Andrew Zimmern's Guide to Jamaica
There are 3 major airports in Jamaica. Norman Manley International Airport is located in Kingston, the island’s capital. To reach destinations in the northwest corner of the island, travelers can fly into Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The third and final choice is Ian Fleming International Airport, just east of Ocho Rios, a city located on the island’s north central coast. Car rentals, taxis, shuttles and buses are available to take you where you need to go.
By Car: Public transportation is sometimes unreliable, so it pays to rent a car when exploring the island. Unfortunately, car rental prices have skyrocketed. Avoid potential scams and rent with companies, including Hertz, Budget or Island Car Rentals. Most car companies offer unlimited mileage; if the company you’re calling doesn’t, switch to one that does.
By Taxi: Some taxis don’t have meters, so agree on a price before you get in the car or before booking. Avoid pirate or unlicensed taxis. Not only are they not metered, but they are illegal and rarely carry insurance.
By Moped and Motorcycle: The front desk of your hotel can usually arrange the rental of a moped or motorcycle. The daily rental rate can range anywhere from $45 to $70. Be aware that a deposit of $100 to $300 is generally required, depending on the vehicle rented.
Where to Go:
Discovery Bay: Andrew headed to Discovery Bay in St. Ann Parish to hunt for lionfish with local fishermen, but it’s a great place just to view the island’s natural beauty. It’s also said to be the first place Christopher Columbus landed when he discovered Jamaica.
Dunn's River Falls and Park: Climb these falls in Ocho Rios as part of a human chain led by an experienced guide, and explore one of Jamaica’s natural treasures.
Kool Runnings Adventure Park: Have a fun-filled day with the kids at Kool Runnings, a water park in Negril that's equipped with 10 amazing waterslides. Families can also experience its Adventure Zone, which is packed with exciting activities, including laser tag in the Kombat Zone, jamboo rafting and go-karts.
Rastafari Indigenous Village: This village in Montego Bay introduces visitors to authentic Rastafarian philosophy and culture.
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Where to Eat:
Cherry's One Stop: Andrew follows Route A1 to an area just south of Ocho Rios known as Faith’s Pen, where he tries some of Jamaica’s most interesting foods. The area is lined with rows of shacks selling snacks.
Angela's Shack: After eating at Cherry’s, Andrew moves down the row at Faith's Pen and eats at Angela’s Shack for 2 more Jamaica favorites — mannish water and goat curry.
Aunt Merle's Fish Shack: Andrew goes to Hellshire Beach, where fishermen come ashore to sell their catch. There are little stalls called fish shacks, where Andrew tastes some fresh seafood.
Bog Walk Gorge: Farther along Route A1 in St. Catherine, Andrew stops at Bog Walk Gorge, where the street is lined with fruit vendors. He tries a Jamaican apple, a star apple and a custard apple.
National Heroes Park: Andrew’s friend Jacqui takes him to this park in Kingston, where families serve their own versions of Caribbean staples at makeshift food stands.
Scotchies: Andrew and 2 reggae musicians go to this spot in Ocho Rios, where he learns how to make real Jamaican jerk. Pit master Max Miller shows Andrew how to prepare pork with jerk seasoning.
MORE: Andrew Zimmern's Food Crawl in Jamaica
Where to Stay:
GoldenEye: This resort in Oracabessa Bay was originally built by James Bond author Ian Fleming. It features a variety of villas and cottages, as well as a 4-acre lagoon.
Jamaica Inn: An intimate hotel in Ocho Rios, the Jamaica Inn is perched on a beautiful private beach on the Caribbean Sea.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas: Round Hill in Montego Bay caters to both couples and families with 36 oceanfront rooms and 27 private villas.
Spanish Court Hotel: Amid the excitement of Kingston, the Spanish Court Hotel features luxury suites and a Sky Terrace with a lap pool and bar.