Jamaica is Caribbean paradise, home to beautiful beaches and good vibes all around.

From sampling food to exploring the countryside, lounging on beaches to immersing yourself in a new culture, there is plenty to do on Jamaica that will keep you occupied for days on end!

That said, Jamaica is a decent sized island, and you’ll want to base yourself close to the activities you plan to do.

We wrote this guide to help you decide where to stay in Jamaica.

Whether you want to lounge on the beach, hike through the jungle, engage in some awesome water sports or horseback riding, or just chill out in the local bar, there is something in Jamaica for you!

Below we’ve broken down the top 5 areas in Jamaica by things to do and interest.

Where to Stay in Jamaica

Next up, you’ll find the best areas in Jamaica, as well as some awesome places to stay and things to do. To make it a bit easier for you, here are our favorite three accommodations in Jamaica.

Best Airbnb in Jamaica: 5th floor one bedroom studio with balcony

5th floor one bedroom studio with balcony

With 24-hour security, this 5th floor modern condo is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from fine dining, shopping, and nightlife. Guests have access to a private one bedroom and bathroom with basic amenities.

Best Hostel in Jamaica: Mobay Kotch

Mobay Kotch

One of the few hostels located in the centre of the city, this quaint hostel is close to the centre plaza, supermarkets, restaurants, the beach and more.

Everything you need in Montego Bay will be just steps from your front door. Housed in a heritage townhouse, this hostel features rustic interior décor, spacious and airy rooms, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Best Hotel in Ocho Rios: Hibiscus Lodge Hotel

Hibiscus Lodge Hotel

Hibiscus Lodge Hotel is a three-star hotel located one kilometre from the centre of Ocho Rios. This hotel is comprised of 26 rooms and is ideal for families coming to Jamaica.

Featuring an outdoor pool and tennis courts, this hotel boasts modern amenities and spacious rooms. Close to top attractions, restaurants and more, you won’t find a better hotel in Ocho Rios.

Jamaica Island Guide

FIRST TIME IN JAMAICA
Negril, Jamaica
FIRST TIME IN JAMAICA

Negril

If you’re headed to Jamaica for the first time, there’s no better place to start than in Negril. Located on the western tip of the island, this city is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and a relaxed way of life.

ON A BUDGET
Kingston, Jamaica
ON A BUDGET

Kingston

The capital of Jamaica, Kingston is an eclectic and diverse city. Located far from the north coast resort towns, Kingston is an ideal location for travellers looking to experience an authentic Jamaican city.

NIGHTLIFE
Montego Bay, Jamaica
NIGHTLIFE

Montego Bay

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s most energetic and lively city. The tourism capital of the country, Montego Bay (or Mo Bay as it’s known to locals and regulars) is where you’ll find a wide range of resorts, activities, duty-free shopping and restaurants.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Port Antonio, Jamaica
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Port Antonio

Port Antonio is a small city tucked away on the eastern side of Jamaica. Although it has a long history of tourism, the city is significantly less popular than other Jamaican destinations.

FOR FAMILIES
Ocho Rio, Jamaica
FOR FAMILIES

Ocho Rios

Located on Jamaica’s northeastern shore, Ocho Rio is the most popular tourist destination on the island. A former fishing village, this city is where you’ll find a majority of Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts.

Jamaica is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Caribbean and contrary to popular belief, a very safe country to visit. Home to golden sand beaches and turquoise waters, this island nation is nothing short of paradise.

Jamaica is full of activities and attractions for travellers of all ages and styles. From sampling traditional foods and exploring the countryside to immersing yourself in its history and culture, there’s no shortage of ways to fill your days.

It is the third largest Anglophone country in North America boasting a popular of more than 2.75 million people and covers an area of 10,991 square kilometres.

Jamaica is divided into three counties, which are further divided into parishes.

This guide will include the “must sees” broken down by interest.

Negril is a great destination for anyone visiting Jamaica for the first time. Located on the northwestern coast of the country, this is where you’ll find stunning beaches, gorgeous natural scenery and a wide variety of cultural attractions.

