The travel brochures may do an excellent job of making it look like a sunny paradise but most people who visit the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean will agree that it’s the actual experience and the multifaceted appeal that have long made Jamaica arguably the most frequented destination in all of the Caribbean. There are the beaches for the sunbathers, the sunsets for newlyweds and the reggae and Rastafarian culture for people seeking to enrich themselves in Jamaica’s fascinating customs and culture.
The Arawaks and Tainos peacefully dwelled in Jamaica until Christopher Columbus arrived on the island and claimed it for the Spanish in the late 1400s. While there was friction as the Spanish created their settlements, their involvement did lead to the abundance of sugar, something that would play an integral role in Jamaica’s future and its development. By the end of the sixteenth century however, the Arawaks were almost nowhere to be seen and England would eventually gain control of Jamaica in the mid 1600s, a move which to lead to a rise in the export of sugarcane, cocoa, and coffee.
The 1700s were a rough period for Jamaica with the increase in revolts and wars which lead to additional rough patches as Jamaica slowly evolved from its conflicted beginnings. By the 1900s however, the Jamaican economy began to prosper and several rights were bestowed upon its residents. Today Jamaica has put most of its difficult beginnings behind it and continues to flourish, its tourism industry being one of the major economic contributors.
Present day Jamaica tourism offers a wealth of activities and experiences for children and adults alike. The beach landscapes are largely secluded (one of them is actually called Isolated Beach) and many of the mega resorts have achieved global recognition, the Sandals resort being the one everyone knows about. The Blue Mountains allow visitors to enjoy long hiking trails while the pristine location of Reach Falls is one of the most visually stunning spots in the island. There are also caves to explore, handmade products for sale, and lots of original art pieces to view.
Dancehall and especially reggae remain the two musical genres Jamaica is most famous for and several Jamaican artists have achieved worldwide acclaim, Bob Marley being the most recognizable. Jamaica is also known for its variety of sports like cricket, soccer, and track and field. Dance and theater are also widely practiced throughout the island, the former comprised of more than twenty different original styles.
Jamaica is a juggernaut in the Caribbean tourism industry with the most hotels, restaurants and available beachfront property of any Caribbean island. Jamaica's elevated terrain, nice beaches, blue waters and colorful culture draws thousands of tourists monthly from around the world. Property in Jamaica varies from large homes on massive plantation-like plots of land to small Caribbean-style vacation villas with views of the ocean. Jamaican resort-style living is also very popular with constant festivities and hotel-like amenities creating appeal for condo or cottage-style resort homes. Available vacant land is also incredibly abundant in Jamaica with plots spanning over 100 acres by the beachfront.
Homes and vacant land in the large island nation of Jamaica have an appeal of tranquil seclusion. In the Caribbean it's rare to own a property that has four-acres of beachfront land with a two-story, six-bedroom home with wraparound terrace, pool and Jacuzzi. And as you travel inland the plots of land only get bigger with vacant land up to 620 acres (the size of many Caribbean islands). Homes for sale or rent in Jamaica have classic Caribbean-style designs with backyards on or facing the ocean, patios, pools and perfect setups for outdoor furniture. Additionally, homes usually have a sunroom and are two stories with a wraparound terrace.
Competition for the booming tourist market among Jamaican resorts has built high standards. Resorts like Blue Lagoon Villas offer villa-style housing over traditional hotels and have amenities ranging from in-house fine dining, laundry services, chef, housekeeping and concierge services. A more contemporary resort is the Royal Plantation Spa and Golf Resort which has oceanfront views and amenities like three restaurants, golf, full service spa, 24-hour room service, glass bottom boat rides and scuba diving.
Blue Lagoon Villas
Breezes Montego Bay
Chateau en Exotica
The official currency of the Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso (RD$).
Calling Code: 1 (809)
Top Level Domain: (.do)
The Dominican Republic is a Presidential Republic with the President and Vice President acting as heads of state.
Valid Travel Documents: Required upon Exit and Entry
Government Issued Photo ID: Required
Climate: The temperature for Dominican Republic is 28° C-31° C (81° F-87° F) in most places for most of the year.
Tips when you get there:
The Dominican Republic is a relatively large island in the Caribbean with multiple international airports managing direct flights to and fro. There are multiple chains of car-rental companies, taxis, Metro-buses and Carib-tours. Tours of the island are incredibly popular and offer valuable insight for the rest of your stay in the Dominican Republic. However, renting your own car or motorcycle allows the freedom to explore the island in privacy.
What to do
The Dominican Republic, being one of the more popular and industrialized Caribbean nations has a long list of entertaining activities and locations. Museums, historic buildings, festivals, events, fine dining and nightclubs are part of the exciting entertainment venues in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic's annual Carnival and Jazz Festival highlight the boisterous and colorful aspects of Caribbean culture.
Some of the more active pursuits on the island include playing tennis on the pro-tennis courts of Casa del Mar, snorkeling at Casa de Campo, horseback riding on the beach and playing golf at the renowned Romana Country Club. Also, hiking through the Dominican Republic's vast natural habitats is a good way to see all of the natural beauty on the island.
Dominican Republic beaches also vary from the popular to the secluded. Some beaches are filled with activities, locals and tourists enjoying the Caribbean sun, while others are well preserved and isolated. A couple of nearby islands offer beaches with total seclusion, the sea turtles and marine life being the only neighbors joining you in the private experience.