Situated in the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica is a part of the chain of Caribbean islands called the Greater Antilles, along with Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The tip of a mountain rising from the sea floor, Jamaica boasts lush rolling hills and beautiful beaches. Flora and fauna abound on this beautiful island, with 250 bird species — including 26 birds that are found nowhere else — and more than 200 orchids and 550 different ferns.
When most people think of Jamaica they think of Reggae music. The music was born in the 1950s and ’60s from the musical styles of mento, ska and rocksteady, and the most famous reggae star was Bob Marley.
On Holland America Line’s western Caribbean itineraries, guests can visit three Jamaican ports and become immersed in this lively and colorful culture.
A call at Ocho Rios highlights Dunn’s River Falls, one of Jamaica’s national treasures. Odd for a waterfall, the terraced cascade at Dunn’s River Falls is continuously rebuilding itself. The river is full of calcium carbonate and sodium, which turns the underlying rock into a vast hard water deposit. Gather some friends from the cruise, form a human chain, and hike directly across the face of the falls. Or, head up the hills above Ocho Rios to either the Shaw Park or Coyoba botanical gardens. Guest wishing to explore other parts of Ocho Rios can visit St. Ann parish, called the “garden parish” for its lush natural beauty, or visit the Craft Market to shop for souvenirs.