Pristine beaches, eternal sunshine and rockin' reggae music draw visitors from all over the world to the friendly Caribbean island of Jamaica, which sits just south of Cuba. Known mainly for its sapphire waters and sandy beaches, the island nevertheless offers more than just a sure tan. Off the sand, you can hike through the towering Blue Mountains or explore the shops and bars of the capital, Kingston. Water sports like diving and kayaking, land sports like golf and mountain biking, or more quiet pursuits like bird-watching and sunset-gazing round out the activities on offer.
Kingston is a lively city full of local colour and entertainment options, and most visitors to the island opt to spend at least a day or two here. To delve into Jamaican culture you can visit the Bob Marley Museum or the Royal Botanic Gardens, or better yet, spend a night out on the town, sampling local dishes from a terrace table and tapping your feet to the live music pouring out of the clubs and bars.
Those looking for a resort atmosphere will want to head to spots like Montego Bay, Neril or Ocho Rios, all resorts on the north coast. Montego Bay is classic Caribbean, with lovely beaches, great golf and plenty of restaurants and nightlife. Here you'll also find historical mansions and several plantation-era homes worth visiting. Neril is a bit more calm, with an emphasis on the outstanding scenery of ocean cliffs (cliff jumping is one of the most popular activities here) and dense vegetation. Though there are excellent restaurants and live-music clubs, people come here to relax on the "Seven-Mile Beach" and kick back in the totally casual atmosphere. Ocho Rios is known for its outstanding golf and is home to the Sandals Golf and Country Club, considered the prettiest course on the island.
Resort sports like golf, tennis, polo and cricket are available in resorts across the island, but for those who want to get a little more adventuresome, Jamaica doesn't disappoint. The Blue Mountains, whose tallest peak soars to more than 7,000 feet, dominate the centre of the island and are ideal for hiking or even mountain biking. Caving is also popular; more than 1,000 limestone caves are dotted across the island and it's possible to explore many of them. The rest of inland Jamaica- its tropical forests, rivers, waterfalls and pastoral valleys- provide ideal spots for walkers and bikers too.