Travel east and you’ll find yourself in the lively and vibrant city of Montego Bay. Home to the island’s most famous bars, pubs, and clubs, this is where to stay on Jamaica for nightlife.

Continuing east and you’ll pass through Ocho Rios and Port Antonio. Located on the northern coast of Jamaica, these two towns are home to a number of great natural attractions, including waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon, animal exhibitions and more.

On the southeastern coast of the country is the capital, Kingston. An eclectic and diverse city, this is where you’ll find some of the best budget accommodation options in Jamaica.

From boutique hotels to backpacker hostels, if you’re keen to explore Jamaica without breaking the bank then Kingston is for you.

Still not sure where to stay in Jamaica? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered below.

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5 Best Areas to Stay in Jamaica

Jamaica is home to a number of unique towns and villages, each offering visitors different activities and attractions. Depending on the purpose of your visit, certain areas of the country will be better suited to you. While many of the best places to visit in Jamaica are of the natural splendour variety, there are some spectacular historical and cultural sites too.

Perhaps you’re travelling with friends and want to dance the night away? Or, maybe you’re more interested in exploring the land and seeing the natural scenery? More than likely, you are keen to spend your days lounging on the beach and floating on the turquoise seas.

All of these things are possible if you’re in the right place. Here are the best places in Jamaica to stay broken down by interest.

1. Negril – Where to Stay in Jamaica for First Timers

If you’re visiting Jamaica for the first time, there’s no better place to start than in Negril. Located on the western tip of the island, this city is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and a relaxed way of life.

Pack your bags for the beach because you can enjoy more than 7 miles of cool, white sand and calm, warm waters at one of the most amazing beaches in the Caribbean!

But, there’s plenty to do in Negril beyond lounging in the sand. From water sports to horseback riding, this charming Jamaican town is ideal for travellers looking to enjoy a lot of fun in the sun.

Negril, Jamaica

Things to See and Do in Negril

  • Visit Rick’s Café, one of the island’s most popular restaurants and bars. Known for its great vibe, this spot is also famous for its clifftop location and jumping platforms.
  • Take a distillery tour of the Appleton Run Estate.
  • Go rafting on the Martha Brae River.
  • See the dramatic and soaring Negril Cliffs, which stand 12 meters above the water.
  • Watch the famous Negril sunset; something you won’t find anywhere else on the island.
  • Visit Mayfield Falls to explore the lush vegetation and see the magnificent waterfalls.
  • Relax and enjoy a day in paradise at Seven Mile Beach, one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted golden sand in the Caribbean.
  • Visit Barney’s Flower and Hummingbird Garden Jamaica, a private tropical house home to a wide variety of plants, animals and birds.
  • Explore the world beneath the waves by swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in Negril’s calm, clear waters.

Best Airbnb in Negril: 2 bed condo near Negril Beach Club

2 bed condo near Negril Beach Club

Situated right on the beach, this condo is perfect for 2 to 4 guests. With 24/7 gate security and free parking. The property has 2 bedrooms and one bathroom, a private private balcony and kitchen with every amenity you might need.

Best Apartment in Negril: Centrally Located Loft

Centrally Located Loft

If you’re looking for a nice private place in an awesome location then you’ve found the right one. This charming loft is in the heart of Negril, making it the perfect place for first-time visitors. It sleeps up to 4 people, so you can even bring some friends along. On top of that, the loft is one of the more affordable accommodations in the area, so you won’t have to break the bank.

Best Hotel in Negril: Catcha Falling Star

Catcha Falling Star

Enjoy stunning views and an ideal location at this charming Negril hotel. Just steps from one of Jamaica’s premier beaches, this hotel is within walking distance of a wide range of local eateries.

Featuring on-site laundry services, an outdoor pool, and charming café, this hotel boasts everything you’ll need for your stay in paradise.

