December 10, 2014
Being an island, you’re never far from the sea in Jamaica, so it’s perhaps not surprising that many of the nation’s best outdoor activities revolve around water-based attractions, from waterfalls to boat tours. Your Jamaican Tour Guide specialises in customised tours of the island, taking in everything from the top tourist attractions to unique local experiences that lay well off the beaten track. We asked for their recommendations to help us compile this list of Jamaica’s best outdoor activities:
Located on the south side of the island, this spectacular group of seven waterfalls boasts cascading streams of water, natural pools that are safe for swimming, and even a thrilling zip line experience that lets you zoom from the top of the falls to the bottom. Unlike many waterfalls in Jamaica, YS Falls have not been extensively developed for commercial tourism, allowing you ample opportunity to appreciate the site’s exquisite untouched beauty.
Thrill-seekers will love the adventure activities on offer at River Rapids Jamaica. Go tubing or river rafting down the class 2 rapids of the Rio Bueno River as it rushes through a scenic, forested valley, or try your hand at kayaking or even river boarding with the help of your experienced guide. You’ll be able to stop along the route to enjoy peaceful, shaded pools where you can swim and dangle from a rope swing over the water, before finishing up at a private sandy beach at the seaside where you can relax and admire the stunning coastline.
A family-run business operating out of Negril on Jamaica’s western tip, Stanley’s Deep Sea Fishing specialises in full, half and three-quarter day charter boat trips to fish for marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi and wahoo in the teeming waters of the Caribbean. Owned and run by Captain Stanley Carvalho, who was raised in Negril and has been fishing these waters since he was a child, the company also offers scenic sunset cruises, snorkelling trips and glass-bottomed boat rides to view the area’s colourful marine life – you may also spot sperm whales and dolphins. Stanley is also a certified PADI scuba instructor and provides courses for beginners, as well as dive trips (including night dives) for the more experienced.
A raft trip on the famous Martha Brae River is a wonderfully relaxing way to appreciate Jamaica’s natural beauty. Enjoy drifting gently along a three-mile expanse of this peaceful river on a 30-foot bamboo raft piloted by an experienced river captain. Along the way you’ll hear the legends associated with the river, and learn about local life and culture in this lovely corner of Jamaica. The tours leave from Rafter’s Village, which has a range of facilities geared toward tourists, and where you can also learn about traditional Jamaican medicinal herbs in Miss Martha’s Herb Garden.
Located down a narrow, rugged track 30 minutes outside of Montego Bay, the Rocklands Bird Sanctuary is a hidden haven for over 200 species of birds, including Jamaica’s national bird, the Red Billed Streamer-tail Hummingbird (more commonly known as the Doctor Bird). For many people the highlight of their visit is the opportunity to hand-feed hummingbirds, finches and quits on the sanctuary’s patio. You can take a guided tour of the grounds to learn about the diverse array of birds and plants that call the sanctuary home.
For spectacular views of Jamaica’s forests, farmland and hillsides, pluck up your courage and embark on a Zipline Adventure Tour through the tree canopy. Enjoy a short off-road safari ride, before zooming through a course of five separate ziplines – the longest in the Caribbean – at speeds of up to 40mph. With friendly guides and a full safety briefing, this is a family-friendly outdoor attraction that’s sure to keep all ages entertained. Afterwards you’ll also have a chance to sample delicious locally-grown produce as part of the Flavours of Jamaica experience.
Feeling inspired? Virgin Atlantic operates affordable flights to Jamaica from London Gatwick. Book your flight today.