03 Sep Backpacking ideas to explore Jamaica
You’ve listened to Bob Marley your entire life. You’ve heard so much about the
most festive island in the Caribbean that is home to amazing spiced food, good
local rum, world famous coffee, reggae music and more. The island of Jamaica is
an incredible island to explore for the international backpacker. While the island
is small in stature, it packs a big punch in terms of the experience that is on offer.
Fancy giving Jamaica a try? Here are a few ideas that you can use to explore
Jamaica as a backpacker.
When planning to visit Jamaica, plan to stay for at least two weeks.
There is so much to do and explore on the island. There is the opportunity to
explore the nature that is on offer as well as the city hubs that is on offer. If you
want to explore Jamaica deeply, you will need to go off the main highways and
into the communities on the hillsides or by the farms. The only catch is that time
will be against you as there is so much to see. Ideally, don’t let time hold you
back from fulfilling your Jamaican adventure. Stay for two weeks, but stay longer
if you can afford.
Hire a car to get around.
You can kind of get by on the local public transport, but it would be much wiser
and more fulfilling to hire a car to get around and explore the island. The taxis
can become expensive if you are travelling across long routes. And the buses are
known to be more infrequent between different cities and if you want to get to
coastal towns. If you would like to go and explore a lot of the more intricate parts
of Jamaica, then you will need your own transportation to get you there.
Allow yourself to be immersed in Jamaican cuisine.
Jamaica is a unique island that has been infused with the influences of spices and
tropical fruits and vegetables that make-up hearty, tasty cuisines. Walk down
most streets and you will find vendors selling Jerk chicken pieces with festival (a
type of sweet bread) or some rice. Swing by some food shop outlets and you may
be able to pick up a Jamaican pattie and Coco bread for around $1-2USD that will
keep you full for most of the day. Or better yet, get a full ‘hard meal’ that includes
a side of meat such as curried goat; stew beef, curried chicken, ackee and saltfish
with yam, green banana, plantain and breadfruit.
Stay away from the American made Jamaican tourist strips, and visit the townships
that offer the real Jamaican culture.
When you go to Jamaica, it is easy to get sucked into the Jamaican tourist traps.
And while they offer a nice tourist experience, they don’t offer the authentic
Jamaican experience. Places like Margharitaville in Montego Bay or Rick’s café
are nice places to visit, but are more catered for Americans. Take a drive 5
minutes out from this strip and you will find the hustle and bustle of the
downtown areas with soundsystems cranked up loud from Friday through until
Take in the natural beauty Jamaica has to offer.
If there are things you must experience while you are in Jamaica, it is to
experience the incredible nature that is on offer all around the island. Take a trip
to see both Reach and YS falls. Explore the sugar cane fields and the cattle
plantations. Scale the Blue Mountains and sip on the famous blue mountain
coffee. Or drive around the coastline and witness the glistening shorelines of
Jamaica’s iconic beaches and lagoons.
Jamaica is a place that can offer you the trip of a lifetime. You can do the trip
through travel companies, but there is nothing like doing it yourself off the
beaten track. If you are looking for an amazing backpacking experience, take a
trip to Jamaica and try something different. If you would like some different
ideas, check out 16 fun but different ways to explore Jamaica.