2. Kingston – Where to Stay in Jamaica on a Budget

The capital of Jamaica, Kingston is an eclectic and diverse city. Located far from the north coast resort towns, Kingston is an ideal location for travellers looking to experience an authentic Jamaican city.

It is the commercial and cultural capital of the island. Here you’ll find a wide variety of attractions, activities and shopping and entertainment options.

Kingston is also a great destination for travellers on a backpacker’s budget. This large city, home to more than 750,000 people, boasts a myriad of accommodation options.

From boutique hotels to charming hostels, there’s a great selection of places to stay for travellers of all styles and budgets.

Kingston, Jamaica

Things to See and Do in Kingston

  • Learn all about the life and career of Jamaica’s most famous son at the Bob Marley Museum.
  • Browse works of art by Jamaican artists from all periods at the National Gallery of Jamaica.
  • Walk the walls of Fort Charles and explore Port Royal, a notorious old pirate haunt.
  • Taste incredible jerk chicken at Sweetwood Jerk Joint, where the food is good and the prices are better!
  • Take a short boat ride to the picturesque Lime Cay beach.
  • Explore the dense tropical forests of the Blue Mountain, a short but incredible day trip from Kingston.
  • Take in a free concert at Emancipation Park.
  • Relax and enjoy the scenery on Fort Clarence Beach.
  • Learn about the history of Jamaica’s national heroes at the National Heroes Park.
  • Enjoy authentic and delicious Jamaican patties at Tastee Patties.

Best Airbnb in Kingston: 5th floor one bedroom studio with balcony

5th floor one bedroom studio with balcony

With 24-hour security, this 5th floor modern condo is conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from fine dining, shopping, and nightlife. Guests have access to a private one bedroom and bathroom with basic amenities.

Best Apartment in Kingston: Spacious Central Studio

Spacious Central Studio

Okay, you caught us. This might not be the cheapest place you can find in Kingston, but hear us out! There is no other home that offers so much value for a reasonable price. On top of that, you can easily bring a couple of friends with and simply split the bill at the end. The super modern studio is perfectly located in Kingston, close to the main attractions, but still in a quiet area so you can relax and recharge.

Best Hotel in Kingston: Spanish Court Hotel

Spanish Court Hotel

Whether you just want to chill around the swimming pool or explore the city, the Spanish Court Hotel offers the perfect balance between relaxation and amazing location. If you don’t feel like heading out, you can step up your tanning game around the pool or get a sneaky workout in at the gym. You’ll have shopping options, restaurants and great nightlife close by as well.

3. Montego Bay – Where to Stay on Jamaica for Nightlife

Montego Bay is Jamaica’s most energetic and lively city. The tourism capital of the country, Montego Bay (or Mo Bay as it’s known to locals and regulars) is where you’ll find a wide range of resorts, activities, duty-free shopping and restaurants.

Mo Bay is also where you’ll find some of the best nightlife in Jamaica. The city’s main drag, Gloucester Avenue, is known as the “hip strip” thanks to the bars, pubs and clubs that call this area home.

From traditional reggae to pounding EDM, this is the ideal destination if you’re looking to dance, party and enjoy a few drinks in Jamaica.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
source: Lucky-photographer (Shutterstock)

Things to See and Do in Montego Bay

  • Enjoy a night of all you can drink beverages and dancing at the Margaritaville After Dark Nightclub Experience.
  • Relax and recover from a wild night on the town at Cornwall Beach.
  • Dance, sing and celebrate living your best life at Pier 1, one of Montego Bay’s most popular bars. DJs spin on Wednesday and Friday nights, whereas Monday’s offer a tamer but still fun karaoke night.
  • Ride the slides and cool off at Aquasol Beach Park.
  • Enjoy good food with a great view at The Sand Bar at Doctor’s Cave Bathing Club.
  • Serving up large portions of tasty authentic fare; the Pork Pit is a must for anyone visiting Montego Bay.
  • Sip on fantastic cocktails and listen to great music at the stylish Blue Beat Ultra Lounge.
  • Try Jamaican classics, like stewed oxtail and bammies at the Pelican Grill.

