With average temperatures of 27°C all year round, it’s no surprise that we Brits love to flock to this very beautiful and laid-back Caribbean island. There are so many reasons to visit this popular country – from its breathtaking beaches, to delicious food, Bond movie-set locations and amazing hotels – you really won’t want to leave!
Life’s a beach
With their white-sand shores and turquoise clear waters, the beaches are probably some of the most amazing we’ve seen. Seven Mile Beach in the west- coast town of Negril is the longest beach on the island – we recommend a rum-punch cocktail at Island Lux bar, which is right on the seafront.
The James Bond Beach at Oracabessa Bay has served as a filming location in plenty of Bond films, due to author Ian Fleming taking inspiration from this beautiful part of the island and writing most of his 14 James Bond novels here.
If you prefer a quieter experience, the private beach Frenchman’s Cove, in the parish of Portland near Port Antonio, is thought to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Even though it’s small, it doesn’t tend to get too crowded because you do have to pay a (reasonable) entrance fee. The river meets the ocean and the water is crystal clear, and so blue and calm, it’s ideal for a swim. It has a great rope-swing hanging from one of the cove’s trees, which makes a perfect Insta pic! Food and drinks are also served in the restaurant here – we enjoyed a lovely lunch of jerk chicken and rice.
Make sure you book a day trip to Port Antonio and the Blue Lagoon to get a flavourful cocktail of real Jamaican life. The trip begins at the local Sun Valley banana plantation, and then takes you to the Blue Lagoon, where you can take a boat cruise around Monkey Island and have a dip in the water if you fancy it. Bliss.
Explore more of the island with a bamboo-rafting trip on a peaceful and relaxing ride along the Martha Brae River. This was one of Ian Fleming’s favourite pastimes and it’s easy to see why – it’s so quiet that you can hear the bamboo growing. You really feel like you are in the middle of a tropical paradise filled with mango trees, mangroves and palms, as you float along navigated by a captain who doubles up as a very knowledgeable guide.
Nightlife in Jamaica doesn’t disappoint, and you can hear reggae music all over the island.
Rick’s Café is a must-visit. It’s famous for its fearless cliff divers and sunsets, although it’s actually a great bar and restaurant serving rum cocktails, locally-brewed Red Stripe beer and great food. If you’re feeling brave, you have the chance to jump from the cliff, but even if you don’t plan on doing it yourself, it’s great fun watching others do it. Around 5.30pm, make sure you secure your spot to watch stunning sunset while listening to live music.
You won’t go hungry in Jamaica; the food is delicious and there is so much you will want to try.
The island’s famous jerk chicken is a hot and spicy street-food favourite that can be found in most restaurants and hotels.
You can’t go to Jamaica without trying a beef patty: you will find them everywhere, and the vegetarian version is just as good as the spicy beef. Ackee and saltfish is the national dish and normally served at breakfast. It consists of ackee (a locally grown fruit) and codfish, which are sautéed together with onions and peppers. It’s not for everyone, but we suggest trying it!
Where to stay
Luxury on this island is more affordable than you might think – and the Royalton Negril Resort (exclusive to Tui Holidays) is right on the beach. The hotel features three sections, offering a family-friendly holiday in the general resort, the Diamond Club, which includes the most amazing butler service, private pool and beach area, and the Hideaway, an adult-only oasis. All the rooms are suites with a full mini-bar – which is restocked daily! There are seven restaurants included in the all-inclusive deal – we loved the Hunter Steakhouse, and another favourite is the Gourmet Marche, a large buffet restaurant offering a huge choice.
For a more exclusive feel, there’s the gorgeous adults-only Excellence Oyster Bay in Trelawny, set on its own private beach. Built on a peninsula surrounded by crystal-clear water and with beautiful interiors, it feels super-luxurious. You will be spoilt for choice with the nine restaurants and bars, with cuisines including teppanyaki, Asian, French and a lobster house with fantastic seafood and cocktails. For a VIP experience, check out the Excellence Club, with upgraded perks including exclusive lounges, a private pool and a trip to the spa.
Need to know
· TUI offers a seven-night stay at the Royalton Negril Resort and Spa on an all-inclusive basis. Prices from £1,294 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Manchester airport on 15 March 2021 and transfers.
· Stay seven nights at the Excellence Oyster Bay on an all-inclusive basis, with online prices starting at £2,262 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Manchester Airport on 14 March 2021 and transfers. To find out more about both holidays or to book, go to Tui.co.uk, or visit your local TUI store.
· A trip to Rick’s Café costs from £34 and a day trip to the Blue Lagoon from £113 per person. Both are bookable at TUI.co.uk
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