Just a mention of the Caribbean draws visions of the obvious island adventures like snorkeling and rum-filled sunset cruises, but Jamaica has a lot more to offer. Which is why it’s a perfect destination for can’t-sit-still-on-a-beach active travelers like us. It’s one of the Caribbean destinations we haven’t made it to just yet, but when dealchecker asked us what we’d do on a bucket list trip to Jamaica, we got to planning. From a trip to a floating beach bar in the middle of the Caribbean sea to white water rafting class V rapids, there’s no shortage of adventurous things to do in Jamaica.
1. White Water Rafting
Known as the “Land of Wood and Water” thanks to the first inhabitants that called the island Xaymaca, the original name literally translates to Jamaica’s nickname. We can probably guess that the first inhabitants named it Xaymaca because of the dense rainforests and many rivers running through the third largest island in the Caribbean.
There’s quite a few rapids along Jamaica’s rivers and paddling through swirling, boulder strewn rivers is definitely an exhilarating adventure. With various rapids ranging from class I through IV, there’s a rapid perfect no matter what your white water rafting comfort level. And after tackling some class IV and V rapids in Nepal, we’re definitely ready to paddle until our arms are sore in Jamaica.
2. Scuba Diving
Even though it’s now been more than two years ago that we completed our open water dive certification, we’re still relatively new divers. We’d love to be able to dive more, but in reality we’ve only managed to rack up less than 30 dives. Part of that is because our favorite dives are on coral reefs and Europe is seriously lacking in that department. Jamaica, on the other hand, boasts over 100 dive sites and many of them are on coral reefs.
It’s the sea turtles and colorful reef fish that we love watching most. And after diving with mobula rays in Oman, we’re keen to dive Jamaica’s Stingray City where rays glide around by the dozens.
Perhaps it’s even time to take our diving to the next level and take an advanced open water dive certification course at one of Jamaica’s many dive centers. Advance open water certifications would allow us to dive to 30 meters (100 feet) instead of just the 18 meters (60 feet) open water certification allows us to.
3. Floyd’s Pelican Bar
We’re all about eating and drinking in some of the world’s most remote and unique locations. We’ve dined in the cave restaurant in Italy’s Puglia region, lunched in a treetop in the Seychelles and sipped sun downers next to a river full of grunting hippos. That’s why we’ve been dying to take a day trip to Floyd’s Pelican Bar since we saw our friends Hannah and Adam at Getting Stamped visit.
The tiny bar made of drift wood is floating in the middle of the Caribbean nearly a mile out to sea. Only accessible by boat from a handful of towns on Jamaica, you can take a day tour out to snorkel around the bar and refuel on fresh grilled Caribbean lobster while sipping Jamaican rum punch. Sounds like a memorable way to spend a day in Jamaica to us!
4. Canopy Tour
We never miss a canopy tour, as evidenced by our annual visits to Loterie Farm every time we visit Saint Maarten. Flying across the jungle is just about the closest you’ll ever get to feeling like a bird soaring through the trees.
With zip lines suspended between the jungle trees 45 feet up, you soar over waterfalls, through the dense jungle and over a 150 year old dam on a Montego Bay canopy tour. There’s nine zip lines in all with hanging bridges and a bit of obstacle course in between. It’s an adrenaline pumping two hours and usually offers up a work out without feeling like you’ve gone to the gym. We’re always definitely ready for lunch and a bit of beach lounging after a morning zip lining.
5. Blue Hole Mineral Springs
Karst formations with caverns and caves dominate the landscape of Jamaica, and one of the most popular places to experience the karst landscape is at Blue Hole Mineral Springs. It’s so off-the-beaten-path that it’s surprising how many visitors find their way here.
The hole’s mineral water is believed to have therapeutic benefits that refresh and energize you. Of course, jumping off the cliff 22 feet above and in to the hole will definitely get your heart pumping. If jumping off the cliff is just a bit too much adventure, there’s a ladder that you can climb down in to the hole from. You can even combine a private day tour to the Blue Hole with a hike to the Secret Falls, another of Jamaica’s natural wonders.