Why go: Can’t decide between the total blissed-out relaxation of an all-inclusive beach resort or a honeymoon that’s a bit more adventurous? Travelers come to Jamaica to soak up the sun, sip Blue Mountain coffee, and experience the island’s widely exported culture. This is, after all, the birthplace of Bob Marley and Rastafarianism. It’s a place to sip spiced rum and Red Stripe and feast on jerk chicken and savory patties, while some also come here to experience the ganja (more on that in a bit). Jamaica, also referred to as “Jamrock,” is a dynamic country that can enchant even the most particular couples. After all, it’s one of the only places on earth where you can you enjoy gorgeous beaches, hike in lush, rugged mountains, and have dinner in a limestone cave overlooking the sea all in the same day.
Best ideas: Make like James Bond and head to one of Jamaica’s super-sexy beachside resorts — GoldenEye is where author Ian Fleming dreamed up the fictional secret agent and penned his famous Bond books. Otherwise, enjoy uninterrupted couple’s time at a Blue Mountain retreat, or splurge on an Insta-worthy over-the-water bungalow at Sandals Royal Caribbean. At this fabulous Montego Bay resort, guests in private villas have access to a private infinity pool, outdoor shower, and a personal butler who can worry about the details while you two figure out who gets first dibs on the overwater hammock.
Good to know: If you’re after a low-key, languorous beach vacation where the daiquiris are endless and the hardest decision you have to make in a day is whether you want to swim in the pool or in the Caribbean, stick to one of Jamaica’s famous resort areas like Ocho Rios, Negril, or Montego Bay. If you want a bit more variety, look east toward the Blue Mountains and the upscale beach area of Port Antonio, where you can more realistically bookend your honeymoon with a coffee plantation tour or a scenic hike.
If the idea of a perfectly manicured honeymoon puts you straight to sleep, it’s time to start thinking about Jamrock: This isn’t your mother-in-law’s Caribbean island. Though it’s filled with ultra high-end all-inclusive resorts and plenty of Instagram-worthy beaches, it’s also far more appealing for travelers who want the trappings of an island getaway without feeling sequestered to a single resort all week long.
Jamaica may be one of the best destinations for travelers who simply can’t decide what their ideal honeymoon looks like — or for couples who are seeking drastically different experiences. You can just as easily visit to eat incredible food, try a Jamaican bobsled ride, sit on a beach chair, or drink up. That’s because no matter how you choose to spend your time in Jamaica, it’s always going to be a party. So crack open a Red Stripe, pour yourself another glass of rum punch, and turn up the reggae. This is your definitive guide to a Jamaica honeymoon.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around in Jamaica:
“You’re in Jamaica, C’mon and smile,” sang Bob Marley & The Wailers. “Soulful town, soulful people: Said, I see you’re having fun.” Hey, it wouldn’t be a Jamaica honeymoon guide if we didn’t quote Marley at least once, right?
Jamaica attracts travelers of all stripes, including couples seeking the island’s iconic laid-back vibe, or the promise of watering holes and Instagrammable waterfalls. But no matter what draws you here, it’s really hard to visit this vibrant Caribbean country without having fun.
The seasons: Jamaica’s high season typically runs from December to March, when the weather is perfect, the mercury hovers in the low-80s every day, and there’s not much in the way of rainfall. For honeymooners who shudder at the thought of crowds, the shoulder season (April and May) is still pretty dry, but rates for hotel rooms and airfares drop, and there are fewer tourists to contend with. Because of its mountainous terrain, Jamaica may be wetter than other Caribbean islands. From June through November, it can be stiflingly hot, and heavy rain storms, including hurricanes, sometimes occur out of the blue. When hurricanes occur, they’re most likely to strike Jamaica and other nearby islands in the Atlantic hurricane belt between August and October, so if you don’t want your honeymoon to be a washout, plan to visit during the short shoulder season instead.
Several airlines fly from the U.S. to Jamaica’s two major international airports: Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport, just a few miles from Montego Bay. The most inexpensive flights will likely originate in Miami, Orlando, or New York City, though ticket prices depend largely on how close to departure you’re booking and the time of year you hope to fly. United, Delta, American, JetBlue, and Caribbean Airlines all fly nonstop from New York City to Montego Bay, though only Delta, JetBlue, and Caribbean Airlines have nonstop flights to Kingston. From Miami, travelers can find short, inexpensive nonstop flights on American Airlines, which dominates the market from its MIA hub.
