Are you thinking of visiting Jamaica soon and not sure where to go? Hopefully, this post will help you to decide on the best place to stay in Jamaica.
What are the Best Vacation Spots in Jamaica?
We are frequently asked about the best part of Jamaica to visit? We think it differs for everyone. We have tried to give you a honest review of the main vacation spots in Jamaica.
Hopefully, this will help when you are planning a trip to Jamaica.
Montego Bay vs Negril
- Montego Bay is known as the tourist capital of Jamaica. It has the largest concentration of hotels. It is close to the airport (15 minutes away), Negril is 90 minutes away.
- Most of the hotels in Montego Bay are isolated, you cannot walk to a restaurant or bar nearby. You will have to find transportation to take you around and this can add up. If you are in Negril most of the hotels are on the beach or on the cliff side. There are numerous restaurants and bars nearby. If you want you can just walk along seven-mile beach and view the various bars and hotels.
- Negril has a laid back casual beach vibe. If you are interested in beach activities this is a good place to be. If you are in Montego Bay, the activities available are largely dependent on the hotel.
- If you are a beach connoisseur we think Negril has much better beaches than Montego Bay.
- If you are interested in seeing the island Montego Bay is not a bad base. You are within two hours of the South Coast Attractions and the attractions in Ocho Rios. You are within 40 minutes of most of the attractions in Falmouth.
Montego Bay vs Ocho Rios
- Montego Bay is closer to the airport. Most hotels are around 15 minutes from the airport. If you are going to Ocho Rios you can arrive via the airport in Montego Bay or Kingston.
- If you are looking for golf vacation we would recommend Montego Bay. Montego Bay has four championship golf courses in close proximity to each other.
- Ocho Rios is close to major attractions such as Mystic Mountain, Dunns River Falls, and Dolphin Cove. Most hotels in Ocho Rios are around 15 minutes away.
- Ocho Rios is better for family vacations. There are a number of kid-friendly attractions in Ocho Rios. A few attractions that readily come to mind are Konoko Falls, Turtle River Falls, and Prospect Outback Adventures. There are also a lot of activities for adults. There are spas, golf courses, cooking tours and more.
Ocho Rios vs Negril
- These are two very different tourist destinations. In Ocho Rios the town and the hotels are a bit separated. Unless there are cruise ships in port you rarely see tourists in the main town. In Negril, it is common to see tourists walking along the west end road or walking along the beaches. The bars and restaurants are usually filled with tourists and locals.
- Ocho Rios has the most attractions for a tourist in close proximity to each other. Most attractions in Ocho Rios are 15 – 20 minutes away. There are not many attractions that are close to Negril. You will have to travel from 30 minutes to 2 hours to the nearest attractions.
- Negril has longer beaches, you can go for a stroll along the beach or go for a morning jog.
- Negril has a very laid back, casual attitude.
Main Resort Areas – Best Place to Stay in Jamaica
The main tourist areas in Jamaica are Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Kingston, Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay. Below you will find a brief overview of each region.
Montego Bay is the most popular tourist region and has the largest concentration of resorts in Jamaica. It is also close to the Sangster International Airport.
So if you want to start your vacation right away Montego Bay might be your choice.
Pros of Montego Bay
- Close to the airport. Most hotels are 15 minutes away.
- Large Number of Golf Courses if you are a Golf fanatic.
- It is halfway between Negril and Ocho Rios. So you have easy access to most of the attractions island wide.
- You can take day trips to Ocho Rios, Negril and the South Coast quite easily.
- Close to such attractions as Rose Hall Great house, Luminous Lagoon, Rafting at Martha Brae and Ahhh. …Ras Natango Gallery.
- There are a large number of all-inclusive hotels from budget to luxury options.
- There are a large number of restaurants.
- Good nightlife.
- Home of such reggae events as Reggae Sumfest.
Negril is a small town located on the western side of Jamaica. The town is known for its carefree easy going style and its beautiful beaches.
