Jamaica is the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean Sea. Its nearest neighbours are Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Hispaniola. Previously a Spanish colony, Jamaica was acquired by the British in the middle of the 17th century and became independent in 1962. Nevertheless, Jamaica’s remained a member of the Commonwealth.
The capital Kingston is also the islands’ largest city and it has one of the world’s largest natural harbours. The Jamaican climate is hot and humid tropical.
Transport on the island is changing, with modern highways replacing old train lines that are currently mostly used for the shifting of bauxite. Car hire may be OK if the driver’s used to different road surfaces. However bicycles and scooters may be better short-journey alternatives. Ensure any other type of transport (taxis, mini buses etc) is government-approved for safety. For the adventurous, ferries and privately chartered planes will get you places few others will venture.
Although the official language is English, you’ll mostly hear the Jamaicans speaking Patois which also incorporates African and Creole elements.
Jamaican Patois is also the basis of Reggae music, although many more musical genres (e.g. rocksteady, dancehall and ragga) were also derived from this island, with punk rock, rap, hip-hop and jungle also owing part of their development here. Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker and Grace Jones are from Jamaica.
Some excellent tourist attractions are dispersed all over the island. They include Port Royal (a site of an earthquake that formed the Palisadoes – strips of sand that help form natural sea barriers) and the Blue Lagoon in Portland. The YS and Dunn’s River Falls in St. Elizabeth and St. Ann are worth visiting. For food, many fresh fish, fruit and vegetables will entice, but you must also try the jerk chicken, if at least once.
Posted : Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at 11:00
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save