It's no secret that a day in Jamaica consists of sand, sun and fun. The island's relaxed atmosphere combined with stunning scenery creates picture-perfect days. However, this spirited island nation offers some of the best nightlife and live music there is. Put down your margarita, and take note -- this is your guide to Jamaican nightlife.
If you're feeling rowdy, check out the scene at Risky Business in Negril. The bar is well-known as the city's party capital, and spring breakers pack into the bar nightly for mixed drinks and live music. You can participate in their raucous beach contests or sit and watch while you tip back your bottomless mug.
For a slightly more laid-back vibe, head to Alfred's Ocean Palace. Also located in Negril, it sits on a beautiful stretch of beach and offers fresh fruit cocktails and live music seven days a week. While reggae is prominent, you can also hear some jazz and country taking the stage. On Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays, the bar throws big reggae shows with amazing local talent.
Rick's Cafe is another bar with a party atmosphere and a killer house band. The Dollyman play seven nights a week for those addicted to reggae's rhythmic offbeat. The bar's outdoor area offers stunning views of the Jamaican sunset and can be quite tame during the early evening hours.
Head to BiBiBips in Ochos Rios for some of the island's best jerk dishes and live tunes. Live music can be heard here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, featuring reggae bands and some rap. The sprawling open-air patios and verandas are the perfect setting for brews and beats.
After the bands have finished their sets, move to one of Jamaica's many late-night dance clubs. In Ochos Rios, Amnesia brings local music to the dance floor with fierce island spirit. The club's two dance floors offer an array of musically themed nights, including dance hall and reggae. Take a break from the heat of the dance floor on the club's relaxing open-air patio where the vibe is a more laid-back.
Silks Disco, located in the Shaw Park Hotel, draws a predominantly local crowd. The draw here is a nightly $35 cover/open-bar combination. A discreet club with a busy bar area and a few low-stakes slot machines, it offers a mellow dance atmosphere for those seeking a compromise between bar and club.
In Negril, the Mariner's Negril Beach Club is home to The Jungle nightclub. The vibe of this club can be inferred through its slogan, "unleash the animal." The wild clientele at this club aim to do just that. The bottom four floors of The Jungle are packed with dancers reveling in the themed music nights. Upstairs is the necessary "cool down" area where perspiration can dry and thirsts can be quenched.
Since island nightlife begins as the sun is going down, finding a cozy spot to watch the sunset while there's still sand on your feet is a must. In Montego Bay, Time 'n Place oozes island relaxation. Sipping a Red Stripe under the bar's thatched roof is the very epitome of a Jamaican vacation.
A must-see bar in Montego Bay is Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. The bar is a Jamaican landmark that delivers great food, local lagers and killer margaritas to tourists and parrotheads. All this while offering some stunning views of the sea and the Coral Cliffs Hotel.
For some of the island's best eats, make a reservation at Norma's on the Beach at the Sea Splash Resort. Norma Shirley is widely acclaimed as Jamaica's finest female chef, and the food here is the best on Seven Mile Beach. The menu's a fusion of different tastes that results in labels like New World Caribbean, Caribbean Asian and Nuevo Latino. Call it what you like, the food is out of this world.