By Ashley Brewer
Jamaica is known for its outstanding beauty, lush rainforests and tropical waters. It’s ecological and cultural diversity offers visitors a truly unique experience. For those looking to keep their footprint as light as possible, this guide to ecotourism in Jamaica will show you what this gorgeous island country has to offer.
When to go
Avoid the masses while still taking in all that Jamaica has to offer, and visit in November through early-December. Or during the month of April. You’ll find that the weather is still favorable at that time. A daily rain shower might be in the forecast, but that also means significantly fewer crowds.
Where to stay
For the conscious budget traveler, Hotel Mockingbird Hill outside Port Antonio is the perfect sanctuary. The romantic 10-room hideaway sits on over six acres of lush, green hillside property. It was also one of the first hotels in the world to be certified as environmentally friendly.
If luxury is something you’re after, Hermosa Cove in Ocho Rios is like a nature lover’s heaven on earth. Working with local artisans, conservationists and chefs, Hermosa Cove offers bungalows that truly incorporate the local environment.
Where to eat and drink
Located in the off-the-beaten-path area of Treasure Beach, Jakes Restaurant is has some of the most creative and sustainable meals in all of Jamaica. Jakes’ menu changes daily and only offers food that has been grown, caught or created by local fishermen, farmers and chefs, supporting the overall ethos of ecotourism in Jamaica.
Just outside of Montego Bay, visitors can relax with a tropical drink while sitting on acres of pristine Jamaican beach at Pineapple Beach. Known as an eco-friendly glamping resort, they also have a beach bar offering libations made from local fruits and liquors.
What to do
The Caribbean nation is so diverse that this is really just a beginner’s guide to ecotourism in Jamaica.
Discover the scenic, natural beauty that Jamaica has to offer with Jamaica Cultural Enterprise’s Ocho Rios Bound Day Trip. You’ll journey to Ochos Rios, located in what’s known as the Garden Parish. You’ll visit the stunning Dunn’s River Falls (much more enjoyable in low/off season), visit galleries of local artists and eat delicious Jamaican cuisine.
Put yourself in the heart of Jamaican nature by joining a Sun Venture tour. All of Sun Venture’s tours protect the environment and support the local people who are involved. Their Blue Mountain Sunrise tour allows visitors to camp under the stars. The next day, wake before sunrise for an educational and breathtaking hike over the mountains.
Make your way down the Great River on a bamboo raft with the Lethe Estate Tour from Chukka. You’ll visit 200-acres of gorgeous property that is home to a banana plantation, zipline excursions and river activities. All activities are locally-owned and supported by the Chukka tours. A local guide will teach guests about all of the area’s rich history and the culture of Jamaica.