Written by: Shea Powell, adventurer and creator of The World Up Closer.
From the beaches to the cuisine to the sweet reggae music, Jamaica has so much to offer. Here are a few underrated destinations across the Caribbean island to visit where you can experience so much more.
1. Blue Hole, Westmoreland
Jamaica features a few Blue Holes across the island–each with their own personality, their own beauty and their own vibe.
Just about 25 minutes by car outside of Negril and in the area of Brighton Town locates the Blue Hole Mineral Spring.
Formed in a natural limestone cenote-style pool, this is where you get the chance to leave your fears behind to explore and experience more. With a jump of 15-20 feet below into the clear mineral waters it only gets better once you plunge.
In addition, you can climb down a ladder to enjoy the bliss more casually.
2. Spanish Bridge, St. Mary
The Old Spanish Bridge sits on the borderline of two parishes: St. Mary and St. Ann.
Commonly called “Labyrinth Bridge” or “White River” by the locals, the Old Spanish Bridge is a hidden gem in itself.
It’s perfectly tucked behind the rural hills of St. Mary/St. Ann, which gives swimmers and jumpers a unique experience.
The waters here are some of the clearest throughout the island and on a quiet day during the week, you’ll have the opportunity of enjoying it all to yourself.
Be sure to map out the location before you head off; it’s hidden!
3. Firefly Estate, St. Mary
They often say that torturous roads lead to beautiful treasures, and this one did not disappoint.
The Firefly Estate was once home of the playwright Noel Coward, but is now a fascinating museum. It’s also by far one of the most stunning views on the northern coast and is often used as a wedding destination.
Aside from its panoramic views, the fireflies are visible during warmer evenings.
This also serves as one of the best seats on the north coast for sunset.
4. Reach Falls, Portland
Just a few years ago, Reach Falls was located in the parish of St. Thomas. Due to the new placement of the borderline between the two parishes, Reach Falls is now home to the parish of Portland.
If you are coming in from Kingston by car, getting to Reach Falls takes about two and a half hours. From the capital of Portland, Port Antonio, it’s only about one hour and 15 minutes.
Just a 20 minute drive off the main road and you’re on your way to experience something great.
The falls are picturesque and easily accessible!
It comes with an entry fee of $10 or the JMD equivalent.
5. YS Falls, St. Elizabeth
From the north coast to the south coast, we have YS Falls.
With a jungle-like setting and a few different spots to take a plunge, a full day can be spent here. It’s family-friendly and if you are not up for the falls, you can spend some time here zip-lining or going for a dip in the pools.
The setting is lush, with a green backdrop of all things nature, which creates an entire experience. The more, the better!
Please note that this attraction is only open for six hours per day. Be sure to plan ahead!
6. Barney’s Hummingbird, Westmoreland
A little bird watching, anyone? If you’re up to trying something more, something different, be sure to give hummingbird-watching a try–after all, they are the national bird of Jamaica!
This past December, I took on this adventure for the very first time. I’m not particularly interested in watching birds; however, I decided to try something new. Now, it’s one of the top things I recommend doing if you’re ever in the town of Negril or even in the parish of Westmoreland.
It’s a home-run activity and the experience is up close and personal.
7. Martha Brae River, Trelawny
This is, hands down, one of the best experiences in the parish of Trelawny. If nature is your friend and you want to mix it with a bit of relaxation, be sure to go rafting on the Martha Brae River.
It’s an iconic Jamaican experience for many explorers’ first time cruising down a river on a bamboo raft. The rafting goes on for about one and a half hours, but also depends on your guide and if you want to go swimming or not.
Though the experience can be a little pricey, it is highly recommended.
Want to experience more of Jamaica? Be sure to add this location to your list of underrated places in Jamaica to visit!
8. Shaw Park Botanicals Gardens, St. Ann
Shaw Park is a hidden gem that everyone should check out.
Just a few minutes from the town of Ocho Rios is a cascade decorated with flora and fauna.
The first glimpse is the view of the town of Ocho Rios, which is absolutely picturesque.
It’s a quiet, family-orientated location. In addition, an entire day here is not needed to enjoy the falls and its surroundings.
9. Nanny Falls & Moore Town, Portland
Located in the cool hills of Moore Town, Portland, Nanny Falls is a quiet off the beaten path spot and promises a completely unique experience in Jamaica.
The name of the waterfall was inspired by Jamaica’s only national heroine, Nanny of the Maroons.
For a quick traveler’s tip, it’s along a well-worn dirt path and is surrounded by lush green nature.
10. Blue Hole, St. Ann
Blue Holes in Jamaica are a thing! With turquoise waters and a cool vibe, this one is highly recommended.
Here we are with the Blue Hole in the parish of St. Ann.
Located just 15 minutes away from the Spanish Bridge, the Blue Hole has several small pools that give you the opportunity to spend most of your day here.
A guide is recommended, even though there are lifeguards throughout the property.
Pro tip: try to visit the Blue Hole and the Spanish Bridge all in one day–they’re only 15 minutes apart.
Visiting Jamaica soon? Be sure to add these underrated destinations on your list of places to experience more of this Caribbean island. Jamaica has so much to offer! If you’re already planning your Jamaica escape, check out these fabulous all-inclusive resorts to experience and more Jamaican specialties to explore.