Jamaica Jamaica

Jamaica, a holiday full of reggae and highlights

19 July 2019

Jamaica, an island located in the clear blue Caribbean Sea where rhythm and music originated. The reggae, the exotic fauna and flora, the rastafari, the deep-rooted culture and the lovely hospitality of the Jamaican people immediately charmed us. The island of Jamaica is not immediately in the top 5 dream destinations of the Belgian traveller, often due to erroneous prejudices about safety. A pity because Jamaica has so much to offer! We travelled around Jamaica for one week and immersed ourselves in the local culture.

Sunset in Jamaica, it has something magical

Our round trip through Jamaica: Ocho Rios, Port Antonio en Montego Bay

Ocho Rios, more than only the Dunn’s River Falls

Located on the north coast of Jamaica is the famous town of Ocho Rios, which is a good starting point to explore Jamaica. This place is well known among tourists for its popular Dunn’s River Falls which are beautiful but also very touristy. The former fishing village of Ochie has more to offer for lovers of diving, water sports and nature.

The beautiful and remote Fishkill waterfall, Buff Bay Valley, Portland

Our favourite sights in Ocho Rios

Gully Falls, Blue hole a cascade of waterfalls

In the lush green mountains of Jamaica are the beautiful Gully Falls located. The refreshing clear blue water comes from the high Jamaican mountains and give the necessary cooling during a hot summer day. There are different levels of waterfalls, but in our opinion the highest level is the most beautiful. Here you will be completely surrounded by the green and rich nature of Jamaica and you can enjoy the cool water in peace and quiet. The lowest level is the busiest because most tourists take a bath here. The daredevils among us can also jump off a springboard here!

Water activities in the Chukka White River Valley

Ocho Rios is home to the famous White River, which is well known for its many water activities such as river tubing and zipline. Our favourite spot for river tubing was the starting point at the Spanish bridge built in the 17th century in St Ann. It is one of the last remnants of the Spanish colonization in Jamaica. It’s not only a beautiful place, but there’s also a rope that can be used to show your acrobatic skills! Yannick loved this, although it was not as simple as he thought it would be!

Chukka excursions, the starting point of Chukka Caribbean Adventures with the Spanish bridge

All government-recognized organizations in Jamaica are strictly controlled for safety. We have to admit, at Jamaica the motto ‘safety first’ was something that was put forward in a dominant way. The zipline tour of the organization Chukka was a fun activity that is accessible for both young and old. You get a nice view over the White River where your heartbeat starts to beat a bit faster. Whether this is from the view or the adrenaline, I leave that to you.


Discover the majestic Blue Mountains on Jamaica by bike

The largest mountain area with the highest peak are the Blue Mountains. These mountains have several important functions as: protecting the island during storms and/or hurricanes and producing the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee! This is produced on the lower slopes of the Blue Mountains, as the higher parts are too densely forested.


We discovered this region by bike. Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours organises downhill cycling tours so you can fully experience nature. Don’t panic, because 95% of the time you don’t have to pedal but just steer . During the ride you will stop at some small coffee plantations where they give information about the local Jamaican life in the mountains. As icing on the cake, the tour ends at a beautiful private waterfall. We have to admit this was one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have ever seen. Of course the charm of ‘the hidden gem’ also had something to do with it. This waterfall is owned by a woman who gave Blue Mountain Bicycle tours permission to enter the waterfall.

 Fishkill waterfall, Buff Bay Valley, Portland


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YAH MON, WELCOME TO JAMAICA 🇯🇲🌿⁣ ➳ The rural beauty of Jamaica is just splendid ✨ Our first impression of the country is nothing more than positive: the sweetest people, true nature, amazing beaches,… We found this pretty private waterfall which is from a lady next door 😍 We immediately felt in love with it ❤️ Keep in mind that she needs to give her permission to enter it☝🏼⁣ ⁣ What do you think, did we found a hidden gem?👣⁣ ⁣ 📍Fishkill waterfall, ⁣Buff Bay Valley, Portland ⁣ #ontdekjamaica #jamaica #jamaica🇯🇲 #jamaicalife #jamaicajamaica #traveljamaica #belgianblogger #reisblogger #femaletravelblogger #waterfall #womenwhotravel #inspiredtravelcouple #travelwithlove #couplewhotravel #couplesthattravel #couplettavels #coupletravelgoals ⁣

Een bericht gedeeld door Lesley van Loon (@lesleystraveldiary) op

Where to stay in Ocho Rios?

