Jamaica Island Travel Guide
Jamaica Island Local History
Jamaica' name is derived from Xamayca, meaning land of wood and water, where the Arawaks from South America had settled around 1,000AD. Spain began occupation in 1509, naming the island Santiago after which, British forces seized the island in 1655. The British gained formal possession through the Treaty of Madrid in 1670.
Sugar and slavery were two of the most valuable commodities that Jamaica had for more than 150 years. The maroons, (escaped slaves) established independent communities in the mountainous interior where British were unable to defeat them.
The island of Jamaica was once an important base for pirates, specifically at Port Royal before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1692. A new capital Spanish Town was chosen in the south, and later moved to nearby Kingston.
Jamaica Island Attractions
Jamaica Island Beaches
If you have ever seen that once-in-a-lifetime dream picture of a carefree, sunny beach with deep blue clear waters, long outstretched sands and lazy hanging around, you have probably watched any one of the world-famous beaches of Jamaica island. But don't fool yourself, they are not nearly as enticing on paper. You just have to experience it for yourself. Here they are, make your pick:
Doctor's Cave - one of the most popular beaches
Silver Sands - along the coastal road to Ocho Rios
Fisherman's Beach - along the coastal road to Ocho Rios
Time N' Place - along the coastal road to Ocho Rios
Trelawny Beach - along the coastal road to Ocho Rios
Seven Mile Beach - at Negril, famous for a carefree ambiance and beautiful sunsets. Visitors will enjoy a wide range of water sport activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
Jamaica Island Restaurants and Bars
Jamaica Island Restaurants
Restaurants in Jamaica reflect the diversity of the people. Jamaica food has African, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern influences that combine to form a unique Jamaican cuisine in its own right. "Authentic" Jamaica food includes grilled meats and smoked fish, spicy seafood dishes, and lots of jerk chicken and pork (jerk is a spice). Some of Jamaica's restaurants are located in luxurious hotels, while others are perched on the cliff side featuring beautiful Jamaican sunsets. Here are a few suggestions:
Blue Mountain Inn - Located in an 18th century coffee plantation on Blue Mountain, near Kingston. The Inn serves fine cuisine and specializes in steaks and seafood.
Almond Tree - an eclectic assortment of Jamaican and Caribbean dishes served atop a cove in Ocho Rios.
Sugar Mill Restaurant - one of Jamaica's best restaurants, serving authentic Jamaica food. Located in Half Moon Club in Montego Bay.
Redbones Blues Cafe - enjoy Caribbean and Italian cuisine in an old Spanish-colonial house, spruced up with a jazzy décor. Located in Kingston.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville located in Negril, you will find casual dining in the spirit of Buffett's famous Caribbean tune. Serves a mix of Caribbean, Mexican, vegetarian, and seafood, in one of two locations.
Jamaica Island Bars & Clubs
Carlos Cafe Located at 22 Belmont Rd, Kingston, this pub is rather trendy, with plenty good music and ambiance. Light meals and tasty bar snacks are served, with crab night on Mondays. Thursday is Latin Music night and Karaoke on Fridays.
Half Time Sports Bar and Grill - Often proclaimed as one of the best sports bars in the world, it is the place to have fun. There are plenty of pool tables, game machines and TV sets to keep patrons occupied. The bar also serves as a cyber cafe, with several computers offering Internet access. The lunch and dinner menus include traditional Jamaican cuisine and specialty dishes. This popular establishment overlooks one of New Kingston's major thoroughfares, so it is very easy to find. Alcoholic beverages and juices are served.
Rick's Cafe in Negril - This spot is well known for spectacular cliff-diving opportunities and glorious sunsets. After having enjoyed the scenery, enjoy a cold Red Stripe beer and some jerk chicken. The bar menu consists of traditional sandwiches and burgers. At night try a hefty steak or seafood platter. The fruit daiquiris here are said to be the best around. Rick's is a tourist landmark where people come for the atmosphere.
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