man peeling coconut in Jamaica

If you’re planning your first trip to Jamaica, you might be prioritising sun, sea, sand and a sojourn spent entirely within the walls of a compound resort.

But while this type of package trip is convenient for families with your kids, if you’re flying solo or considering a couple’s vacay, you’ll miss out on what genuinely makes this island so magical if you restrict yourself from venturing further from the typical tourist tracks.

To truly taste Jamaica and have a legendary time, you’ll need to meet the locals in their own environments – and provided you plan carefully and take good advice, it’s safe to do so.

If you’re yearning for real yard vibes, here are five insider’s tips for a fab Jamaican holiday.

  1. Sublime seafood at Gloria’s

If you love seafood, you don’t have to settle for haddock, cod, scampi or salmon in Jamaica – quality red snapper, parrot, shrimp and lobster are served as standard at many outlets.

But quality assurance is always important and one of the most trusted names in seafood cuisine in Jamaica is Gloria’s – it has two outlets in Port Royal, one in downtown Kingston and another in Ocho Rios. Check out these TripAdvisor Gloria’s reviews to tantalize your taste buds.

  1. Relax at Reach Falls

Dunn’s River is probably the most famous waterfall in Jamaica – but it’s also the most commercialized, hectic and touristy.

So if you want a more serene and spiritual experience, take a trip to ravishing Reach Falls in Portland parish to recreate the famous love scene from 80s classic Cocktail with your better half – get the lowdown at

reach falls Jamaica

  1. Connect with crocs at Black River

Although it’s not renowned for wildlife, Jamaica’s one of the best places in the world to get up close and personal with crocodiles.

Take a Black River Safari boat ride and you’ll see these scaly prehistoric throwbacks lounging in the shade and snapping at any morsels they can get their massive mouths around – so keep your hands in your pockets!

  1. Climb Blue Mountain Peak

Not a lot of people know that Jamaica boasts magnificent mountains as well as wonderful white sand beaches and crystalline waters.

And at 2256 metres high, Blue Mountain Peak is the pick of the bunch and offers views of the Cuban coastline on a clear day. Book an organised tour from your accommodation provider, but please don’t attempt it in your flip-flops.

  1. Chill out completely at Green Castle Estate

St Mary is one of Jamaica’s most unspoiled parishes, so it’s the perfect place to completely unwind from the rat race.

Stay at Green Castle Estate and you’ll benefit from the cool mountain breeze, warm hospitality, spicy local food and some of the most stunning sunrises and sunsets imaginable. It’s also a tropical birdwatcher’s paradise and a stone’s throw from amazing places like Firefly, Sir Noel Coward’s former home – what more could you ask for?

Now that you’ve read all five of our insider’s tips for a fab Jamaican holiday, there’s no reason to book a boring package holiday – be a little bit bolder and you’ll reap the rewards of an immersive and inspirational Jamaican experience.

That’s our list! Share your own Jamaican holiday tips in the comments section.