The Jamaica Inn is not only a beautiful hotel, but also it has a rich history! For over 50 years, the Morrow family has been providing warm hospitality services that will stay with you for a long time. The hotel immediately charmed us with its baby-blue appearance. It offers a wide range of different types of rooms and suites, each with their own style and advantages. At Jamaica Inn, a personal and familiar approach is very important and a lot of attention goes to luxury and tranquillity. They also have their own foundation in which they work for various organisations including ‘The Oracabessa Bay Turtle Project’. There are several turtle eggs under the private beach of Jamaica Inn and these are checked every morning by the staff.

Did you know that even Marlyn Monroe has stayed here?

Jamaica drone

The Jamaica Inn – a luxury escape

veiligheid in Jamaica

Port Antonio, discover Jamaica in its purest form

This cute port city on the north coast of Jamaica is one of our favorite spots on the island. The beautiful beaches and laid-back Jamaican atmosphere are some examples why we loved Port Antonio. Port Antonio gives an honest picture of Jamaica in all its shapes and colors.

The clear waters of the Blue Lagoon

We have to admit, the famous Blue Lagoon charmed us from the very first moment when we saw the beautiful pictures online. The reality is that this place is very popular among tourists and honeymooners. The turquoise water and the tropical green vegetation are a great eye catcher. Here are some tips to make your visit to the Blue Lagoon a success!

The clear waters of the Blue Lagoon, Jamaica

In our opinion, the best way to fully enjoy the Blue Lagoon is from a boat. Then you can enjoy the tropical environment and the refreshing clear blue water. Did you know that the Blue Lagoon consists of both salt and fresh water? This is because of its location on freshwater springs and along the Caribbean Sea. Be sure to take a ‘refreshing dip’ in the clear water that on the one hand feels warm because of the influence of the Caribbean Sea but on the other hand has a refreshing understeam.

TIP: Also keep in mind that the color changes during the day because of the sunlight. In the evening, the colours will be less dominant than during daytime.

Blue Lagoon from above

Nana waterval, the hidden gem of the Maroons

The Maroon are a people located in the Jamaican inland. These people are descendants of the escaped African slaves during the Spanish conquest. They moved into the mountains of the inland and started a new life. They were given land and their own administration, so that they still live completely independent and remote. If you are looking for some culture, you should definitely pay a visit to this interesting tribe!

To visit the Nana waterfalls, you have to make your way through the jungle

The pure Jamaican nature has a lot of goodies to offer

We went together with the head of the Maroons into the jungle. Somewhere deep in the jungle lies their impressive ‘Nana’ waterfall, near Moore Town. I have to say you have to do a bit of walking to get there, but the result is impressive! This waterfall hasn’t been discovered by tourists yet, so it’s a real gem!

Nana waterval

Frenchman’s Cove Resort, an established name in Port Antonio

As the name suggests, this beautiful and famous beach is owned by a hotel. This hotel is very popular among tourists because of its tropical white beach. Frenchman’s Cove was put on the map in the past by the many Hollywood stars who came here to relax and enjoy the tropical atmospheres. Since the beach is completely ‘enclosed’, Frenchman’s Cove became one of the most popular beaches in Jamaica. If you would like to enjoy this Jamaican beach in peace and quiet, we can advise you to come early in the morning in order to avoid the large crowds.

The water in the middle of the ‘cave’ is generally quite calm, but some parts are rather deep. A nice swing has been placed and functions as an ‘Instagram hotspot’, so everyone wants to take his picture. Generally this place is suitable for a day’s relaxation at the beach, but keep in mind that you won’t be alone!

