After four amazing visits to Jamaica, we have chosen the best things to do in Jamaica so you can decide what works for your next vacation. Don’t stay on the resort, get out and see the land of Bob Marley. Jamaica will excite you and once you’ve visited once, you’ll go back again and again!
We’ve rounded up our favorite attractions in Jamaica. From the popular places like Dunn s River Falls to the lesser known attractions in Treasure Beach, we’ve got you covered. So sit back and relax and let us transport you to Jamaica.
Best Things to do in Jamaica
The island of Reggae and Bob Marley, Jamaica has so many things to offer every type of traveler. Whether you make a base in Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, we’ve got you covered. These are our top recommendations for things to do!
1. Bamboo Rafting at Martha Brae River – Trelawny
Bamboo Rafting down the Martha Brae River is a relaxing way to spend 90 minutes enjoying the scenery while learning about the local history and culture of the area. You can stop at bars for a drink, purchase crafts and paintings from local artisans, or play on the rope swings along the way as Bob Marley blasts from riverside bars.
If you want to book other Bamboo Rafting, There is also the Rio Grande River in Portland. Book Your Martha Brae Rafting Experience for only $70/pp with transfers from your hotel. Martha Bay is located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
2. The Pelican Bar – St. Elizabeth
Head off with a local fisherman to a place one mile offshore, in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. It’s a place to party, relax in the shallow waters, and enjoy a cold beer at sunset. If you stay on the South Coast at Jake’s Resort, you’ll be out at the Pelican Bar in 20 minutes! But tours also leave from Ocho Rios, Negril, and Montego Bay for half day trips.
- Book trips to the Pelican bar through Captain Joseph’s
- TreasureBeachExcursions or contact him directly at [email protected]
3. Catamaran and Snorkel – Negril
Leaving from Jamaica’s famous Seven Mile Beach in Negril, catamaran tours is a total blast. This full or half day trip offers a bit of everything. Tours offers sailing, sightseeing, popping into Rick’s Café to watch cliff divers, snorkeling, and getting the chance to play at Margaritaville. Plus, being a Caribbean excursion, there’s plenty of rum to be had!
Snorkeling was a part of our Catamaran tour, but there are plenty of snorkeling tours in Jamaica that leave from Seven Mile Beach. Jamaica has some interesting marine life to see. We spotted trumpetfish, pufferfish, and starfish. Plus, the water is calm, inviting, and warm. A highlight for me was swimming to Pirate’s Cave, a sea cave where pirates used to hide their stashes of buried treasure.
- Book Your Catamaran Tour from Ocho Rios combined with a stop at Dunn s River Falls for only $160/pp
4. The Black River Safari
While once endangered in Jamaica, crocodiles are now protected and you can see them on the Black River Safari. This 90-minute boat ride lets you get up close and personal with crocodiles as they laze on the banks of the river, swim up to the boats, or hide in the mangrove trees. It’s a Jamaican excursion you won’t forget.
Make a day of it and Book a Trip to Combine the YS Waterfalls with the Black River Safari and Appleton estate Rum Distillery!
5. Swimming with Horses – Saint Ann
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Jamaica. It was so much fun. Don’t worry, horses love to swim and if they don’t, there is no way to get them into the water. Tours start off with a half-hour ride out to the beach and ends with a good 15-minute dip in the Caribbean Sea. It’s a hoot! See our full review here.
6. Bobsledding Mystic Mountain – Ocho Rios
The most unique tourist attraction in Jamaica (really in all of the Caribbean) is to hit the bobsled track at Mystic Mountain near Ocho Rios. A fifteen-minute chair ride takes you up to the top of the mountain where there is a museum, pool bar, café, waterslides and zip line. The bobsleigh ride is fast and over before you know it, but it’s exciting and you feel giddy racing through the rainforest. You can spend an entire day at Rainforest Adventures on Mystic Mountain.
7. Luminous Lagoon – Falmouth
The Luminous Lagoon is one of the more popular tourist attractions in Jamaica because it is so original. There aren’t a lot of places on earth where you can see bioluminescence in real life so this is the place to go. Plus, since tourism has been down in 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bioluminescence water is glowing in full force. If you haven’t experienced, bioluminescence, where lights dance in the water from microorganisms, this may be the place to do it!
