They seven days is enough to explore the colourful land of Jamaica. We digress — a lifetime is what’s enough! The culture, the food, the people… it’s calling us to take part into something so unique and fulfilling. It’s as if a few days will just scratch the surface of a massive ball of good vibes and rich lifestyle. Then, reality strikes: not everyone is blessed to have such liberty and move to another country. A lot are just gifted with a time or two, and so we are here to give you an image of what it’s like to tour Jamaica.
First things first: you should know that you will be travelling to an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea.
Expect blue-green seas, tropical surroundings and diverse ecosystems. Its perfect location is mainly why it’s popular to tourists, especially to those who are aficionados of diving, trekking and other nature-inspired activities. Jamaica enjoys ample sun and pouring rains, but because it lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic ocean, the country experiences severe weather from time to time. Planning your trip with high regard to the type of season you’ll be flying in to is strongly advised.
Don’t even get us started with the food (for we know not where to start!) Jamaican patties. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. Perhaps there’s a significant reason why these specialties end up in our local markets. Therefore, there’s no reason not to try these in their home country! Another thing born from this island is reggae music, and it’s best heard and experienced in Jamaica where it all started. Overloaded with important information?
Don’t know how to go about your holiday plans? Worry not, for below is a sample itinerary that we have drafted meticulously so that you can have the best stay in the marvelous island of Jamaica.
Philippine Passport holders: Visa is required to travel to Jamaica. Most of the flights to Jamaica from the Philippines are going through the USA. In this case, you will also have to secure a US Visa.
Here are the requirements to secure a Jamaican visa for Filipino citizens:
- Valid passport
- One passport size photo
- Completed Visa application form J, (download here)
- Valid return visa to the USA (if applicable)
- Flight itinerary (return ticket)
- Bank statements
You can submit your Jamaican Tourist application to your nearest Jamaican Consulate or Embassy.
UK Passport holders: British citizens can visit Jamaica visa-free.
For other Passport holders: Check if you need a Jamaican Tourist visa as well as US Transit visa prior to your travel. See the list of countries who requires a visa to visit Jamaica.
Here are the details of all the key elements of your budget travel around Jamaica. We explored the island with the view to see more of the different attractions outside of the famous all-inclusive resorts. We wanted to experience the “true” Jamaica’s culture and beauty.
St. Anne Parish:
Upon our arrival in Montego Bay, Jamaica, we headed to stay in a classic plantation guest house in St. Anne’s Parish near Ocho Rios.
We stayed in Sussex Estate Plantation Suite hosted by the lovely couple David and Ellie. You can book this place thru Airbnb. You can get free Airbnb travel credit worth €28 here.
Alternatively, you can also check the various places to stay like guest houses and hotels in St. Anne and Ocho Rios.
Port Antonio Parish:
Spending time with nature is our next agenda in visiting Port Antonio Parish on the other side of the island.
We stayed in Hotel Mockingbird Hill, just the perfect spot to see the chill vibes of the Caribbean sea and the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. You can book your stay and read the reviews from TripAdvisor here. Alternatively, you can also check other places to stay around Port Antonio here.
The last leg our trip to Jamaica is to visit and see the cultural scene of the island. During our visit to the island’s capital, Kingston, we stayed in Altamont Court Hotel. Alternatively, you can also check other places to stay in Kingston here.
Since we came from the UK, we took the direct flight from London to Montego Bay, Jamaica via Virgin Airways. Thus, no US visa was required. Also, I did use my British passport for this trip.
Alternatively, you can search for cheap flights to Jamaica here.
Travelling around Jamaica in public transport is pretty easy using the Knutsford Express. Since we are trying to lessen the carbon emission, we travelled mostly using public transport in between towns in Jamaica.
Alternatively, you can also rent a car in Jamaica to travel around the island.
There are various activities and things to do around the island. I have written another blog post about some of our suggested things to do in Jamaica
Day 1: Montego Bay
Montego Bay is one of the main cities of Jamaica. Known for their pristine white beaches, cruise hubs and a few all-inclusive resorts.
We flew from London, UK to Sangsters International Airport in Montego Bay. It is cheaper to fly to Montego Bay than Kingston. Since we arrived late in Montego Bay, we have arranged to have an airport pick to our accommodation – The Sussex Estate. You can arrange your airport pick up here from Montego Bay to any hotel in Jamaica.
However, you can also get a public bus from the Sangster International Airport to Ocho Rios via Knutsford Express.
Day 2: Ocho Rios
Spend the day exploring another popular cruise port in Jamaica, Ocho Rios.
From our accommodation, it was a short trip using the local public transport called Route Taxi. Ocho Rios is known for various tourists attractions like the Dunn’s River Falls, Dolphin Cove, the Mystic Mountain and the buzzing markets filled with various Jamaican souvenirs.
Another popular tourist attraction not far from Ocho Rios is the hometown of the music legend Bob Marley in Nine Mile. It is a visit worth doing for all the reggae music lover.
Day 3 – 5: Port Antonio
This serene side of the island is definitely not to miss when you visit Jamaica. Port Antonio is on the Northeastern side of the island.
Known for the idyllic beaches, the Rio Grande, the Blue Mountain, Frenchman’s Cove, Blue Lagoon, Reach falls, Boston Bay and the home of Errol Flynn. A great way to bond with nature and just have a relaxing time in Jamaica. Port Antonio is also a romantic destination perfect for honeymoon or beach wedding.
Day 6 – 7: Kingston
Enjoy the island bustling city island vibes in Kingston. We went around to explore the city’s arts and cultural scene starting from the music tour and city highlights. I wrote another blog post about the Top Attractions and Best Things to Do in Kingston, Jamaica
We also enjoyed visiting the old churches and synagogue in Kingston: The Cathedral of Holy Trinity, St. Andrew’s Church and Shaare Shalom Synagogue. We also visited the Rastafarian community in town.
A visit to Alpha Boys’s School is a must for all the music lover to see and appreciate the institution that nurtured most of the gifted Jamaican musicians.
Of course, before leaving the city, its a must to see the National Gallery of Jamaica and the beautiful Devon House.
From Kingston: Blue Mountain Hike and Coffee Tour | Kingston: Devon House Tour and Ice Cream Treat | City Tour of Kingston Including Entry Fee | Kingston: Story of Jamaican Music Tour including Entry Fees |
Feel the irie island vibes while travelling around Jamaica!