The following itineraries will help you get the most out of Jamaica, taking in the island’s best attractions, and quite a bit of the rest as well. The island’s main sights – from beautiful beaches to a Bob Marley pilgrimage – make up the Grand Tour, while Hidden Jamaica will help you get off the beaten track. If you’re after a more active holiday, the Great Outdoors covers everything from caving and cricket to mountain-biking and ziplining.
If you are planning your travel to Jamaica yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.
This two-week tour focuses on the less-visited south coast, taking in off-the-beaten-track beaches, the finest mountain food and coffee, and art, architecture and horseracing around Kingston.
1. St Thomas
Drive through the canefields of Jamaica’s least-visited parish for sunrise at Morant Point, and relax in hot mineral springs at nearby Bath.
2. Port Royal
The former buccaneer stronghold boasts fantastic colonial architecture and is a great spot for a plate of steamfish; you can snorkel at nearby Lime Cay.
3. The Blue Mountains
Dramatic views, excellent hikes and fresh mountain streams await you, while there’s the world finest coffee at Old Tavern and the best island food at EITS Café.
Art at the capital’s National Gallery gets under the skin of modern Jamaica, Hope Botanical Gardens offers lovely respite, and there’s your pick of chic restaurants and street reggae parties.
5. Caymanas Park and Hellshire
Regardless of an interest in horseracing, a trip to animated Caymanas track offers riotous fun in an exquisite setting. Follow it with the world’s best fried fish at Hellshire.
6. Alligator Hole to Alligator Pond
In fact the reptiles aren’t to be found along this little-populated strip of coastline; instead expect cacti-filled desert, mineral springs, manatees and excellent seafood.
7. Treasure Beach
Tourism at its most laid-back and hassle-free: chill out on the beach, eat the freshest local food and don’t miss a drink at the Pelican Bar, on stilts out to sea.
8. Bluefields Bay
Fishing village life in western Jamaica comes with fine white sand, Rasta cooking, hillside hikes and the mausoleum of reggae-royal Peter Tosh, an atmospheric alternative to Bob’s final resting place.
You’ll need ten to twelve days to make the most of this sport- and thrill-infused journey across the island, encompassing zip wires, hiking, caving and catching your breath over a game of cricket.
1. Cranbrook Flower Forest
Whizz through the canopy on zip wires at this vividly coloured nature reserve, which also offers tilapia fishing, river swimming and towering tree ferns.
2. Hooves horseback ride
One of the best such tours, taking in tropical forest and the ruins of a Taino village and Spanish settlement, before heading to the beach and into the water.
Noel Coward’s final exudes history, both from his own elegant era and its long-gone previous residents: Pirate Morgan and Taino Amerindians. But the real highlight is the unsurpassed coastline panorama.
4. The Blue Lagoon
No water lover should come to Jamaica without swimming at this natural wonder, made famous globally by its Hollywood namesake; divers can discover the deep blue depths.
5. The Blue Mountains
A downhill mountain-bike tour is a great way to see this spectacular coffee- and waterfall-covered landscape. If you have time, hike up Blue Mountain Peak.
6. Cricket at Sabina Park
The West Indies revolutionized cricket in the 1980s, routing all visitors right here. Catch a game and take in the electric atmosphere, with reggae played loud and dancing in the stands.
7. Cockpit Country hike
The wild hinterland in Jamaica’s west is best seen on a 16km trail that runs right across this extraordinary landscape of troughs and hillocks.
8. Windsor Cave and Sherwood Content
End your tour on the edge of the Cockpits with a few hours spelunking in one of the island’s largest cave systems, with numerous bat species and twisted columns.
Jamaica’s highlights can be easily seen in just seven days, though a little longer will help you get the most from each destination.
Located at Jamaica’s western tip, this eleven-kilometre beach offers plentiful sunbeds, snorkelling, diving and glass-bottom boats.
2. Appleton Estate rum tour
Head inland through lush fields of sugar cane to learn about – and more to the point, try – the island’s favourite drink.
3. Dunn’s River Falls
Fronting many a tourist brochure, Jamaica’s signature waterfall draws throngs of visitors. For the best experience, climb it following a morning boat trip.
4. Bob Marley Kingston pilgrimage
Find out who the man was and what inspired his iconic music at the Bob Marley Museum and Trench Town Culture Yard.
5. Rio Grande rafting
Glide gently downriver through pristine countryside aboard a bamboo raft, stopping for an atmospheric lunch or rum on the riverbank.
6. Portland’s sandy coves
Somewhat alike in appearance, Frenchman’s Cove and Winnifred Beach are arguably the island’s most attractive sands – but their atmospheres display two quite different Jamaicas.