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When people think of Jamaica, they think of sun, white sand beaches, and reggae music – but there is so much more to Jamaica than this.
In fact, there are all sorts of things to do in Jamaica, from exploring the jungle to swimming in the rivers.
If you are looking to relax, there are dozens of all-inclusive resorts where you can lounge by the pool and grab a pina colada or Jamaican Smile, or if you are looking for an adventure, you can make your way to some refreshing waterfalls or go snorkeling in the ocean.
After spending 3 weeks in Jamaica, we have some top tips for anyone who’s not sure what to do in Jamaica and still figuring out how to spend their time on their vacation.
Things to Do in Jamaica
If you’re planning to visit Jamaica but you’re not sure how to spend your time, don’t worry, here are the best attractions in Jamaica!
1. Visit Dunn’s River Falls
Dunn River Falls is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jamaica. The falls are a series of terraced waterfalls flowing over limestone cliffs that are about 620 feet high.
You can go to Dunn River Falls on your own or you can book a guided tour that will pick you up from your hotel.
As a group you will be taken down to the base of the falls and then climb your way up, holding hands along the way to help you stay steady.
Along the way, you will stop for photo ops and to take a plunge into the water.
Leaving the falls, you will go through an area full of souvenirs where they use very high pressure sales tactics we know several people have fallen for, so just walk through quickly if you aren’t interested in buying something. And remember, nothing is free.
2. Go zip-lining through the jungle canopy
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then you need to experience zip-lining! You can soar through the treetops with the lush green landscape below in multiple locations.
If you combine a ziplining tour with a trip to Dunn River Falls or YS Falls(my recommendation) the lines will give you a unique view of the falls from above.
3. Take a tour of the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston
Bob Marley statue Ocho Rios | Source Yay Images
If you’re a fan of reggae music, then you need to add the Bob Marley Museum to your list of must-see attractions when visiting Jamaica.
This museum is dedicated to the life and work of Bob Marley, one of the most iconic figures in reggae music history.
Inside, you’ll find exhibits that showcase Marley’s life and career, as well as memorabilia from his personal collection.
4. Relax on the beach
San San Beach, Jamaica | Source Deposit Photos
Jamaica is known for its laid-back vibes and is set up to let you relax. You’ll find white sand beaches and bright blue waters to enjoy where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
Many of the resorts are all-inclusive with food and drinks available for guests lounging at the beach.
When we were at Sandals Negril, one of the best Sandals Resorts, a server was constantly making sure that our drinks were filled and took our lunch order as well, making for a perfect day at the beach.
5. Sample local cuisines
You can’t go to Jamaica without trying some authentic local food.
In the mix of food, you’ll find ties to India in the staple, curried goat, jerk chicken which comes from the Arawak tribe in Peru, and ackee and saltfish brought over from Ghana to feed enslaved Africans.
We loved the Jerk chicken and festival, which has a taste similar to cornbread, but more dense and fried.
6. Enjoy the amenities at your All-Inclusive Resort
Much of Jamaica’s growing popularity comes from the all-inclusive resorts. While we love running around, seeing, and experiencing as much as possible, when you are in Jamaica you should spend some time at the resort.
Beyond the beaches and pools are tons of activities.
Most resorts include water sports like kayaking, while others include motorboat sports like tubing and skiing. We enjoy the tennis clinics and doubles tournaments offered at some resorts as well.
7. Bamboo Rafting At Martha Brae River
Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae River | Source Deposit Photos
Looking at the vegetation in Jamaica you are going to see a lot of bamboo. One way the locals have used it is by creating rafts that can be used to go down the Martha Brae River.
The water and lush scenery make for a beautiful backdrop as you paddle your way down the river.
8. Go on a Catamaran Tour
Colorful sunset | Source Deposit Photos
A catamaran cruise is a perfect way to explore Jamaica. You’ll be able to soak up the sun and enjoy refreshing drinks while sitting back and taking in the beautiful scenery. Many catamaran tours include a meal with jerk chicken and other Jamaican culinary staples.
We recommend the sunset catamaran tours that leave from Negril and go to Rick’s Cafe and the tours that leave Ocho Rios, stopping at Dunn Rivers Fall.
9. Go Snorkeling
Whether you’re an experienced swimmer or a beginner, snorkeling is a great way to explore the beautiful marine life in Jamaica.
You can easily find equipment to rent or borrow from your resort and there are plenty of great spots to check out.
This may be something you ask your resort about before booking to see what the cost will be or if it is included.
10. Visit the Luminous Lagoon
The Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica is a natural wonder where the water is a bright shade of turquoise when touched. It gets its unusual color from microscopic organisms that result in an ethereal, otherworldly sight.
