Come to Jamaica for the relaxed atmosphere which this birthplace of reggae music so naturally invokes. Laze on the beach, hike through the rainforest, swim under waterfalls, visit historic towns and explore the Caribbean.
This Commonwealth nation only gained independence half a century ago and the Jamaican flag symbolises past and present. Black represents hardship, of which the country has had more than its fair share. Green stands for fertile land and hope, which refers to the plantations which are now free from slavery. Gold stands for wealth and sunshine, which is what still attracts hordes of visitors to the island today.
Fly to Kingston, Montego Bay, or Ocho Rios and explore the island by rental car or on a tour bus. At some of the high end resorts you won't even have to leave your resort to enjoy the best of the Caribbean.
In the capital Kingston try the national dish, saltfish and ackee, in an authentic Caribbean restaurant or taste Rastafarian ital food in Bull Bay. Pay homage to the most famous reggae musician of all time by visiting the Bob Marley Museum. His protest songs from the ‘70s still appeal today, especially in the turbulent shantytowns where poverty continues to cause struggles.
To the west, visit the lighthouse at Negril and dig your toes in the white sands of Seven Mile Beach. Drive north, to Ocho Rios, where the Dolphin Cove theme park is. Cool off in rainforest pools at Dunn’s River Falls or Somerset Falls. While up north, don’t miss the well-preserved Georgian town of Falmouth, now a heritage site.
Of course, most people come to Jamaica for its beaches, which have always attracted the rich and famous too. The gorgeous Blue Lagoon was part of the set for the 1980 movie with the same name and is still a great place for a refreshing swim. Ian Fleming’s novels about Agent 007 were written here, which explains the name of James Bond Beach.