8. Cliff Divers at Rick’s Cafe – Negril
Rick’s Café is famous for the cliff divers who put on a nightly show. You can book tours to the cafe itself or see it from a sailboat or catamaran tour. Rick’s cafe is famous for the divers, but it is also a popular bar to have drinks in Jamaica too.
9. YS Falls Adventure – Treasure Beach
There is nothing more fun than escaping the hot sun by swimming in lagoons and basking in falls cascading from above. YS Waterfall is a seven-tiered waterfall that is beautiful and fun!
Be sure to hire a guide, ours helped us go to places the independent travelers couldn’t go, and he set up the rope swings for us creating a more relaxing and informative excursion. Pack a waterproof camera or GoPro and be sure to bring a towel. This is a good alternative to the less busy Dunn s River Falls.
10. Dunn s River Falls Jamaica – Ocho Rios
Dunn s River Falls is one of the top attractions in Jamaica famous for its cascading tiers. It is Jamaica’s largest waterfalls and the most famous. When visiting Dunn s River Falls make sure to pack water shoes for walking. The bottom of the falls is rocky and slippery and having shoes makes life a lot easier.
Many people combine Dunn s River Falls into a full day trip with swimming with horses or the Green Grotto Caves. Guided Tours to Dunn s River Falls Jamaica is best from Ocho Rios. You can book your Dunn s River Falls excursion in advance through Get Your Guide here.
Other alternatives to Dunn s River Falls and YS Waterfalls are Mahoe Falls and Konoko Falls.
11. Blue Hole – Ocho Rios
Jamaica has a Blue Hole that is a gorgeous turquoise sinkhole near Ocho Rios. The Blue Lagoon was once called the Blue Hole, so it is easy to get the two mixed up.
Plus, there is more than one blue hole on the island. However, the Blue Hole near Ocho Rios is the popular swimming hole with a waterfall waterfall. (this is another good alternative to Dunn s River Falls) Locals and visitors alike enjoy a dip in the Blue Hole in a natural setting.
12. Zip Lining – Montpelier
No Caribbean Adventure could be complete without a zip line excursion. Zip Lining in Jamaica has enough speed to make your heart race and the platforms are high enough to make you realize that yep, you’re way above the ground. As it is located on an old plantation, it is very picturesque. Make a day of it and combine zip lining with water rafting on tubes.
Book Your Zipline Adventure with Transfers Here! You can book Ziplining Excursions from Ocho Rios or Montego Bay hotels.
13. Adventure in St. Elizabeth
This trip out of St. Elizabeth takes you through the Real Jamaica. Southern Jamaica is a nature lovers dream destination with so many outdoor activities to do.
During our cycling trip we stopped to chat with local farmers, we cycled through fields, and we even met with a local historian to learn about the history of St. Elizabeth. Did you know this area was settled by the Scottish?
14. John Crow Mountains National Park
The John Crow Mountains National park is Jamaica’s Only National Park and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, it is Jamaica’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it is not to be missed! If you are looking for something really adventurous in Jamaica, book a camping or hiking trip to reach an altitude of 7,402 feet (2256 metres)
15. Chateaux Garden – St. Elizabeth
One of the best views in Jamaica was climbing to the top of Chateaux Garden. We loved walking through local villages and farms. People still live the traditional way on the side of this mountain, moving their livestock and watering their crops all by hand.
If you want to walk through local villages, it is important to hire a guide out of respect for the villagers. Other great hikes in Jamaica take you through the John Crowe Mountains and Blue Mountains.
- For more information, you can email Damien at [email protected] for details or book at Jakes Resort.
16. Hike and Bike
Looking for something different? We took an informative hike followed by an all downhill bike to the Caribbean Sea on our hike and bike trip with Bracco Stables. After a quick break, you hop on mountain bikes for an easy downhill ride to the beach where fresh coconuts await before a nice a dip in the water.
17. River Tubing
There is no doubt that river rafting is popular on any vacation and Jamaica has its fair share of ways to get on the water. We had a blast tubing at the Montpelier Jungle Outpost with Chukka Tours. It’s similar to bamboo rafting, but it’s a little more adventurous.
