BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN JAMAICA WITH KIDS
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN JAMAICA WITH KIDS
Finding kid-friendly vacation spots can sometimes be a hassle. Besides the regular hotel resorts, it may seem almost impracticable to find decent, safe, child-friendly, adventure-based places to vacation.
Jamaica, the fifth largest island country in the Caribbean, is postulated as being ‘The Land of Wood and Water’. The motto here, ‘Out of Many, One People’, defines the rich history, culture, diversity and talents of the people. Moreover, being a tropical country with some of the worlds most beautiful beaches, springs, flora and fauna makes Jamaica one of the best vacation destinations on earth. Read on as I take you across the hills and valleys of the country and show you all the wonderful things Jamaica as to offer.
What are you waiting for? Let’s GO!
The Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum is situated in the heart of Kingston, the Capital of Jamaica. This was once the home of the great Reggae icon, Bob Marley. The historic museum captures the memories of his life and career. Visitors can live vicariously through Bob Marley’s legacy, as the knowledgeable tour guides regale you with stories of his rise to Reggae super stardom. Be empowered to follow your own dreams, as this was where many of his lyrics were conceived and penned. Visitors, if lucky, can meet and greet friends and family members who knew Bob intimately. In addition to the museum, the property also houses a gift shop, a theatre and a gallery. And afterwards you can tantalize your taste buds with a delectable meal from the Queen of Sheba restaurant – which serves a wide range of vegetarian dishes. Note of interest: Bob’s ‘herbs’ still grow freely in his garden.
Cranbrook Flower Forest
Cranbrook Flower Forest is sometimes referred to as a magical oasis. The 130-acre of land is an infinite pageant of scenic splendor. Located 29 km (18 miles) west of the resort town of Ocho Rios, they cater to nature lovers, weddings, family reunions, corporate fun days and educational tours. Adults and children alike will fall in love with the beauty of nature here. Visitors are invited to admire and touch the hundreds of different plant species. A favorite for many visitors to Cranbrook is the River Head Adventure Trail. Visitors are taken through lush gardens and finally to the banks of the river which seems to be never ending. If you are all about adventure, then you can hop on a donkey and take a ride! Don’t worry - riding a donkey is usually a very calm and slow ride. You can also go pond fishing, swimming, play a game of soccer on the inviting lawn or just lounge and have a picnic.
Visiting Jamaica and not visiting Dolphin Cove is like being in Jamaica and not trying our local food. It just shouldn’t happen. Voted Jamaica’s number one tourist attraction, Dolphin Cove is a natural cove surrounded by 5-acres of plush rainforests and visitors come here to swim with the dolphins. If you are feeling even more adventurous, you can hold, feed and learn about Caribbean sharks. If you’re not into sharks, what about sting rays? There are also many water sports to try out – even glass bottom kayaking and mini boat rides. Visitors also get to explore the grounds, which houses various animals which you can get up close and personal with. A café is on the property where you can purchase food. If you get tired and just want to chill, there are lounge chairs by the beach where you can just go to relax and unwind.
Dunn’s River Falls
Dunn’s River Falls is a breath taking, surging waterfall located in Ocho Rios. Tis place is as famous as Bob Marley himself! It is said that when the Spaniards first came to Jamaica, they called the region Las Chorreras, meaning the waterfalls or springs. Visitors pay a small fee to have access to the beach and to climb the world famous waterfalls. The tiered like steps in the falls helps with ease of climbing. The cool, crisp, fresh water is soothing to the body. It is recommended that persons take a waterproof camera to capture the each moment and buy or rent water shoes for climbing the falls. Attempting to climb barefooted can be quite challenging, as the rocks are usually pretty slippery. Find the right spot to sit and you can sometimes receive a free massage from nature – lovely! The flora and fauna, in addition to the clear water and falls, lends for some breath taking photos. After completing the climb to the top of the falls, you can pay to have your photo taken on a donkey! And for all you art lovers – you can have your name carved into wooden memorabilia or shop for paintings.
Jamaica’s motto in its Creole version has been used to describe the package offered to visitors at Cooper’s Pen Trelawny’s Outameni Experience. Your time here at Outameni will be one of the most unique experiences in Jamaica! Tours will teach you about the cultural diversity of Jamaicans and the hardships endured in gaining independence. This is done through music, dance, film and drama. Be prepared to get involved in the interactive presentations – and you can even learn to speak some Jamaican Creole and sample various authentic food dishes that were brought to Jamaica by its various colonizers.
