Sitting in the Caribbean Sea, just south of
Cuba, Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean with a length of 234 kilometres
and a width of 80 kilometres. Jamaica has so much diversity that it can provide every type
of outdoor adventure. Although there are six main tourist regions; Montego Bay, Negril,
Mandeville and The South Coast, Kingston, Port Antonio and Ocho Rios, you are never far
from exciting holiday recreation. Known as the land of Wood and Water, it is the water
that first draws visitors.
Jamaica has beaches to suit every desire. From the busy sand of Montego Bay and Ocho
Rios to the private tranquility of the beaches of Port Antonio, Jamaica offers beachgoers
every type of fun in the sand. For some beach lovers Negril is the perfect place with long
sandy stretches in a pristine environment. The blue of the sky with the green of the flora
reflecting on the shimmering water gives the ocean at Negril vibrant colours. All the
beach sports that an individual on vacation would want can be found on Jamaicas
beaches including kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing and jet skis.
One truly awe-inspiring beach activity is to visit the Luminous Lagoon that stretches
along the marshlands of Trelawny from the small community of Rock to the town of Falmouth.
At night, the lagoon sparkles and glistens when disturbed, as microscopic organisms
produce an eerie glow, reflecting the outlines of fish and other objects in the water.
Visitors can swim in the lagoon and there body is surrounded by the luminous green
With deep and productive waters only 15 minutes from shore, well-equipped sport fishing boats and scenic views Jamaica offers world
class game fishing. Visiting anglers have a chance at landing blue and white marlin,
wahoo, tuna and dolphin (dorado) in deep water that drops to thousands of feet beyond the
Jamaica has excellent scuba diving and
snorkeling sites: shallow and deep, reefs and walls, wrecks and caverns, home to all
manner of sea life: spectacular coral, exotic sponges, spiny lobsters, moray eels, sea
turtles and multitudes of colorful fish, big and small. One of the best scuba-diving sites
off Jamaicas coast appears just offshore from Jamaica Beach, to the west of Rio
Nuevo, which is a suburb of Ocho Rios. The reef, called the Rio Nuevo Wall, is a 25-foot
dive and supports barracudas, turtles, parrotfish and other tropical marine life in its
mountainous coral formations. At Dolphin Cove at Treasure Reef near Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios, you
can swim with marine life in an aquatic park. This magnificent property has a natural cove
which is surrounded by 5 acres of lush tropical rain forest. Visitors have the opportunity
to interact, and swim with dolphins. Those in search of more holiday adventure can also interact with Caribbean Sharks and hold, feed, swim and learn about
the evolutionary secrets of Caribbean Sharks. Another attraction for the adventure seeker
is Stingray City at Treasure Reef, where you are shown how to handle stingrays and then
allowed to snorkel where you can feed, pet or simply observe the rays.
The Blue Lagoon in Port Antonio is a must for the water lover. Formerly called the Blue
Hole, the name was changed after the making of various Hollywood movies at this site. This
sheltered cove is one of the most scenic spots in Jamaica. Surrounded by steep, green
hillsides, the Blue Lagoon is a wonderful place to swim. The most striking feature about
the Blue Lagoon is its mystical blue colour which changes throughout the day, depending on
the angle of the sun. Throughout the day the water colour changes from jade to emerald to
turquoise to sapphire to deep blue. Fed by underground mineral springs when you swim in
its waters you are massaged by streams of warm water from the Caribbean Sea and refreshing
jets of icy fresh water from the underground streams.
Outdoor water adventure in Jamaica does not stop at the sea. There are more than 100
rivers in Jamaica. The widest is the Black River which is just over 73 kilometres in
length of which the first 28 kilometres are navigable. The longest river in Jamaica is the
Rio Minho which starts near the Blue Mountains Peak and flows in a south-southwesterly
direction to the sea and exits into Caribbean Sea by means of Carlisle Bay. The most
popular rivers are the Great River, the Rio Grande and the Martha Brae River. A popular
vacation activity is to go river
rafting. On rafts made of bamboo with a rafts-man using a long bamboo pole to propel
and guide the raft, you slowly drift downstream, listening to nature's gentle voice while
viewing exotic Caribbean flora and fauna with endless photo opportunities.
Another relaxing river experience is the Black River Boat Safari. This is a great opportunity to explore remote
mangrove swamps and to see native species such as crocodiles living in their natural
habitats. You will also have the opportunity to some of the 100 species of birds that have
been seen in the area. A good way to relieve the tensions that you have built up before
visiting Jamaica is to swim in the Milk River Baths in Clarendon. The waters in the baths
are warm and full of minerals of various types. The baths are open to the public and no
reservation is necessary.
