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Jamaica

Jamaica

Etymology

The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs”. Colloquially Jamaicans refer to their home island as the “Rock.” Slang names such as “Jamrock”, “Jamdown” (“Jamdung” in Jamaican Patois), or briefly “Ja”, have derived from this. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Shamanic Journeys, Meditation & Reiki Circles Jamaica – Calling together the Wild Women & Men of Jamaica interested in receiving Reiki, attuning to Reiki, or exploring Shamanic Journeying and other Shamanic practices for healing, guidance, clarity, personal and spiritual growth. [meetup]

Women Who Code Kingston – Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers by creating a global, connected community of women in technology. The organization tripled in 2013 and has grown to be one of the largest communities of women engineers in the world. [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Badoo.com – A massive worldwide online dating site launched in 2006, Badoo is an OK option for Jamaica. I would only sign up for this site if I ran out of options on the site above. The quality of Badoo can’t compare to what you will find on Caribbean Cupid. [visa hunter]

CaribbeanCupid – CaribbeanCupid is by far the best site if you are interested in online dating in Jamaica. It would be the site that I would focus 95% of my attention and time on. If you run a simple search of women 21-35 who live in Jamaica, you will be able to browse through more than 1000 profiles. While a lot of the members seem to be clustered around Montego Bay and Kingston, you will find members who live in the smaller cities and towns across the country as well. [visa hunter]

Jamaican Dating – At JamaicanDating.com we are committed to providing you a safe and friendly environment where you can comfortably meet that special someone. [jamaican dating]

Reggae Dating – The fastest growing Free Jamaican dating site on Internet, where you can find single jamaican men and women, join today! [reggae dating]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Free Kingston Walking Tour – This free walking tour is a great way to experience the city. Join us as we ramble on foot, visit museums, take public transportation, and explore the city. Every Thursday, 9 am to 2 pm, we meet at Emancipation Park. [ja culture]

Kingston Tours – Time spent in Kingston, Jamaica gives travelers the opportunity to see beyond Jamaica’s palm-fringed, sun-filled resorts and discover fragments of the country’s turbulent and fascinating history. Take a private Kingston tour with a local guide who can help you wander safely through the city’s frenetic streets, and provide you with a fresh, authentic perspective on this unique city. [tours by locals]

Sun Venture Tours Jamaica – Our hiking tours provide naturalists and adventure seekers with a real encounter with the wild and some great `Kodak Moments’ …. so don’t forget that camera. [sun venture tours]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Blue Lagoon (Port Antonio) – Seen the Brooke Shields movie of the same name? This is your chance to live it (though with your swimsuit on, please). Travelers recommend this central Port Antonio lagoon for its breathtaking water and surrounding gardens. Like its name suggests, the Blue Lagoon is a vibrant cobalt color that’s worth snapping a few pictures and swimming a few laps around. The water is cool, very deep (approximately 180 feet, according to some reports) and a mix of saltwater and freshwater fed by a nearby mineral spring. [us news travel]

Blue Mountains National Park – Along Jamaica’s eastern edge, you’ll find the majestic Blue Mountains, the fountainhead of the fragrant Blue Mountain Coffee and a scenic masterpiece for nature lovers. Most vacationers’ experience with the Blue Mountains is limited to sipping the coffee, but if you have the time and the stamina, journey to the area to behold the mountains or to hike through them. [us news travel]

Bob Marley Centre and Mausoleum – Take some time out of your sunning and swimming to pay homage to a musical legend. Located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios is the small village of Nine Mile, where you can tour the birth home and burial ground of Bob Marley. Be sure to snap a few photos of the home’s exterior, decked out in Rastafarian “ice, gold and green” (or red, yellow and green). Inside, pay particular attention to the house’s walls, where fans have left hand-written notes to “the prophet.” [us news travel]

Boston Beach (Port Antonio) – Sitting 9 miles east of Port Antonio’s town center, Boston Beach is known for its clear waters’ surfer-friendly waves and the shore’s soft, powder-white sands. But even more prominently, Boston Beach is renowned for its delicious, authentically Jamaican eats. This beach claims to be the birthplace of jerk seasoning, so come hungry and ready to taste-test. [us news travel]

