Which of Jamaica's main resorts is right for you?

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Lucy McGuire

Lucy McGuire

Jamaica is a Caribbean* island that really stands out for its character. From its reggae music and Rastafarian culture to its flavourful jerk-infused cuisine, gorgeous beaches and glorious weather, it has something for everyone.

Which of Jamaica's resorts is right for you? © Irishka777 - Dreamstime.com
Which of Jamaica's resorts is right for you? © Irishka777 - Dreamstime.com

One of the larger Caribbean islands, Jamaica* has a good choice of places to stay. Our guide to Jamaica's top holiday resorts, covering Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and Whitehouse, should help you settle on where to stay that's right for you.

Getting to Jamaica: whether you're looking for a luxurious break or a simple, island escape, you'll find a huge choice of all inclusive holidays to Jamaica with Sandals*, which departs from numerous UK airports.

Montego Bay

  • Great for: fun & entertainment

With Sangster International Airport right on its doorstep and a plethora of gorgeous sandy beaches, Montego Bay* in St James* is one of the most convenient resorts in Jamaica.

It's well geared towards tourists too, but that doesn't necessarily mean you get a 'diluted' Caribbean experience.

Try Scotchies for, arguably, the best jerk chicken on the island and try the island-wide Juici Patties for yes, you guessed it, a delicious Jamaican patty. If you fancy something high-end, the seafood at sophisticated Marguerites is hard to beat.

Looking to party? MoBay's 'Hip Strip' on Gloucester Avenue is the place to go. It's also where you'll find the well-known Doctor's Cave Beach and the lively Aquasol Beach Park, offering everything from watersports (including banana boat rides and jet skis) to beach games and beach bars.

Each July, music lovers flock to the town for the week-long Sumfest, where some of the industry's best reggae artists perform.

For a magical experience you'll long remember, head east to Falmouth, the main town and capital of Trelawny parish, and take the Luminous Lagoon tour.

This night-time cruise takes you through marshlands where you'll witness an otherworldly bioluminescent light, or sea sparkle, caused by millions of microscopic plankton.

Ocho Rios

  • Great for: a taste of adventure

Ocho Rios* has all the souvenir and duty-free shops you'd expect from a Caribbean cruise port. But independent markets, shops and restaurants also make downtown Ochi an interesting place to explore.

Dunn's River Falls © Thank You - Flickr Creative Commons
Dunn's River Falls © Thank You - Flickr Creative Commons

Located in the garden parish of St Ann, it's known for its myriad jungle attractions and water-based adventures abound here in the Jamaican riviera. Pack your rock shoes and scale the mighty 183-metre-high Dunn's River Falls.

Alternatively, take a bamboo raft or river tubing experience down the White River to the renowned Blue Hole, known for its jungle trails, caves, Tarzan ropes and Secret Falls.

Daredevils also flock to the nearby Mystic Mountain for jungle zip wires, chairlifts and high-speed rides.

If you like to indulge in a bit of shopping, head to Island Village where you'll find everything from beachwear and boutique jewellery shops to quirky Caribbean food joints. It's a lively place for Happy Hour too.

Bamboo rafting in Jamaica © Debbie Ann Powell - Adobe Stock Image
Bamboo rafting in Jamaica © Debbie Ann Powell - Adobe Stock Image

If you're looking for some serious beach time, many hotels in Ocho Rios have their own sections of beach but Mammee Bay Beach is excellent for watersports.

Meanwhile, a few miles to the west you'll find Oracabessa, home to beautiful James Bond Beach, which is close to where Ian Fleming once lived in Goldeneye Villa.


  • Great for: barefoot luxury

Jamaica's southwest coast is less developed than other parts of the island. While towns like Whitehouse* are still thriving fishing villages, you'll also find some showstopping beaches.

Don't miss the 'bar in the ocean' known as Floyd's Pelican Bar. This stilted drinking den, located off the coast of neighbouring St Elizabeth, was built on a sandbar by local fisherman Floyd Forbes.

Sail here on a local fishing boat or catamaran and you'll enjoy an ice-cold Red Stripe, heady rum punch or maybe even some freshly cooked fish. Bliss.

Speaking of rum, the legendary Appleton Estate, around an hour inland from Whitehouse, is a great way to explore Jamaica's most famous tipple.

Multi-sensory tours take you through the various aged rums and its restaurant serves Caribbean dishes alongside killer cocktails.

A boat safari along Black River is another great day out from Whitehouse and takes you up close to giant Red Mangrove trees, exotic bird life and the endangered American crocodile.

Alternatively, head to YS Falls in St Elizabeth. Lolling about in the natural (and manmade) pools and gardens makes for a serene day out.


  • Great for: its boho vibe

Negril* has evolved since its days as a 1960s hippie escape. But it retains a far more bohemian vibe than some other resorts with no-frills beach shacks, Ital (vegetarian Rastafarian) restaurants and live music venues that spill onto the beach.

Sunset at Rick's Café, Negril © imageBROKER - Alamy Stock Photo
Sunset at Rick's Café, Negril © imageBROKER - Alamy Stock Photo

Thanks to its westerly location, Negril has emerged as the place to see the sun go down, so don't miss out on a mesmerising sundowner at the legendary Rick's Café, Negril, where plucky daredevils leap off 35-ft-high cliffs into the sea.

The rocky west end is also home to top-notch fish restaurants (go for the lobster) and quirky cliff venues where you'll find great acoustic reggae nights. Not to mention Barney's Flower & Hummingbird Garden where (subject to opening hours), you'll get up close to the island's national bird.

The town's huge swathe of sand, known as Seven Mile Beach, is fringed by a hotchpotch of accommodation interspersed with all the bars and restaurants you could possibly need. Along Seven Mile Beach you'll also find watersports aplenty.

For something a touch more laid back, venture north to Half Moon Beach in the small town of Green Island, where you can chill in a hammock without a care in the world.

Weather in Jamaica

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above shows the weather in Montego Bay. You can find out more about the weather across the island in our complete guide to the weather in Jamaica.

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Lucy McGuire

Lucy McGuire

Posted on Tuesday 13th September 2022 in: Beach Caribbean Winter sun

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