Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches.
The official name of the country is Jamaica.
The official language is English.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Jamaica was estimated to be 2,798,802 people.
With an area of 10,911 square kilometers (4,213 square miles), Jamaica is third largest island of the Greater Antilles, after Cuba and Hispaniola.
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. Squeezed between the Blue Mountains and the world’s seventh-largest natural harbor, Kingston simultaneously impresses you with its setting and overwhelms you with its size, noise and traffic.
Jamaica is the tip of a mountain rising from the sea floor. Nearly half of the island is more than 330 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level. There are lush rolling hills that are ideal for agriculture and coastal beach regions that are popular with tourists.
Blue Mountain Peak is the highest mountain in Jamaica and one of the highest peaks in the Caribbean at 2,256 meters (7,402 feet) above sea level.
Jamaica has a coastline length of 1,022 kilometers (635 miles).
Jamaica’s coastline is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, drawing millions of sun worshippers every year.
Negril Beach is a Caribbean classic – 8 kilometers (5 miles) of white, west-facing sand that shelves gently into gin-clear water. Much of it is developed and there are scores of bars and restaurants.
Protected areas in Jamaica include parks, national parks, forest reserves, and forest management areas and fish sanctuaries.
Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is a national park in Jamaica. The park covers 495 square kilometers (191 square miles) and accounts for 4.5% of Jamaica’s land surface. The park is globally known for its biodiversity. The UNESCO listed Blue and John Crow Mountains as world heritage site on July 3, 2015.
Encompassing 180 meters (590 feet) of gently terraced waterfalls, Dunn’s River Falls is one of Jamaica’s most famous natural attractions. The waterfalls are terraced like giant natural stairs though some incorporate man-made improvements. Several small lagoons are interspersed among the vertical sections of the falls.
The Bob Marley Museum, at the reggae superstar’s former home, located right in the heart of the capital city, Kingston. It is Kingston’s most-visited attraction and the site of the Tuff Gong recording studio. Highlights are Marley’s bedroom with his star-shaped guitar by the bed.
Built in 1770, Rose Hall is a restored plantation house with beautiful ocean views. It is widely regarded to be a visually impressive house and the most famous in Jamaica. According to legend, a “white witch” called “Annie Palmer” who murdered three husbands haunts the property. An investigation of the legend in 2007 concluded that the story was fictionalized.
Dolphin Cove Jamaica is a marine attraction in Jamaica at which guests have the opportunity to interact and swim with jamaican dolphins in their natural environment while enjoying the thrill and love of these amazing marine mammals. Visitors can also swim, hold, feed, and learn about the evolutionary secrets of the Caribbean sharks.
The Taino people arrived from South America in the seventh century and called the island Xaymaca, “land of wood and water,” because of the green dense forest and the hundreds of fast-flowing streams that once covered the landscape.
Columbus landed here in 1494, and the Spanish soon brought in slaves as the native Arawak Indians died out—today more than 90 percent of the population is of African descent. The British seized the island in 1655, granting independence in 1962.
Tourism, farming, and mining are the most important industries in Jamaica. The chief crop is sugarcane, but bananas, coffee, pimento, and yams are key agricultural products.
When most people think of Jamaica they think of Reggae, or “Ragged Music.” The music was born in the 1950s and ’60s from the musical styles of mento, ska, and rocksteady. The most famous reggae star was Bob Marley, who was backed by his group the Wailers. Other famous reggae stars include Desmond Dekkar, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and Burning Spear.
Jamaican cuisine is a melting pot reflecting the various cultures that have influenced the island over the years. Ackee and Saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica. A nutritious fruit with a buttery-nutty flavor, ackee resembles scrambled egg when boiled. Jamaicans sauté the boiled ackee with saltfish (salt-cured cod), onions, and tomatoes. Sometimes the dish is served atop bammy (deep-fried cassava cakes) with fried plantains.
Rum is the national drink of Jamaica.
Orchids grow wild all over Jamaica, some 200 species of them, 73 of which are found nowhere else.
Bird watchers enjoy the 250 bird species that can be seen on the island, including 26 birds that are found nowhere else.
The island is home to the endangered Homerus swallowtail, the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere. Its wingspan is 25 centimeters (6 inches), which makes this insect larger than many of the island’s birds.
In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event. It was the bobsled event. The movie, Cool Runnings, tells the story of the Jamaica’s first foray in to the Winter Olympics.
When his boat sank off the Jamaican coast, Chris Blackwell – the producer who first discovered Bob Marley – was found near-death by some Rasta fishermen. They nursed him back to full health, forming a bond with their culture that became the basis for his famous investment in the island’s music.
Chocolate milk was invented by Jamaicans, then popularized in Europe by an Irish botanist who sold it as medicine.