Doctor’s Cave Beach (Montego Bay) – Doctor’s Cave is one of the most visited beaches in Montego Bay. But it does charge an entry fee, which can serve as a deterrent for some. Many, however, are willing to fork over the dollars to enter Doctor’s Cave, play in the quiet waves and have ready access to the available water sports, changing rooms and beach bars. The spot’s popularity means that you’re likely to encounter crowds (especially on days when cruise ships are in Montego Bay’s port) and high food prices. [us news travel]

Dunn’s River Falls & Park (Ocho Rios) – If you’re staying in Ocho Rios or just visiting for the day, travelers insist you allot a couple of hours to climb the Dunn’s River Falls. You can take a guided climb of the waterfall or just recline and relax on the beach at the bottom. [us news travel]

Seven Mile Beach (Negril) – Check your calendar before taking your tots to the cumin-colored sands of this northwest Jamaica beach. Like its name suggests, Seven Mile has plenty of space for you to find a spot, but you’ll share the area with a few adults-only resorts as well as those who like to sunbathe in the nude. [us news travel]

Tryall Club Golf Course (Montego Bay) – Tryall Club Golf Course isn’t technically in Montego Bay (it’s actually located about 12 miles east of the Tryall Club resort), but recent guests agree Tryall is worth the trek as it’s one of the most challenging courses in the area. This course is an 18-hole, par-71 championship green designed by architect Ralph Plummer and recognized for its beauty alongside the Caribbean Sea. [us news travel]

White Witch Golf Course (Montego Bay) – The 18 holes of the White Witch Golf Course sprawl across 200 acres of the Rose Hall Estate. Designed by revered course architects Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, White Witch is praised for its stunning landscape and helpful staff. If you’re a beginner or moderate golfer, White Witch will likely be challenging for you — its hilly terrain has been described as a “roller coaster” by some travelers. [us news travel]

Festivals

Festivals

Accompong Maroon Festival – Venture off the beaten track for an important annual festival in this rural town, ‘a nation within a nation’, with a fascinating history. Celebrating over 200 years since the signing of the peace treaty between the Maroon slaves and the British, the sleepy town of Accompong comes alive every January, when its annual party is the place to be on the island. This is a little known festival that gives a real insight into local life with singing, dancing, storytelling and that fiery home cooking that we just love Jamaica for. [the private travel company]

Bob Marley’s Birthday Bash – Jamaica’s musical heart beats to double time as it becomes the life and soul of the Caribbean during one of the most important celebrations of the year, in honour of the island’s adored musical legend, Bob Marley, on his birthday. Rastafarian flags colour the streets and sweet reggae sounds rumble the crowds, drawing in fans from near and far in remembrance of the Jamaican icon. The revelry involves incredible artists’ performances all across the island with shows, art exhibitions and live music concerts – all in heartfelt tribute to the wildly influential local boy who preached ‘One Love’. [the private travel company]

Calabash International Literary Festival (2018 – but worth noting in the diary already!) – One of the most respected cultural event in the Jamaican calendar (biennially); Calabash rivals the likes of Cheltenham and Bath literary festivals, and is hugely attractive for its spectacular exotic location, held in the village of Treasure Beach. This promises to be a magical experience for culture lovers to indulge in the numerous fantastic talks from novelists to poets, all celebrating the English language and its great masters. [the private travel company]

Independence Weekend – Dream Weekend – A wonderful weekend to see the very best of Jamaica; locals come together over their Independence holidays to showcase their spectacular musical talent from local artists, delicious food and fiery liquor, all enjoyed on the stunning white sand beaches of Negril. Sponsored by Jamaica’s revered Appleton Rum, this promises to be a weekend of serious fun. [the private travel company]

Jamaica’s Carnival (Bacchanal) – Jamaica’s annual carnival is a spectacle of shimmering sequin costumes, vivacious dancers and delectable Soca sounds, culminating in the most friendly and vibrant festival of the year. This is an amazing way to experience the fiery flavour of a Caribbean fiesta, where locals and travellers join together in celebration as the technicoloured processions sweep through the streets to the charge of pounding steel drums. Carnival has become a world renowned phenomenon, teasing countries from across the globe with its exuberance, soul and sense of freedom – the atmosphere is euphoric and the rhythm infectious. This is an absolute must for anyone in search of a true Caribbean experience where you’ll be jamin’ ‘til the sun comes up. [the private travel company]

