Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine
A new north-south highway opens up new adventurous opportunities on this Caribbean isle.
As one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica offers something for everyone—from the fragrant coffee plantations of the Blue Mountains to the rhythms of vibrant Kingston and the beachside bliss of Montego Bay.
While you used to have to choose among Jamaica’s enticing destinations, now, thanks to the expansion of Highway 2000 connecting Kingston with Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, there’s no need to stick to just one region on your vacation. The northsouth link of Highway 2000 cuts travel time so you can easily enjoy sea and city in just one week.
Begin your adventure in Montego Bay on Jamaica’s northwest coast. A top spot to orient yourself to the country’s history is the impressive Montego Bay Cultural Centre located in Sam Sharpe Square. Dedicated to Jamaica’s national hero who was executed in the Montego Bay Market Place for his role in the Emancipation War of 1831–32, this cultural hub offers a wealth of ancient artifacts, traditional and modern art, and special exhibits.
From there, immerse yourself in Jamaica’s underwater attractions by exploring Montego Bay Marine Park. Established in 1991, this vast region of protected coral reef, mangroves and crystalline waters is filled with marine life such as stingrays, clownfish and parrotfish. Snorkel from a reef-lined beach or book a catamaran tour featuring reggae music, tropical drinks and snorkelling stops around the bay.
For those who prefer to soak up some history with their sunshine, the Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club is a fun option. The original cave is long gone but the calm waters of Montego Bay remain and offer modern-day visitors the chance to soak up some restorative sun and sea.
Next, head east of Montego Bay along the north coast to the Green Grotto Caves, a network of underground caverns near Ocho Rios once used for shelter by the Tainos, Jamaica’s indigenous people. Today’s visitors can explore a subterranean world of mysterious caverns, chambers and grottos filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
When hunger hits, head to Scotchies, an open-air eatery popular with locals and visitors alike. Dive into jerk chicken or pork grilled over smoky pimento wood and be sure to order sides such as corn on the cob, yam and festival, a delicious fried dumpling.
Wrap up your visit to the Ocho Rios area at the Blue Hole, an under-the-radar paradise where you can trek through an orchid-draped rainforest, bask beneath plunging waterfalls and jump into pools of turquoise water. Local guides will assist with navigating the series of rocky platforms and wilderness trails.
KINGSTON AND THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
No trip to Jamaica is complete without time in Kingston on the southern coast. Jamaica’s largest city and its cultural heart, the country’s pulsing capital is well worth exploring.
There’s no better place to begin than at the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you’ll walk in the footsteps of the legendary reggae star learning about his life, recording hits and Rastafarian culture along the way.
More inspiration awaits at 41 Fleet Street in the heart of Kingston. The largest street art space on the island was created by Paint Jamaica as a social intervention and community-building initiative and features captivating murals by international and local artists.
From there, chill out at Devon House, a splendid Georgian-style mansion built in 1881 by George Stiebel, a prominent Jamaican businessman. Pretty pastel cottages, formerly servants’ quarters, are home to eateries such as I-scream, famous for their frozen treats in tropical flavours such as guava, coconut and mango.
Wrap up your explorations with a journey into the Blue and John Crow Mountains, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most memorable experiences is to hike through a working coffee plantation such as Craighton Estate where you can unearth the secrets of prized Blue Mountain coffee and enjoy a tutored tasting.
With such a wealth of experiences, you’re sure to come away with an even greater appreciation for Jamaica’s landscape, history and people.