Rental cars: Driving around Jamaica can be a great way to see the sights, though some of the roads are outright terrible so be prepared for a bumpy ride if you decide to rent a car and see some of the island’s less-developed sights. Try Island Car Rentals or, depending on where you’re picking it up from, some of the more familiar rental companies like Enterprise or Hertz. Oh, and did we mention that Jamaicans drive right-hand vehicles on the left-hand side of the road? Hey, we didn’t say it wouldn’t take some getting used to.
If you don’t rent a car, unauthorized drivers may try to solicit rides at the airport so be sure to arrange transportation with your hotel or resort. You won’t find ride-sharing options like Uber or Lyft here, though many upstart services have been trying to get off the ground lately and may be available in time for your honeymoon — just don’t count on getting around that way.
Jamaica’s official language may be English, but don’t underestimate how different the widely-spoken Creole-influenced Patois language is from everyday American English. You’ll recognize most of the words, but not the way they’re strung together or the intonation.
This is the third-largest island in the Caribbean — you simply can’t see the whole nation on a single trip — with a population of nearly three million people. Jamaica has an equally diverse topography and you’ll find everything from bands of sugary white sand to dense mountain forests, colorful cities, and fancy resort towns.
Um, What’s the Deal with Cannabis: OK, let’s get on with it: Smoking weed (call it ganja) in Jamaica used to be enough to land you in jail — we’re not kidding. In 2015, the drug was decriminalized, though you can still be fined for possessing small amounts or for smoking in public. So please, don’t go toking on the beach or lighting up by the infinity pool.
Honeymooning in Jamaica: Pros & Cons
- Even if you struggle to pick up Jamaican Patois, your English will be easily understood and you shouldn’t have to worry about dealing with communication barriers during your trip.
- Jamaica has a dollar of its own, but you don’t need to exchange currency. Pretty much every vendor you encounter will accept, if not prefer, your U.S. dollars.
- To be sure, there are certain parts of Jamaica that, as with any major tourist destination, are gritty, dicey even, and don’t exactly paint a picture of worry-free honeymoon euphoria. But it’s easy enough to avoid these spots — according to the U.S. State Department, Spanish Town and parts of Kingston and Montego Bay are at an elevated risk for crime — and travelers shouldn’t be worried when sticking to touristy areas. As with any trip, be conscientious, alert, and avoid places that may be dangerous. We’re not even saying you shouldn’t leave the resort, just don’t aimlessly wander around high-crime areas like Spanish Town. Deal?
Regions of Jamaica
Located in the Greater Antilles in the northwest corner of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica’s relative size — remember what we said about it being the third-largest island in the region? — has allowed a number of tourist destinations to proliferate. To put things in perspective, it would take you five hours to drive from Negril on the west coast to Port Antonio in the east, so please don’t try to see every popular area of Jamaica on a single trip. Pick an airport you want to fly into (either Montego Bay or Kingston) and then, for the most part, stick to that side of the island. Trust us: There’s nothing romantic about sitting in traffic on your honeymoon.
Montego BayMontego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by Brook Ward)
For honeymooners bound for the resort-laden beaches of Jamaica’s west coast, Montego Bay is certainly the most convenient base. With a major international airport and a year-round vacation vibe, this is the Jamaica you see in guidebooks.
(Photo by cshep)
An hour and a half southwest of Montego Bay, this gorgeous resort area is famous for its beaches and can be a slightly better deal (and less manicured) than the places you’ll want to stick to in Montego Bay.
Ocho RiosOcho Rios, Jamaica
(Photo by OchoRiosJamaica)
Now home to one of the busiest cruise ports in the country, this former fishing village has been transformed into one of Jamaica’s most in-demand tourist destinations. There are great beaches and resorts, but you’re probably here for the lush rainforest and water activities. The name of this place translates to “Eight Rivers,” after all.
(Photo by ThingsToDoInJamaica)
Jamaica’s capital city is dense, frenetic, and a major cultural center. Here, visitors can see priceless Jamaican artwork at the National Gallery or peruse handmade wares at the Kingston Crafts Market. Though it may be your gateway to Jamaica, you probably won’t want to spend your entire trip here.
Port AntonioPort Antonio, Jamaica
(Photo by Port_Antonio_Jamaica)
Like Kingston, Port Antonio — a somewhat tumbledown town that once attracted Hollywood elites like Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly — is a point of ingress. If you plan to explore Jamaica’s rainforest-blanketed mountains and coffee plantations, this is where you start.
