If you visit Jamaica you won’t be disappointed in the clichés that define the country. The native land of Bob Marley, the greatest reggae singer in history, is faithful to its stereotypes and, when you go out into its streets, it’s easy to come in touch with the musical rhythm on the soundboxes, the easy-going way of life - characterized by the expression “no problem”, often used by Jamaicans - the Rastafari movement – a Judeo-Christian segment that emerged in the country in the 1930’s – and another cultural and legislative relationship with marijuana, where possession and planting are permitted. Neither does the country disappoint tourists in search of a destination to rest in, with no need of drugs, of course, but with a real immersion in nature.
The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is made up of imposing mountains surrounded by a narrow coastal plain home to a variety of ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. The beautiful Jamaican landscapes are formed by exuberant beaches that share space with cozy waterfalls, forests and large rivers. However, the same nature that attracts tourists, also scares them. This is because the inviting tropical climate is in contrast to the dangers inherent in the country’s geographical situation, in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean, which provokes the occurrence of cyclones.
What to visit
Water is definitely the focus of tourism, especially the outstanding beaches of Doctor’s Cave and Dead End, as well as the lovely Blue Hole lagoon and an incredible 183m high waterfall called Dunn River Falls. Therefore, pack your bags with sunscreen and bathing-suits, to enjoy sea-bathing as well as tours on the rivers, and relax in Jamaica’s beautiful waterfalls and natural pools. But it isn’t only rest, shade and fresh water that comprise an itinerary on the island: Jamaican topography offers great trails for hiking or cycling. On the way, enjoy not only the landscape, but also a juicy mango or apple, abundant in the region, as well as the option of resting your feet in one of the waterways. On a tour called Bamboo Rafting, tourists sail down a river in a bamboo canoe. Among other attractions, which include practising popular sports in Jamaica, we find the zip line, diving, and an incredible bobsled ride without snow, like the one used in the Winter Olympics and immortalized in the film Cool Runnings.
Moving from adventure to history,take a zip line on Mystic Mountain and contemplate not only nature, but also a cultural center that shows a tribute to the country’s greatest icons: Usain Bolt, Olympic champion, and singer Bob Marley, considered the greatest representative of reggae. Jamaican culture is also well documented and exhibited in the cultural center built on Sam Sharpe Square. On the tour called Plantation Tours & Great Houses, offered by local tourist agencies, you’ll learn about part of Jamaica’s history through its majestic plantations. Another part of Jamaican history is told in the depths of caves, former sites of the ceremonies of the Tainos, a native Amerindian people. In the sinuous corridors and large underground pools, you’ll live an incredible experience of immersion in nature. Another fantastic contact with nature is on one of the tours to observe 65 species of birds that live in Jamaica, 28 of which are indigenous to the country.
Flavors of Jamaica
The interesting Jamaican creole food is mainly meat-based: on every corner you’ll find jerk beef and jerk chicken, barbecued beef and chicken with peppery bittersweet sauce, served with rice and beans. Seafood is also part of what’s best on the Jamaican menu, as well as meat patties and bammy, cassava bread very popular with the natives. Beer and rum drinks complete your order.
Birthplace of several musical genres
You’re mistaken if you think that reggae is the only sound in Jamaica. Famous all over the world through Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, the island is also mother to rhythms such as ska, dub, reggaeton and ragga. Self-styled the “Capital of Caribbean Culture”, the impression one gets when visiting Jamaica is that daily life is a non-ending musical, since the melodies are part of almost all the activities on the island.
When to travel to Jamaica
Although it’s hot almost all year round, as in most countries situated in the Caribbean, you might think the ideal, of course, is to go there in the summer, since the island’s main attractions include beaches, rivers and waterfalls. Wrong! In the summer, between June and November, it’s too hot and damp, with more rainfall. Therefore, the high season is between December and April, in the winter, when there’s less rain and the temperatures are milder.
According to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, the Brazilian tourist must present round trip tickets, a passport valid for at least six months, a vaccination card for yellow fever, and an address for accommodation in Jamaica.