Overview of Island

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea spanning 10,990 sq. kms. (4,240 sq. mls) in area.  At its greatest extent, Jamaica is 230 km long (146 mi), and its width varies between 34 and 84 km (21 and 52 mi). It is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies 140 kms (90 mls. south of Cuba and 190 kms. (118 mls.) west of Haiti. 

Jamaica's history is rich and vibrant and speaks to experiences of hardships and prosperity, and the growth and determination of a people. 

Capital: Kingston

Language: English and Jamaican Creole or Patwa

Population:  2.935 million

The original Tainos tribe, Arawaks from South America,  settled in Jamaica 2500 years ago  prior to Christopher Columbus' first arrival at the island in 1494.  A peaceful people they grew cassava, sweet potatoes, corn fruits and vegetable, cotton and tobacco. Columbus had heard about Jamaica from the Cubans, then named  Xaymaca by the Indians, which meant 'land of wood and water'.  The Cubans had described it as “the land of blessed gold” something  Columbus soon discovered was only an interpretation and  that there was no gold in Jamaica. During Spain's occupation of the island, starting in 1510, the Arawaks were exterminated by disease, captivity and destruction by Columbus and his men.   The Island subsequently served as a supply base for his men in their attempts to conquer the American mainland until 1509. Then the first Spanish colonists arrived and settled in St. Ann's Bay.   Due to little attention paid to the colony itself internal strife ensued.  Frequent attacks by pirates added to their woes. Spain brought the first African slaves to Jamaica in 1517.

In 1655 the British successfully attacked the Spanish, who surrendered and fled to Cuba after first freeing their slaves, who later became known as The Maroons.  Over the next several years the buccaneers under the leadership of Henry Morgan took control of the seas looting the Spanish ships and retiring to Port Royal with all of the gold, silver and jewels. Port Royal became known as 'the wealthiest and wickedest city in the world".

Meanwhile the English settlers focused on growing crops that could be sold in England with sugar becoming the primary industry.  Due to the need for cheap labour the slave trade was born and became a popular and profitable venture for the colonists who sold the slaves to the other Islands to work in the plantations. The journey became known as the "Middle Passage' as the voyage started in England to Africa with trade goods which were exchanged for slaves, then on to the West Indies where the slaves were then exchanged for sugar, rum and molasses, then back to England.

Many unhappy slaves joined the Maroons in the almost inaccessible mountains.  Notwithstanding, several rebellions from both slaves and Maroons  with the British occurred over the years. 

It was these wars and those in other Caribbean Islands, supported by the quakers and other Humanitarian groups that led to the abolition of the slave trade.  In the 1930's Jamaica underwent more crises.  Out of these was formed two major political parties namely the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union and the Jamaica Labour Party. Not long after the National Workers' Union was formed by Norman Manley. The latter two forged ahead with the movement towards Jamaica's goal of self government.  In 1958 led by Jamaica, 10 other Caribbean countries formed The Federation of the West Indies, later to be disbanded when Jamaica withdrew.

By the 1900's most of Jamaica's population was Christian, with some traditional practices persisting in an unorganized manner. Another movement, the Rastafari religion emerged among the poor and socially disenfranchised Afro-Jamaican communities as a reaction against the dominant British colonial culture.  This new consciousness was influenced  by both Ethiopianism and the Back-to-Africa movement promoted by Marcus Garvey.

Jamaica was granted  its independence from England on August 6, 1962, 30 years after the first call was made for self-governance by Marcus Garvey. The Jamaican Constitution is the most fundamental legal document in the country, guaranteeing the freedom, rights and privileges of every Jamaican citizen. The Constitution reflects the country’s independence as a nation state and, to this day, remains the cornerstone of the island’s legal systems and institutions. Jamaica joined the Commonwealth of Nations with the British Monarch, the Queen of Jamaica and head of state.  Bustamante became the first Prime Minister of Jamaica. 

The Island country experienced an extensive period of growth resulting from the export of bauxite together with agriculture. Since then Jamaica has undergone many political platforms and ideological changes notwithstanding the many economic challenges. Today, tourism is its major product with services accounting for over 60% of the national GDP.  Unfortunately much of that money made does not remain on the Island but goes instead to the multinational resorts and out of the country.

Things to do

Where to stay

Altamont Court Hotel

This oasis in the city is the perfect last stop at the end of the day - Home in the Hub.

