Hear the word Jamaica and you’re likely to picture white beaches, spicy jerk chicken and a certain Bob Marley. And you’d be spot on – the Caribbean clichés come thick and fast on this laid-back island.
Lively or laid-back
On the north coast, there’s Ocho Rios. It’s one of the island’s liveliest hubs, with loads of bars and restaurants. There’s also the 180-metre cascade of Dunn’s River Falls just down the road. If you want to slow things down a bit, you’ve got the quiet sands of Runaway Bay half-an-hour away by car.
Follow the coast west for about 45 miles and you’ll hit Montego Bay, or Mo-Bay as it’s otherwise known. Here, you’ve got fantastic beaches, river rafting and Jeep safaris to get your teeth into. A bit further on is Lucea, which scores brownie points for its historical buildings, chaotic market and half-empty beaches.
Switch to the west coast and you’ll find Negril. With its peachy sunsets, ‘no worries’ attitude and famous Seven-Mile beach, it’s Jamaica’s original chill-out destination.
Places To Stay In Jamaica► View all
As resorts go, Montego Bay on the north-west coast of Jamaica is a big, vibrant place packed with Caribbean charm. It’s long been a magnet for the rich and famous, and with its reggae-infused nightlife and hot, spicy jerk cooking the place still pulls in the crowds. Oh, and the white sandy beaches might have something to do with its popularity as well.
You might recognise Negril – its famous black cliffs starred in the Bond movie Thunderball. When it’s not flashing its Equity card, this resort on Jamaica’s western coast is a low-rise kind of place where no hotel stands higher than the tallest palm tree. Back in the Sixties, hippies loved the laid-back vibe here – and that and the beach are still pulling in the crowds.
As its name suggests, Runaway Bay was made for carefree holiday getaways. A tiny resort on Jamaica’s north coast, it’s ultra laid-back, even by Caribbean standards. Unlike larger holiday towns like Ocho Rios – 30 minutes drive to the east – and Montego Bay – an hour to the west – Runaway Bay never gets overrun by daytripping cruise crowds. Plus its beaches are some of the quietest on the island.