In 2008 I visited some Caribbean islands and it was unforgettable. It is a region endowed with an extremely rich culture, an enormous history and landscapes that are simply mesmerizing. One of the countries that were part of that trip was Jamaica. The country of reggae and Bob Marley (but not only that!).
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the island was inhabited by Indians who called it “Xaymaca”, “the land of wood and water”. The natives were decimated shortly after and thus the importation of African slaves began. With the arrival of the English (and the expulsion of the Spanish) the country was designated as Jamaica and a new capital was established, Kingston.
During the English colonization, the country became famous for being a smuggling and piracy hub in the Caribbean region, given its proximity to the shipping routes and the natural settings of the bay itself, which allowed to protect a vast number of vessels. Around 1670, England appointed a governor and the pirates were chased until their extinction. Later, the Royal African Company was established and Jamaica became one of the biggest slave trading centers.
Throughout the slavery period, along with the prohibition of religious manifestations by the slaves, the roots of what would later be called the Rastafari and reggae movement started to be set. And this music, this lifestyle and way of being, represents a vital aspect when one talks about a trip to Jamaica. There’s a tangible cool vibe and it gives the proper context to the words you hear the most from the Jamaican people: “no problem” and “respect”.
Where to go
Bob Marley Museum
In order to better understand what I have just said, I recommend that you go to Kingston and visit the Bob Marley museum, which his house until his passing.
Country interior by car
The Museum was a place that I visited when I arrived in Jamaica’s capital, after having departed from Cuba. In Kingston, I’ve rented a car and drove to Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The route towards the coast is a massive burst of green. For those who have the wish to visit Jamaica, “losing” yourself in the country’s interior is something that I deeply recommend doing, instead of being confined to its beaches and well-known spots.
Montego Bay and Negril
In Montego Bay and Negril you can find heavenly beaches, warm and peaceful water, fine and golden sand. A pure dream…
Dunn’s Rivers Falls
I also recommend going to Dunn’s Rivers Falls, in Ocho Rios. Climbing these waterfalls on foot is an unmissable adventure! Don’t finish your Jamaican trip without going there.
The Dunn’s River Falls are 55 meters tall and 180 meters long and they appear to be gigantic stairs, so it’s possible to climb them on foot, albeit with some effort, due to the water’s strength and taking into account the slippery rocks. It’s a challenge that may take around 1 or 2 hours.
For those who don’t want to climb them on foot, it’s possible to use the stairs right next to them. Both ways ensure an absolutely worthy walk, since surroundings are amazing, with an astonishing natural beauty.
Jamaica is indeed a country worth visiting. Nice people and a “cool vibe”, great weather, breath-taking landscapes and beaches that really leaves your mouth watering for a proper trip and then some. I loved it 🙂