Guide to Backpacking Jamaica


When people think of Jamaica, nine times out of ten, they think of white sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts and the need for a lot of money. However, not too many would consider Jamaica to be a backpacker's destination like Central America or SE Asia. True, Jamaica does not have much of a backpacker culture, as it caters mostly to all-inclusive travelers, but that doesn't mean one can't backpack Jamaica on a budget. There are a million things to do in Jamaica, but below are some of our favorites.
Reach Falls. Reach Falls is one of our favorite waterfalls in Jamaica. There are two ways to see the falls. The first way is to take a taxi to the official government entrance directly at the main falls. Another option is to take a taxi to the local entrance, where a local guide will lead you through a series of water pools up to the main falls.
Green Grotto Caves. Jamaica has thousands of caves located all over the island, with the Green Grotto Caves being one of the most popular.
Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica, with the highest peak at 2,256 m (7,402 ft). Of the many hiking trails, the most popular is the one leading to the peak, where on a clear day you can see all the way to Cuba. The hike can be done in a day, but some people like to stay overnight to get a feel of what it's like to not sleep in a loud, bright, crowded city! The mountains are rich in flora and fauna, with over 500 different plant species and over 200 different bird species calling it their home. The mountains are inhabited mostly by farmers and local indigenous people who live a sustainable lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is located in Port Antonio, only a short taxi ride from town. The cool feature about the Blue Lagoon is the mystical blue water, which changes color throughout the day, depending on the angle of the sun. The water here is a mixture of fresh and seawater. As you swim in the lagoon, you notice the alternating temperature of the warm Caribbean Sea and cold water from the underground streams. It's quite a beautiful experience.
Rick’s Cafe. Rick’s Cafe is located on the cliffs in West End, Negril. It’s a popular hangout spot among tourists and locals alike, who come here to jump off the tall cliffs. Food and drinks are, as you would expect, way overpriced. We don’t recommend you eat or drink here, but if you want to jump down from 35 feet into the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea, or want to watch others do it, stop by anytime before sunset.
YS Falls. YS Falls consists of seven waterfalls, which cascade into natural pools. Those natural pools are perfect for swimming, and many people rate it to be the best waterfall in Jamaica.