1. Enjoying a romantic Jamaican dinner made with local ingredients
A romantic dinner at Jakes Treasure Beach Jamaica Hotel means dining on locally sourced, gourmet dishes prepared by chefs that utilize the island’s best flavors — think farm-fresh veggies and fish straight from the sea. The menu changes based on what’s fresh and seasonal, and each month on the Saturday closest to the full moon, Jakes hosts an organic farm-to-table feast at nearby Dool’s Farm. Here you’ll sit for a seasonal dinner featuring dishes like lamb in spicy coconut sauce, paired with appropriate wines, at a long table lit by the light of the moon and lanterns strung from the surrounding trees.
2. Soaking in a natural spa
The town of Milk River on the island’s south coast is named after the nearby river and mineral spring. The river itself is home to crocodiles and probably not the place for a swim, but the Milk River Mineral Bath Spa definitely is. Rich in calcium, sulphate, natural chloride, and magnesium, the waters here are especially beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, sciatica, and nerve complaints, but of course are always perfect for couples looking to relax together. The water’s an average 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year — it’s recommended to only stay in for 10-20 minutes at a time.
3. Climbing waterfalls hand in hand
One of the most popular attractions in Jamaica is also one of the few waterfalls that flows directly into the Caribbean Sea. Dunn’s River Falls, near Ocho Rios, is fed by spring water and cascades for 600 feet down giant, natural stone steps. These limestone tiers allow visitors to climb up the falls, and the lush plants and trees on both sides create plenty of shade. The stones can be uneven and slippery, so most visitors create a human chain by holding hands as they head up the waterfall.
4. Living on the edge at Lovers’ Leap
On the edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Lovers’ Leap is a sheer 1,700ft cliff hanging over the Caribbean. The story associated with Lovers’ Leap, of two slaves who hand-in-hand plunged to their death in an act of love rather than be separated by a jealous plantation owner, is probably the best-known folk tale in Jamaica. You’ll see a statue of the pair atop the cliff that pays homage to this legend and its progenitors’ undying love.
5. Catching the sunset with a Red Stripe in hand
A honeymoon in Jamaica wouldn’t be the same without the island’s kaleidoscope sunsets. Rick’s Café sits on the westernmost point of the island in Negril, and its sunset-viewing vantage point is world-famous. But really, wherever you are on the island can magically transform into the most romantic place imaginable during sunset.
6. Sipping a prized cup of coffee
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most sought after and expensive in the world. Renowned for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness, any coffee labeled as Jamaican Blue Mountain must obtain a certification by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica and have been grown in a legally defined range of the Blue Mountains, making it even harder to come by. One of the best ways to learn about and taste the nation’s coffee is on a local farm tour. Alex Twyman’s family-run Old Tavern Estate, on the northern slopes of the Blue Mountains, is a great option for the full bean-to-cup experience. Tours must be arranged in advance, as this is a working plantation.
7. Soaking up the sun on four beaches in one day
Away from the busy resorts and tourist attractions, Jamaica’s Treasure Beach is the name of a string of fishing villages — Billy’s Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Calabash Bay, and Great Pedro Bay — and their peaceful beaches. Fishermen and artists make up much of the local community, which strives to promote sustainability and keep Treasure Beach a welcoming, authentic slice of Jamaica. Here you can walk along sandy beaches, snorkel in secluded coves, and soak up some sun along the shoreline.
8. Reliving a James Bond classic
Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series, wrote more than a dozen of his novels and short stories while staying at GoldenEye, the house he built on Jamaica’s north coast. Fleming’s Jamaican hideaway is now part of the boutique GoldenEye resort, where you’ll find beachfront and lagoon-facing cottages as well as luxury beach huts. To experience more of the life of James Bond, visit the beach in Ocho Rios where the famous Dr. No scene with a bikini-clad Honey Ryder took place.
9. Floating the Rio Grande on a bamboo raft
Originally used to transport banana and sugarcane down to Port Antonio from the inland plantations, these bamboo rafts today offer a serene ride along one of Jamaica’s biggest rivers. Depending on where you put in, the speed of the river, and the strength of the boatman, each trip down the Rio Grande takes two to three hours — the perfect amount of time to enjoy the views of the surrounding rainforest with your partner.
10. Exploring beneath the waves
Jamaica’s warm ocean waters are the most popular attractions for visitors to the island. The coast is lined with underwater gardens, sunken wrecks, black coral, rope sponge, and an array of multicolored tropical fish, making diving or snorkeling here an otherworldly experience. One of the best locations to dive or snorkel is Montego Bay Marine Park. The waters are protected and you can spot nurse sharks, eagle rays, jellyfish, and snapper.
11. Dancing the night away to local jams
Jamaica is the home of reggae, a genre of music inspired by traditional mento and calypso music, along with American jazz and rhythm and blues. From Montego Bay to Kingston, visitors can dance to reggae beats with live shows and concerts that seem to take place nonstop. Alfred’s Ocean Palace and Bourbon Beach, both located in Negril, have a calendar of events with live reggae bands playing each week.
12. Touching the sky on an epic hike
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica, and at 7,402 feet Blue Mountain Peak is the island’s highest point. A hike to the top is a memorable experience; the Peak Trail takes about seven hours round trip, with amazing views as you trek the mountain path that winds through groves of eucalyptus and bamboo. On the clearest days you can see Cuba, 90 miles to the north. The best time of year for the hike is during the dry season from December to April.
13. Paying homage to a local legend
Bob Marley isn’t just a reggae legend, he’s a cultural icon recognized and respected for his lyrical genius and advocacy for social change. Experience his life at Kingston’s Bob Marley Museum, located in what was Marley’s home from 1975 till his death in 1981. At the museum, you and your partner can see many of his personal treasures, including his Rastafarian religious cloaks and favorite star-shaped guitar.
14. Waking to nature’s call
Jamaica’s tropical climate means it’s a year-round bird haven. Home to 28 endemic species, including the yellow-billed amazon and the chestnut-bellied cuckoo, the island is a popular bird watching destination. From the Green Castle Estate on the northeast coast you can take a bird watching tour, visiting numerous ecosystems — from mangrove marshes to forests — that are perfect for all levels of interest. Even if you’re not on the hunt for birds on your honeymoon, the local warblers, along with the native tree frogs, do make a beautiful song to wake up to.