All necessary facilities such as a restaurant, showers and toilets are available, therefore an entrance fee is charged (‘pass’ costs $10 or JA$1000).

Frenchman’s Cove Resort Jamaica

Rafting on the Rio Grande River, the purest river in Jamaica

Time for action! Now that is relative, because we went ‘bamboo rafting’ on the beautiful Rio Grande River. This excursion is highly recommended if you want to get to know the green Jamaican inland a bit better. Becoming a captain of such a bamboo raft is not that easy. It is a profession that is often taught from father to son and requires many years of experience! These tough captains are very proud of their profession and practice it with the necessary amount of passion. The Rio Grande River is the largest river running through Jamaica and (according to the captain) is the purest river in the country. The locals even get their drinking water from this river!

Mrs. Belinda with her traditional Jamaican dishes

Rio Grande rafting Jamaica, Yannick says ‘HI’

The impressive Rio Grande rivier in Jamaica

In the afternoon there will be a stopover at Mrs. Belinda’s. This tough lady, with her cute restaurant, is a fixture during your trip on the Rio Grande. Belindas riverside restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a variety of local Jamaican dishes like curry goat, chicken fricassee and fish.

In the past, the river was used by local farmers to transport bananas from one place to another.


The popular Montego Bay

Take a refreshing dip on a horseback 

A ride on horseback through the beautiful Jamaican nature? Sounds nice! But what if you can combine this with some swimming? Great! There are several organizations that organize horseback riding. We did our excursion with Braco Stables, which are located in Montego Bay. It is important that you choose a government-recognized organization, so that you still have a certain guarantee that the animals are well treated. Animal lovers will certainly appreciate this activity, just enjoy the Jamaican fauna and flora on horseback with a refreshing breeze.

The highlight of the ride is when you take the horses into the water. Very nice to feel one with the horse!

When booking your excursion, be sure to ask about the size of the group. If you are with a large group, your time in the water is rather limited.

Braco stabels,

Rockland Bird Sanctuary, meet the National symbol of Jamaica

The Doctor Bird, have you heard of it? This small but very colourful bird is the national symbol of Jamaica. It is quite exclusive since it only lives in Jamaica. Rockland Bird Sanctuary is the perfect place to get to know this beautiful little bird. This location was founded by Lisa Salmon, also known as ‘The Bird Lady‘, where she spent decades trying to feed the birds personally. Unfortunately, she died in 2000, but don’t worry! Fritz has been the manager for more than 15 years now and he does this like no other!

Rockland Bird Sactuary

We had the pleasure of being one of the first visitors, as we went around opening time in the morning. Then you can fully enjoy the birds and the tranquility of the morning glory. The birds are very fond of sugar water, which you will give them as well. Through a bottle with a small hole, the Doctor Bird will come to drink with his long narrow beak. It is a quiet activity that will appeal to both young and old. Your patience will be rewarded!

Fritz of the Rockland Bird Sactuary

Sun, sea and beach on Doctor’s Cave Beach

It’s perhaps one of Jamaica’s most famous beaches, Doctor’s Cave Beach. You know it, long, snow-white beaches with clear blue water. This is the best way to introduce Doctor’s Beach. Given the central location of Doctor’s Cave Beach, near the International Airport Sir Donald Sangster International Airport and in the middle of the Jimmy Cliff Boulevard or “hip strip” of Montego Bay, this beach is very popular. Perfect for those who want to enjoy a day at the beach with all the necessary facilities available. The water is beautiful to swim in, with the warm temperatures it feels like a bath.

Like most beaches with facilities in Jamaica, Doctor’s Cave Beach costs $6 a day (or $3 a day for children).

Jamaica map, our trip through Jamaica

To help you a bit, we’ve already pinned our full Jamaica tour on this map. Of course there is a lot more to discover on Jamaica, let’s say this is for a next time .


 Read here everything about our trip to Mexico!

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