Population: 2,721,252 (approx)
Currency: Jamaican Dollars
Distance from UK: 4,688 miles
Parishes: County of Cornwall; Hanover, St. Elizabeth, St. James, Trelawny, Westmoreland, County of Middlesex; Clarendon, Manchester, St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Mary, County of Surrey; Kingston, Portland, St. Andrew, St. Thomas
The words ‘reggae’ and ‘vibrant’, along with the names ‘Bob Marley’ and more recently, ‘Shaggy’ immediately bring to mind the third largest of the Caribbean islands, where a variety of entertainment can be found and where mountains, waterfalls, rivers and beautiful stretches of white sandy beaches are plentiful. Xymaca (the land of wood and water), as it was called by its indigenous people (the Arawaks), aptly describes Jamaica.
Having exterminated the original people and bringing in African slaves in the sixteenth century, the Spanish were ousted by the British in 1655. There followed further battles between the two European countries until eventually the Spaniards were defeated and fled, leaving Britain with control of the island. However, this was not an easy task as runaway slaves known as Maroons continued to fight both the Spanish and the English until a treaty was entered into between the Maroons and the British. To this day Maroons can be found living peacefully in the hills of Jamaica.
Places of interest in Jamaica are numerous and include such spots as the world-famous Royal Botanical Gardens to be found on the southern coast near the capital city of Kingston. The remains of Port Royal, once known as ‘the wealthiest and wickedest city on the face of the earth’ before an earthquake in 1692 sent it cascading into the sea and Spanish Town, are both areas of historical interest. Port Antonio, located in the northeast of the island is great for river rafting on the Rio Grande and it is here that the Jamaica International Fishing Tournament is held each year. Fern Gully and Dunn’s River waterfalls are sights worth seeing and a trip to popular Ocho Rios in the north will give you the opportunity to do so and also to view the remains from the Spanish colonisation at Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay. Montego Bay, a sophisticated winter resort area, is renowned for its luxurious hotels, entertainment, white sandy beaches and clear green waters. The longest beach in Jamaica (a seven mile stretch) can be found in Negril at the northern end of the island.
Whether you enjoy water sports, golf, horse racing, dancing, alligator spotting, ‘liming’ or a host of other activities, Jamaica has something for everyone.
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