If you’re cruisin’ to Jamaica, mon, everything is going be irie. Or in the words of Bob Marley, the Caribbean island’s most famous reggae superstar: “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” That laid-back, it’s-always-5-o’clock-somewhere attitude is what you’re going to find on the cruise ship as well as in Jamaica’s two most popular ports of call, Montego Bay—otherwise known as MoBay—and the less-traveled but equally beautiful Ocho Rios.
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean, and it has some of the most beautiful coastline in the Greater Antilles. Roughly a million visitors a year make their way to the baby powder beaches and aquamarine waters of Jamaica, doing everything from kite-surfing and parasailing to visiting coffee plantations in the Blue Hills and swimming at Dunn’s River Falls. Then there are those holiday seekers who do nothing but sunbathe, oiling up with Hawaiian Tropic as they sip mojitos and play dominoes with the old timers. The no-worries vibe in Jamaica makes anything possible.
So how do you pack for a tropical island? Make sure those parrot-printed Tommy Bahama shirts are ironed. If you have Ray-Bans, a pastel blazer or an old shark tooth necklace you used to wear when Miami Vice was all the rage, it’s time for them to come out of hiding. Ditto for that little yellow yacht rock sundress that’s been hanging in your wardrobe. A straw, Cuban-style fedora makes a nice accessory, and detective novels and frivolous fashion magazines make great beach reads in Jamaica.
In all seriousness, there are practical items that need to be taken care of and packed before you start crusin’ for Jamaica. A valid passport is required if you’re visiting the island. Depending on what country you’re from, a tourist visa might also be applicable; these can be purchased at your port of entry in Jamaica, so they’re not something you need to worry about prior to your trip. A tourist visa, however, is not required for U.S. citizens. Purchasing travel insurance before your holiday is a good idea for both individuals and families venturing out of the country.
An Island Tour
Once you’re docked at the cruise terminal in Jamaica, be sure to plan excursions and day trips throughout the island. Doctor’s Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach are two of the most famous strips of sand in the Caribbean. If shopping, nightlife and bar hopping is more your thing, Gloucester Avenue, also known as the Hip Strip, is the main thoroughfare in MoBay. From tours of old sugar plantations to the parish of Nine Mile, the birthplace and pilgrimage shrine of the late Bob Marley, this lively island nation has something for everyone.
However, if you just want to kick back, that’s fine too. If your true desire is to relax in a seaside hammock, the trade wind blowing your hair as you nod your head to the music of Bob Marley, then you’ll be right at home.