Today’s guest post is written by Jo and Leisa from Joleisa, if you would like to know more about them please scroll down to the bottom of this post where you can find their details.
Ten Awesome reasons to include Jamaica as one of the places to visit
One of the places you must include on your bucket list of places to visit is Jamaica. Jamaica is truly awesome. I may be a little prejudiced because I hail from the Fair Isle but to be honest, I don’t think I am being unfair. I have travelled to a few sought after destinations and although I must admit there are some great places to be and sights to see but to me, nowhere beats this bit of paradise called Jamaica.
Every now and again there are travel alerts for Jamaica. So let me address this straight up. You must take safety precautions for any country you visit. ANY! Don’t let your guard down. Have your wits about you. Do not call unwanted attention to yourself and don’t go off with someone you do not know!
So why visit Jamaica? Here are 10 reasons.
1. Home of the Greats
Jamaica has had the notable reputation of being the birthplace of some ‘World Greats’. Some of these include: Bob Marley – Reggae Legend, Usain Bolt – Athlete Extraordinaire and fastest man on earth, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Former fastest female on earth, Shaggy – singer/songwriter to name a few.
2. Well known Sights to Visit
Whenever people talk about places to visit before they leave this earth, they usually talk about some iconic places. I am sure you can name some: eifell tower, Dunns River Falls, Bob Marley Museum, Montego Bay, Kool Runnings Water Park, Boston Jerk Centre, Usain Bolt’s restaurant Traxx and Records, Rio Grande and so on. Well Guess what? All those places (with the exception of Eifell Tower of course) are in Jamaica.
The World Famous Dunn’s River Falls
Kool Runnings Water Park
Visitors deciding whether to climb the falls or not
Tourists enjoying the beach
Visitors in the background supporting each other to climb the falls.
3. The World Known Jamaican Cuisine
Jamaican Cuisine is well known the world over and you can’t really separate a Jamaican from their food. For this reason, you will always be able to find a Jamaican shop/restaurant. However, to get the real authentic taste, you must visit Jamaica. Some of the specialities include, Rice and Peas and Chicken (fried, fricasseed, jerked or oven baked), curried goat, stewed oxtail, soup (different varieties including chicken, beef, mutton and goat head), manish water and dumplins (fried and boiled), fried plantains (both the ripe and unripe varieties, to name a few. The island is also well known for some snacks, perhaps the most popular is patty! I am salivating now just at the thought of a hot delicious patty. Nom nom nom. Jamaicans also like a cool refreshing drink. They say nothing cools the thirst like a cold Red Stripe beer. Those who don’t like alcohol would prefer to have bag juice, box juice or suck suck. Ask about that when you get there!
Variety of Jamaican Mangoes
Jamaican National dish ackee and saltfish with fried dumplins
Jamaican Blackie Mangoes
4. The Language – You will want to learn the lingo!
The local language spoken in Jamaica is Patois (pronounced patwa). It is quite melodic and easy to learn. You will want to greet the natives and also show off on your friend on your return to your homeland. You must at least be able to say how are you. (Wha gwaan?) That’s what the locals say. Simply put, it is asking What’s going on?
5. Tropical Fruits.
Jamaica has been referred to as a tropical fruit salad. That has to do with the colours, the aroma and in fact the array of tropical fruits which grow and flourish well on the island. Some of these I am sure you will have heard of. Some are so delicate, they rarely get to make it overseas. Now that I live overseas, I have really come to appreciate how blessed I was to walk into my backyard in Jamaica and pick and eat a juicy mango or avocado for example. When you think of a sweet, juicy fruit that you have to pay a lot for in your country have you ever thought: ‘Jamaicans must be so lucky to have them growing there!’ Some of these fruits include: pineapple, watermelon, otaheitie apple, garden cherries, jackfruit, sour sop, sweet sop and naseberry. These grow bountifully in Jamaica and most are not even properly cultivated. They just grow ‘wild’.
A sunny back garden with lush, tropical fruit trees
6. Tropical Climate
Jamaica is hot! But it is not an unbearable heat like you have in some countries. With the heat usually come a cool sea breeze. So really this type of heat is nice. With the perfect cooling drink and a regular dip in the pool or at the beach, the heat is really irie (nice).
7. Dancehall (Music and Dance)
Jamaicans have developed various forms of music that set them apart, even from other Caribbean islands. Whilst Jamaica is well known for reggae music and even though they are quite similar, dancehall holds its own place in the music sphere. It has its own following, fashion, dance moves and hairstyles. There is even an international dancehall festival and competition that’s held yearly. I imagine that a lot of people weren’t very happy when a Japanese young lady won the title of Dancehall Queen one year! Well, that’s how much the movement is becoming popular.
Here is a Youtube video showing some popular dancehall moves. It’s almost impossible to just sit still and watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKCzamyXNS4
8. Reggae Music
Have you ever heard of Shaggy? Sure you have! It’s the guy who sings the popular reggae song called ‘It Wasn’t Me’. Well, Reggae music is just one of those genres of music that captures the everyday life and puts the lyrics to music, and has you rocking and singing along even if you don’t understand the words, because, of course, the lyrics are in Patois. Bob Marley is the person who popularised this type of music and now we sing along to his songs, ‘No Woman No Cry’ and Lovingdeer’s ‘Gilbert’.
Jamaica is said to be one of the most churched places in the world! And guess what? It’s true. If you go for about five miles in any direction, you will find a church that you can visit. At least one will be open and ready to welcome you. These churches have mostly beautifully kept interiors and many a visitor to the island has done a ‘quickie wedding’ that was unplanned before they went on holiday. You’d think it has something to do with the interiors, right?
10. The colourful array of houses
Where I live now in England, the exterior of houses are made of unpainted bricks. Not so in Jamaica. One of the most pleasant sights is seeing the houses with all the colours of the rainbow, and mixtures of those colours. It certainly adds vibrancy to the scene.
Jamaica should definitely be on your list of places to see, so don’t rule it out. In fact, if you have questions, do reach out and we’ll be happy to answer them.
About the Author
Jo and Leisa are frugal lifestyle bloggers at Joleisa. The girls are teachers and authors who hail from the sandy shores of Jamaica originally. They now live in Birmingham, England where they are raising their two awesome teenagers. Connect with them on social media