For such a small island, Jamaica has made a huge impact on our culture. From music to food, we are all familiar with what the island has to offer. So, what are the three things that should be on every visitor’s list?
Sunset at Rick’s Café, Negril
Jamaicans are so good at chilling that they have their own word for it: “liming”, and the best place to “lime” is Rick’s Café in Negril. Built into the cliffs, this is the most famous place to watch the sun go down in Jamaica. You can have a drink or something to eat while watching the cliff divers and listening to reggae music. Take your swimsuit so you can do a bit of swimming while you wait for the sun to set or, if really foolhardy, have a go at cliff diving yourself. Stay at nearby Negril beach, a seven-mile stretch of white sand that is home to many hotels, including the Riu Palace Tropical Bay, available through Thomson Holidays.
Don’t believe this is white water rafting, no way man! This is rafting Jamaican-style, laid back and smooth. Bamboo rafts were originally used to carry produce from the island’s plantations to ships waiting on the coast to transport the exotic cargo to foreign markets; however it was the movie star Errol Flynn, who had fallen in love with the island, that made river rafting a popular leisure activity. Head to Martha Brae River and jump on board a 30-foot bamboo raft as your guide takes the helm. All you need to do is sit back and admire the exotic flowers and lush vegetation growing on the riverbank as the river meanders through the rainforest. As you travel down the river, ask your guide to tell you the legend of the witch who gave her name to the river, and look out for trees bearing local fruits such as ackee, calabash and breadfruit. Along the route there are stalls selling beer, food and souvenirs, all you have to do is ask your guide to pull in, and make sure you take your swimsuit so you can enjoy a quick dip in the river. The nearest resort, Montego Bay, is just 25 miles away, with Thomson Holidays offering a choice of hotels.
Bob Marley Museum
The legendary reggae king’s former home and recording studio in Kingston is now a landmark museum. Marley bought the house in 1975, after he became famous, and it was his home until his death in 1981. Here you can see every aspect of Marley’s life and many of his personal treasures and memorabilia are on display. As some of Bob Marley’s family are involved in running the museum, you may even be able to get a personal insight into what the icon was really like. The museum has its own little version of a Hard Rock Café, but don’t let that put you off. Called Bob’s café, here you can admire the musician’s platinum discs while eating traditional jerk cuisine or Ital Irie Stew, said to be Marley’s favourite dish.
Photo by 04deveni n Flickr.