Get Out of Your Hotel: Northern Jamaica

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Bucket List Worthy  

All-inclusive resorts on the beach are the most relaxing, laid back, enjoyable vacations. They allow you to disconnect completely from the life at home. But a full 7 days on the resort can get boring. Here’s a quick guide to trying things that are around your resort when you’re vacationing on the northern coast of Jamaica.

 

Jerk marinade is addictive
Jerk marinade is addictive

Scotchie’s

By far the most important Jamaican attraction outside of the beaches, Jamaican food is absolutely unique and should not be missed. Scotchie’s is a restaurant that has a few locations across the country – in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston, and probably more – and it serves the most authentic, delicious jerk meats. Marinated, cooked on wood coals and logs, covered with metal sheets to keep the meats moist, Scotchie’s pork, chicken and sausage, paired with a good Jamaican beer, is pure pleasure.

Jamaican star apple
Jamaican star apple

The food market of Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios, a small coastal town in northern Jamaica, is a diluted version of the busy, hectic Jamaican cities. It has two markets: a crafts market, aimed towards the many cruise boats that make a stop in the city, and a food market, more geared towards the locals. Take a taxi from your hotel and ask the taxi driver if he can stay with you for a few hours – you can offer a few dollars as incentive. Then go to the food market and try all the fruit! Jamaican apple, naseberry, star apple, mini-mangoes, papaya… they’re nothing like the versions we get at home.

The falls are beautiful
The falls are beautiful

Dunn’s River Falls

The falls are impressive and the perilous climb is somewhat challenging. The efforts are well worth it: it’s refreshing; it’s a great way to visit nature in Jamaica; and there are a few views from the top that make you feel how small you’re really are compared to the strength of that waterfall. And, it’s where a scene of the first James Bond movie was shot! Try to find a day where there are no cruise ship tourists at the falls, the day will be much more enjoyable.

Christopher Columbus in Jamaica
Christopher Columbus in Jamaica

Discovery Bay

This is where Christopher Columbus set foot first in Jamaica in 1494. It’s interesting to stand exactly in the same spot where Columbus discovered America. There’s also a museum dedicated to the discovery called Columbus Park. Perfect expedition for a rainy day!

Bob Marley
Bob Marley

Birth and Resting Place of Bob Marley

Bob Marley is the most famous Jamaican to have ever lived and his music was revered throughout the world. His music, along with shirts and bags with his face on them, are sold everywhere throughout the country. There are many tours organized by travel agencies detailing every event of his life. And in St. Ann’s Parish, there is a place called Nine Mile, which is the birth and resting place of the famous musician. There’s even a possibility that you could lay our head where Mr. Marley did, himself, at some point in the past.

Downtown Montego Bay
Downtown Montego Bay

Downtown Montego Bay

This is probably for the most adventurous of travelers, since the center of the city is rough, the infrastructure is in poor condition, there are no sidewalks, and some people might feel threatened in the second largest city of Jamaica. However downtown Montego Bay is probably the safest part of the city, and travelers who feel the urge to understand what real Jamaican life is, this is probably the best destination. The Montego Bay Hip Strip is a cultural experience in itself, even though it’s built for tourists.

A stingray
A stingray

Scuba Diving

There are two marine parks in northern Jamaica, the Montego Bay Marine Park and the Negril Marine Park. They’re both good spots for scuba diving, mostly because of the great visibility. Wall dives are very popular because of the Cayman marine trench that drops the ocean floor 3000 feet deep. Ask your divemaster to take you to the wreck dives available around Negril!

About the Author: Cedric Lizotte

Bilingual freelance journalist. Tech, food, travel, photo. Twitter: @CedrikLizotte

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