Winter is the peak season in Jamaica. Tourists flock to the island at this time because the weather is cooler over these months. In January, the temperature is between 82 – 84 °F during the day and 70 – 73 °F at night. This is as cold as it gets on the island. It is the kind of weather that gives people options other than the beach.
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Here are 8 things to do if you plan to take a winter vacation to Jamaica:
1. Luminous Lagoon Glistening Waters
This is not a description of a place; it is the actual name of a place. Tours of the lagoon happen after dark. Getting to the lagoon requires a five-minute boat trip from a nearby marina. The best thing about the lagoon — what everyone raves about — is the bioluminescence stirred up by boats and passing fish. It’s a glowing electric shade of lime green that’s quite a marvel.
2. Jamaican Tasting Tours
Enjoy the full range of Jamaican culinary tastes and aromas by going on a tasting tour. You can arrange a private tour of local eating places around the city. Many Montego Bay resorts will offer it as part of their inclusions, so be sure to ask before booking. Your tour may also include visiting a Rasta cook shop to sample vegetarian specialties like ackee and callaloo or stopping at a Jamaican patty shop to taste the fast food favored by locals.
A tasting tour will take you to fruit stands to try pineapple, mango, or other local fruits that may be in season. You can even greet local fishermen on the beach when they bring in the catch of the day.
3. Murphy’s West End Restaurant
This is a popular restaurant located along West End Road. There are no spectacular views, but the wonderful aromas coming from the open-air kitchen make up for it. The restaurant offers entrees such as fresh fish in garlic sauce, ackee and saltfish, rice and peas with coconut and jerk chicken. Another great thing about dining here is the reasonable prices. It will cost you less than $5 a dish.
4. Half Moon Resort
Eddie Murphy, Jackie O., and the late Queen Elizabeth herself have stayed at this resort that offers an all inclusive honeymoon package. It consists of a collection of stark white villas and cottages lining two adjoining coves that lead out to the sea. The resort is essentially a holdover from when Jamaica was a British colony, and it still exudes gentility. Nevertheless, it offers activities open to the public. You can go horseback riding or take polo lessons. You can also swim with dolphins in a natural lagoon onsite.
5. Sunscape Splash Montego Bay
This is a family-friendly all inclusive resort on the island. Whether you’re staying at the resort itself or elsewhere, it’s a great place for an afternoon of fun. There’s a pirate ship-themed water park with two waterslides. There is also The Explorer’s Club for kids 3-12. While the kids are away, the adults can also play! The resort offers dance lessons to the public during the day.
6. Rockland Bird Sanctuary
Only a short drive from Montego Bay, this quiet bird sanctuary is a nice place to spend some time. The caretakers can show you how to hold a tiny bottle of sugar water to bring hummingbirds in close for feeding. You may even get to feed a doctor bird, Jamaica’s national bird. You’ll know them by their emerald breasts and long tails. The best time to visit the sanctuary is in the early morning, late afternoon, or evening, as the birds prefer to sleep during the hottest time of the day.
7. Geejam Hotel
This all inclusive hotel is located in Port Antonio, on the lush northeast side of the island. It’s a little removed from the tourist scene but has the Caribbean Sea at its doorstep. Port Antonio is famous for its watering holes at Frenchman’s Cove and Blue Lagoon. Nearby is Bushbar, one of the island’s most interesting restaurants. It’s where you’ll find typical Jamaican-infused dishes with Asian flavors.
8. The Bob Marley Museum
This is one of the most popular sites in Jamaica. The home of the world-famous reggae singer has been remade into a museum that includes the main house, exhibition hall, theater, gift shop, and the One Love Café. The original rooms have been kept as they were when Marley lived there. The displays throughout the exhibition hall include a life-sized 3-dimensional hologram of the superstar during his One Love Peace Concert in 1978. You will also see his Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, recording studio, bedroom, a range of his gold and platinum records, and even costumes for his backup singers.
After your tour, you can spend time at the One Love Café, which serves Marley-inspired food and juices.
There’s plenty to do on a winter vacation trip to Jamaica! These are only a few sites and experiences to enjoy during your stay.
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