12 Must Do Jamaican Bucket List Adventures
Bucket List Jamaica: 12 Things Everyone Should Do in Jamaica
A couple weeks ago; June 21st marked the official beginning of the summer season. Besides, if the calendar hadn’t told you; the weather sure has. It has probably been scorching hot since around May this year. I literally felt like I offended the sun in some way and it’s really getting its glorious revenge on my ass right now. And some say Global Warming isn’t real….. Ha!!! But I digress.
Although in Jamaica we experience year-round sunshine, the summer months of June- August are particularly thrilling and full of festivities. From clubbing and parties to day-trips and stay-cays; we are truly never out of things to do. But sometimes you can get stumped on where to go on your next big adventure. Whether you’re from the city and tired of the parties or you’re from another country and not too sure of what to do, it can get tricky as to what are the next MUST DO items to add to your summer bucket list.
There are so many places for you to visit during summer break, depending on what you want to do. Jamaica is one of the best summer vacation destinations, because it has something to offer for every type of traveler. Whether you want to lounge around by the pool or on the beach, go for a challenging hike in the mountains, go on an exhilarating adventure, or just simply go exploring on a day trip with your pals chasing waterfalls and sunsets. Jamaica is more than just beach trips and all-inclusive hotels. Jamaica is a true traveling experience.
Below are my picks for 12 Bucket List Adventures Everyone Should Do in Jamaica:
1 Beat the heat with fro-yo from Tutti Fruitti
The heat has been pummeling us repeatedly for the last few months so finding ways to cool down is a must! Last year my pick for a cooling summer treat was to enjoy some ice cream at Devon House. And while that's still a definite must, this year I think another treat can be added to the list.
Tutti fruitti made its debut a few years back and it has been expanding its services and flavours ever since. So if you're looking for a scrumptious treat that tantalises your taste buds while keeping you refreshingly cool. Maybe you're not too much of an ice cream lover or looking for a healthier sweet treat. Well look no further and let your taste buds be your guide. One of my favourite flavours and summer pick is birthday cake.
2 Wash of your heart and Drink coconut water at Castleton Gardens
Speaking of cooling down, there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer's day than drinking some coconut water. Yes I know it's easy to just go to the supermarket and buy a basic bottle of coconut water and call it a day. But we don't lead basic lives so we won't do basic things. Unless you know, you're not in Jamaica then I apologise 😬😬😬
But there is truly something special about drinking coconut water straight from a freshly cut coconut or as we say in Jamaica, 'jelly water'. It's like reuniting with nature and experiencing a cherished part of a culture. And it gets even better once the coconut is cut open and you get to eat the jelly meat! Yes loves it's an experience.
Now that I've successfully convinced you about how awesome it is to drink coconut water from a coconut; you may be wondering why Castleton? Can't you get coconut water anywhere in Jamaica? Well that's probably true but there's definitely something about reveling in nature while having jelly water. The witnessing of nature's beauty as you take a quiet stroll through the garden or sit and relax for a picnic along the grounds nearby the river. It's serenity. And a day like this is definitely a must have summer experience.
3 Revel in Jamaica’s rich history with a tour of Port Royal
The infamous tales of pirates that roamed the seven seas and riches so great that ended many a heartbeat. The story of Port Royal and it's pirate glory has been in part famously retold by the popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. But as with all works of fiction and fantasy, some stories have been warped, some stretched and others omitted to facilitate the effective telling of the story the movie team wanted portrayed.
Get a true glimpse of the world of Pirates and thieves from the horse's mouth. Visit surviving structures and buildings whose stories stand etched in the walls that built them. Check out the museum of artifacts discovered post earthquake. And when it's all done you can always stop by Gloria's for some fish or take a trip across the water to Lime Cay for a day at the beach.
4 Savour the flavours and Go on the Appleton Estate Rum Tour
Jamaica is known as the land of wood and water. But I don’t think that’s complete. Jamaica should be called the land of jerk, rum, wood and water. #fixed. We are definitely rum people.
I don't know if it's a result of our sordid pirate past. Maybe it's because we have sugar cane a plenty and rum is a delicious by product. Or possibly it's because we love a good party and rum is a must. But whatever it is Jamaicans love a good drink. Jamaicans love their rum.
Home to one of the oldest distilleries in the world. As well as having the pleasure of boasting the presence of the first female Master Blender in the world, Joy Spence. The Appleton Estate is a signature in the Jamaican spirit market.
From farm to table, this tour allows you to enter into the world of rum fermentation. Teaches you the rum making process that has evolved and been perfected over the years and gives you the chance to savour the flavours of Appleton's signature mixtures and blends. Not only is the tour educational, it also helps you to develop an appreciation for one of Jamaica's tastiest exports. It's truly a delectable experience.
5 Cowabunga! Ride the waves and take a surfing lesson
For years I've had this obsession with learning how to surf. I don’t know if it was all those Disney channel movies I'd watch that made extreme sports like surfing seem so epic. Maybe it's all the times I heard Kelly Slater praised for his prowess on the water. Whatever the reason I've had an inkling and itching to learn to surf that I just haven't scratched yet. But I'm definitely going soon.
In recent years, Jamaica has slow but surely become a surfing mecca for the lovers of the sand and surf. With prominent surfing spots in Boston Bay, Portland and Bull Bay, St Thomas, the surfing scene has taken tremendous steps and made significant strides in growing the community.
Imagine the day. It's a warm summer day. The sweet scent of the salty sea water breezing past you. The morning wind gently caressing your skin as you step out into the water. Experiencing that glorious feeling of exhilaration when you make that first stride and ride that first wave. It's exciting. It's fricking awesome. It's a true experience.
