Culture, music, beaches, and great people. When it comes to the best parts of a Caribbean vacation, Jamaica has it all. The island is one of the largest in the Caribbean region. Want to know more about what makes Jamaica an amazing destination? Read this article.
1. Negril Beach
Jamaica’s celebrated western sweep isn’t really seven miles long; it’s actually closer to six, but, for beach lovers, the exact distance is irrelevant at one of the best beaches in Jamaica. What really matters: the casual and carefree vibe of Jamaica’s longest and most famous beach, where you can relax with a Red Stripe, get your hair braided and enjoy an aloe massage.
2. Doctor’s Cave Beach
Doctor’s Cave Beach was named for a physician who donated his beach property to form a swim club; the property was once accessible via a cave that was later destroyed by a hurricane. It’s a place full of history, not the least because this is the strip of sand that helped put Montego Bay on the international tourist map. The beach is located in the heart of MoBay and maintained by the Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, a membership club that charges an admission fee for use of the beach. It’s a small price to pay, however, for access to a great beach that’s right off Gloucester Avenue with a clubhouse with changing facilities, the Groovy Grouper beach bar, and other amenities.
3. Frenchman’s Cove
There is a reason that Frenchman’s Cove in Jamaica has made appearances in movies like Club Paradise and other films because it is a tropical paradise. The lagoon-style beach is located in Port Antonio and used to be a secluded beach retreat for the Hollywood elite. What makes Frenchman’s Cove so appealing is the quiet stream that converges into the turquoise ocean. The pristine sandy beach feels exotic next to the calm, bath-water-temperature lagoon.
It is a quieter beach scene than other locations in Jamaica, which is exactly why it is popular with those who know about it. The eclectic Geejam resort has suites and villas surrounded by palms and plenty of windows to bring the beach to you, even while you are in your room.
4. Seven Mile Beach
If you’re ready to get your “Jamaican Me Crazy” party going while soaking up the sun, head directly to Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica’s hot spot for sunbathing scenesters. The name doesn’t lie; indeed, Seven Mile beach is a 7-mile stretch of gorgeous sand, crowded with sexy sunbathers, locals, families and even a few nudists lurking in designated nude areas.
5. Cornwall Beach
For guests staying at the Royal Decameron, Cornwall Beach is a little slice of quiet paradise, perfect for a day of relaxation. Located near Montego Bay, this area is not far from the Hip Strip, for everything from restaurants and shopping, to basic city exploration.
If you do choose to stay on the beach, you’ll never be too far from the bars – for a fruity cocktail – or beach shacks selling delicious local food. The water is crystal clear and the sand is soft and white, meaning you might not want to venture far from your beach lounger for the entire day.
6. Treasure Beach
Located on the southern coast of the island, Treasure Beach is a hidden gem. It is never as crowded as the beaches on the north coast, giving visitors lots of privacy and tranquility. Spending an afternoon on the beach or in the local town feels like you’ve stepped back in time. With no all-inclusive resorts, this small fishing town has been able to retain its charm and personality over the years. The sea in this part of the island is known to be quite rough with heavy undertows, so be careful not to venture too far from shore.
7. Font Hill Beach Park
A small but pleasant beach in St. Elizabeth features golden sand and turquoise waters. Covered picnic areas, volleyball nets, and storage lockers make this a great picnic beach. As an added incentive to visit, the Fonthill Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature reserve on the property. The winding lagoons are home to several hundred American crocodile. It’s just 15 minutes to the Black River, home to eco adventures an safari-style rafting. The well-marked signs outside of the beach make it very difficult to miss – it will even tell visitors when they’ve passed it! The beach is extremely quiet (read: no pushy vendors or crowds).
8. Rose Hall Beach
If you’re in Montego Bay and looking for a more sedate beach experience than you’ll find downtown, head east to Rose Hall Beach. Stay at one of the luxury beachfront resorts here, such as the Iberostar, Half Moon, or the Hilton Rose Hall, and this glorious strip of sand will be right outside your doorway. If not, you can access this strand at the Rose Hall Beach Club, which has a restaurant, beach bar, and live entertainment, among other amenities.
9. Bamboo Beach
Sheltered by sea grape trees and embraced by rocky outcrops at either end, this local favorite (formerly known as Reggae Beach) lies just east of Ochi in St. Mary. The $11 entry fee includes rental of a beach chair to mark your plot on the quarter-mile cove while plenty of shade and a beach bar and restaurant make staying all day seem like a sensible thing to do.
10. Bloody Bay
While the name of Bloody Bay is not so appealing, the destination itself is a nice retreat from the more populated Jamaican beaches. Bloody Bay is segmented into private sections of beachfront resorts, like Sunset at the Palms, where guests can go from their luxury treehouse accommodations directly to a quiet and protected beach.
Rentals for kayaks and water sports gear are conveniently located close to the water. The soft, white sand on the beach leads to shallow swimming areas where you can float on a raft or just walk on the sandy bottom in the water. Several sunset cruises and snorkeling excursions leave from Bloody Bay, so you do not have to travel far to plan a full agenda of activities.
11. Boston Bay Beach
This golden stretch is clean, uncrowded by tourists or vendors, and close to affordable hotels, like Great Huts, which don’t even need pizza to live up to their name. Boston Bay is also known for its occasional wave action, perfect for beginning surfers (there’s a surf shack for rentals and lessons).
12. Reggae Beach
On the 1/4-mile stretch of Reggae Beach, it’s quite likely you’ll hear the soothing sounds of afternoon reggae jam sessions that regularly take place on the soft sands. The Reggae Beach is a true hotbed of sound, as local musicians flock here to play tunes and enjoy the soft sands and crystal clear water.
13. Mammee Bay
Mammee Bay is the place to be if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury. Half-private and half public, this beach is only a 15 minutes drive from Ocho Rios.
The views of the coastline from this beach are unparalleled, meaning sunset is a stunning time of day. The nearby Bamboo Blu serves up fresh and scrumptious local food. After dinner, bonfires light up the beach, where dancing and music are always on offer.
14. James Bond Beach
Located in Oracabessa on the north coast of Jamaica, James Bond Beach sits on a small peninsula about 10 miles from Ocho Rios. Ian Fleming, the writer of the James Bond novels, once called Oracabessa home. Scenes from the James Bond movie Dr. No were filmed on the beach. Every year, many concerts and parties are hosted on the beach. The most popular, Beach Jouvert, is in conjunction with Jamaica’s carnival season.