Treasure BeachTreasure Beach, Jamaica
(Photo by View_Treasure_Beach)
A truly low-key beach retreat on the island’s southern coast, Treasure Beach feels almost like a hippy enclave thanks to its outcropping of small, funky guesthouses and resorts.
Best Attractions & Activities in Jamaica
For travelers who want to unwind from all the insanity of wedding planning, Jamaica’s the ticket with its idyllic white-sand beaches framed by palm trees; ample rum and Red Stripe; and warm, shallow waters that tempt you away from your beach blanket. Jamaica is also a mountainous country with ribbons of rivers and massive waterfalls that make it easy to find adventure on your honeymoon.
Go Hiking in the Blue MountainsBlue Mountains, Jamaica
(Photo by Tropical Trips Jamaica)
Jamaica’s protected Blue Mountains can be reached by a network of narrow, white-knuckle roads that snake along the edge of the mountainside. Travelers come here to hike, bike, and visit plantations that turn out the region’s famous and wildly expensive namesake coffee. It’s much cooler up in the mountains, though, so pack accordingly.
Tour the Black River by Boat or KayakBlack River, Jamaica
(Photo by Sarina_B)
Take a boat or kayak tour of Jamaica’s peat-colored Black River, famous for its mangroves and crocodiles. During a scenic boat tour — or crocodile safari, if you prefer to call it that — you’re almost guaranteed to see these prehistoric creatures as a few hundred still call the Black River home. Don’t forget to stop for crabs and an ice-cold Red Stripe at Sister Lou’s on your way out.
Raft Down the Martha Brae RiverMartha Brae River, Jamaica
(Photo by Travelzoo)
If what you’re after is a leisurely trip on a 30-foot bamboo raft, head to the Martha Brae River near Montego Bay instead.
Go Chasing WaterfallsYS Falls, Jamaica
(Photo by Fans of YS Falls Jamaica)
A quieter, somewhat less-touristy answer to Dunn’s River Falls near Ocho Rios, YS Falls, a south coast attraction anchored by a stunning seven-tiered waterfall and natural swimming pools, is a great place to splash around on a hot day.
Visit the Blue LagoonBlue Lagoon Ruffkutt tours, San San Portland, Port Antonio, Jamaica
(Photo by Fitzroy_Nick_Tours9103jk)
The jungle-framed Blue Lagoon near Port Antonio is one of the most iconic swimming holes in Jamaica. Note that the cobalt-colored mix of freshwater and saltwater was thought to be bottomless, so practice treading water before your trip.
Seven Mile BeachNegril Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica
(Photo by SevenMileBeachJamaica)
With approximately 50 public beaches to choose from, Jamaica is a boon for honeymooners. Gleaming white sands and shallow, turquoise waters are a hallmark of Negril’s Seven Mile Beach. Pack your most powerful sunblock, as there’s not much here in the way of shade.
Boston Bay BeachPort Antonio, Jamaica
(Photo by BommyToursJA)
One of the only places you can surf in Jamaica, Boston Bay Beach is a gorgeous little tract of pearl-white sand near Port Antonio.
Doctor's Cave BeachDoctor's Cave Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by DoctorsCaveBeachJamaica)
An iconic Jamaican beach peppered with candy-colored umbrellas, Doctor’s Cave Beach is not an isolated lover’s nook. But for all the amenities you need, like water sports, beach chairs, and umbrellas, Montego Bay’s most famous beach is hard to beat.
Catch a Sunset from Blue Mountain PeakBlue Mountain Peak, Jamaica
(Photo by TailoredExperiencesJA)
Enjoy the sunset from any beach in Jamaica and your partner will be impressed, especially if you have the foresight to pack a cozy blanket and a flask of spiced Jamaican rum. If you really want to go for the wow factor, plan a sunrise hike to the highest point in Jamaica: Blue Mountain Peak. It’s seven miles up and down, but the view of Port Antonio and Kingston as the early morning sunlight paints the island is unforgettable, so make room in your suitcase for hiking boots.
Best Hotels, Resorts and Airbnbs in Jamaica
Jamaica is replete with upscale luxury resorts, especially all-inclusives, and it’s easy to find accommodation wherever you’re staying on the island. Airbnb and private villa rentals may be a great solution if you don’t want to stay in the most developed parts of Jamaica, though you’ll be on your own in terms of room service. If you really want to take the stress out of your honeymoon, it’s a good idea to book an all-inclusive resort. With one prepaid rate, you won’t have to think twice about that second (or third — OK, fourth) glass of rum punch, and there’s nothing more relaxing than making zero financial decisions for a week.
