A History all its Own: Jamaica
Located just south of Cuba and due west of Haiti lays the small, but beautifully lush and diverse island nation of Jamaica. The once Spanish island, turned British colony, and now independent country is the most populous Anglophone nation in the Caribbean and one of the best-known island nations throughout the world. Although highly acclaimed for its emerald seas, sugary beaches, and sun-drenched days, Jamaica stands apart from much of the Caribbean in terms of its history and modern culture.
With the former nexus for the New World's infamous triangular trade circuit, Jamaica today represents the most illustrated connection with African culture throughout the Caribbean. While the slave trade from Africa and rum running to Europe that was once funneled through Jamaica's capital city of Kingston has long since ceased to exist, the constant immigration from Africa left a permanent mark on the culture of the island. What began as in introduction of jerk spices became a cultural revolution that went all the way through to the 1970s with popular movement of Rastafarianism and Reggae. Today, Jamaica's people are strongly connected to the former tied between the island and its part creating a unique African vibe amidst a stunning landscape.
Jamaica's vibrant and bustling capital city's reputation unfortunately has the affect of deterring most visitors. However, those with the patience and guts to check to it out will be handsomely rewarded with the discovery that Kingston offers much more than crime and jerk chicken. As the official ground zero for the reggae movement of which Jamaica made its mark, the city is a mix of bustling street artists, musicians, sidewalk vendors hustling everything from mixed tapes to cars on finance, and historic building that suggest a time before the English left. Although it's admittedly not for every tourist, Kingston offers a unique look into one of the most charismatic and interesting islands in the region.
As the host of the islands largest airport and busiest port for cruise ships, MoBay as visitors affectionately refer to it is Jamaica's most popular tourist city. Running parallel to the main beach is Gloucester Street, which serves as the city's main drag. It is here that almost everything can be found; from spring-breaker paradise to upscale hotels and a dizzying array of souvenir shops, Montego Bay offers something for everyone. Although the city might not excel at any one type of vacation ideal, what it does best is food despite the gaudiness of Gloucester strip, the area boasts the best eating options on the island.
Wrapped around a small bay that could have come straight off a postcard, Ocho Rios is a former fishing village turned hub of the luxury resort industry on the island. With luxury resorts packed around the bay, this area of the island is best left for those wanting an all-inclusive vacation, complete with a quiet beach, and daily cruise stopovers. However, the city isn't completely left for want Ocho Rios also provides a lively nightlife, great base for exploring the waterfalls of the interior jungle, and a serene spot to relax.
Tucked somewhere between the chill out of Ocho Rios and the hustle-bustle of MoBay, Negril is a Jamaica's most charming beachside location. Tourism is Negril's only sustained industry. And yet, with an 11km beach, plenty of offshore coral, calm waters, and peach-colored sunsets, it really doesn't need much more. Once a spot similar in reputation to the off-the-beaten track paradises found in far off Southeast Asia, Negril's hippy mentality is now long gone. However, in spite of the beach's newfound identity, it remains the best spot on the island to relax and go with the flow, mon.
Ready, set, go!
No matter which spot of the island youve decided to try out, Jamaica is easy to get to from almost anywhere in North America or Europe. With international airlines landing around the clock and major cruise lines regularly making port, Jamaica is no stranger to the friendly face of a traveller. If you're looking for something unique within the beautiful waters of the Caribbean, look no further than Jamaica with a rich history, invigorating culture, great food, and beautiful landscape, it simply doesn't get much better than this.