Colbeck Castle is surprisingly easy to find. JNHT have done a really good job with the signposting. The Castle is believed to have been built by Englishman Colonel John Colbeck around 1670. It is thought the building may have been intended to be a part of the defence for the island. Possibly as a...

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Close up of Old Harbour Railway Station
July 23, 2016

Old Harbour Railway Station, St Catherine

I fancied checking out Old Harbour as friends live there. Over the last couple of years they have repeatedly mentioned the train station. Maybe they just likes trains, who knows? I didn't realise Jamaica still uses trains (the passenger service ended years ago) but sure enough as we pull up the sound of a freight train could be heard in the distance. Constructed in...

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James Bond Beach, Jamaica
June 10, 2016

James Bond Beach, Oracabessa Bay.

Do you like your martinis shaken not stirred? Then James Bond beach is for you. This is where the famous beach scene in Doctor No was filmed. Situated just ten miles from Ocho Rios against a backdrop of lush, tropical mountains, this is picturesque spot. From the beach you can take in views of Goldeneye (Ian Flemming's Jamaican retreat) but...

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National Gallery of Jamaica
June 7, 2016

National Gallery of Jamaica

I love downtown Kingston, home to beautiful historic colonial buildings, the Houses of Parliament and street markets. Nestled away just off Ocean Boulevard is the National Gallery of Jamaica.  This splendid gallery displays many works by Jamaican masters and holds regular events.  It is often very quiet, so it wouldn't be unusual to have the entire place to yourself.  There...

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Woman Celebrating Carnival, Kingston
April 3, 2016

Kingston Bacchanal

For the last couple of years, I've been telling myself that I am going to take part in Kingston carnival before leaving Jamaica. But I'm not great with the sun and if I'm honest I'm a hopeless dancer. I'm still throwing out dance moves I learn't in my old school friend Toni's bedroom. Parading the streets of Kingston in a bikini covered with...

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Bubbling Spring, St Elizabeth.
March 26, 2016

Bubbling Spring, St Elizabeth.

Most visitors to Jamaica have heard of the healing waters of Rockfort Mineral Bath and the powerful minerals to be found at Milk River. But less well known is Bubbling Spring in St Elizabeth. It's such a long way to go though right? True, it is. However, if you're visiting Treasure Beach, you'll likely drive right past this place. Which is handy, especially  if you've over-indulged in...

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Waiting at the JDF Newcastle Barracks
February 28, 2016

Catherine’s Peak

Recently, we've had a few set backs on our Blue Mountain hikes. We dug out maps, routed a handful of trails we would then GPS on foot. The first few attempts were aborted as the trails simply stopped mid walk. Whether overgrown or deliberately blocked off it's hard to say. We tried to reach Mount Horeb - which according to the map is...

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Cinchona, named after the tree from which came quinine – the first treatment for malaria.
February 14, 2016

Cinchona Botanical Gardens.

At an altitude of between 4,500 and 5,500 ft. in the hills of St. Andrew is Cinchona Botanical Gardens. Established in 1868, they are the highest botanical gardens in the entire Caribbean. These exotic gardens were designed by a Kew Garden expert back in in 1868.  Cinchona takes its name from the tree from which came quinine – the first treatment for malaria.  On a clear...

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Rockfort Mineral Bath, Kingston.
October 14, 2015

Rockfort Mineral Bath, Kingston.

    50x more radioactive than Vichy, Kingstonians flock to Rockfort to soak in the healing mineral waters. The springs here are reputed to heal a host of ailments including:  rheumatism, gout, neuralgia and liver disorders to name a few. I swear twenty minutes in these waters really helped my swollen knee. Located in east Kingston, close to the site of the "Rock Fort" which...

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Seville Great House, Jamaica
July 17, 2015

New Seville, St Ann

In the last year I must have visited New Seville a dozen times, whenever I'm in St Ann, I always try to stop and have a walk around, even if it's just for ten minutes. There's so much history here. This is near the place where the Spanish landed when they discovered Jamaica in 1494 - when Christopher Columbus landed on the north coast...

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Strawberry Hill, St Andrew, Jamaica.
July 14, 2015

Strawberry Hill, St Andrew.

  You'll find this wonderful, tropical oasis just a short thirty minute drive from the chaos of Papine. Winding up through small hamlets nestled in the beautiful Blue Mountains, every twist and turn in the road offers dramatic views of Kingston below. Reaching this luxurious hotel and its 26 acres of tropical mountain gardens is a real treat. Owned by Chris Blackwell of Island...

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July 2, 2015

Montego Bay and Nearby Attractions

Montego Bay sits on the northwest coast of Jamaica.  It will be forever associated in my mind with large all-inclusive hotels and non-stop eating, drinking and partying. Yeah, it has all the beaches and a laid back atmosphere but whenever we go there, I feel like it's a race to see who can contract diabetes first; the endless supply of food, booze...

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Quiet beach at sunset
April 2, 2015

Ocho Rios and Nearby Attractions

Ocho Rios, Jamaica’s third-largest town, sits on the north coast an hour or so's drive east of Montego Bay.  Ochi, as the locals call it, is not as popular as it once was with tourists, but is still a thriving town with plenty going on.  Fewer cruise ships land here these days because they mostly go into Falmouth, but enough...

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January 2, 2015

​Oh Kingston Town

So, you're coming to The Rock for a two week break in September. You've exhausted tips from Les and Brenda on Trip Advisor, who visit Sandals MoBay every year and you want to make sure you're cramming as much jerk, dancehall, Bob Marley and one love souvenirs into your Jamaican vacation as you can. You're in the right place. Ignore the Jamaicans...

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