11 MUST DO BUCKET LIST ADVENTURES FOR A JAMAICAN SUMMER
The summer is coming! The summer is coming! Grab your fans, pull out your bathing suits and don’t forget sunblock because the summer is coming! The summer season is pummeling towards us with full force. The days are getting longer. Sun is shining brighter. And the heat. Oh Jesus …the HEAT!!! It seems like every year the summers are getting hotter.
Despite the risk of heat stroke, summer is admittedly one of my most favourite times of the year. I may be a little biased of course. Being that I’m a summer baby and child of the sun and sea, summer is always a time of celebration for me.
Every year I put pen to paper and make a list of things to do during summer. Yet, somehow I never quite get to do most of what I planned. This year I decided to create a summer bucket list. Much like My 2018 Adventure List I want to include you guys. I am really planning to complete everything on this list (fingers crossed). And I already have a special way I’m planning to take you guys along for the ride.
Bucket List Adventures for a Jamaican summer
Jamaica is a nation of rich culture, vibrant colours and a cool, relaxing atmosphere that captivates anyone lucky enough to land on its shores. Despite popular belief, it’s not only blessed with amazing beaches, and the home to reggae, dreadlocks, rum, pirates and marijuana. Rather, Jamaica is a true experience. A place of adventure, wander, and boundless number of activities for every traveler and explorer.
So what can you do during this summer in Jamaica? Looking for some ideas? Whether you’re new to the country or a local looking for a bevy of experiences to make your summer more memorable; Here’s a list of a few things to enrich your Jamaican summer:
1. Trek to the peak of the infamous Blue Mountains
The alluring idyll of the Jamaican Blue Mountains is a true Hiker’s paradise. With a height of 2,256 metres (7,401 feet) and a distance of 9.3 km (5.8 miles); the Blue Mountain peak is the highest mountain and highest point in Jamaica. This unspoiled, all-natural paradise is not only home to the amazingly delicious Blue Mountain coffee; but also, to beautiful and captivating views that will take your breath away.
It’s a nature lovers dream come true as this day long hike, enchants you with views of the city of Kingston (sometimes you can even see the outline of Cuba on a clear day), cool and refreshing waterfalls and exotic plant and wildlife species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Us locals tend to prefer hiking to the peak during the nights, so that we can reach the peak in time to soak up the sunrise. The view from the Blue Mountain summit is truly one of the best in Jamaica!
And while you’re there, stop by one of the sublime coffee farms and have a cup of mouth-watering Blue Mountain coffee.
The climb is hard but the view is great from the top.
2. Take a Leap of Faith at Rick’s Cafe
Located on the western side of the island in Negril, Jamaica; this long-time favourite has been a local and tourist hotspot since April 1974. Situated at the top of a 35-foot high cliff, it’s known for its heart-throbbing cliff jumping and boasts some of the best, uninterrupted, most breath-taking sunsets in the world.
If you read my previous post and review on my day trip to Rick’s Cafe, then you know that this isn’t my first time venturing west to this diving hot spot. However, on my next trip I’m planning to do something a bit more adrenaline infused than watching other divers jump and lyming at the bar. This time I’m planning to finally take the leap and cliff dive from Rick’s Cafe. A bit of forewarning, I’m not quite brave enough to go to the highest point yet. I will however, dive from the second (or maybe 3rd) highest diving point. so wish me luck.
3. Soar to new heights with a thrilling parasailing experience
Ever wanted to fly? And not in an airplane, but really fly. Soar gracefully over land and water. Looking down and getting a bird’s eye view. Gliding through the sky. Feeling the winds brush against my skin as I drift to new heights. Really and truly fly.
Parasailing has literally been on my bucket list for years! Years!!! Times aback, it seemed like the only way I’d have the experience would be to go overseas and do it there. But my how times have changed. Now, my parasailing adventure is just a car and boat ride away. This exhilarating experience is definitely a must for all thrill seekers and adventurers. And it is a must for any Jamaican summer bucket list.
See Icarus didn’t ruin it for us all then.
4. Sail through the trees on a exhilarating Ziplining adventure
From one heart-pumping, palpitation-inducing adrenaline rush to another. I’m really putting my fear of falling from high places to the test this summer. Or maybe there’s something about the summer breeze and sunshine that makes me want to be outside as much as possible.
Home to one of the longest zipline in the Caribbean, this mile-long high flying adventure will see me (and you; should you choose to come along), gliding through beautiful flora and fauna in an awe-inspiring view of a local forest.
5. Soak up the Caribbean sun on Jamaica’s infamous Lime Cay
Jamaica is well-known as a home to some of the world’s best beaches. Blessed with luxurious fine white sand blanketing our shores. Coupled with pristine clear blue waters encompassing our land. There’s no wonder that Jamaica’s beaches are some of the most lauded in the world.
If you follow me on instagram. (If you aren’t following yet, you should be. I mean what are you waiting on?). Anyhoo, if you follow me on instagram, then you’ll know that one of my favourite weekend activities is day-tripping to amazing beaches. Now guess where I will be sashaying off to next? I’ll give you a hint …. it’s a small oasis, only a stone’s throw and 15 minute boat ride away from Port Royal, Kingston.
