Island in the Sun | Jamaica

Soulful town, soulful people:
Said, I see you’re having fun,
Dancin’ to the reggae rhythm,
Oh, island in the sun:
Oh, smile!

This verse from Bob Marley’s ‘Smile Jamaica’ best describes the effervescence of the incredible island country of Jamaica.

Jamaica is a country known for its music, dance, food and culture and hence is a popular tourist destination especially among the younger travelers. One very important point to note when planning a trip to Jamaica is that you can avoid all the gruesome visa related work involved in travelling because you are allowed a visa-free visit to Jamaica for holidays that are 30 days or less. That being said, flight tickets to Jamaica are steep so it’s best to do your pre-travel homework (or read a lot of travel articles*wink wink*) to help you get an understanding on how to make the most of your trip.

When in Jamaica:

While in Jamaica, there are a few must have experiences that you cannot miss. In this article I am going to touch upon a few of them.

Nightlife

Music and Dance is synonymous with Jamaica so if you’re looking to shake a leg and then some, Jamaica is the place for you! Whether you can hold a tune or not, head over to the many karaoke bars and sing your lungs out (Usain Bolt owns a very popular bar called Tracks and Records that are known for their Karaoke nights) and you’re sure to make friends with the locals who will help you find the club to hop over to. For all you dancers out there, there’s no better place to groove the night away than the birthplace of reggae music. Parties in Jamaica happen all year round and all night long so keep those dancing shoes prepped because you’re going to put them to good use! 

Kingston, Jamaica – Crowd enjoying reggae/dancehall music and dancing at ghetto street party, called “Passa Passa”. “Passa Passa” was a weekly party which was held at Tivoli Gardens on Wednesday nights
Music

Jamaica has long been one of the world’s most musically influential countries that have given us countless hits and popular grooves. While reggae music is most well recognized, lesser known genres that have originated here are Mento, Ska and Dancehall. Music festivals are constantly held all around the country the most popular ones being the Reggae Sumfest, the Bob Marley Birthday Week Bash and the Jazz festival so if you’re a music lover like me, you’re in for a treat!

Food

The Jamaican food is a melting pot of all the different cuisines brought in by the immigrants as well as the indigenous people of the country and packed with loads of flavor and plenty of spice guaranteed to have you craving for more, months after your visit. Whether it’s the more traditional Callaloo (a leafy vegetable dish served in combination with a variety of different ingredients, served differently across the island) or the more popular Jerk Chicken (spice rubbed chicken that is marinated and slow cooked to perfection), the food in Jamaica is bound to leave a lasting impression on you.

Culture

Jamaica has a rich and diverse society that was brought about mainly due to the immigrants brought into the country by the Spanish and English. The influences of these cultures can be seen in their food and languages.

The Jamaicans have a gruesome history of slavery which plays a large role in their cultural history. The Maroons are the descendants of Africans that escaped slavery and they live in a small village called Accompong which is definitely worth a visit especially if you are interested in a detailed, educational tour and an insight into their struggle for independence. The other prominent feature of the Jamaican Culture is the Rastafari Movement and Bob Marley was instrumental in its growth and popularity. A visit to the Bob Marley museum is a must as it is filled with interesting memorabilia and lesser known stories about the life of the legend.

You are unlikely to find very many countries that have as much soul as Jamaica does and once you visit, you tend to imbibe some of that character and life and take it with you wherever you go so don’t waste another minute because your Jamaican adventure awaits you!

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