Booking flights to Jamaica? You made the right decision. The sound of Reggae, the feeling of the white sand beaches between your toes, bikini-clad days and tank-top nights – it’s no wonder millions of tourists continue to fly to Jamaica every year. The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica has a lot to offer its visitors. Jamaica’s economy thrives on agriculture, mining, manufacturing, finance and of course, tourism.
It’s not uncommon for tourists booking airline tickets to Jamaica to come across some island’s alternative beliefs. Some Jamaicans still regard ganja (otherwise known as marijuana) as a sacred plant and believe in its healing power. There are some “beware” factors that visitors booking Jamaica flights and hotels should be aware of namely, Jamaica remains an island of widespread crime. Tourists flying to Jamaica are advised to be aware of their surroundings, and not head off the beaten path. Still, the 2.5 million people who call Jamaica home welcome tourists will open arms. Grab a rum punch or skyjuice (crushed ice with flavored syrup) and head to the beach for a relaxing vacation.
Whether your Jamaica flight takes you to a remote hut or a lavish resort, there’s much to see and do on this island. Or, just sit back and relax. After all, you’re in Jamaica, Mon.
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Mid-December through mid-April is the peak season for visitors and when Jamaica flight and hotel rates are at their highest. Reservations need to be made a couple months in advance. This season is especially busy at Carnival, which is March and April in Kingston, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios, and May in Negril. Montego Bay is also busy with the Air Jamaica’s Jazz and Blues Festival in January.
Mid-April to mid-December sees rates cut by 20 to 60 percent. However, it does get busy around the Reggae Sumfest, usually in late July or early August, and the Marlin Tournament every October in Ocho Rios and Port Antonio. It's easy to find cheap ways to fly to Jamaica during the off-season, but make sure to plan ahead as some resorts on the island might have limited offerings.
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- Kingston has the best of local art, theater, and dance, and it is said that Reggae was born here. The nightlife is sophisticated and sizzling, and the city has excellent festivals, museums, galleries, historic buildings, and, of course, beaches. Crime is a serious problem in Kingston; exercise common sense, don’t walk around at night, and use only licensed taxis or hotel-recommended transportation.
- Montego Bay (MoBay) is Jamaica’s busiest cruise pier and first choice for visitors. The ten-mile shoreline is fronted with coral reefs and blue lagoons and backed with lush green hills. The main tourist area, Gloucester Avenue, sees lots of visitors, shoppers, and hustlers. Active in tourism since 1924, MoBay attractions include bird watching, golfing, music festivals, and historic houses.
- Popular with American hippies in the 1970s, Negril remains free-spirited and best known for its overtly risqué resorts, seven miles of pristine beach, water sport facilities, music, discos and clubs, and best sunsets on the island. A fast-growing resort area, Negril is still laid back with prude and nude beaches, a relaxed interaction between tourists and locals, and tropical charm.
- The first Jamaican town specifically developed as a resort, Ocho Rios (Ochi) is dedicated to fun, sun, and tourists. There’s lots of shopping, bars, and visitor-oriented restaurants. For a day off from the beach, try a follow-the-leader climb up Dunn’s River Falls or a visit to Prospect Plantation, Cranbrook Flower Forest, Green Grotto Caves, Fern Gully, or Bob Marley’s former home.
- The quiet haven of Port Antonio has some of the finest beaches in Jamaica, excellent deep-sea fishing, and several of the most expensive yachts sailing the Caribbean. Port Antonio is the greenest parish in Jamaica, known for its many rivers and waterfalls. Long a favorite hideaway haven of celebrities, it’s also a retreat for eco tourists and European travelers.
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Visitors don’t need a visa, but must present a valid passport and proof of a return ticket.
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