Jamaica is filled with scenic locations which makes the island very road trip friendly. In fact, all of my family vacations were road trips. Even though I would always fall asleep during the ride, whenever I woke up my eyes would meet with gorgeous sites. It was fun to not only see the natural scenes but the little towns, villages and other cities I hadn’t seen before. And that, ladies and gentlemen is why I love road trips!
But there are some seriously special sites that you’ll see while driving. Some of the best memories I have of waking during a road trip were the places I’ve seen that I would never without hitting the open road. I decided that I would write about what you’ll expect to see during a road trip in Jamaica.
- Rolling hills and valleys– Jamaica’s landscape is very diverse. While Jamaica is well known for it’s beaches, as you get deeper and deeper into the island, you’ll see a variety of tropical landscapes. Driving through places such as Clarendon and the north coast, you’ll see beautiful hills opening up into valleys. You see farms and a couple houses all nestled into the hillside or valley like it’s waiting for you to discovered it. If there were ever a Kodak moments, this would be the time.
- Scenic views – One of my favourite has to be driving through Fern Gully. I talked a little about Fern gully in my post about the best outdoor activities in Ocho Rios. The sheer beauty of the different species of fern as well as the variety of greenery is breathtaking. But it’s not just fern gully, take a drive through places like Clarendon, St Elizabeth and Portland, you’ll see similar landscapes. Little country roads, lush greenery on both sides, crossing little bridges, animals and homes tucked away in the hills. Can you image a better site on an island? I’ll admit that during my high school days, I would regularly see these views just driving to school. After sometime, you get so accustomed to it that you can really take it for granted. But those memories are some of the sweetest I’ll ever have.
- Towns and Villages– Jamaica is filled with little towns, communities and villages, especially in the rural areas. Some Jamaicans such as myself haven’t even heard of most of them. It’s fun to drive through these areas, learn about the towns and seeing them up-close. Some still carry the architecture of a time before emancipation. One example is the church in the picture, Webb Memorial baptist church. It’s an historic looking building frozen in time. It looks like it belongs somewhere in England. These are the places you’d miss on a normal tour.
- Potholes and bad roads– BEWARE! I repeat BEWARE! I am not going to fill your head with certainty of smooth sailing once you’ve gotten off major roads and highways that you’d drive on in the north coast and in Kingston. The roads in Jamaica can go from bumpy to bad real quick. When you decide to go off the beaten path please bear in mind the you may experience the following: 1) Navigating without GPS- meaning you may have to ask for directions or travel with a trusted guide or friend who knows the way around. 2) Drivers are sometimes insane- pay attention to road always. 3) Potholes- the Jamaican government as well as independent contractors do many road work projects throughout the year. So depending on the location, you’ll see some of the roadway improving. The problem is that usually the work that’s done doesn’t always hold. That means the road is back in it’s previous condition. Be mindful when you drive and try your best to navigate around these huge potholes. Dropping into them too hard or fast can seriously damage your vehicle.
Jamaica is a fun place to have all sorts of adventure. But the best adventure you can experience is diving deep into the heart of the island. Seeing how different people live and the places waiting for you to explore.