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Jamaica

Overview

A Very Brief History:
Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. The island was originally inhabited by Amerindians. The Tainos named the island "Xaymaca" which means "land of wood and water". Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494. This arrival marked the beginning of nearly 500 years of European rule. In the 1650’s the British captured Jamaica from the Spanish. Jamaica was a wealthy colony under British rule and the island produced a large percentage of the world’s sugar. This success was due in large to the thousands of African slaves forcefully brought to the island. All slaves were emancipated in 1838. The plantation owners brought in indentured workers from China and India to replace the freed slaves. Many of the Chinese and Indian workers stayed on the island, adding to Jamaica’s eclectic mix of cultures. Over the years crops such as bananas and coffee became Jamaica’s major exports. The island implemented a crown system of government in 1866. This new system brought promises education, health care and other social reforms gave hope to a newly freed generation. Several decades later brought social disappointment and led to incidents of civil unrest. In 1962 Jamaica became an independent nation.

Accommodations

Villa Journeys offers many private vacation homes with a full staff including a cook. These holiday properties are perfect for honeymoons, weddings, family and group getaways. Many of the villas are on the grounds of golf and tennis resorts or offer guest membership. We are also a full service travel agency and can assist with resorts, car rentals, drivers and more.

Entry requirements

A valid passport is required for all US citizens. There may be additional requirements for citizens of other countries. Please call the Jamaican Tourist Board for information on entry requirements: 1-800-JAMAICA

Language

English is the official language of Jamaica. Jamaican patois, also called Jamaican Creole, is also spoken.

Currency/Banking

The official currency is the Jamaican Dollar. US Dollars and credit cards are accepted at most places.

Driving

Driving is on the left.

Climate

Average temperature 66 - 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainy seasons are May to June and September to November. Most rain is in the form of a brief afternoon shower. Hurricane season runs between June to September. These storms are rare but are more likely to occur in the early Fall. We offer travel insurance to help protect you in the event of a hurricane.

Getting There

The two international airports in Jamaica are Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, and Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica's capital city. There are many non-stop flights from the US and Canada. Please contact us for assistance in getting to the island.

Ground Transportation

We can offer a van and driver service as well as auto rental.

Activities

Tourism:
Jamaica has something for everyone. The island is known for its music and culture as well as mountains and beaches. Some of the main tourist areas include Montego Bay, Discovery and Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Montego Bay houses one of the islands two international airports. Most vacationers fly into this airport. Montego Bay, also known as Mo Bay, has luxury resorts and beautiful staffed villas on the beach and in the hills. Discovery and Runaway Bay are quiet locations with many beach houses. Negril has some of the best beaches on the island and also has the famous Rick’s Café which is popular for cliff diving and sunsets. Ocho Rios has bit of everything from beaches to ecotourism spots like Duns River Falls where vacationers can climb up a waterfall. Other popular activities in Jamaica include golf, scuba, tennis, hiking and biking. Nightlife in Jamaica includes reggae and dance clubs as well as resort entertainment.