Best Airbnb in Montego Bay: Modern Montego Bay Studio

Modern Montego Bay Studio

With one bed and bathroom, this newly renovated apartment is 5 minutes from the airport. Located on the Hip Strip in Montego Bay within a walking distance to to the beach, bars, and restaurants.

Best Hostel in Montego Bay: Mobay Kotch

Mobay Kotch

One of the few hostels located in the centre of the city, this quaint hostel is close to the centre plaza, supermarkets, restaurants, the beach and more.

Everything you need in Montego Bay will be just steps from your front door. Housed in a heritage townhouse, this hostel features rustic interior décor, spacious and airy rooms, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Best Hotel in Montego Bay: Hotel Gloriana & Spa

Hotel Gloriana and Spa

This hotel is ideal for travellers wishing to make their base in Montego Bay. This seaside property is located just minutes from Montego Bay’s beach.

It is also just a short walk to Gloucester Avenue, the centre of Montego Bay’s nightlife scene. Enjoy comfortable rooms and elegant décor at this five-star hotel just minutes from the heart of Montego Bay.

4. Port Antonio – Coolest Place to Stay in Jamaica

Port Antonio is a small city tucked away on the eastern side of Jamaica. Although it has a long history of tourism, the city is significantly less popular than other Jamaican destinations.

Relatively unknown to most tourists, Port Antonio maintains much of its original charm and historic character.

Getting to Port Antonio requires a bit of effort, but visitors who make the journey will be handsomely rewarded. The city boasts an attractive and alluring downtown core, that provides a glimpse into Jamaica’s past and present.

Explore outside the city and be amazed by lush vegetation, pristine beaches and a myriad of natural attractions.

Port Antonio, Jamaica

Things to See and Do in Port Antonio

  • Venture high into the mountains and climb through rivers, over rocks, and along trails to discover the secluded and brilliant Blue Lagoon.
  • Head out into the wilderness and go hiking through Rio Grande Valley of Antonio.
  • Ride a river raft along the Rio Grande River.
  • Stroll through the alluring and charismatic historic city centre.
  • Visit and explore the stunning Reach Falls.
  • Sip on fruity cocktails as you lounge on Frenchman’s Cove’s tropical and luxurious beach.
  • For jerk cooking, there’s no better place than Boston Jerk Centre. Homegrown and organic, this natural mall has seven jerk pits to choose from.
  • Explore the ruins of Folly Great House, an abandoned neo-classical Greek and Roman style mansion.
  • Catch a few waves at Boston Beach, a secluded and beautiful piece of paradise.
  • Trek to Somerset Falls, a dark waterfall in a deep gorge located about 3 kilometres east of Hope Bay, and take a swim in the turquoise pools.

Best Airbnb in Port Antonio: 2 storey tree house cottage

2 storey tree house cottage

This 2 storey cottage is located in the foothills of Jamaica’s blue mountains. It’s an excellent base camp for rafting and hiking in the nearby Rio Grande Valley. With 2 bedroom and one bathroom, this cottage is perfect for 2 – 4 guests who want to make up to views of the sea and the picturesque twin harbours of Port Antonio.

Best Hostel in Port Antonio: Porty Hostel

Porty Hostel

Why wouldn’t you want to stay at one of the best rated hostels in Port Antonio? Porty Hostel really deserves the spot at the top. With super comfy rooms, great amenities and a chill vibe, this place is the perfect spot for travellers that want to keep the costs down and be close to awesome beaches. Port Antonio town is a short 15min drive away, but you can walk to Winnifred Beach and Boston Bay Beach.

Best Hotel in Port Antonio: Hotel Tim Bamboo

Hotel Tim Bamboo

Enjoy comfortable rooms and premium features at this charming three-star hotel in Port Antonio. It boasts a rooftop terrace, free wifi, and an on-site restaurant and lounge.

