The first thing you think of when you hear Jamaica might be the bustling streets of Kingston, the wild parties on the beaches of Negril it the beauty of Ocho Rios. But did you know that Jamaica also has peaceful countryside? If you’re looking to go off the beaten path, to see the calm and silent nature at its true beauty, here are our recommendations on how to best do so.
Trust us, Jamaica’s rural areas, the island’s mountainous topography, lush greenery, and tiny villages will blow your mind!
A good way to learn about the countryside of Jamaica is to follow some Jamaican vlogs. There are many that show the daily life of the countryside Jamaicans. Watching those can really give you an idea of where to go and what to do. If you want a suggestion of which one to watch, I will put a link to a vlogger at the bottom.
You might also enjoy reading about our travel experiences in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m sure you’ll love it too.
Maggoty is located 2 hours drive south of Montego Bay, in the western part of Jamaica, in the St Elizabeth Parish.
Maggoty is a small settlement with a population of roughly 2000 residents. The settlement itself is made of a few houses and small buildings, featuring an authentic bar of fruity homemade drinks (drink at your own risk), a school, and a neighborhood.
What makes it so unique is that it surrounds itself with majestic nature. It sits on a bend of the Black River, one of the longest rivers in Jamaica, which is definitely a place you want to visit while you’re there. The river is super dark due to the vegetation in it, and it’s home to over 100 species of birds.
In addition to that, you can find many waterfalls hiding in the jungle surrounding Maggoty. These are connected to the Black River, and form peaceful sites to enjoy.
Lastly, Maggoty is home to Apple Valley Park. The park is also connected to a big part of the Black River, and you can rent a kayak if you’re feeling extreme, or if you want to just chill in the water, just go inside the man-made stone pool.
The drive to the hills of Maggoty is stunning, with jungles and green hills surrounding the road, alongside acres of cane fields. You can also find small stalls and shops on the way and buy yourself a mango to go.
Quick note – we are eager to hear from our readers! Tell us your favorite experiences from Jamaica in our Facebook community, We read everything, and if the experience is interesting enough we might feature it in our blog.
Bigwoods is a settlement in the southwest of Jamaica, in the St Elizabeth Parish.
Bigwoods feels like you took a time machine 100 years back. The settlement is 1 linear road, surrounded by a few self-made houses, shops, a gas station, and a lot of nature.
With no modern bathrooms or electricity at all, the residents and the visitors need to create a living environment on their own. That means if you get hungry in Bigwoods, you find yourself a Banana tree nearby, or herb one of the tomatoes growing in the flower bed.
In the settlements, you can find a lot of homemade farms and habitats, alongside huge scenery of jungles mountains, and green hills. Bigwoods sits at the heart of a stunning area and you should give it a quick visit along your trip if it’s on your way.
Now we are starting to get to the advanced countryside of Jamaica.
Wilmington District is a very quiet and quaint town in St Thomas (the eastern part of Jamaica). In contrast to the other countryside settlements we wrote about, this place is much bigger with better facilities, so you can stay the night without having to worry about your basic needs.
This small town sits on top of very high hills, with stunning viewpoints and chilly weather. North to Wilmington District, you can visit Mount Felix, a beautiful mountain with a long flowing river carved in the middle of it. The river turns into waterfalls at numerous points, and you can get inside of it.
If you’re traveling with a car, take a drive to the Reggae Falls, a beautiful and pretty touristic waterfall not too far from Wilmington District.
Near the town, if you’re feeling adventurous, find unique trees such as the Jackfruit tree, a tropical tree with a unique edible fruit (the jackfruit). The Jackfruit is often eaten roasted, but you can eat it raw as well, and it’s supposed to be absolutely delicious. Just make sure you avoid eating it if you have any kind of allergies.
Duckenfield is a small village in St Thomas. It has grown substantially in recent years, and most of its economy is built over sugar, as it’s surrounded by huge fields of sugar plantations.
You can find schools, a post office and even a hospital here, which can put your mind at ease when visiting. It is also bordered by other mid-size villages, making it a pretty populated area, with shops, bars, beautiful people, and culture.
The town is very colorful, and it’s a drive away from multiple bays of Jamaica, including Holland Bay and Folly Bay, so if you’re looking for a romantic experience, you can drive to the Morant Point Lighthouse.
St Thomas is a beautiful area in Jamaica, filled with places to camp and enjoy nature. If you’re planning to spend a night out, for example at Sunning Hill, make sure you bring along everything you need to keep safe. If you need help with that, we’ve written about the Camping must-haves:
Finding an Accommodation
The easiest way to find accommodation in the rural parts of Jamaica is probably by Airbnb. It’s very cheap too, you can find an apartment in a small village for 350$ for a whole month.
Of course, if you don’t feel like staying in the countryside of Jamaica, you can also get an Airbnb / Hotel in one of the cities, and drive to the towns that surround it, as Jamaica is tiny enough to be crossed with a car in a few hours.
Where to find food
It’s pretty rare to find restaurants in the countryside of Jamaica. The closest thing you might find is a homemade drinks bar, but you can always find a small shop that sells veggies and raw meat. If you’re staying at a small settlement, you should be prepared to cook your meals on a fireplace, simple as that.
If you’re staying in a village, well, you’ll probably get around. There are plenty of shops and perhaps even small restaurants to get food at. The easiest choice though would be of course to eat in one of the big towns. You can find great Jamaican food for good prices, and enjoy diverse and tasteful dishes.
Transportation in Jamica
The safest option in Jamaica for transportation is to take a Cab (Taxi). Not only you will be able to get around freely in Jamaica hassle-free, but it is also safer than taking a public bus. In general, public buses are unreliable here, their arrival times don’t really mean anything, and furthermore, they might be unsafe to ride.
You can also rent a car, which is a pretty solid choice, as you can freely drive wherever and whenever you want, but keep in mind that in Jamaica, you drive on the left side of the road.
Jamaica Countryside is very diverse, from small settlements to pretty big villages offering very different lifestyles and levels of living. The countryside is filled with beautiful nature, jungles, rivers, wildlife and people.
Make sure you explore the countryside of Jamaica safely, bringing along food, water, and a first aid kit. If you’re staying in the countryside, it’s advisable to stay in one of the big villages, preferably close to one of the big cities, just in case you need medical treatment.
As always, we wish you a happy traveling. We would love to hear your stories. You can share your stories with us on our Facebook Community, or send those to us privately through the Contact Us Section!
As we promised, check T’keyah Vlog on Youtube for some more ideas on visiting the countryside of Jamaica.