6. Savour the flavours of real Jamaican Jerk
Jamaica is the birthplace of many things. Reggae music. Ska & Dancehall. Rastafarian movement. Bob Marley. Usain Bolt. James Bond (he was Jamaican, not British :D). But none has been more delicious and satisfying than Jamaican jerk.
Whether it’s pork, chicken, lobster or beyond; the Jamaican jerk is a scrumptious part of any summer. Succulent sauces and delicious flavours to drive any taste bud wild with excitement. Nothing says Jamaica more than jerk! My personal favourite place to get jerk is Boston Beach, the birthplace of jerk. A divine assembly of numerous jerk specialists ready and waiting to prepare their best jerk delicacies.
However, if you’re in for a real foodie adventure; then the annually held, Boston Jerk Festival is just for you. It sees a gathering of all the island’s local jerk connoisseurs displaying and competing for the title of the best jerk person of the year.
7. Cool down with a frozen treat at Devon House
The sanctuary of Devon House is one that is rich in history and culture. The former home Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel, is now a cherished heritage site and local landmark. With well-kept lawns and a bevy of shops and restaurants, it’s a favourite for picnic’ers and restauranter-lovers alike.
However, no trip to Devon House is complete without sampling its ice cream. Devon House ice cream is truly a Jamaican tradition. Every day, particular on Sundays, droves of patrons line the grounds to satisfy their sweet tooth and taste for the delicious treat. It’s so good the National Geographic Magazine ranked Devon House as one of the top five places to eat ice cream in the world. It’s that good. Don’t let this summer pass you by without a taste of this scrumptious dessert.
8. Indiana Jones your way through a Cave
Okay so it’s not that serious. There won’t be any booby traps (I hope) or hidden treasure (I wish). There’s no crawling through tight spaces or walking across rope bridges to get to the other side. But the adventure of exploring a cave can be quite thrilling this summer.
So where can you go caving in the JA? My pick for this summer is the Green Grotto Caves and it’s not because we share a name.
Green Grotto Caves is a 12-meter deep limestone cave site that shelters and boasts an underground lake, majestic stalactites and stalagmites and exquisite dripstone formations. Everything suited for the feel of searching for a new discovery. There are even a few bats around. You know for that authentic feel and all. (Well it’s really the bats’ home so…).
This natural beauty is not only rich is beauty but also has a cultural and historical significance in this fair country. Initially, used as a shelter for our Taino brethren then later a hideout for runaway slaves (because freedom is where it’s at) and smugglers and at one point even a storehouse for rum. Cool right?… Yes yes it is.
9. Go chase a waterfall at Reach Falls
Approximately 45 minutes east of Port Antonio, Portland you will find another destination with a rich cultural history. The glorious Reach Falls is a discovery made by runaway slaves from plantations in the neighboring parish of St Thomas who sought refuge in the hills of the John Crow mountains.
This luxurious Hollywood hot spot (having being the set for not 1 but 2 Hollywood movies, Tom Cruise’s ‘Cocktails’ and the remake of ‘Lord of the Flies’) is an eco-tourist’s dream come true. A comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, serenaded by the sweet sounds and the soft touch of a cascading waterfall is just what the doctor (I mean me) ordered to soothe all aches and rejuvenate all bodies.
10. Shine bright like a diamond at Glistening Waters
Ain’t life grand? For God so loved the world he has blessed us with divine beauty all around us. Even the tiniest of us can make the biggest of impacts.
The ethereal and mystical phenomenon of the Glistening waters is an experience unique to only four destinations in the world. However, much like the star pupil in a class; this incandescent lagoon in Jamaica is the most brilliant and brightest of them all due to the more consistent climate.
This amazing creation results from the union of the fresh water from the Martha Brae River meeting the salt-water ocean. Add to this an extra dash of phosphorous and a gaggle of microscopic organisms who when disturbed in the water glow and emit a flash of eerie, glistening light. This radiant display of bioluminescence is an all-natural nighttime adventure you cannot miss.
11. Dance the night away at Reggae Sumfest
What’s summer without a concert or music festival? An audiophiles dream comes alive with every rhythm and melody played. Rock and swoon and bust a move to the euphonious tunes echoing throughout.
The 26th staging of the annually held event is Jamaica’s largest, premier music festival. Originally created as a way to showcase Jamaica’s world-renowned reggae music; the event has transformed into a week long entertainment experience. Complimented by a bevy of local and international titans set to woo the crowd; this event has helped in positioning Jamaica as a prime summer destination.
What’s your next adventure?
This list only barely scathes the surface of all the amazing destinations Jamaica has to offer. From riverside to mountain. From cane field to the sea. Jamaica is a little but tallawah (pronounced ta-la-wa; meaning strong or fearless) island and adventure awaits thee.
Summer is the perfect time to take a trip to somewhere new. Or return and revel in an old favourite. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there’s always an adventure waiting for you. It’s time to fulfill your wanderlust.
So how about you? Is there somewhere that you’ve just been dying to go? Or something you’d love to do? Leave it in the comments below. Tell me what’s on your summer bucket list. I’d love to hear.