I’ve received the question of which places are my favourites and had to recommend outings for friends quite a bit in the nearly two years of this blog’s existence. I decided to take that recurring question seriously and answer it in a blog post. The only downside (quite miniscule I assure you 😅) of running a local travel blog, especially for a country as small as Jamaica, is that people assume I’ve been everywhere, which let me reiterate for the umpteenth time, no I have not. I’m pretty sure I still haven’t seen even a quarter of the attractions Jamaica has to offer, especially the tourist-y spots.
I’ve also put together quite a few lists before (e.g. here and here) but none were ever as hard as compiling this one: my favourite 10 adventures. For obvious reasons I only visit places in which I’m interested (which let me admit is basically everywhere) so few trips come to mind which I didn’t completely enjoy. Thus, there are so many other awesome places I could have included. After knitting my brow and pondering hard, here’s my top 10 in ascending order of enjoyment:
This tour stands out for all the right reasons: the best ever rum-punch I’ve had in my life which was all-you-can-drink, being thorough and informative in showcasing the manufacturing process from cane to cup while remaining fun and elevating my opinion of rum as an alcoholic beverage. It helps that the factory is set against the delightful backdrop of the Cockpit Country too. Hats off to the Appleton Rum Estate! (Just 200 years ago my ancestors weren’t guests of this property though.. I doubt they ever drank the rum or found the property beautiful.. a sobering thought).
Rainforest-like beauty with a series of majestic cascades and a deep turquoise blue river flowing through it. A boat trip along the river is included in the admission. I visited on a weekday and only passed one other couple during my time there, so the atmosphere was relaxed, making my memories of Somerset from March 2017 extra memorable.
Truly one of Jamaica’s prettiest beaches, this quaint little beach has a river running to meet it. Don’t expect to have it to yourself if you visit on a weekend like I did, but its charm was not lost on me.
Drinking Blue Mountain coffee straight from the source is a whole experience. The air is cool, the views breathtaking and the aroma of the freshly roasted beans heavenly. I feel privileged to come from an island with some of the world’s best coffee– flavourful, mildly sweet and not bitter. I would drink this every day of my life if I could.
I’m still amazed that such a stunning secret was hidden 15 minutes away from my university campus and the hustle and bustle of Papine in a little district called Penfield in Gordon Town. There are 3 waterfalls and this is the smallest but my favourite. It’s a shame I haven’t been back since June 2017; time to fix that in 2019. I hope the increased visitation hasn’t ruined it. If so, I’d feel personally responsible having brought so much recognition to the place. 🙈 It’s by far my most viewed post.
A beautiful public botanical garden which straddles the winding Junction main road linking the St. Andrew and St. Mary parishes. If the lush greenery wasn’t enough, Castleton’s beauty is complimented with the Wag Water River, a shallow but swift river, wide, cool and refreshing and full of boulders.
4. Reggae Falls
A commanding beauty, the Reggae Falls isn’t a 100% natural attraction in that the Johnson River which supplies it was once being developed as a hydroelectricity plant but it suffered some damage early in development from a hurricane and was abandoned. However, its beauty has not gone unnoticed. Reggae Falls is definitely a looker. It’s my first ever waterfall visit, still the largest single drop waterfall I’ve ever seen and the force of the water on my back is not one to forget (don’t ask why I chose to try stand beneath it but it was fun.. and deafening).
This one is 100% natural, attesting to the magic which happens when porous limestone and water meets. Dunn’s River Falls is Jamaica’s most visited tourist attraction annually with hundreds flocking to it daily. While this level of commercialization isn’t the type of place I frequent, I was still awed by its beauty and how my tiny third world isle has managed to create a park which is truly a world-class destination.
2. Kwame Falls
My all-time second most favourite hike is the 2 hour trek to find this beauty. The waterfall itself is the least because of the views we passed to get here! Woodland, open clearings, panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea from up above until the trails dipped low enough for us to pass 2 black sand beaches. We also encountered the ruins of an old A.M.E. church and waterwheel from the era of slavery. Quite interesting finds. Doing this hike unaided with 2 of my closest friends and a new friend I met through this blog, allowing our feet and common sense to guide us, all contributed to this being one of my most precious adventure memories. It would be first if it wasn’t for steep competition with:
I’ll forever sing praises of this place. It is my favourite-ever adventure hands down, even if my muscles and inner thermostat complained bitterly. Temperatures there average 10-12 degrees Celsius. Those may sound normal to my temperate clime friends but I’m sorry– 100% tropical island gal here who has never experienced snow so that was a big deal for me and I wasn’t ready. I swore I was dressed warmly. Anyway, I recommend camping or renting a cabin in Portland Gap, the closest accommodation to the Peak, and leaving out at 2:30am with flashlights to reach in time for sunrise. I’m still amazed that I’ve accomplished this to be honest. It’s certainly a memory for a lifetime and yes, I will return. Just haven’t had the time to go as yet. The views of the Milky Way, the lights of Kingston from upwards 5,000 ft., the birds, the flowers, the trees, the ferns, the mosses, the cotton candy clouds. I appreciated it all so much– it’s a spiritual place which puts you in awe of the Creator.
“It’s the fairest island eyes have beheld; mountainous and the land seems to touch the sky.” -Columbus, 1494 🇯🇲🇯🇲🇯🇲
God bless Jamaica andmy family, the amazing colleagues and friends I’ve shared all these adventures with. 🎉 May we all continue to have memorable adventures and the good health and resources to enjoy life. Remember you weren’t made to just work, grow old and die. You have to actively choose to live life abundantly and deeply each day.
‘Til next time. ✌🏽