Thousands of travellers have been seduced by the dark beauty of Jamaica, the third largest island in the Caribbean. In its time it has been owned and conquered by the Arawaks, the Spanish, British and finally became the home of African displaced slaves. During the 16th and 17th century it became something of a pirate kingdom, home to legends like Henry Morgan and “Blackbeard”. It’s become the stuff of travel legends – welcoming people, sun-kissed golden beaches, and endless parades of colour and fun, but off the tourist trail there’s a real, but poor, unique cultural island.
Commercial tourism picked up in Jamaica in the 1980’s after the political turmoil and unrest surrounding the country’s independence in the 1960’s and 70’s and is now the nation’s main industry. It’s known for great reggae music, great vibes and great beaches.
Jamaica is a small island about the size of Connecticut 90 miles south of Cuba. Although known for its beaches, its landscapes are breathtaking and diverse, from hills and crags to deep lush valleys, mountain streams and, of course, long sandy beaches. It’s great for hiking and hill walking – a spine of moutain hills dominate the island, the peak of natural beauty being the Blue Mountain Peak. A third of the island’s population now lives in the capital of Kingston. Parts of the city are dangerous and you shouldn’t walk around alone at night.