He who would travel happily must travel light.
— Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry, 1900 - 1944
EN
EN

Jamaica

Background

Jamaica

The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

About

For other places with the same name, see Jamaica (disambiguation).

Jamaica is an island nation in the Caribbean, located to the south of Cuba and to the west of the island of Hispaniola.

Read more about Jamaica in our Jamaica travel guide »

Featured journals from

Jamaica

Bar-B-Barn Beach Hotel and Restaurant

by mrstsnbrown

Seven Mile White Sea Sand

Nov 2013  »  Jamaica

You Can Travel Too

by YouCanTravelToo

Stories, Photos, and Videos of Kerry & Kieth's Travels with Ideas, Insider Information, and Tips for You

Jul 2016  »  United States | Canada | Jamaica | Mexico | Bahamas

Featured hotels in

Jamaica

JamaicaStrawberry Hill 

Irish Town-New Castle Rd
St Andrew
Jamaica

Price (US$): $355 - $595 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located in St. Andrew, Strawberry Hill is in the mountains and close to University of Technology Jamaica. Additional area points of interest include Hope Zoo and Hope Botanical Gardens. Resort Features. Strawberry Hill features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a sauna. The property's full service health spa has facials and beauty services. This 4.5 star property offers small meeting… more »

JamaicaThe Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort Rose Hall, Jamaica 

One Ritz-Carlton Dr
Rose Hall
Montego Bay
Jamaica

Price (US$): $183 - $619 / night

Check rates »

Location. The Ritz Carlton Golf & Spa Resort Rose Hall, Jamaica is located on the beach in Montego Bay's Rose Hall neighborhood, close to Half Moon Golf Course, Montego Bay Convention Centre, and The Shoppes at Rose Hall. Other points of interest near this all inclusive resort include White Witch of Rose Hall Golf Course and Rose Hall Great House. Resort Features. This resort offers both all inclusive and room only rates. Meals and beverages at onsite dining establishments are included in… more »

JamaicaJamaica Inn 

1 Old Road Main Street
Ocho Rios
Jamaica

Price (US$): $513 - $1192 / night

Check rates »

Location. Jamaica Inn is located on the beach in Ocho Rios, close to Ocho Rios Beach, Taj Mahal Mall, and Coyaba River Garden. Other points of interest near this luxury resort include Island Village and Shaw Park Botanical Gardens. Resort Features. Jamaica Inn features a restaurant, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a fitness facility. The property's full service health spa has… more »

JamaicaSecrets St. James Montego Bay - Luxury All Inclusive 

Lot 59A Freeport
Montego Bay
Jamaica

Price (US$): $538 - $673 / night

Check rates »

Location. Secrets St. James Montego Bay Luxury All Inclusive is located on the beach in Montego Bay, close to Montego Bay Cruise Ship Terminal, Doctor's Cave Beach, and Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. Other points of interest near this all inclusive resort include Montego Bay Marine Park and AquaSol Theme Park. Property Features. This resort is all inclusive. Rates include meals and beverages at onsite dining establishments. Charges may be applied for dining at some restaurants, special dinners… more »

JamaicaSecrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay - Luxury All Inclusive 

Lot 59 Freeport
Seawind Key Investments Ltd
Montego Bay
Jamaica

Price (US$): $396 - $495 / night

Check rates »

Location. Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay Luxury All Inclusive is located on the beach in Montego Bay, close to Montego Bay Cruise Ship Terminal, Doctor's Cave Beach, and Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. Other points of interest near this all inclusive resort include Montego Bay Marine Park and AquaSol Theme Park. Property Features. This resort is all inclusive. Rates include meals and beverages at onsite dining establishments. Charges may be applied for dining at some restaurants, special dinners… more »

Browse more hotels in Jamaica »

Jamaica

Capital
Kingston
Location

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

Geographic coordinates

18 15 N, 77 30 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Connecticut

Coastline

1,022 km

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

Terrain

mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

Lowest point

Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest point

Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

Natural resources

bauxite, gypsum, limestone

Population

2,847,232 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

black 91.2%, mixed 6.2%, other or unknown 2.6% (2001 census)

Religions

Protestant 62.5% (Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, Pentecostal 9.5%, Other Church of God 8.3%, Baptist 7.2%, New Testament Church of God 6.3%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.3%, Anglican 3.6%, other Christian 7.7%), Roman Catholic 2.6%, other or unspecified 14.2%, none 20.9%, (2001 census)

Languages

English, English patois

Government type

constitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Independence

6 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1962)

Chief of state

Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

Head of government

Prime Minister Bruce GOLDING (since 11 September 2007)

Internet country code

.jm

Internet users

1.581 million (2009)

Airports

27 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Discovery Bay (Port Rhoades), Kingston, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Rocky Point

Other countries in the region