When Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Jamaica in 1494, he claimed it for the nation of Spain and named it St. Jago, although it remained to be widely known by its traditional name of Xaymaca, meaning the land of wood and water. The island’s original inhabitants were the Arawak Indians, who maintained control of the island until the Spanish overtook it following Columbus’s discovery. These Spaniards were the ones who built the first town on the island, called Seville Nueva. In 1655, Jamaica officially became a British colony, and under British authority the island became a thriving center for the sugar trade and sugar plantations, many of which were worked by African slaves. This primary economic model continued until the slaves in Jamaica were freed in 1838.
Today, the lush tropical island of Jamaica offers vacationers the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled natural beauty, a unique and colorful local culture, and a wide range of recreational opportunities and aquatic sports. Whether your ideal Caribbean vacation is relaxing on a secluded tropical beach, exploring the island’s rugged natural landscape, enjoying aquatic sports in the Caribbean’s turquoise blue waters, or experiencing a vibrant and unique local culture, Jamaica has something to offer everyone.
One of Jamaica’s main attractions is the wide variety of recreational opportunities that it boasts. For example, if you enjoy aquatic sports, Jamaica offers everything from boating to deep-sea fishing. A number of the island’s major resorts offer sailboat rentals, and on every one of the island’s coasts, vacationers can enjoy power and sail cruises. Jamaica’s turquoise tropical waters are also the ideal destination to enjoy glass-bottom boat tours that are popular around the island. In addition to boating, Jamaica also offers a number of excellent locations for deep-sea fishing. The marlin, sailfish, barracuda, and tuna that inhabit the azure Caribbean waters around Jamaica make it one of the area’s prime destinations for deep-sea fishing.
Other popular recreational activities include cycling and mountain biking or hiking through the island’s lush tropical interior, kayaking along one of its winding rivers or waterways, or horseback riding along one of its many secluded white-sand beaches. After a long day of exploring one of Jamaica’s bustling, vibrant cities such as Montego Bay, Discovery Bay, or Runaway Bay, many vacationers are looking for a place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the best that the local culture has to offer. Jamaica is widely known for having some of the best, most colorful nightlife in the entire Caribbean. Some of the most popular attractions among tourists and locals alike are Margaretville in Montego Bay; Jamaica ‘N Me Crazy in Ochos Rios; the Roof Club in Port Antonio; and Alfred’s Ocean Palace in Negril.
Whatever your age, interests, or background may be, the unique, laidback island of Jamaica is sure to have everything you need to guarantee that your Caribbean vacation is an unforgettable experience.