Jamaica has a population of 3 million. This is actually huge for the Caribbean. Jamaica is one of the top five for most populated Caribbean islands.
English is the national language, though Jamaicans speak it in such a unique, wonderful way, you’ll almost feel like it’s a foreign language.
Reggae music was born in Jamaica. Yes, you’ll see Bob Marley’s image everywhere, and reggae will be non-stop.
Jamaica is not just beaches. While Jamaica is known for its sugary-white beaches and turquoise waters, there’s also vibrant towns and primitive mountain resorts.
If possible, avoid June to November. In general, high-season (December to March) is optimal: the temperature hovers around 83 degrees with little rainfall. The shoulder season (April to May) is still pretty dry, rates drop, and there are fewer tourists. June to November is notorious for heavy, sporadic rainfall, including hurricanes, and it can be unbearably hot.
There are two international airports, the Manley International Airport (KIN) in Kingston and Donald Sangster International Airport (MBJ) in Montego Bay. Several US airlines fly direct to Jamaica, and the cheapest flights are usually out of Miami or NYC. Direct flights can be as low as $500.
Pick your location with care. The three main vacation regions of Jamaica are Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. Most honeymooners who are going to stay in a resort fly to Montego Bay. See below to determine what region is right for you.
–We recommend arranging airport pick-up in advance, whether through your tour operator or directly with the hotel. The airport can be hectic, and many unauthorized people will offer you rides.
–Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Jamaica has one of the world’s highest crime and homicide rates (it ranked sixth in a recent survey of the most murderous countries on earth). Almost every travel blog, magazine or newspaper has published a story on whether it is safe to travel to Jamaica: that’s a red flag in itself. That said, millions of newlyweds have unforgettable vacations here. If you stick to luxury resorts and stay on the beaten path, you’re better off, but we must advise you there are reports of petty theft on a regular basis. And, yes, at some point during your trip, someone will try to sell you weed (though whether you consider that a crime or just laying out the welcome mat is up to you.)
There are hundreds of honeymoon packages to Jamaica. Couples can find all-inclusive packages (including airfare as low as $489 per person for some lower tier resorts). CheapCaribbean.com is a leading, reputable company for packages across the region.
Due to the high number of honeymooners bookings, many resorts offer stellar romance packages with great rates. For instance, The Caves Hotel, one of the most romantic, five-star properties offers a “Free Love” package that includes cooking classes, a flask of Blackwell Rum and two complimentary nights (based on five night stays).
The Cost Of A Jamaica Honeymoon
One reason Jamaica is a popular option for honeymooners: the packages are so damn cheap. Including flights, hotels, some meals and activities, a package can help you save bigly. Of course, the more upgrades, the more you’ll shell out. Be warned: some of these packages put couples up in basic mega-resorts–the type of place we wouldn’t recommend. Check out our list of the best resorts to book as reference.
On the other hand, plenty of couples plan their honeymoon without a vacation package, which gives them more freedom and flexibility in choosing their own hotels, restaurants and activities. High-end resorts can offer rates as low as $400 and suites starting at $1,000. Restaurants can be affordable, though the more romantic the restaurant, the more you’ll spend, typically $150 to $250 per couple (including wine).
Airfare to Jamaica fluctuates by season. Direct flights can be as low as $500 and as high as $1,200.
Taxis are notoriously expensive in Jamaica, though Uber has recently made inroads.
Guide To The Main Regions Of Jamaica
Jamaica has several towns that are vastly different from each other, unlike other Caribbean islands like Aruba, where resorts are typically in one area.
These main tourist areas of Jamaica are far apart: to give you an idea of the distance: Montego Bay and Negril are both on the western coast, but they’re almost two-hours drive from each other. Negril to Port Antonio on the eastern end is about five hours by car. Your best bet is to base yourself in one town or, like many honeymooners, split your time in two resorts in two different towns. To help you plan right, here’s a breakdown of the main tourist regions you need to know:
Kingston is the capital of Jamaica, home to museums, galleries, historic sites, modern buildings and nightlife. It’s on the southeast coast, and most honeymooners spend very little time here (maybe a day or two at most) as there are no beaches. It’s convenient for a day trip if you’re flying into Kingston International Airport or if you’re staying in Port Antonio, a two-hour drive away, or Strawberry Hill Hotel, which is snuggled up in the Blue Mountains nearby.
