Close your eyes. Listen. Breathe. Be present as you inhale the aromatic and intoxicating rainforest air, feel it’s presence around your body, know that you are in the here and now. Far from the exhilarating sensations and frenzy of Kingston, you are now walking in the footsteps of the Tainos and Maroons, Jamaica’s former enslaved people. High in the mountains you explore their network of trails, settlement and hiding places along the Nanny Town Heritage Route located in Jamaica’s rugged forest mountain region. Feel the spiritual connection to the mountains as you listen to its wildlife and observe the rainforest’s rich biodiversity. This is Jamaica.
For many, Jamaica is more synonymous with beaches, reggae, and herbal remedies. Yet, for those who can take the time to really explore one of the most visited Caribbean islands, Jamaica offers some unrivaled experiences.
With millions of visitors each year there is no shortage of places to stay, and a quick internet search will yield everything from all-inclusive resorts and backpacker lounges to apartments and houses for rent in Jamaica an easy way for anyone to customize a Jamaican trip.
Of course, once you’ve found where you’re staying you’ll want start exploring so that when you go home you’ll understand why Jamaica is a place that boasts, “once you go you know”. With this quick guide you’ll discover the highlights beyond Jamaica’s spectacular beaches.
Connect with Nature in Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountain Ranges
The only UNESCO world heritage site in Jamaica is a National Park that is designated as being one of the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas for its biodiversity. Blue Mountain and John Crow Mountains are also significant because of the cultural heritage that they preserve. Most of this history is important to the countries heritage route because it recognizes the traditions and fight of the Maroon people of Jamaica, who used the mountains for refuge from its colonizers. When you visit you’ll get to explore the natural wonders of Jamaica as well as its most important cultural heritage.
Visit Bob Marley & pay homage to Jamaica’s most Iconic Musician
A trip to Jamaica would not be complete without a visit to the early home and resting place of musical legend Bob Marley. Winding along the dry rural roads of St. Anne as the contrasting green jungle wisps by outside your window is Nine Mile, where the mausoleum of Bob Marley sits among the dusty streets of his village just over an hour drive from the Jamaican capital. If you’re a Bob Marley fan, want to learn about the cultural heritage of a musical great, or feel like chatting it up with a Rastafarian guide then this is a must for anyone visiting this region.
Explore Jamaica’s Waterfalls
If you’re off to see Bob Marley, then you’ll want to make the jaunt over to Dunn’s River Falls so make sure you bring your microfiber beach towel. The 600 ft waterfall of chiseled steps is a natural landmark is worth exploring, and a great way to cool down after adventuring across the Jamaican countryside. While you’re there, don’t forget to spend some time in its natural Jacuzzi’s. It’s only a short drive from Nine Mile and after your visit you can check out Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records restaurant.
Jamaican Bobsledding at Mystic Mountain
Rain Forest Bobsled Jamaica sounds about as likely as reliving the classic 90’s throwback film Cool Runnings, but it’s close enough. High in the treetops of Ocho Rios you can you can relive the adventures of Sanka, Derice, Junior, and Yul, enjoy a great view from their sky explorer chairlift, cool off on the water slide and push your comfort zone on a canopy zipline. It’s just fun for a silly day with a loved one or the whole family.
These few highlights will take you beyond the classic tourist eats, drinks, and beaches that you’re sure to enjoy on your visit to Jamaica. In the end, you will want to be able to say that you paid homage to musical great Bob Marley, connected with nature in Blue and John Crow mountains (Jamaica’s National Park and a recognized UNESCO world heritage site), checked out Jamaica’s most famous waterfall, tried bobsledding, and then sat beachside with a cocktail in hand and enjoyed the sounds of the sea.
Before you go, don’t forget to be prepared before you go and like every good adventure The Gear Hunt will help you find the perfect footwear.