The Trident HotelBest Villas Trident Hotel, Port Antonio, Jamaica
(Photo by The Trident Hotel)
Vibe: Choose one of just 13 villas at The Trident Hotel, which all come with modern 1960s-influenced decor — no kitschy island prints here — and private terraces with plunge pools and/or outdoor tubs.
Price: Located near Port Antonio, rates for villas here start at $865 a night and include breakfast.
Strawberry HillBest Mountain Retreat Strawberry Hill, Irish Town, Jamaica
(Photo by Strawberry Hill)
Vibe: If sand between your toes just sounds uncomfortable, head to Strawberry Hill, a lovely retreat set high in the Blue Mountains. Every white-wood cottage and villa here is carefully placed into the hillside so guests can enjoy their privacy, four-poster beds, and private verandas.
Price: During the low season, you can score a room for under $300 a night.
Jake's ResortBest Place to Unplug and Unwind Jakes Hotel Calabash Villa, Treasure Beach, Jamaica
(Photo by Jake’s Resort)
Vibe: Whimsical, colorful cottages and bungalows with bohemian prints are the chassis of Jake’s Resort, an iconic Treasure Beach property where no two rooms are alike. But the real draw here may be the way guests are forced to unplug — there are no phones or televisions, though technically there is Wi-Fi now. Like you really needed another reason to linger in the beachfront saltwater pool long after sundown.
Price: Rates start at $95 a night.
Rockhouse HotelBest Honeymoon Package Deal Rockhouse Hotel, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica
(Photo by Rockhouse Hotel)
Vibe: There are a variety of rooms, villas, and suites at Negril’s Rockhouse Hotel, but what honeymooners should be after are the individual timber-and-stone villas with thatched roofs cantilevered over Pristine Cove. Book the honeymoon package at this charming boutique resort for a welcome bottle of Champagne and a signature honeymoon spa purification ritual.
Price: Standard rooms start at $145 a night.
Jamaica InnBest Private Beach Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
(Photo by Jamaica Inn)
Vibe: For access to a sublime stretch of private beach, book a room at the Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios. There are no TVs, radios, or clocks, so during your stay you’ll have no choice but to slip into island time. Book the honeymoon package, which includes a couple’s massage at sunset and a private candlelit dinner on the beach, among other perks.
Price: A five-night package starts at $3,690, but standard rooms can be booked from $356 a night.
Round Hill Hotel and VillasMost Elegant Decor Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by Round Hill Hotel and Villas)
Vibe: Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is responsible for the elegant, contemporary guest rooms and other spaces at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay, though the room to book is the Grand Pineapple Villa Suite, with a semi-private pool and open-air design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor.
Price: Standard rooms here start at $370 a night.
Sandals Royal CaribbeanBest All-Inclusive Package Sandals Royal Caribbean, Mahoe Close, Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by Sandals Royal Caribbean)
Vibe: Sandals Royal Caribbean is an all-inclusive Montego Bay resort where guests who splurge on an overwater bungalow are given access to a private infinity pool, an outdoor shower, and a personal butler.
Price: Just remember that most food and drinks are included when you hear the price tag — about $1,200 a night for a pretty basic room.
GoldenEyeBest for James Bond Fans Goldeneye, Jamaica
(Photo by GoldenEye)
Vibe: Author Ian Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel at GoldenEye, now a high-end resort on the north coast with rooms, cottages, villas, and a new hamlet of huts. You can even fly in to Ian Fleming International Airport, just five miles away — if you’re chartering your own plane, that is.
Price: Rooms are available from $480 a night.
Airbnb: Nianna Eden EstateBest Place To Get Away From It All Nianna Eden Villa, Springfarm Road, Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: Nianna Eden, a spectacular five-bedroom estate just a 15-minute drive from Montego Bay, is the perfect place to relax and get away from it all on your Jamaica honeymoon. You’ll have two acres of private tropical gardens to explore, a lovely pool overlooking the Caribbean, and complimentary access to nearby Rose Hall Beach Club if you want to spend your days on the beach. The best part: the villa comes with a butler so you won’t have to lift a finger and can just focus on each other.
Price: From $399 a night.
Airbnb: Fully Staffed Beach HouseBest Beach House Splurge Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: Picture yourselves sipping margaritas while lounging next to your own private beachfront infinity pool. This gorgeous four-bedroom estate located in the Lagoons gated community just outside Montego Bay also gives you access to the community tennis courts, gym, and extra amenities at Montego Bay Yacht Club, just five minutes away. Housekeeping staff come along with this villa, as do chef and butler service.
