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This trip is an opportunity to discover the real Jamaica, behind the resorts and cruise liners. By staying in smaller accommodation, we take you to the hidden corners of Jamaica, covering almost the entire island circuit as well as some of the inland's beautiful mountainous areas. You'll have plenty of time to swim in crystal clear waters, to sample delicious food and explore miles of white-sand beaches.
Explore Tour Leader
9 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Kingston today. Due to the number of evening flights into Kingston, your Leader plans to do the welcome meeting on the morning of day two, and will leave a message in reception with details on timings and everything else that you'll need for the day. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Kingston at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Kingston's International Airport (airport code: KIN), approximately a 15 minute drive from our hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you can relax and soak up the Caribbean views and try out a local Red Stripe beer.
Grand Port Royal Hotel (or similar)
Our day begins with a drive north out of the city on increasingly winding and unmarked roads, heading upwards into the Blue Mountains. Among coffee lovers, this place is known for its fine (and, when exported, expensive) single-origin coffee, and our destination here is one of the area's best known coffee plantations. Here, way up in the Blue Mountains, we see how coffee is grown, harvested, and brewed. We will be guided around the Georgian home, as well as the coffee fields surrounding the estate, before ending the trip with a cup of freshly brewed Blue Mountain Coffee. The National Park itself is enormous, spanning four of Jamaica's parishes and covering the eastern part of the island in breathtaking mountain scenery, which we'll witness during our visit today.
On our return to Kingston we visit the Bob Marley Museum, situated in the colonial house where the legend of reggae lived from 1975. For anyone interested in music, the museum is a great look into the mind and inspiration of one of Jamaica's most famous residents.
The rest of the afternoon is free in Kingston. You may wish to visit Trench Town or Tuff Gong Studios, and continue your Bob Marley odyssey, or see a superb showcase of Jamaican art at the National Gallery. Alternatively, spend some time at Devon House, the 19th Century home of George Stiebel, the first black millionaire in the Caribbean. It's now a collection of local cafes and restaurants, and a good place for a lunch spot - as well as proudly serving some of the best ice cream in the Caribbean (well worth a try!).
With a leisurely start this morning, we'll travel to Charlestown for lunch and a unique history lesson, as we learn about the story of the Maroons. Since the 1700s, pockets of Maroon settlements have existed in Jamaica - escaped or freed slaves who were able to fight off the British and be granted a treaty of relative autonomy within the region. On our arrival we'll visit the village and discover a bit more about these amazing people, their historical legacy and way of life. We'll also taste some traditional Maroon food before continuing to Port Antonio.
There will be an optional stop en route to Port Antonio for rafting on the Rio Grande. The rafts are made from bamboo and sits two adults, you can sit back and relax as you don't even have to paddle, your raft captain takes care of that whilst you watch the scenery. The rafting takes approximately two hours, and we end at a spot aptly named the Rafter's Rest. Anyone not wanting to raft will be taken on to the hotel.
Bayview Eco Resort (or similar)
We'll drive to Frenchmen's Cove for a relaxing morning at this gorgeous white-sand beach, sheltered in a secluded cove and backed by lush greenery. We plan to have lunch here, perhaps a tasty plate of jerk pork or chicken washed down with a bottle of Jamaican Red Stripe. We will return to the hotel in the afternoon.
Please note that our usual itinerary would include a trip to visit the Blue Lagoon for a swim before going to Frenchmen's Cove, but since the end of 2022 Jamaican government have closed the lagoon for maintenance, including both road and water access. In the case that the Lagoon reopens, we will add this back into today's plan.
Enjoy a free morning in Port Antonio where there may be a chance to visit a church service in the local area. Continue to Ocho Rios where we will arrive at approximately two pm. This afternoon we have the option to visit Dunns River Falls, explore the local area or relax by the pool at our hotel.
Hibiscus Lodge (or similar)
After breakfast we will drive just under two hours to Rose Hall Great House for a guided tour where we will learn about the heritage of the island. After the tour we will continue to Negril via a stop at Montego Bay where we can have lunch. The driving time this afternoon will be approximately two and a half hours.
Negril is a small town with a wide reputation for some of the most beautiful coastline in Jamaica. As well as miles and miles of sandy beach, at one end of Negril we find clusters of high, craggy cliffs, jutting out over the water like spears. Perched high on one of these crags is Rick's Cafe, which we'll be visiting for sunset, one of the best on the island, as well as to watch the daring cliff divers who usually gather here to perfect their daredevil tricks. It is a lively spot, where locals and tourists flock to enjoy the music, rum and breath-taking views.
