An adventure awaits in Jamaica if you are ready to find one. 2016 was the year I chose to start seeing more of the world, starting with my home country. Many blogs, vlogs and websites showed Jamaican places I’d love to visit let alone never heard of before but few shared how to get there or how much it costs. Thus, Adventures from Elle is making Jamaica more accessible for locals and visitors who want to experience Jamaica as a local, one adventure at a time. Get more useful tips here or check out what’s good to see and do in each parish below.
For more information on exploring Jamaica, purchase my book ‘SIGHTSEE JAMAICA’ on Amazon which has a checklist of all the places in Jamaica worth visiting by parish, and MORE! It’s available in both paperback and eBook. Also, scroll down for some travel ideas.
Things to Do by Parish
Kingston is the smallest of Jamaica’s 14 parishes and is closely intertwined with the Saint Andrew parish. It is home to several museums, art displays and galleries, the Rockfort Mineral Bath and several cultural landmarks.
- Admire the Fleet Street murals then dine at Life Yard.
- Explore Fort Charles & take a walk around the quaint community of Port Royal.
- Admire Jamaican art at the National Art Gallery of Jamaica.
Get more ideas for things to do in Kingston here.
This parish is the right blend of urban and suburban. Enjoy Jamaica’s museums, historical and cultural spots by day. At night check out hip clubs, restaurants and nightlife. For the adventurer, Holywell, the Blue Mountains national park, Cinchona Botanical Gardens and several waterfalls will not disappoint.
- Savour the ice cream then tour the beautiful Devon House mansion.
- Enjoy coffee from bean-to-cup and even spend the night at the Lime Tree Farm.
- Explore delightful hiking trails 900m above sea level at Holywell.
See what else there is to do in St. Andrew here.
Relatively unexplored, St. Thomas is the easternmost parish of Jamaica. Its attractions include Bath Mineral Spring and Botanical Gardens, the Blue Mountain range, historical landmarks, Reggae Falls and off-the-beaten-path beaches.
- Visit the community of Bath for its botanical garden, Jamaica’s oldest, and to get cured of your afflictions at the mineral spring.
- Get a thunderous massage at the Reggae Falls.
Read all St. Thomas posts here.
This north-eastern parish is an ecotourist’s paradise with numerous beaches, waterfalls, rugged mountains and picturesque hiking trails. No wonder it’s my favourite parish!
- Hike to Blue Mountain Peak, Jamaica’s highest point, for sunrise.
- Take a slippery-slidey hike at one of Jamaica’s most beautiful cascades, the Reach Falls in Manchioneal.
- The Fish Dunn Falls in Silver Hill calls your name!
There’s a lot more to do in Portland. Explore here.
This north-eastern parish is more than just Jamaica’s “banana parish.” Saint Mary is home to fine beaches such as the James Bond Beach, several waterfalls, scenic rivers and the Castleton Botanical Gardens.
- Explore the Castleton Botanical Gardens, Jamaica’s second oldest botanical garden through which the beautiful Wag Water River flows.
- Visit two waterfalls rich with historical significance: the Tacky Falls and Kwame Falls.
See all St. Mary posts here.
St. Ann is nicknamed the “garden parish” and its landscape varies from enthralling beaches with technicolor sunsets to stunning waterfalls, tropical rainforest beauty and the omnipresent backdrop of imposing mountains. Just about any kind of ecotourist, beach, thrill-seeking or cultural tourism can be had in St. Ann, Jamaica’s largest parish.
- Go spelunking at the Green Grotto Caves in Discovery Bay.
- Explore Seville Heritage Park, a site on Jamaica’s tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription.
- Enjoy Jamaica’s most visited tourist attraction, the Dunn’s River Falls.
Read more about St. Ann here.
St. Catherine is next door to St. Andrew, and is the parish most Kingstonians flock to when looking for a short drive out of town. Kingstonians will flock Hellshire and Fort Clarence in Portmore for a quick swim and delicious seafood, but there are other jewels worth checking out as well such as the Colbeck Castle ruins, Mountain River Cave Falls and taking the Worthy Park rum tour.