Fire Water (Windsor Mineral Spring)
Imagine being able to set water ablaze! Imagine lying in that water and not being burned! This is reality at Windsor Mineral Springs – also called Fire Water. This place is one of Jamaica’s best-kept secrets and coming here is an absolute adventure. Situated at the end of a dirt track, outside the Runaway Bay roundabout in St. Ann, the water is posited as having healing properties for several ailments including arthritis! The discovery of this fiery water is said to have been an accident. Granny May, a local resident, was said to be bathing in the river when she was disturbed by a hive of wasps. She lit a torch to burn them away but the torch fell into the water and the water began to burn. This burning of the water is believed to be as a result of the sulphuric properties that have been found in its samples and visitors are actually shown how to set the water ablaze. First, the guides give a demonstration and show you that the flames don’t burn or hurt you. Visitors are then asked to walk through the flames and experience the ‘magic’ for themselves. Mineral water massages are also available here upon request. And the tour guides can also show you how they cook – using some of the flaming water to start their fire.
Blue Hole Mineral Spring
If you are looking for an adventure, off the beaten path, then Blue Hole Mineral Spring is the place for you. It is a natural water park located in Brighton District, Negril. There are a host of enjoyable activities for adults and kids alike. For the faint of heart, exercise your muscles by playing a game of sand volleyball. Interact with locals from the neighboring community and learn more about Jamaica. Indulge in some mouthwatering Jamaican jerk chicken, served hot at the onsite restaurant. Wash this down with an ice cold Red Stripe Beer. For the more adventurous, or the adrenaline junkie, venture for a dive – from as high as 55 feet- into the mineral hole. There is a ladder available in the hole which helps with ease of climbing into or out of the hole. Be sure to apply some of the mud from the mineral hole on your body. It has been said to contain properties which are great for the skin. There is also a mineral pool to swim in, in case you are not up for the dive.
Portland Jerk Festival
The Portland Jerk Festival is one of Jamaica’s major annual festivals. Visitors and locals alike come to gobble up a variety of jerk delights. As you enter the gates of Folly Ruins in Portland, your nose is hugged by the captivating aroma of jerk chicken, pork, fish, lobster, conch, crab and sausage. The menu also includes delicacies usually only served in restaurants such as octopus, reindeer, rabbit and squid. Children are not to be left out, as they can choose from a variety of hot dogs, popcorn, pastries and natural juices. There is also a Kiddies Village as well as an arts and craft area. The Culinary Foundation of Jamaica also engages patrons in a brief cooking demonstration. And to end the day’s festivities, local artistes and dancers provide sensational family approved entertainment.
YS Falls is a fantastic experience for the entire family. Located on a cattle ranch in St. Elizabeth, the cool, blue waters gush from the seven-tiered waterfall. Visitors can pay an additional fee to zip line above the falls. There is a rope at one stage of the falls, where you can swing like Tarzan! You can also choose to tube down the tranquil river or just cool off in one of the natural spring pools. Children are drawn to the playground, which has varying activities to keep them entertained. There is a plush garden with exotic plants that will grab the eyes of nature lovers and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Jamacia’s national bird – the humming bird – buzzing around the grounds. There is a restaurant on the property and a picnic area for those who want to take in the beautiful surroundings. YS Falls is truly a great place to spend quality time with your family. And many of you will be happy to know that everything at YS Falls is ecofriendly - including the bathroom facilities.
Blue Mountain is the highest mountain range in Jamaica and offers visitors the most spectacular views on the island. On a clear day you can actually see as far as Cuba from the mountain’s peak! There are several hikes you can do as well as bike rides for the more adventurous. You can take night hikes as well – guides are highly recommended for these. Along your journey you will find dwellings belonging to residents and several restaurants serving delightful Jamaican cuisine. You can stop at one of the many natural springs to have a drink or to sap you aching muscles. The air in the mountains is cool and crisp and is complimented with its stunning flora and fauna. Blue Mountain is also the home to some of the best coffee in the world – tours to these local coffee plantations are available as well. Visitors get to see firsthand how coffee is reaped and are able to sample various kinds. The excellent ambience of the mountains makes this a perfect picnic area as well as for camping under the stars. Be mindful though that the elevation the temperature tends to drop frequently so if you plan to stay overnight, be sure to pack warm clothes.