Top events in Jamaica

May
01

The only international literary festival in the English-speaking Caribbean, Calabash was founded in 2001 by novelist Colin Channer. Over 30...

July
01

The ultimate celebration of this quintessentially Caribbean cooking technique is the Portland Jerk Festival held every July 4th, when the...

July
07

Billed with good reason as ‘the greatest Reggae show on Earth’, Sumfest is a week-long reggae and dancehall music festival extravaganza packing...

Sunset, Jamaica
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Sunset, Jamaica

© 123rf.com / Byron Moore

Jamaica Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

10,991 sq km (4,244 sq miles).

Population

2.9 million (2013).

Population density

264.7 sq km.

Capital

Kingston.

Government

Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1962.

Head of state

HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Patrick Linton Allen since 2009.

Head of government

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller since 2012.

Electricity

Usually 110 volts AC, 50 Hz, though some places use 220 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs (with or without a grounding pin) are mostly used.

The third-largest island in the Caribbean is also one of the most colourful. Idyllic white sand beaches and vibrant tropical blooms sit on a backdrop of blue mountain peaks. As the adopted home of the Rasta, Jamaica is also a riot of red, gold, and green.

Renowned as the birthplace of Bob Marley, reggae remains at the island's musical heart. Rice-and-peas, rum, coffee and cricket are its soul. Excellent tourist facilities and attractions range from leafy parks to handsome colonial towns and neon-lit nightlife. Negril and Montego Bay are Jamaica's two main coastal resorts, attracting tourists with exquisite sands, lively clubs, fine restaurants and world-class golf. Laid-back Negril boasts 7 miles of beach, while sizzling Montego Bay boasts the reputation as party-town.

Venture a short distance along the coast to discover 'the real Jamaica', amidst street markets of ackee, yam and breadfruit and vendors hawking kulu kulu rum. Explore the sleepy fishing villages of Treasure Beach, Port Antonio and Oracabessa which offer a glimpse of Jamaica's quieter side. Music is inherent to Jamaica, be it roots, rock or reggae and in Kingston, the island's spirited capital, grand Georgian plazas and elegant mansions are serenaded by soca rhythms and the pulsating buzz of the city. You’ll soon be seduced by the rhythm of life on this famous paradise island.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley's death on 11 May 1981, with many celebrations expected in honour of the iconic singer.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 18 April 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The hurricane season in Jamaica normally runs from June to November.

Around 145,000 British nationals visited Jamaica in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free.

There are high levels of crime and violence, particularly in the capital Kingston.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Edited by Jane Duru
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