Located just over a kilometre from the city centre, this hotel is close to a number of well-known attractions and activities. A short drive to the Blue Lagoon and the beach, you won’t find a better hotel in Port Antonio.

5. Ocho Rios – Where to Stay in Jamaica for Families

Located on Jamaica’s northeastern shore, Ocho Rio is the most popular tourist destination on the island. A former fishing village, this city is where you’ll find a majority of Jamaica’s all-inclusive resorts.

Although you won’t get the most authentic Jamaican experience, Ocho Rio is a great destination for families with children because there are a wide variety of attractions and activities on offer, from theme parks and animal exhibitions to scenic attractions and world-class shopping.

The city also boasts a number of modern conveniences, including supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and bars. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it in Ocho Rio.

Ocho Rio, Jamaica

Things to See and Do in Ocho Rios

  • Wander through the well-kept gardens at the Shaw Park Gardens & Waterfalls.
  • Swim with playful dolphins in a natural cove at Dolphin Cove. The complex is also home to a rain forest, lagoons, sharks and other sea creatures.
  • Climb waterfalls at Dunn’s River Falls.
  • Enjoy a day of frolicking through the jungle, jumping in and out of vibrant blue pools of water at the secluded Blue Hole.
  • Spend a fun-filled day at Rainforest Adventures Mystic Mountain, a small theme park where you can zip-line, bobsled, swim, splash and play.
  • Drive through Fern Gully, a scenic three-mile-long journey through lush forests.
  • Enjoy a delicious and authentic Jamaican meal at the family-friendly Miss T’s Kitchen.
  • Take a guided journey on horseback across Papillion Beach.
  • Grab a tub, hit the river, and spend a leisurely afternoon floating your way down the mountainous White River.

Best Airbnb in Ocho Rios: Chic & Central Condo

Chic and Central Condo

This stylish apartment offers you all the benefits of a boutique hotel but at an affordable rate. With 3 beds and 2 bathrooms. The property can accommodate 3-4 guests. The apartment also has a newly renovated kitchen with modern appliances.

Best Hostel in Ocho Rios: Sunrise Villa Guest House

Sunrise Villa Guest House

The closest hostel to Ocho Rios is located nearly five kilometres away in nearby St. Mary. This guesthouse is comprised of three private suites, each equipped with double beds and having access to a private pool.

Located just five minutes from the beach, this guesthouse is a short drive to Ocho Rios’ top attractions. Enjoy comfortable beds and breakfast each morning of your stay.

Best Hotel in Ocho Rios: Hibiscus Lodge Hotel

Hibiscus Lodge Hotel

Hibiscus Lodge Hotel is a three-star hotel located one kilometre from the centre of Ocho Rios. This hotel is comprised of 26 rooms and is ideal for families coming to Jamaica.

Featuring an outdoor pool and tennis courts, this hotel boasts modern amenities and spacious rooms. Close to top attractions, restaurants and more, you won’t find a better hotel in Ocho Rios.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Jamaica

Jamaica is full of incredible things to do for every type of traveler: beautiful beaches and nature, of course, and food, history, and culture as well! Plus, Jamaicans are a friendly, welcoming bunch, so no matter where you stay, there are fantastic people to meet.

Still not sure where to stay in Jamaica?

Neighborhood Jamaica

We think Reggae Hostel is the best hostel on Jamaica if you’re on a budget. Located in the capital city of Kingston, you won’t be near the beach, but it’s a great base to explore Jamaica’s cultural and historical center. Plus, it offers a full kitchen, bar, and fun common spaces. This is where to stay in Jamaica for budget travelers.

If you want to stay on the beach, one of the best hotels in Jamaica is Catcha Falling Star. Just steps away from the best beaches on Jamaica, this hotel is an ideal location, and you’re also within walking distance of a wide range of local restaurants, so you can still experience Jamaican culture without being confined to a resort.

Have you been to Jamaica? Did we miss anything? Let us know below in the comments!

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