Caribbean: Jamaica, an Overview

Come back to Jamaica, mon. This beautiful, multicultural island gave birth to reggae, a world-famous cuisine and even a revolution. Present-day Jamaica is stable, unequivocably welcoming, gorgeous and perfect for honeymoons.

Fun-loving honeymooners who want a "no problem" getaway will revel in happy-go-lucky Jamaica. The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is easy to reach, economical (the all-inclusive concept originated here), and blessed with a bevy of sports and natural offerings as well as a thriving nightlife.

Here, road signs urge "Undertakers Love Overtakers: Drive Carefully" and Rastafarians shuttle uniformed school girls across the road. And although you can have a relaxing vacation without leaving your resort -- beginning your day with rich Blue Mountain coffee and ending it with a Hummingbird cocktail on the beach -- we encourage you to venture out with an open mind to discover a friendly and colorful culture.

In a Word: Lush

Jamaica is a natural paradise. Surrounded by the bright blue sea, the "land of wood and water" has 6 mountain ranges, 120 rivers, 200 miles of beaches, 25 indigenous bird species, 3,000 flowering plants -- 827 of which are unique to Jamaica -- and 550 types of ferns!

Pucker Up: Island Aphrodisiacs

Coconut water -- sold as "cold jelly" at roadside stands -- and conch soup are said to heighten amour (seething reggae rhythms and rum drinks don't hurt, either).

Where We'd Go: Finding the Perfect Beach Spot

  • Montego Bay: Tourist central. Located near the airport on the northwest side of the island, "MoBay" is perfect for golf getaways and short honeymoons. You can pack a lot of window shopping, beach bumming, and rum punches into a short period of time!
  • Ocho Rios: Garden strollers and nature lovers should make the one-and-a-half-hour trip east from the airport to Ocho Rios, called "Jamaica's Garden," where you'll find awe-inspiring waterfalls, tropical flora, sugar plantations, and quaint fishing villages.
  • Port Antonio: Called the "most exquisite port on earth," Port Antonio is a less developed seaside gem on the northeast side of the island where jerked cooking was invented, and "The Blue Lagoon" was filmed. Need we say more?
  • Negril: Legendary for its hedonistic happenings, this once-sleepy secret on the west coast is out. The main draws here are the beautiful Seven Mile beach, cerulean sea, glorious sunsets, and ten miles of colorful reef.
  • Kingston: Although Bob Marley's birthplace is culturally rich, we don't recommend Kingston for honeymooners, unless you seek your reggae roots -- visit the Bob Marley Museum -- or a starting point to the spas and hikes in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

When to Go: Jamaica at its Best

  • Best weather: December to April. Rain (called "liquid sunshine") is common, especially in October.
  • Best prices: Mid-April to mid-December; exact dates vary by hotel. Hurricane season swirls from June to November (September is trickiest).
  • Festival highlights: Carnival is the highlight of the Jamaican year, held in Kingston, Ocho Rios, and MoBay every April and in Negril every May. Reggae lovers flood the Reggae Sumfest every August in MoBay.

Photo: The Jamaica Tourist Board

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