Trust a three-day road trip through Jamaica for a wholesome experience of the Caribbean nation’s many wonders. The suggested itinerary recommends overnighting in Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Kingston. By Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica
If you drive a full circle around the island of Jamaica, the distance is only 398 miles (roughly 640 kilometres)! But given how stunning this gem in the Caribbean is, you obviously don’t want to simply whizz around. The idea of a road trip in this gorgeous place is to make smart pitstops that give you enough time to soak in its people, culture, delicious cuisine, world-famous rum, coffee, and music.
Day 1: Montego Bay to Ocho Rios
Drive along the northern coast of the island where many resorts line the stretch. You will go through the parishes of St James, Trelawny, and Saint Ann, skirting Falmouth, as well as the capital of Trelawny, which is considered one of best-preserved Georgian towns in the Caribbean. Keep an eye out for Discovery Bay on entering Saint Ann Parish. It is the place where Christopher Columbus first set foot on Jamaica. Drive by Dunn’s River Falls, the island’s famous waterfalls and Mystic Mountain, and then continue onto the town of Ocho Rios.
Ocho Rios is known for its lovely waterfalls, luxuriant gardens, and lazy rivers. The rain forest, river tubing, caving, dolphin encounters, and zip-lining are the attractions. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series, made his home at the nearby Oracabessa.
Day 2: Ocho Rios to Port Antonio
This beautiful leg of the journey meanders up into the hills of the parish of Saint Mary, through Oracabessa and past Goldeneye, the home of Ian Flemming where he wrote the James Bond novels. Onwards into the town of Port Maria, the capital of the parish of Saint Mary, is a small seaside town hugging the ocean. Continue east towards Annotto Bay and Port Antonio.
Consider an overnight stay in Port Antonio, the most beautiful region of Jamaica. It is located on the windward side of the island at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Port Antonio burst onto the international stage as the banana capital of the world. Go to the colourful markets to browse for local craft works, spices, and fruits. It also has some of the finest beaches in Jamaica, and has long been a centre for some of the Caribbean’s best deep-sea fishing. Walk up to Folly Point Lighthouse, which has been lighting the shoreline of the East Harbour since 1885. About 40-feet-high, the red-and-white striped lighthouse stands proudly atop honeycombed limestone, overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
Day 3: Port Antonio to Kingston
This drive will take you through Boston Bay, the area of the island where jerk, a way of seasoning and preparing meats, was created by runaway slaves living in the mountains. Stopping to sample this spicy cuisine in this part of the country is a must; the flavours are different from other “jerk centres” across the island. You will go through the town of Manchioneal to Reach Falls in the mountains, eventually passing into the parish of Saint Thomas to the eastern-most tip of the island to arrive in the parish of Saint Andrew at Bull Bay then on to Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica.
Monuments of all Jamaican heroes can be viewed in the National Heroes Park in Kingston where the Jamaica Defence Force performs an entertaining Changing of the Guards ceremony every day at noon. Kingston is a beautiful chaos waiting to be explored. It is a cultural mecca replete with mesmerising music and heady nightlife. You’ll also find fine art galleries, epicurean dining, amazing views in the cool hills above the city, and incredible beaches.