Bamboo River Rafting
Twenty miles east of Montego Bay, you sit high and (mostly) dry on a bamboo raft poled down the lazy-flowing Martha Brae River by your guide who, if you get a good one, will entertain you with stories along the way. Martha, legend has it, was a witch, so expect an enchanting setting.
So many people extol the “non-commercial” feel of the Blue Hole, near Ocho Rios, that you might want to take that with a grain of salt. But there is no doubt that if you and your buds want to have a waterfall experience similar to Dunn’s River Falls, but without the serious crowds, this is the place. It’s a little off the main track, so best to go with a tour operator, such as Marvyn’s Paradise Tours.
One thing everybody who visits Jamaica ought to do is ride a bobsled, right? You might think so after flying down the side of a mountain in a high-tech sled that runs on a 3,000-foot track, at Mystic Mountain Rainforest Adventures. Inspired by the Jamaica Olympic bobsled team, it’s just as odd-ball as it seems, and just as much fun
Seven Mile Beach
The soft sand by day and the party scene at the beach-front bars and restaurants at night will make up for the number of beach vendors who’ll pester you to buy just about anything that’s for sale in Jamaica, Rasta caps to ganja.
Eastern end of island
Cool and misty, the Blue Mountains are a hiker’s paradise and a coffee-lover’s heaven. You’ll see Blue Mountains coffee for sale all over Jamaica, but why not get the coffee gang together and let them taste it at the source with a visit to the Mavis Bank Coffee Factory, where more Blue Mountains coffee is processed than anywhere else on the island. Tours run weekdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; call to arrange a tour, 876.977.8005.
They care about sustainability and they count food miles. Yet Mille Fleurs, at the Hotel Mockingbird Hill, with its al fresco views of Port Antonio Harbor and the Blue Mountains, is one of the most romantic dining spots on the east end of Jamaica. A foodie favorite, it may be a little too forward-thinking for some, as non-vegetarian guests might discover if they arrive on a Meatless Monday.
The sunsets and the cliff divers make a visit to Rick’s Café worth a visit. And the people watching is primo, too. But a word of caution. Many tourists jump off the cliffs, usually after a Red Stripe or two, and many of them get banged up, some seriously. So advise your guests to save their derring-do for the dance floor.
Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Kingston
It goes without saying that you can get good jerk all over Jamaica. But the sizzle and the scent have long made Scotchie’s, at any of their three locations, our casual-dining favorite on the island. Everybody, including locals, raves about the chicken. But don’t overlook the roast yam, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit.
Sugar Mill Restaurant
Located at the Half Moon Resort, Sugar Mill may be the finest restaurant in Jamaica, and the most romantic. You’ll sit under the stars, while the water wheel turns and the air is fragment with flowers. It’s the kind of place where you’ll want to dress up a bit and leave the younger kids behind.