A magnet for affluent travelers, Port Antonio is an upscale beach area, teeming with pristine beaches, river rafting on the Rio Grande River and several great places to scuba dive or snorkel. It’s less crowded than Negril, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, and you won’t find the all-inclusive mega-resorts here.
Ocho Rios is dense with resorts, beaches and cruise ship passengers (the harbor is here). There’s really nothing else here except some nice plantations out back. If beaches are your priority, you’ll find significantly nicer ones in Port Antonio. Ocho Rios does have some great destination restaurants like Evita’s, and Dunn’s River Falls is its best natural highlight.
Many visitors to Jamaica will often compare Ocho Rios to Montego Bay, though Montego Bay is more famous. There’s dozens of restaurants, a few mega-resorts, boutique resorts like Round Hill Resort, plenty of shopping and nightlife. “Mo Bay” is iconic and touristy, with a 365-day-a-year “spring break” vibe.
Located on the western tip of the island, Negril is the most low-key area in Jamaica. It’s so laid back that people walk around nude in and around Seven Mile Beach, one of the longest stretches of sandy coastline in the Caribbean and arguably the most famous beach in Jamaica. Negril is home to The Caves, one of the most romantic hotels in the Caribbean).
Best Attractions And Activities In Jamaica
Jamaica is famous for a lot of things: reggae; Seven Mile Beach; ganja. They’re all worth exploring, but on your honeymoon you’ll probably want to focus on romantic activities–such as:
River rafting. The Rio Grande River is breathtaking. You can hop aboard a river raft and just cruise past caves, waterfalls and crystal springs. Head to Black River and you’ll feel like you’re on a wildlife safari.
Find the best beach that suits you. There’s a beach for every personality type in Jamaica, and they’re all awesome. Doctor Cave’s Beach, the most famous beach, in Montego Bay is the most touristy if you need stimulation and Rastafarian vibes; you can go full commando at Seven Mile Beach; and Bamboo Beach is surf central.
Go cliff diving. Now’s the time to get over your fear of heights. Rick’s Cafe is world famous for cliff diving. There’s even a built-in platform for all the tourists who feel like jumping 35 feet into the Caribbean Sea below. Expect lines.
Top Restaurants In Jamaica
We hope you’re hungry. Jamaica might just be the best country in the Caribbean for foodies. The birthplace of “jerk,” Jamaica offers some amazing dining experiences, whether it’s a beach shack serving just-caught fish or a romantic restaurant under the stars.
You won’t go a day without having an epic meal. These five casual, no-frills restaurants are the best on the island and worth a reservation. Whether you Instagram your food or not is up to you (most people do).
Honeymooners dress to the nines to experience exceptional fine dining in Jamaica, whether it’s right on the beach or right over the ocean. These five upscale restaurants are a must for honeymooners.
A honeymoon in Jamaica is as good as it gets. It’s one of the most in-demand destinations for newlyweds, thanks to sprawling beaches, amazing resorts, local culture, excellent dining and the laid-back atmosphere. Throw in an active nightlife and a legitimate island soundtrack of reggae music, you’ll see why newlyweds hit the honeymoon jackpot when them come here.
A vacation package has true value, but it’s ok to power plan your own lodging and schedule. Most couples will split their time between two (or three or four) areas, but vegging out in just one beach town is not uncommon. Just remember to pick the right airport… and definitely avoid spring break, when the entire country turns into a messy party.
While Jamaica is associated with crime, it’s not rampant in the touristy spots, but travelers still should use common sense when sightseeing. They’ll find that Jamaicans are wonderful people who are proud of their country, and they know tourism is what keeps them in business. Pack your bags and get excited for a country that will definitely get you high (on romance, if nothing else.)