18. ATV Tours
We usually find ATV rides a bit tame, but in Jamaica, it was great! Our guides kept a steady even pace that gave us enough of a thrill to be content with the speed. It was also cool to climb the steep mountain and take a look over the island once we reached the top.
- Check out Chukka Tours to book this day excursion in Jamaica.
19. Doctor s Cave Beach
One of Jamaica ‘s most popular is Doctor s Cave Beach. Located on the Hip Strip, Doctor s Cave Beach is at the top of popular things in Jamaica to add to the bucket list. The Hip Strip is also a popular destination for partying in Jamaica. Home to some of the hottest clubs in Jamaica, the Hip Strip is filled with bars including Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville.
20. Dead End Beach
And while it is a fantastic place to meet people, party and have some drinks on the beach. Walk a little further down from Doctor s Cave Beach is Dead End Beach. A place that is a more popular with the locals. This is where you can watch the planes land feeling like they are directly overhead.
21. Seven Mile Beach Jamaica
Seven Mile Beach is Jamaica’s most popular beach when choosing a vacation. Many of the best all-inclusive resorts of Jamaica are located along Seven Mile Beach giving you access to walking its beautiful white sand beach that stretches for – you guessed it Seven Miles.
Rent some jet skis to explore the coast of Seven Mile Beach or book a glass-bottom boat. There are plenty of watersports along Seven Mile Beach, the sky is the limit. It has it all. You can spend the day here and plenty of tours leave from Seven Mile Beach.
22. Private Boat and Beach Dinner
The highlight of our trip to Jamaica when we joined Captain Joseph on his fishing boat to go dolphin watching and dining on their private beach. Captain Joseph is a skilled captain with 25 years of experience. The rugged South Coast is beautiful to explore, and then to have a romantic dinner on a private beach is pure heaven.
23. Dolphin Watching
Wild dolphins inhabit the waters joining other marinelife off the coast of Jamaica. You may get lucky to spot them on a sailing trip, but we had a great view of them on Captain Joseph’s Boat tours out of St. Elizabeth.
If you are going to have a dolphin encounter in Jamaica, this is the way to do it, do not go to Dolphin Cove. Dolphin Cove traps dolphins and stingrays in a cove causing great stress on them as they let tourists have their way riding and petting the delicate marine life. Dolphin Cove is not sustainable tourism and not recommended.
- Book trips dolphin tour trips through Captain Joseph’s boat tour [email protected]
24. Blue Lagoon – Port Antonio
Located in Port Antonio, the Blue Lagoon was made famous by the film starring Brook Shields with the same name. It’s crystal clear waters change to different shades of blue throughout the day. Taking a boat tour from Port Antonio takes you to Monkey Island and gives you a beautiful view of this legendary lagoon.
25. Jerk Chicken at Scotchies – Ocho Rios and Montego Bay
If you are going to try one dish in Jamaica, make it jerk chicken! Scotchies is a Jamaican institution enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Scotchies serves Jerk the way they do around the island. It’s family style, wrapped in tin foil and drenched in delicious jerk sauce. Scotchies is located in Both Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
26. The White Witch of Rose Hall
Rose Hall Great House is a former sugar cane plantation. The legend of Rose Hall tells the story of plantation owner Annie Palmer. Kown as the white witch, Annie Palmer ran the 18th-century slave plantation and was pure evil. At the time Rose Hall was Jamaica’s largest plantation.
Palmer studied voodoo and witchcraft and after killing three of her husbands and torturing many slaves she was finally killed herself by the slave Takoo. It is said that the ghost of the white witch is still walking the halls of Rose Hall.
Book either a haunted night tour or day tour of the Rose Hall Great House which is one of Jamaica’s most popular attractions. The White Witch is Jamaica’s most infamous villain and the stories at Rose Hall will make your skin crawl. Johnny Cash wrote a song about the White Witch and he even owned a nearby plantation, the Cinnamon Hill Great House not far from Rose Hall.
27. Greenwood Great House – Montego Bay
Another excellent great house to visit is the Greenwood Estate. This 18th century estate is now locally owned since 1976 by Bob and Anne Betton. The views of Montego Bay from here are outstanding and it’s an interesting walk through the artifacts and collection of memorabilia from the island of Jamaica.