Merrils Beach Resort (or similar)
Today is free to enjoy everything that Negril has to offer. The long stretch of sand at Seven Mile Beach (in reality, it's closer to five miles!) is perfect for a long walk, or just to swim or relax with a rum punch and a lunch of chicken or curried goat or a quick and tasty Jamaican patty. There are many restaurants and cafes down the length of the beach if you want to get away from the midday sun. Alternatively, if you're interested in getting out on the water, scuba diving, snorkelling or glass-bottomed boat trips are all available.
Our drive this morning takes us inland towards the rolling hills of Jamaica's interior, and our first stop at the Appleton Estate Rum Distillery. In a beautiful countryside setting, the estate has been producing rum since the 1700s, and our tour today will show us how the sugar cane is magically transformed into Jamaica's beautiful golden rum. We end the tour at the bar, where we will, of course, be sampling the goods!
After some rum, we'll set off towards Treasure Beach, a low-key community that isn't a regular tourist hot spot. This afternoon is free to explore the village and its beach. Seafood is excellent here so it's well worth tasting some of the local lobster (when in season) or other catch at dinner this evening. The total driving time today will be approximately three and a half hours.
Lashings Hotel (or similar)
There is plenty to explore in Treasure Beach, aside from the coastline itself. Just 1km offshore is the unusual Pelican Bar - a fantastic driftwood construction on a sandbank in the middle of the ocean, the wood all nailed together with a thatched roof plopped on top. Taxi boats are easily found. Alternatively, take a boat 'safari' up the Black River, a swampy river home to the Jamaican crocodile and over 100 species of native bird. On the way back to Treasure Beach you will stop for a drink and to admire the views at Pelican Bar. There is a chance you will spot dolphins in this area. For those who prefer to stay on dry land there is an option to take a Jamaican cooking class and discover the secret of a true Jerk seasoning, learn to cook steamed fish and bammy (traditional cassava flatbread), or to prepare a lobster dish (in season).
Departing Treasure Beach this morning, we take a three and a half hour drive to Kingston Airport, where our trip ends. There will be two transfers today. The first transfer will arrive at the airport at approximately 1pm, so the earliest that any flight can depart is 4pm. The second transfer will arrive at the airport at approximately 5pm for evening flights (typically a popular direct option from London with British Airways departs between 8pm-9pm from Kingston).
Along the coast of Jamaica, temperatures range from 22-31C, dropping inland by a few degrees. The rainiest and most humid months are May-October, and hurricanes can occur between August-October. The dry season is from November to April, although it can rain at any time of year. Up in the Blue Mountains, temperatures sometimes drop to around 10C particularly in the evenings.
2 Pin Flat
Protestantism is the main religion. 1% of Jamaicans identify as Rastafarian.
Kingston - Trench Town US$20 plus walking tour US$28; Tuff Gong Studios US$20; Reggae and Dancehall classes US$25 Portland - Blue Lagoon Boat Excursion US$25; Rio Grande rafting tripsUS$50. Negril - Scuba diving US$70 (1tank) US$130 (2tank); Snorkel trip US$35; Glass Bottom Boat US$55; Catamaran Sunset Cruise US$75 Treasure Beach - Dolphin Search with Black River Safari and Pelican Bar US$65; Pelican Bar US$40; Jamaican Cooking Class US$45-65 Please note several of these options have additional costs for transport to get to and from them which your leader will brief you on.
Bring lightweight, informal clothing. A good waterproof jacket, or an umbrella, is necessary all year round. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers give protection against insects. A swimming costume and sun hat are essential.
Comfortable trail boots, plus trainersandals for the evening. Water sandals are highly recommended for swimming.
One main piece and a daypack. You might like to consider bringing a small beach bag for your free day in Negril. Remember, you are expected to carry your own luggage (i.e. on and off transport etc.) so don't overload yourself.
Sunblock, insect repellent, a travel towel, sunglasses, sun hat and swim gear are all essential. A torch (with spare batteries and bulb) and filter water bottle are also useful items. You may also wish to bring binoculars for bird watching, and snorkelling equipment.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Jamaica: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. Since 1 September 2023, all travellers are required to complete the Immigration / Customs C5 Form online before arrival in Jamaica. The C5 online form is free of charge and can be completed before your journey via the PICA: Enter Jamaica website. Travellers are advised only to use the official free online service and avoid misleading sites asking for payment. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
We recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Yellow fever in only recommended for those travelling east of the Andes (Amazon Extension).
Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at https://www.explore.co.uk/essential-information/know-before-you-go/travel-health on Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.