JAMAICA

ISLAND FUN FACTS

Capital: Kingston

Population: 2,961,167

Religion: Christianity

Carnival:

Jamaica is famously known as the heartbeat of the world. Why? Because the fun and the music never stop. In this Caribbean country you will find a long list of carnivals to check out while on your visit.

1. Bob Marley Week: you heard that right, an entire week of celebrations. The residents of Jamaica take time to celebrate the life of reggae musician Bob Marley, during February. Now this is the time for fun history, where many find themselves visiting the different museums and learning about the life of this island legend.

2. Portland Jerk Festival: food, music and some more food. This jerk festival is exactly what you think it is, all round jerk. Jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk sausages, the list goes on relying the different “jerk “food you can find during this festival. This festival is held in June in the Port Antonio resort area. Did we mention that there is also a fun village for your kids to join in on the fun?

3. Reggae Sumfest: this is precisely as the name suggest, an epic summer festival all about reggae, the beloved genre of Jamaica. The excitement bubble early on in July, with a Friday beach party and blazing on with nights of different performances, you are sure to have the time of your life.

Side of Street  Drive-On: Left

Currency: Jamaican Dollar

Language: English and locals also speak Patois

History:

Original inhabitants:
Way back when, the Arawaks; from South America, settled in Jamaica. They called it Xaymaca, meaning “land of wood and water”. The Arawaks are believed to have lived quiet simple lives. They planted cassava, corn and other fruits and vegetables. They fished and planted tobacco. Their simple and peaceful way of life continued until the arrival of Columbus and the Spaniards in the 1400s.

The Arawaks tried to fight the invasion of the Spanish and Columbus onto the land but they soon lost the battle and the island was claimed by the Spaniards for the Spanish monarchy. Overworked and tortured, the Arawaks clan soon died out.

The island did not see much prosperity as very few Spaniards settled here. It soon became a supply base: food, men, arms and horses. In 1509, the first town was built under the Spanish governor Juan de Esquivel called New Seville or in the language, Sevilla la Nueva. But only St. Jago de la Vega, the old capital of Jamaica was developed. It became the centre of the government and trade, it was covered with a lot of churches and convents.

The English Attack:

On May 10 1655, the Spaniards surrendered to the English attack under Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables, they freed their slaves and fled to Cuba. The English drew much attention to the buccaneers who roamed the seas. They were wild, they were ruthless and they were rough. They took their gold and silver and took them to Port Royal. Under the Buccaneer rule, Port Royal became the “wealthiest and wickedest city” in the world.
The buccaneer captain was knighted by King Charles II and became the lieutenant governor over Jamaica.

Slave Trade:

With the boom of the sugar industry in Jamaica, slave trade became the prominent source for the labour force. It grew so much that “Middle Passage” became a thing. The voyage started from England with trade goods off to Africa, where they were exchanged for slaves, then to the West Indies where the slaves where left to take up some goods like rum, sugar and molasses back to England.

The enslaved Africans were not in any way pleased with their status and rebellions began, most fleeing to join the Maroons up in the mountains. Major wars between the maroons and the English led to a treaty being signed in 1740, where the Maroons became free and had land at the cost of recapturing runaway slaves. This cost rifts among the Maroons who were not all on board with returning the runaway slaves.

Independence:

Laws upon laws came into place in Jamaica, for both the freeing of the enslaved Africans and the enbetterment of the country as a whole. Jamaica joined the Federation of the West Indies, later abandoned the notion and pursued its own independence from England. In 1962 August 6th, Jamaica gained its independence, wrote its own constitution and chattered the course to its future as an individual working for the growth of its people.

THINGS TO DO

Places to Stay

Moon Palace:

Set right on a private beach in Ochos Rios, the Moon Palace is exactly that. This all-inclusive palace comes with 705 rooms and four outdoor pools, a water park, spa and an opportunity to swim with dolphins; of course at a bit of a fee. You can also enjoy the divine cuisine offered in-house and an array of drinks to pick right from the mahogany lounging area.

The Trident Hotel:

If you are looking for the epitome of elegance in Jamaica, then you cannot miss booking your next stay at The Trident Hotel. This hotel in Port Antonio boasts 13 villas, each with a private Terrence overlooking the ocean. You can find your meals á la carte right on The Veranda carrying both Jamaican and international cuisine. Be sure to order the goat cheese and Jerk catch or try the fruit bowl.

The Caves:

An apparent celebrity hub with just 12 cabins located among the Cliffs of Negril. This is an unlikely all-inclusive hotel built majorly on straw. You will find in your room, some homemade toiletries and some candles on the terrace to provoke the atmosphere of ultimate relaxation. And as for dinner, how does a private dinner on a secluded cliff sound? Well that is on the menu. Of course along with some decadent bean stew or a lighter carrot and beet salad.

Getting There

Getting to Jamaica is quiet easy. There are several international airports in Jamaica, many connecting in resort areas like Montego Bay, Kingston and Ochos Rios. Or you could get a cruise which will land in the ports in Falmouth, Ochos Rios or Montego Bay.