Price: From $1,040 a night.
Airbnb: Private Villa Overlooking Montego BayBest If You Want to Live Like a Celebrity Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Vibe: This stunning eight-bedroom Eastern-influenced villa lets you look out over Montego Bay from your own private infinity pool. A chef and butler will take care of your every whim, while true serenity awaits by the koi pond. Between the panoramic hilltop views, tennis courts (you’ll have access to Trial Club’s tennis center) and a charming outdoor BBQ patio, you’ll have everything you need.
Price: From $3,944 a night.
Best Restaurants and Bars in Jamaica
Jamaica is arguably one of the best islands in the Caribbean for travelers who are serious about food and spices. While it’s said barbecue originated here, the country is probably best known for its jerk seasoning. Here are some of our favorite places to dine in Jamaica, regardless of your budget.
The Houseboat GrillBest Upscale Seafood House Boat Grill Restaurant, Alice Eldemire Drive, Montego Bay, Jamaica
(Photo by The Houseboat Grill)
Want to get as close as you can to the source without actually casting a line? The Houseboat Grill, as its name suggests, is literally a houseboat anchored in Montego Bay. With items like pan seared snapper, lobster mac n’ cheese, and choose-your-own live Caribbean spiny lobster on the menu, it’s one of the most popular date-night restaurants in the area. A strict dress code is enforced, so make sure you dress to impress.
EITS CafeBest Casual Spot with a View Eits Cafe, Jamaica
(Photo by EITS Cafe)
An acronym for “Europe in the summer,” EITS Cafe is a casual spot perched on the edge of a hillside in the Blue Mountains about 3,500 feet above sea level. It’s part of a family-run guest house featuring European-Jamaican fusion food like barrel-roasted chicken with herb pan gravy and coconut curry stew, Irish potato croquettes, and grilled salmon with lemon butter.
Devon HouseBest Jamaican Patties Devon House, Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica
(Photo by DevonHouseJA)
Don’t be deterred by the lines: The queue at Devon House Bakery — part of the historic 19th-century estate once owned by Jamaica’s first black millionaire — is filled with local Jamaicans grabbing patties for lunch. This Kingston heritage site is also said to have the best ice cream in the city — there’s a long line for that, too — but you’re here for the flaky, golden patties with traditional fillings like calaloo and curry goat.
Floyd's Pelican BarBest Watering Hole in the Water Floyd's Pelican Bar, Jamaica
(Photo by Floyd’s Pelican Bar Experience)
If Treasure Beach is on your honeymoon itinerary, you can’t miss a side trip to Floyd’s Pelican Bar, a ramshackle, thatched-roof outpost that rises out of a sandbar about a mile offshore. Order a Red Stripe and elbow up to the bar, or snorkel around in search of dominoes — fishermen can often be seen playing games here. Just try not to get too buzzed to swim.
Boston Jerk CentreBest Jerk Chicken & Pork Boston Jerk Centre, Fairy Hill, Jamaica
(Photo by Inspirock)
Near Port Antonio, Boston Jerk Centre is more like an attraction than a restaurant, with a collection of approximately half a dozen jerk pits serving jerk chicken, pork, roasted breadfruit, Jamaican festival, and bammy, a traditional cassava flatbread.
The Lobster PotBest Casual Seafood Spot Treasure Beach, Jamaica
(Photo by Ali Brown)
The Lobster Pot is a completely unassuming little restaurant in Treasure Beach. Order — you guessed it — lobster, grab a seat under the palapa (large thatched-roof cover), and take off your shoes. This is barefoot, toes-in-the-sand dining, even though dinner is elegantly arranged on white dishes.
The CavesMost Romantic Dinner The Caves Hotel, Negril, Jamaica
(Photo by The Caves)
For a fresh take on the candlelit dinner concept, head to The Caves, where couples can book private dinners in one of two dining rooms carved out of limestone overlooking the sea. Expect flickering tea lights, a five-course meal, bougainvillea petals, and a very satisfied dinner partner.
Caribbean islands are quintessential honeymoon destinations and Jamaica is a real crowd pleaser since there’s such a diverse array of things to do here. If a pristine beach is what you’re after, Jamaica has more than enough to go around. But the island fondly referred to as “Jamrock” may also be better suited to travelers who want more than just sparkling white sands and rum punch to round out the perfect Caribbean honeymoon.