Montego Bay Yacht Club Easter Regatta – Whether you’re a keen sailor or simply enjoy peacefully watching the white sails glide by from a comfy spot on the shore, the famous Easter Regatta brings a buzzing atmosphere to the beautiful Montego Bay, one of our favourite places to stay on the island, with several races taking place along the North coast over 4 days. Visitors are encouraged to take part in this exciting event along with locals from the yacht club. [the private travel company]

New Year’s Eve Harbour Fest and Fireworks on the Waterfront – There is no cooler place to toast in a New Year than on the soft sandy shores of Jamaica with an Appleton Rum cocktail in hand and some good old school reggae as your soundtrack. Celebrate alongside the islanders at midnight as the harbour puts on a fantastic display of New Year’s Eve fireworks to really get the party started. [the private travel company]

Ocho Rios Jazz Festival – Ocho Rios is a distinguished international festival celebrating Caribbean jazz musicians and promoting ‘Classical Black Music and America’s First Art Form’. Stunning performances from some of the greatest artists in the Caribbean are well worth booking in advance for your holiday, and in such a fabulous setting, the smooth sounds will leave you wanting to stay in Jamaica forever. [the private travel company]

Reggae Sumfest – Reggae Sumfest is a musical sensation taking place in Montego Bay in Jamaica. Coined as ‘The greatest reggae show on Earth’ – we couldn’t agree more, and what a beautiful setting for it to take place. Each evening the tremendous parties take on a different theme and the event hosts some of the best reggae stars from far and wide, making the line-up world-class. This is a fantastic and intrinsically Jamaican experience with an amazing energy that any music lovers and visitors to the island will revel in. [the private travel company]

Saint Ann Kite Festival – The skies over Saint Ann’s beach will be awash with colour at this family friendly festival. Spend the day on the sand, enjoying the display of kites of all shapes and sizes soaring through the air amidst magnificent colours. With a lively music concert to bring the day to a close, this promises to be an excellent occasion for the whole family to enjoy on holiday in Jamaica. [the private travel company]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Boat – A new tourist ferry between Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril has been announced, with services expected to commence by mid-2015. [lonely planet]

Buses – Large buses are few and far between in Jamaica due to the narrow twisting roads. Throughout the island there are bus stops at most road intersections along routes, but you can usually flag down a bus anywhere except in major cities. When you want to get off, shout ‘One stop!’ The conductor will usually echo your request with, ‘Let off!’ [lonely planet]

Minibuses – Private minibuses, also known as ‘coasters,’ have traditionally been the workhorses of Jamaica’s regional public transportation system. All major towns and virtually every village in the country are served. [lonely planet]

Route Taxis – These communal taxis are the most universal mode of public transportation, reaching every part of the country. They operate like minibuses, picking up as many people as they can squeeze in along their specified routes. They’re very convenient and are a cheap and easy way of getting around the island. Simply pick them up at their terminal in town (they go when full), or flag them down on the road and tell the drive where you want to get off. [lonely planet]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Kingston Lean Startup Circle – Lean Startup Circle is dedicated to applying lean startup thinking and building lean startup leadership. It’s a decentralized grassroots organization of Lean Startup practitioners all over the world. [meetup]

Kingston Professional Women Meetup – Who should join? Professional women interested in professional development, leadership, entrepreneurship, networking and activities providing a platform to discuss topics important to not only women but the development of our communities. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Expat Jamaica – Page for anyone moving to or living in Jamaica. [facebook]

Living in Jamaica – Known for its strong sense of self identity expressed through its music, food and rich cultural mix, Jamaica’s influence extends far beyond its shores. Jamaicans are proud of their cultural and religious heritage. As a commonwealth country, Jamaica is considered the third largest Anglophone country in the Americas after the US and Canada. Expatriates who move to Jamaica are often lured to the island by the chance to live in a tropical Caribbean paradise. [expat woman]

Your Expat Community in Jamaica – Wah gwaan and welcome to your expat community in Jamaica! InterNations is the place to be for expatriates on the Caribbean’s most famous island. Relax and rest assured, because our resource-rich platform will guide you through everything you need to know about expat life in Bob Marley’s motherland. Got questions? “Where should I look for accommodation in Kingston?” No problem, your InterNations expat community has answers. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

J-Flag – J-FLAG is the first human rights organisation in the history of Jamaica to serve the needs of LGBT peoples and over time it became the first port of call for the media, resulting in J-FLAG assuming the role of the mouthpiece for the LGBT community. [j-flag]

Resources 

Resources

Places in Jamaica

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