One thing to keep in mind is the distance to get to the Luminous Lagoon.
Check with the tour operator to see how far it is for you.
Ocho Rios for example is about 90 minutes from the Luminous Lagoon and we do not think it is worth that length of time driving.
11. Go cliff jumping at Ricks Cafe
David Colturi Red bull cliff diver jumping off platform at Ricks Cafe | Source Deposit Photos
Ricks Cafe is more than a place to grab a bite to eat.
This cliff-side bar and restaurant’s main attraction is cliff diving.
It is located on the west end of the island and has multiple spots you can cliff jump from and you can watch the local daredevils jump from even higher cliffs.
12. Visit YS Falls
YS Falls is a hidden Jamaican gem that is a lot less busy than the blue hole or Dunn River Falls because it is a bit further away from the main tourist areas.
You’ll find seven waterfalls with several areas to jump into pools and rope swings to enjoy as you hike up the falls.
After exploring the falls you can relax in the spring-fed pools until your tour ends.
13. Go swimming in the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole | Source Deposit Photos
The Blue Hole in Ocho Rios can refer to several pools created by erosion from a series of waterfalls near Ocho Rios.
Regardless of which company you go with, you will likely get a similar experience where they will take you to a place along the falls to jump in and also find a rope swing or two.
One of the most popular sections includes a waterfall and a blue hole where there is a platform set about 15 feet above the pool and a rope swing that you will find after walking down the falls a few yards.
14. Go River Tubing
After going to the Blue Hole you can go river tubing about 10 minutes away. A guided tour will take you down a calm area of a river with clear water until you make it to some bumpy rapids.
This was probably our favorite excursion during our trip due to being with a fun group of people and enthusiastic guides. One surprise was the vendors along the river who would sell you run punch if you wanted some.
15. Enjoying a thrilling ATV Ride
You can go on an ATV ride anywhere, but one unique experience is going on an ATV ride in Jamaica after recent rain. Bring some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and take your ATV for some tight turns for a fun experience on the island.
16. Relax on Negril’s 7 Mile Beach
Seven Miles Beach | Source Deposit photos
The beautiful Negril Beach in Jamaica is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The white sand and clear water make for a perfect beach day.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby if you need to grab a bite or pick up some souvenirs.
This is also one of the best places to see the sunset on the Island.
17. Visit the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains in Jamaica are still fairly undiscovered.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world, including rainforests, waterfalls, and incredible views from the peaks.
There’s plenty to do here too, from hiking and biking to exploring local villages and sampling delicious Caribbean cuisine.
18. Visit Rose Hall
Rose Hall in Jamaica is a grand estate that was once home to Annie Palmer, a notorious mistress who was known as the “White Witch of Rose Hall.”
Today, visitors can tour the hall and learn about its haunted past. Palmer is said to have tortured and killed her slaves, and some believe her ghost still resides there.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Rose Hall is definitely worth a visit!
19. See The Appleton Estate
Appleton Estate Rum | Source Deposit Photos
The Appleton Estate has been crafting world-renowned rum for over 250 years, and you can take a tour that shows you the historic production process of Appleton Estates’ Rums.
You will learn the early methods used to process the sugarcane and the distillation process, and see the barrel house where the rum ages.
Of course, visiting a famous run producer wouldn’t be complete without a tasting. At the beginning of the tour you get a glass of rum punch and at the end, you can taste several different types.
20. Explore the Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves are a series of limestone caverns located in Discovery Bay, Jamaica.
These caves were used as a hideout for pirates and other outlaws in the 17th century, and today they are open to the public for tours.
The cave system is made up of more than 12 miles of passages and chambers, and there are several underground waterfalls and pools to explore.
Tips for Visiting Jamaica
Before you go rushing off to Jamaica, there are just a few things you need to know about before visiting…
Bring your patients, things run slower in Jamaica so it’s best to be prepared for a lot of waiting.
Take a lot of small bills. Everyone will be asking for a tip, so it’s best to be prepared with several denominations so you can tip whatever you feel comfortable with.
Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and water shoes. I also like to take quick dry shirts for convenience and sun protection.
Know where not to visit. There are some parts of Jamaica that are not friendly to tourists. Avoid going off the beaten path and know where to avoid.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Jamaica
So there you have it, those are 20 things to do in Jamaica and as you can see, there is more to this stunning island destination than just soaking up some sun on a white sand beach.
But if that’s all you want to do, go for it! Jamaica is one of the best destinations for beaches and has some of those beautiful turquoise Caribbean waters.
Whoever you’re traveling with, and whenever you visit, we hope you have the best time exploring the best attractions in Jamaica.