The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites

We invite you to make Courtleigh Hotel & Suites your home away from home.

The Knutsford Court Hotel

Welcome to Knutsford Court Hotel

The Jamaica Pegasus

The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel “Kingston’s Preferred Hotel” is a full-amenities hotel where you can rejuvenate - a historical landmark as a timeless beauty with a rich tradition of personalized service.

Deja All Inclusive Resort

Deja Resort welcomes you to Montego Bay located in the heart of the 'hip strip - fun! fun!

Coco La Palm Seaside Resort Hotel

Come be a part of the Coco family! Discover a little bit of heaven right here on earth at CocoLaPalm, on Negril’s famous 7 Mile Beach.

Sea Garden Beach Resort (All Inclusive)

Welcome home to great food, friendly people and family fun. Combine a tropical paradise with endless food, drink, activities and fun in the sun, - a vacation that the whole family will enjoy.

Round Hill Hotel and Villas

Timeless elegance. Understated luxury. Warm Jamaican heart. Discover the essence of Round Hill. No matter what you are seeking we have something for everyone.

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay All-Inclusive

Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay - an all inclusive haven.

Sandy Haven Resort

Enjoy & Experience the finest boutique resort in Negril. 7 miles of beachfront and coastal views are calling your name.

Sunset at the Palms (All Inclusive - Adults Only)

Awaken each morning to the sounds and scents of nature at our adults only retreat, Sunset at the Palms. Join us for an unmatched sensory experience in a luxurious, beachside setting.

Jamaica Inn

Let the sense of time lose its urgency as you embrace the simple joys of living at Jamaica Inn and indulge in the intimacy offered at this iconic small luxury hotel.

R Hotel

A luxury infused accommodation with state of the art technology, fine dining and a holistic atmosphere that offers the sophisticated business and leisure traveller a unique stay in Kingston, Jamaica.

Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa

Eden Gardens Wellness Resort & Spa embodies the ultimate wellness and lifestyle experience ,and a place of solace for everyone.

Oasis at Sunset

Oasis at Sunset; where sun and fun collide!

Strawberry Hill

26 acres of high heaven... Selected by the New York Times as 'one of the 1000 places to see before you die"; a statement as dramatic as the views.

Multi- Destination Package: New York, USA - Kingston, Jamaica - Montego Bay, Jamaica - New York, USA

Russell Villas

Your Getaway on top of the world!

Glistening Waters


Merrils Beach Resorts (All Inclusive)

Merrils Beach Resorts, two small Jamaican owned family managed properties, located on the beach front of one of Jamaica’s most popular resort towns, Negril.

Le Mirage Hotel


Charela Inn Hotel

At Charela Inn, the ambiance is one of escape.

The Caves Hotel (All-Inclusive | Adults Only)

Blue skies, bright nights, evocative moments! The Caves is a handcrafted utopia that combines natural glamour with modern attitude.

Goldeneye Hotel & Resort

GoldenEye has a rich and colorful history. Rather than tell you, let us show you!

Sunset Beach Resort, Spa & Waterpark

Sun-soaked fun for everyone!

S Hotel Jamaica

S Hotel Jamaica - in the heart of MoBay blends the welcome, vibrancy and beauty of our culture, giving you an authentic Caribbean experience of a lifetime.

Shaw Park Beach Hotel & Spa

A Spectacular Beachfront Hotel & Spa; a nice option where you can be pampered all through your vacation.

Geejam Hotel

There’s something about Geejam you have got to come and find out for yourself!

Jakes Hotel & Villas

Negril Tree House Resort

Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton

Jamaica Inn

An intimate Jamaica hotel!


