Jamaica is a land of unique culture, engaging activities, breathtaking landscapes, and a warm, welcoming people. As we wait to start traveling again, here are some of the can’t-miss activities to experience in this country. Take a virtual tour of the best Jamaica has to offer from the comfort of your home. Explore a wealth of natural wonders, learn about the history of bobsled, discover the underwater life and make your taste buds travel with some recipes.
As the ageless 1993 comedy Cool Runnings reminded us, Jamaica has a bobsled team. Made famous during the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, the ride can be replicated (sort of) from the peak of Mystic Mountain. Swoop to the top on a chairlift that skims over the thick rainforest canopy and take in the views from the peak, which sweep all the way back to Montego Bay. Take a few minutes to tour through a small museum up there with items from the actual bobsled team and other Jamaican sports heroes, like Usain Bolt and Donovan Bailey. Then climb into your sled, painted in the colours of that original bobsled team, and descend a gravity-driven track, banking on the corners then opening it up for maximum speed, 1,000 metres to the bottom.
Tale a sneak peek at what a typical day at Mystic Mountain looks like here.
With more vast stretches of coral reefs, even a short boat ride from shore will take you into a world where the subaquatic rainbow swirl of fish contrasts with the emerald and azure of the reefs and water. And the ride there is half the fun – in some cases, especially near Montego Bay, you’ll motor past old, colorful fishing villages, still busy with men and women bringing in deep-water catches of snapper and parrotfish, and a visit to Doctor’s Cave Beach will take you to a place so good, it was once recommended as a medical treatment. Sea, sun and sand – just what the doctor ordered.
Set on a verdant stretch of coastline in St. James Parish, the white porticos and columns and cottages of Half Moon Bay have long been a Jamaican landmark. Opened by 17 different investors back in 1954, it retains a vintage feel, one honored by a series of black-and-white photos in the main building of the resort, a Who’s Who of that golden age. Since then, pop and rock royalty have rented out Rose Hall villas (everyone from David Bowie and Eric Clapton and Sting), and 18 holes of golf designed by Robert Trent Jones have been built. Both the spa and the flagship restaurant, set beside an old sugar mill, use local ingredients, including many grown on-site.
Take a virtual visit to the luxury Rosa Hall villas.
Perhaps the island’s best-known delicacy, jerk chicken is best enjoyed outside, in the sultry subtropical air. It’s delicious, and Scotchies, with locations in both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay (plus a third over in Kingston) is the best place to try it. With massive slabs of chicken and pork sizzling over dogwood logs harvested from the nearby forest and lightly spiced with their signature scotch bonnet marinade, the kick will have you reaching for a Red Stripe in the open-air dining room.
Want to have a front row seat at racks and racks of succulent jerk chicken (and pork!) cooking at Scotchies? View it here or try your own version at home with this recipe from Food and Wine.
A climb made by thousands every year, the 180-foot traverse to the top of these falls usually takes about an hour. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling, stepping from the hot, humid air into the crisp, fast-moving water, which tumbles into the Caribbean from a spring-fed source high above. From there, you take your time, the climb cooled by the water, stepping from one natural step to the next, the tufa-stone terraces providing grip so you don’t slip. Eventually, you’ll emerge at the top – triumphant, and still refreshed.
Watch a short episode of PON Di Road to see the real experience.
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