- Tour the Worthy Park Estate in Lluidas Vale: Jamaica’s oldest sugar estate, and enjoy its rum.
- Explore the mysterious Colbeck Castle near Old Harbour.
Find all St. Catherine posts here.
A parish far from the minds of many when one thinks of Jamaican tourism & adventure, Clarendon has a few spots that would interest the discerning off-the-beaten-path traveler. These include Bull Head Mountain Peak, the geographical centre of Jamaica, along with Milk River Spa, one of the most radioactive mineral baths around the world.
Find other Clarendon stops here.
Manchester is another south coast parish often overlooked for adventures, but it wouldn’t go unnoticed by an off-the-beaten-track travel blog like Adventures from Elle. Besides exploring urban Mandeville and the chilly picturesque hills of Christiana, consider checking out Noisy River Falls, Alligator Hole and Gut River.
- Enjoy the best seafood at Little Ochie in south Manchester, but beware! The wait time can be horrendously long.
- Seek Gut River, a river and beach escape in one.
Explore more of Manchester here.
Known as the breadbasket parish of Jamaica, ‘Sainty/St. E’ as it’s affectionately called, is quickly rising in popularity. This parish has just about everything to make it uniquely Jamaican such as beautiful beaches, waterfalls, breath-taking Cockpit Country mountain trails, the Appleton Estate Rum Experience and visiting the Accompong Maroons.
- Take the Joy Spence Appleton Rum Estate Experience.
- Zipline above the majestic YS Falls.
- Visit the Pelican Bar in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.
Explore more of Sainty here.
Home to Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second city, this parish boasts beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping sunsets and an extremely vibrant nightlife. Welcome to Jamaica’s tourism Holy Grail.
- Enjoy a free local chill-spot: the Dead End Beach.
- Take the Rose Hall Great House tour by daylight or at night (spooky!).
- Marvel at the city’s art and history by the Montego Bay Cultural & Civic Centre.
See all St. James blog posts here.
Jamaica’s westernmost parish is home to many luxury resort chains and hotels, stunning Negril white sand beaches and cliffs, water parks, water activities and the Mayfield Falls. Reggae fans would enjoy the Peter Tosh Mausoleum.
Read all Westmoreland posts here.
We’ve all been sleeping on Hanover! Jamaica’s second smallest parish after Kingston, Hanover is located between the parishes of Westmoreland and St. James on the northwestern coast. Thus, people often drive through this parish but there are lots of destinations worth checking out and luxury villas to stay at.
- Connect to nature at Animal Farm.
- Go bamboo rafting on the Great River in Lethe.
- Stay at the cut-stone Poet Reef villa in Cousins Cove.
Find other things to do in Hanover here.
Trelawny is home to Jamaica’s newest cruise ship pier and resort town in Falmouth, so naturally there are several things to do in this parish. These include touring the Hampden Estate, swimming at the Silver Sands Beach, riding horses at the Braco stables and checking out the bioluminescence of Luminous Lagoon. There are also off-the-beaten adventures to enjoy in the Cockpit Country.
- Savour one of Jamaica’s most exclusive rums on the Hampden Estate rum tour.
- Bamboo raft on one of Jamaica’s most charming rivers, the Martha Brae.
Explore more of Trelawny here.
A Few More Things
- By no means are the activities listed above an exhaustive list. Those are just the places I’ve visited and written about at the time you’re reading this so check back often for updates.
- Personal Ratings Explained: You’ll notice I give some places stars at the end, mostly in older articles. They range from ☆ to ☆☆☆☆☆ and the reason(s) behind them are listed in each post. I take into account things such as difficulty to find, value for cost, beauty, appeal, facilities and hospitality. Every rating is based on my personal experience there so I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience.
- Here’s a link to some useful travel guides and articles.
- If you’d like to rent a car & drive in Jamaica, check out my 2023 driving guide.