The most popular beach is the 7 mile beach. If all you want to do is lounge on the beach for the majority of your vacation this might be the best place to visit in Jamaica.
If you decide to stay at a hotel on the west end you won’t have beach access.
There are not many attractions that are close to Negril. Most attractions will involve a day trip. Negril has quite a lot of bed and breakfast hotels, villas, and non-allinclusive hotels.
The nearest airport is the Sangsters International airport. The drive to Negril from the airport is approximately 90 minutes.
Pros of Negril
- Beautiful beach
- Large amount of restaurants and bars, especially along the beach
- Most of the entertainment revolves around the beach
- Numerous beach activities
- Good Dive sites
This sleepy fishing village has morphed into one of the main tourist regions in Jamaica. Commonly referred to as “Ochi” by locals. If you are looking for fun activities for the whole family Ocho Rios is a good bet.
There are a number of tourist attractions in close proximity to each other; a few that come to mind are Dunns River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain, Prospect Outback Adventures, The Blue Hole and much more.
Fortunately, all of these attractions are in close proximity to each other . There are also two golf courses nearby.
Ocho Rios is around 2 hours from the airport in Montego Bay. Due to the new highway that has been constructed, Ocho Rios is now 1 ½ hours from the airport in Kingston.
Pros of Ocho Rios
- Large number of attractions
- Most attractions are around 15-20 minutes from your hotel
- Large number of all-inclusive hotels
- Great location for a family vacation or family reunion
If you want to escape the all-inclusive hotels this is the place to go. If you are interested in really seeing a different side of Jamaica, Port Antonio is the best place to go to in Jamaica.
If you are interested in gorgeous beach coves, bird watching, hiking, caving, surfing or simply being at one with nature this is the place for you. Port Antonio is a lush rainforest area with gorgeous mountain and sea views.
Imagine lush green forests with the mountains in the background leading to the beach. It does tend to rain a lot in Port Antonio so it’s probably best to not visit during the rainy season which is from May – October.
A few great attractions nearby are Frenchmans Cove, Winnifred Beach, Reach Falls, Sommerset Falls, Rafting on the Rio Grande, Blue Lagoon, Boston Jerk Center and the Maroon town.
Pros of Port Antonio
- Great for a nature lover
- No all-inclusive hotels
- Not very touristy
- Can go surfing (November – February)
- Can go birdwatching, Caving, Rafting or visit natural waterfalls
Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay
Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay are two other resort areas in Jamaica. Both of these resort destinations are close to Ocho Rios.
Runaway Bay is around 25 minutes from Ocho Rios. Discovery Bay is around 40 minutes from Ocho Rios.
Pros of Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay
- Large number of attractions in close proximity to each other
- Access to Golf Course (Jewels Runaway Bay)
- Around 1 hour and 30 minutes from the airport
- Good Beaches
Treasure Beach is located on the Southern part of Jamaica, this area has a distinct desert environment. Treasure Beach is a rustic and laid back part of Jamaica far from the Tourist crowds.
You will not find any all-inclusives here. Instead, you will find guest houses, cottages, and locally owned restaurants.
Treasure Beach encompasses a series of bays. You won’t find any picture perfect white sand beaches here. If you do decide to go swimming check with locals for the safest spots to swim.
The main attraction of Treasure Beach is the community and the sleepy pace.
Pros of Treasure Beach
- Quiet nights and romantic sunsets
- Close to such attractions as Black River Safari, Lovers Leap, Pelican Bar, YS Falls and Appleton Rum Tour
- Off the beaten track destination
- Great way to really experience Jamaica
Kingston is the capital and heart of Jamaica and a visit is highly recommended. There are not many really good beaches in Kingston; however, there are museums, theatres, plays, bars, lounges and more.
Pros of visiting Kingston
- See how locals live
- Great starting point for climbing the Blue Mountains
- Great nightlife
- Many historical sites
- Close proximity to airport
- Large number of Bars and Restaurants
Do you want information on attractions, travel deals and events in Jamaica?
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