Not all of Jamaicas river adventures are done at a serene and sedate pace. The
holiday maker who wants fast paced outdoor recreation will enjoy a kayak trip on the White River in Ocho Rios. On this kayaking adventure
you will paddle your way through the rapids and crystal clear pools under a canopy of lush
tropical vegetation and huge bamboo groves. Another river adventure is the tubing ride down the Great River. This river ride is a combination of
adrenaline, relaxation and water. You start your outdoor adventure with a relaxing float
through some of the most picturesque areas of Jamaica and then it's on to the rapids which
are just right for a fun-filled adventure.
If you just want to lie in the refreshing coolness of a rivers water then Gutts
River in Saint Elizabeth is perfect. Gutts River which flows into the nearby ocean has a
blue waterhole that will dazzle you.
Jamaicas limestone topography means that many rivers often disappear underground.
However far from being the end of the outdoor recreation activity, this disappearance
opens new adventure opportunities, with cave exploration. One interesting cave system is
the Nonsuch Caves in Port Antonio where visitors can descend into chambers to view
stalactites, stalagmites and fossilized sponges. The Green Grotto Caves in St. Ann are
another interesting cave system. The caves which were formed out of the limestone by the
action of water over time are a kilometre and a half long and contain an underground lake,
Grotto Lake. The Rock Spring Caves and the Quashie River Sink Caves, on the outskirts of
Albert Town, offer two of the most captivating caving experiences in Jamaica, with mazes,
secret chambers and waterfalls within the various limestone rock formations.
Part of Jamaicas diversity is its mountains and the combination of mountains and
rivers give rise to waterfalls. The most popular waterfall in Jamaica is Dunns River Falls in Ocho Rios and there are always large
numbers of people at this waterfall. A popular activity for visitors is to climb the falls
which is possible because this waterfall is more of a cascade that ascends gradually
upward. The Falls end at the beach and you can swim at the beach or sit and let the river
water cascade on you. If you intend to climb the Falls you should wear shoes to prevent
stubbing your toes on the rocks.
One of the most dramatic waterfalls in inland Jamaica is YS Falls. The YS Falls
comprise a steep staircase of waterfalls, seven in all, dropping from a height of 130
feet. Water pours out of the limestone rock into the Black River below. You can swim in
the pools below the falls and enjoy the refreshing coolness of the water.
The strictly on land recreation activities offer no less adventure than the water based
activities, with hiking, bicycle rides, horseback riding, ATV rides and numerous other
For hikers, the pinnacle of Jamaicas hiking is to ascend the 7,402 foot Blue
Mountain Peak. The peak is a challenge to all serious trekkers. Another enjoyable trekking
expedition can be had by hiking in the Bluefields Mountains which are just one hour from
Montego Bay and Negril,. These hikes are for the more adventurous who want to get to the
top of the mountain - around 2300 feet (701m). From here, you can enjoy looking down on
the turkey vultures as they soar below. Climbing at a steady pace on mountain paths and
donkey tracks you will enjoy magnificent panoramic views over deep wooded valleys and old
Another way to enjoy the Blue Mountains is on a Blue
Mountain Bicycle Tour. You will be able to experience the dramatically
beautiful landscape with its pristine streams and waterfalls, misty slopes, varied species
of Jamaican birds, wildflowers and plants. There will also be the chance to meet
some of the local coffee farmers and other growers. If the ride gets you hot and bothered
you can always make a stop at a natural rock cove or stream and swim and
snorkel in the refreshing water.
If bicycle rides or hiking are too much exertion but you still want to have an
adventure in the Jamaican countryside then ATV
rides are possible. On these rides you journey deep into the scenic country side
through paths that meander along shadowed corridors, beneath the jungle canopy and across
river beds and hillocks. You can also go horseback riding and visit castles and sugar
factories dating back nearly 500 years. Some of the rides will take you through natural
wetland, shaded by almond and coconut trees, while others will take you along secluded
If you are a bird watcher then Jamaica is a perfect place for a holiday that allows you
to enjoy your passion. There are more than 200 native species in Jamaica with at least 25
endemic species. Albert Town in south eastern Trelawny is especially good for
bird-watcher's, as dozens of species endemic to Jamaica and to the Cockpit Country pass
overhead with startling regularity. On any given day, observers will notice wild yellow
and black-billed parrots, yellow-billed amazons and flocks of "doctor birds", a
species of hummingbird indigenous to Jamaica.
For the individual on vacation and in search of real heart-pumping outdoor adventure
then a Zip-Line Canopy Tour will provide the excitement. These tours will
have you soaring through and above the trees using an intricate system of harnesses,
pulleys and carabiners on horizontal traverses. From your birds-eye view, you will
be able to survey the flora and fauna of Jamaicas magnificent landscape, all while
listening to the gentle sounds of nature.
For more information on outdoor adventure activities in Jamaica,
visit our other Jamaica Pages