6 Eat fish at Hellshire
I know what you're thinking. There are so many foodie related recommendations in this post. No it's not some sneaky sly way in which I'm trying to get you fat. It's just my wangagut aside, it's hard to come to Jamaica and not delve deep into the food scene.
Jamaicans love food. We take pride in preparing our delicacies. Seasoning to perfection and using recipes that often transcends generations. We beam with join and take a special pleasure in people especially strangers enjoying our food. Food in Jamaica is more than just filling your stomach. It's a conversation. It's a bonding opportunity. Food is a way to connect with a culture.
Hellshire beach is one of Jamaica's free beaches that is located in Portmore, St Catherine. But apart from being a place for a fun day out, Hellshire is popular for its fresh fish cuisine that leaves many salivating for more. Fish freshly caught from the sea by local fishermen and prepared to suit your palate. Paired off with the must have staples of festival and nanny. Ohh dear, I'm getting hungry just typing this out. It's a day in a beach-lover, foodie heaven. Mommy, I think I've made it to the promise land.
7 Submerge yourself and cliff dive from the Blue Hole
Jamaica's Blue Hole is not for the faint of heart. Located in the tourist hotspot of Ocho Rios, Jamaica; this previously hidden gem has been gaining traction for being a bucket list destination in Jamaica.
With a natural azure of the crystal clear cascading waterfalls and multiple levels and options for entering the water, just your mere presence at the falls is an enticing invitation to jump in and splash around. You have the option of jumping in via diving spots around 6 feet above the water or swinging in via the available rope swing; or for the less brave, you can also walk along the outskirts and climb along the rocks to enter into the water. Once in the water, choose a safe spot away from other divers and just chill out, relax and enjoy the water while soaking up the breathtaking views.
8 Escape the city life with a trip to a villa for the weekend
Are you tired of the day in day out work work work life? Looking to chill out with a lover, few friends or family this summer? Don't want to pay hotel prices? Then look no further because a villa might just be for you.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the travelsphere. I've noticed more and more travelers are ditching the all-inclusive life at the hotels for more intimate settings at villas, hostels and family-operated guest houses.
Possibly due to the popularity of sites like air BnB and social media providing a lot more exposure to previously obscure destinations, villas have seen a surge in popularity. Even more perfect is the fact that there's pretty much a villa for every budget and every lifestyle. From all-inclusive fully equipped with house keepers, chef and all that jazz to more budget friendly options where preparing meals is more the speed. Whatever you prefer, there's something for everyone.
Another thing that makes a villa outing so fun is that you can host a lot more people. A larger group of friends can rent the space and make a thing out of it. Maybe it can be a couple's retreat, a girls weekend, a friend reunion, party house. Whatever you decide. So what are you waiting for? Your next villa destination is just a drive away.
9 Sip a Red Stripe Beer at Floyd’s Pelican Bar
Hailing from the breadbasket of Jamaica, St Elizabeth is a bar that has gained notoriety around the world for its fun atmosphere and strong drinks. Floyd's Pelican Bar is what I would call a unique Jamaican experience.
You may be wondering what's so special about a bar in a country that is in the Guinness book of world records for having the most bars per square capita in the world? (PS we also have the record for the most churches too. From one spirit to the next 😋). Well what makes Floyd's unique is that it is a tiny bar made of driftwood stilted on a huge sandbar and it's located out in the sea. Yes y'all we have floating bars too. Again I say, we are rum people.
A 20 minute boat ride leads you out to the famed destination where you can eat, drink, swim and be merry. And to make it a truly Jamaican experience, a perfect day at Floyd's involves sipping a cold Red Stripe beer.
10 Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios
Did you know that dolphins have excellent eyesight and hearing as well as the ability to use echolocation for finding the exact location of objects? Well now you know because it's Nella's super fun facts.
Okay fact aside, I absolutely love dolphins. Shout out to Flipper because you were the real one. Dolphins are such amazing creatures. Smart, friendly, great instincts, strong and fun to be around. They are one of those animals who it's an absolute pleasure to be around. Well at least for me.
Dolphin Cove, Ocho Rios provides the perfect opportunity to interact with and swim with these amazing creatures, participate in their tricks and just have an overall great time.
11 Face the rapids and go river tubing
Are you ready for a thrilling experience? Are you an adventure junkie looking for a new way to boost your adrenaline? We'll try skydiving. Just kidding!
I've been river tubing a few times now and its been different experiences each time. For the most part I find it to be tranquil and relaxing to float down the river. But there are points when the river speeds up and the rapids attack. There you will be tossed and turned. But overall it's safe and hey I'm still here. There are even points where you can jump out of the tube and jump into the water. Just so you know it is coooooold. But still refreshing.
River tubing is a refreshing and relaxing adventure through nature. Enveloped by lush greenery and beautiful foliage. Sailing alongside the creatures of the river. And experiencing the serene atmosphere that is river tubing. Create some truly lasting memories. It's a great activity for the whole family.
12 Sail away with a tranquil Bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae River
Speaking of relaxing days on the river. Rafting down the Martha Brae is probably one of the most relaxing things you can do in Jamaica. An iconic Jamaican experience, river rafting combines the skill and natural beauty of our local people with the intimate environment that surrounds it. All while creating a tranquil and romantic time on the water.
Enjoy the scenery and revel in the peaceful escape through nature. Be calmed by the sweet sound of the river flowing. And enjoy an activity perfect for everyone. Swimmers and non-swimmers. Lovers, friends and families. It's the type of trip that creates memories that you talk about for years to come.
WHAT’S YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE?
Summer is the perfect time to take a trip to somewhere new. Or return and experience the pleasures of an old favourite. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there’s always an adventure waiting for you. It’s time to satisfy your wanderlust and chase your next adventure.
What’s on your bucket list? I’d love to hear more from you all. Leave a comment down below and share something you lan on ticking off this summer.