A country of mist-shrouded mountains, sun-drenched beaches, and aquamarine seas, Jamaica is an idyllic island. From the boisterous nightlife of Montego Bay to the quiet calm of Runaway Bay, whether you are in search of low-key or luxury, there are endless options to shape the perfect vacation. Crystalline waters and extensive coral reefs make for incredible snorkeling and scuba diving, with luxuriant hills and dramatic cliffs as a backdrop. Join a guide for a rugged trek through the mountains of Cockpit Country or Blue Mountains National park, play championship golf courses in Montego Bay, or spend a languid week stretched out on Seven Mile Beach. Spicy cuisine, luxury resorts, and a daydream coast are just the start of the adventure in Jamaica.
MoBay, as it’s locally known, is a freewheeling city whose streets are a constant swirl of activity, but just outside the city, resplendent beaches, tranquil resorts, and endless activities are the alluring all-inclusive alternative. Luxury hotels cater to every type of traveler—from romantic getaways to family-oriented resorts offering a host of watersports. Championship golf courses, quality museums like the National Museum West, and restored period-plantations like the Rose Hall Great House and the Bellefield Great House are just a few of the area’s attractions away from the beach. The lively bars and restaurants of the Hip Strip offer an exciting night on the town after delightful days in the sun.
This laid-back stretch of coast in western Jamaica’s is home to some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Jamaica—coral reefs spread along quiet bays and beneath the shadow of precipitous cliffs. Seven Mile Beach is Negril’s most enticing attraction and offers all-inclusive resorts to the north, smaller family-run hotels in the south, and plenty of good food and entertainment in between. Coves and bays scallop the coast and make for days of exploring—golden sands, dramatic cliff vistas, and spectacular sunsets are just the beginning of Negril’s beauty.
Once a quiet fishing village, Ocho Rios is now a thriving port town on Jamaica’s northern coast, where luxury resorts and hotels perch along sandy, palm-shaded beaches. Verdant, rolling hills ripple inland and along the coast, and some of the country’s most picturesque waterfalls are just outside of town. Ocho Rios is a docking point for cruise ships, which has supported the rise of quality of bars, restaurants, and entertainment. Climb and swim in the terraced mountain waterfall of Dunn’s River Falls, or join a guide for scuba diving and snorkeling off the coast. Ocho Rios is laid-back, luxurious, and makes a great base to romp along the north coast.
The name Runaway Bay is no misnomer—this quiet stretch of coast is the perfect retreat from the popularity of of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. A one-street town spread along a couple of miles of Jamaica’s north-central coast, Runaway Bay is rich with natural beauty and ideal for outdoor-enthusiasts who prefer peace and quiet over partying. Clear waters and coral reefs make this an excellent area for snorkeling and scuba diving, and for a change of pace, check out the Green Grotto Caves to the south of town.