How To Get There?
Jamaica has 3 international airports 2 of which are major airports receiving jets/flights from around the world namely, The Norman Manley International in Kingston and The Donald Sangster International in Montego Bay. From either airport visitors can travel to smaller airports across the country by small planes and/or transfers arranged by your Travel Agent or Hotel. By sea - Mega liners dock in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and smaller luxury ships head to Port Antonio. Virgin Atlantic (www.virgin-atlantic.com) flies direct from London Gatwick to Montego Bay. Airlines offering direct flights to Jamaica from the USA include Caribbean Airlines (www.caribbean-airlines.com), Fly Jamaica (www.fly-jamaica.com), JetBlue (www.jetblue.com) and United (www.united.com).
The rich history of 'jerking' stems from the Maroons who spiced their pork and cooked it underground to conceal their whereabouts. today jerk pork, jerk chicken and jerk fish can be found everywhere in Jamaica. Other foods that transcended history include breadfruit, cassava used to make 'bammie'; festival frequently served with jerk, and of course a favourite - Ackee and saltfish. Indian and Chinese influences made their way into the national menu via curries and chow miens. Then there are the many fruits including the Otaheite apples and soursop which combined make wonderful desserts. Escoveitch fish (similar to Spanish escabeche) Jamaican patties (beef, chicken, vegetarian, saltfish)
What is our terrain like?
Jamaica's landscape is mostly mountainous; a limestone plateau covers two-thirds of the island, and karst formations with caverns and caves dominate the island; There are narrow coastal plains, green dense rainforests and sandy bays and beaches. https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/jamaica.htm
What is the climate like?
In Jamaica the climate is tropical, hot all year round, with little difference between winter and summer (just a few degrees). Even in winter, daytime temperatures are around 27/30 °C (81/86 °F) and night-time temperatures around 20/23 °C (68/73 °F). Hurricanes do occur though infrequent to date. https://www.climatestotravel.com/climate/Jamaica
What Are The Entry Requirements?
All visitors must have a valid passport for entry, or a a governmental-issued ID with photograph. Also required is a return airline ticket, as well as a completed and signed immigration/customs C5 form either online or a physical form Also - the Jamaica Travel Authorization is a travel document required for all international arrivals from high-risk countries in an effort to overcome the risks linked to the coronavirus pandemic visitjamaica.com/authorization https://www.pica.gov.jm/immigration/travel-documents-required
What Are The Marriage Requirements?
Getting married in Jamaica can be done as quickly as within just 24 hours after you arrive, once you’ve taken care of all paperwork beforehand. - Proof of citizenship - Certified copy of your birth certificate, which includes father’s name - Occupation of both candidates - Parent’s written consent if under 18 years of age - Proof of divorce if applicable (original certificate of divorce) - Certified/notarized copy of death certificate for widow or widower - All documents must be presented in English and if necessary done by an official translator certified by your local Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as by your nearest Jamaican Mission or Honorary Consulate. - Processing fee JM$4000 (less than US$40) https://www.visitjamaica.com/weddings-and-honeymoons/getting-married/
What Are The Healthcare Options?
Many advanced health facilities can be found across the Island and a few main ones are listed below which do not reflect the extent of the medical system nor any changes: On the whole there are approximately 30 hospitals and clinics Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston Andrews Memorial Hospital, Kingston Heart Institute of the Caribbean, Kingston Montego Hope Medical Centre, Montego Bay Montego Bay Hospital & Urology Centre, Montego Bay Port Antonio Hospital, Portland St. Ann's Bay Hospital St. Elizabeth Black River Hospital, St. Elizabeth Ocho Rios Medical Care & Surgical Centre, Ocho Rios Expats can avail themselves of private medical services, if they so wish. https://www.moh.gov.jm/location-of-hospitals-and-health-centres/
Other Useful Facts
Water: safe to drink Currency: Jamaican Dollar, but USD$ are used and accepted nearly everywhere. If travelling to less touristy areas walk with cash. Banking: the Bank of Jamaica is the national central bank in the country. Top banks include: National Commercial Bank Scotiabank Jamaica Sagicor Bank CIBC First Caribbean Bank First Global Bank Citi Bank JMMB Merchant Bank Electricity: voltage is within the 100-128 range with a frequency of 50hz. Sockets used are the 2 slots for live and neutral blades with a semicircular hole below for the ground pin. It is advisable to bring a portable adaptor and transformer or power-up converter, as well as a 10,000mAh power pack to avoid inadequate power supply depending on location. Telecommunications: an unlocked cell phone should work in Jamaica with no issues. There are several internet providers on the Island including Verizon and HughsNet. Transportation: public transportation is available but said to expensive going from one parish to another Homophobia: is rampant Marijuana: Illegal. Small amounts (up to 2 ounces/56 grams) was reduced to a petty offense in 2015. Medical marijuana, cultivation up to 5 plants and use in religious ceremonies by Rastafarians are all legal.
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