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.
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!
- Enjoy one of Jamaica’s finest: the Boston Beach. Right next to it is the famous jerk centre.
- 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.
A parish far from the minds of many when one thinks of Jamaican tourism & adventure, Clarendon has a few spots that would interest the off-the-beaten-path traveller. 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.
- An urban oasis to enjoy: Empowerment Park.
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 urban oasis of the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville.
- Seek Gut River, a river and beach escape in one.
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.
- Admire the view and romantic folklore behind Lovers’ Leap.
- 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.
- Explore Bluefields Beach.
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 each place some stars at the end. 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.