28. The Green Grotto Caves
The Green Grotto Caves are easily accessible from Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. These caves have been used for everything from a hideout for runaway slaves to pirates hiding their stash here.
The Green Grotto Caves were even a nightclub in the 1980s but they are most famous for being the set of the shark tank in James Bond’s Live and Let Die starring Roger Moore.
Many people see it on a day tour combining other Jamaica attractions, but if you can hire your own driver or taxi to, it’s only $20 per person for a fascinating tour that lasts about an hour.
29. Tour the Appleton Estate
Appleton Estate has been making rum for 265 years and is a fun trip to add to some other Jamaica excursions as it is a long way from the main tourist areas. I’m not quite sure why I always feel the need to go on a brewery or distillery tour when traveling, but it’s always fun to check out the local spirits. Combine a trip with YS waterfalls and black river safaris.
30. Port Antonio
Port Antonio is a great places to make a base to explore the Jim Crow Mountains National park, and Jamaica s Largest River, the Rio Grande. It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica including Frenchmen’s Cove and Winnifred Beach.
31. Blue Mountains
Book a tour of Kingston City and Blue Mountains to follow the routes of Bob Marley and Jamaica’s heritage. Bob Marley grew up in the Blue Mountains and you can visit his house! But the Blue Mountains are a nature lovers dream as you trek through the rainforest and Rio Grande Valley.
The Blue Mountains are also home to the Blue Mountain Coffee plantation where you can learn about Jamaica’s coffee culture and where you can pick up some java for your trip home. Here you’ll enjoy the Blue Mountain Coffee tour learning of the coffee culture of Jamaica.
Book a Kingston Blue Mountain Coffee and Blue Mountains tour with Get Your Guide.
32. The Kingston City Tour
Book a day tour to see the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. You’ll go to his home where you’ll see his recording studio and other memorabilia of his life.
You’ll also see historical landmarks like the Devon House Mansions. Devon House is a historic mansion that was owned by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. This home is part of millionaire’s corner where three wealthy families built their homes along Trafalgar Road and Hope Road.
You can book a visit to the Bob Marley Museum through TripAdvisor.
33. Bob Marley Museum
No trip to Jamaica would be complete without a touch of Bob Marley. This legendary artist and activist put Jamaica on the map and you can learn all about him at the Bob Marley Museum. You can book tours to from Ocho Rios, Kingston, Runaway Bay or Montego Bay or you can visit the Bob Marley museum on your own. Day tours to Kingston can be booked on Trip Advisor.
Other Things to see in Kingston besides the Bob Marley Museum are: The Décor VIII Jamaican Art Gallery and the Craighton Estate Coffee Farm and Emancipation Park. Emancipation Park is a monument dedicated to commemorating the end of Slavery.
Great Hotels in Jamaica
Stay at Jakes Resort – St. Elizabeth – We suggest staying at Jakes’ Resort in St. Elizabeth. Located in the south end of the island and feels like you are in the true Jamaica. We walked to local bars at night, locals hung out at the hotel and it is an amazing place to chill and enjoy island life with beautiful sunsets.
We also took a cooking class here to learn to make Jerk Snapper. Now we can make our own jerk sauce at home creating everlasting memories of Jamaica.
- Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall – Montego Bay – is in a great central location. It also had a lot of activities including SUP, kayaking and sailing included in the booking. Watch our video tour of the Hyatt Zilara
- Check out Availability & Prices on Trip Advisor
- Hotel Riu – Montego Bay – Riu Hotel Montego Bay offers a freshwater swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym, and wellness center.
- Check out Availability & Prices on Trip Advisor
- Half Moon – Montego Bay – This 400-acre resort has 2 miles of private white sand beach. It 3 restaurants and 5 bars.
Many resorts offer golf course memberships for the duration of your stay if you are into Golf.
Frequently Asked Questions about Jamaica
Visit Bob Marley Museum, Dunn s River Falls and Rose Hall Great House.
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Read More about What to do in Jamaica
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- Jamaican Bobsled Adventure at Mystic Mountain
- Green Grotto Caves – The Natural Beauty of Runaway Bay
- 22 Things to do in Montego Bay
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