- Music mogul’s cabins
- Rainbow-coloured rainforest
- From Jamaica, with love
- Banyans and beaches
- Sky-skimming treehouses
- Amid the burly banyans
- Polo-inspired plantation
- Rolling greens on Montego Bay
Worth getting out of bed for...
- From the Blue Mountains, you can look out over Kingston and all across the coast.
- Arts and culture
- Musgrave Market on West Street, between Port Antonio Square and Main Square, has a rainbow-coloured array of fresh fruit and vegetables, along with crafts and clothes. To avoid other tourists, visit local artisans in their roadside studios and workshops and pick up hand-carved furniture, masks and wickerwork. Portland Art Gallery on West Street is 10-minutes west of Main Square (+1 876 882 7732). Here you can watch local artists passing on their skills and admire a rustic showcase of fine art. The Rastafari movement began here, so befriend a local and ask them to expand on their beliefs.
- Something for nothing
- Winnifred Beach is hard to find, meaning you’ll share it with a minimum of tourists. Your hotel’s drivers will take you there and back, but don’t leave without demolishing a heaped plateful of seafood at Cynthia’s Rum Shack (+1 876 347 7085).
- Jamaica is not the place for big-brand shopping. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for one-off finds from the roadside stalls and markets.
- Head to Reich Falls near Long Bay, a 45-minute drive from Port Antonio past the rugged North East coast and through Errol Flynn’s estate. There’s a US$10 entrance fee but the climbing and diving offered up by the falls are more than worth it. Stop off at Chill Out Bar in Long Bay on the road back for an expanse of shimmering sand and some enticing eats. If you’re a keen surfer, don’t miss the waves at Long Bay. Hire a driver and make the hour-long journey to the Blue Mountains. Stop at Strawberry Hill Hotel (+1 876 944 8400) in Irish Town, St Andrew, for a long and luxurious lunch – the views from the hotel’s infinity pool are incredible.
- Best beach
- Frenchman’s Cove frequently figures on best-beach lists. Its white sands, clear waters and enormous climbing trees make for adventurous afternoons (but be careful of the current beyond the marker line). Boston Bay is a beautiful cove where you can have gently paced surfing lessons with local instructors. San San Beach is another favourite, offering views of Alligator Head (there’s a J$300 entry fee).
- Perfect picnic
- Ask your hotel to pack you an igloo (the Jamaican word for cooler) full of treats and tipples, and wade out to the little beach on the uninhabited Monkey Island. Pack snorkelling gear and explore the island to work up an appetite. Watch out for sea urchins when you’re wading.
- Hike up the spectacular Reich Falls. This breathtaking waterfall is in the middle of the jungle, and has featured in films (including the Tom Cruise classic, Cocktail) and photo shoots.
- Don’t expect much in the way of children’s clubs here, but with such spectacular surroundings, you won’t need them. The beaches and Blue Lagoon offer up plenty of fun in the way of shallow-water fishing, rope swings and tree climbing.
- Go dragon-hunting in the beautiful Blue Lagoon – bottomless and home to a scaly, winged critter, according to local legend. The lagoon has a giant almond tree with branches trailing the water – perfect for climbing and diving. Go rafting down the Rio Grande, with a skilled boatman steering your passage as you relax back in your two-person settee. Your hotel can arrange a host of other excursions, including fishing trips, horse riding on the beach and day trips to local beauty spots.
6 February Each year, Bob Marley’s birthday is celebrated with an explosion of parties and concerts. July J is for Jerk – in July, Boston Bay hosts the annual Portland Jerk Festival (www.portlandjerkfestival.com), a three-day celebration of all things spicy. October Later in the year, the attention switches to the sea – the International Marlin Tournament is a major calendar fixture for deep-sea anglers.