Where to Stay in Jamaica

Jamaica is the most iconic of the Caribbean Islands. Home to some of the most exquisite beaches of the Caribbean coastline, it is not hard to see why Jamaica tops the charts as a bucket-list destination for many travelers.

A deeply spiritual island, Jamaica is awash with cultural gems to explore. It is an island where dreams come true and special memories are made. During a trip to Jamaica, travelers can kick back, relax and unwind on a beach – or go on the adventure of a lifetime.

Whether it’s kicking up a mountain peak, zip-lining through the jungles, scuba diving with marine life or sailing the azure oceans, Jamaica is one big adventure.

Jamaica is a destination that ticks all the right boxes for all kinds of travelers. There are lavish 5-star, all-inclusive resorts; authentic homestays for budget backpackers; and family-friendly hotels aplenty.

Jamaica is an open and welcoming place to visit. The relaxed island vibes are infectious. From the moment travelers land at Norman Manley International Airport, they feel right at home.

Whether on the beach, in the jungle or in the city, Jamaica is a once in a lifetime kind of destination that is not to be missed.

Let’s explore where to stay in Jamaica.

Kingston

Kingston, Jamaica

Source: Photo Spirit / shutterstock

Kingston

The city of Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and a must visit for first-time visitors to the island. Sitting on the southeast coast of Jamaica, Kingston is a cultural melting pot. Featuring colonial architecture, gorgeous coastlines and plenty of Rastafarian history, there is a lot to explore in Kingston.

The Bob Marley Museum is the most popular attraction in Kingston and with good reason. Located on 56 Hope Road, the Bob Marley Museum is an informative place to visit for anyone who wishes to learn more about the great man himself. The museum guides visitors through the life and times of Bob Marley and his significant influence – not only on the reggae music scene but Jamaican culture as a whole. There is a cafe at the museum and a cute gift shop too.

The National Gallery of Jamaica is an incredible art gallery with a strong focus on domestic artists. The gallery showcases masterpieces produced all over the Caribbean and there are guided tours throughout the day.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, Beach Bums, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Bob Marley Museum, The National Gallery of Jamaica, Fort Charles, Hope Royal Botanical Gardens, Lime Cay, National Heroes Park, Emancipation Park, Glaf Way Tree, Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, Fort Clarence Beach, National Museum of Jamaica, Peter Tosh Museum, Plumb Point Lighthouse, Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey, Natural History Museum of Jamaica

Hotel Recommendations:

  • The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel – The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is a very good hotel in the heart of Kingston. Guests have access to the hotel’s Blend Bar & Lounge and a Pool Bar too. All rooms feature air conditioning and access to free WiFi. Breakfast is included and caters for all diet types, including vegan and gluten-free.
  • Spanish Court Hotel – Spanish Court Hotel is a top pick in Kingston. Within the hotel complex, guests will find a spa, fitness center and a wonderful rooftop terrace. There is an iPod docking station in every room and a 48-inch flat-screen TV. The poolside bar is a popular hangout spot for guests.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Kingston – Courtyard by Marriott Kingston is a luxury hotel on Park Close. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness center. The rooms are bright and modern, all are wonderfully spacious. There is air conditioning and free WiFi throughout the hotel. There are suites and king rooms available.

Port Antonio

Port Antonio, Jamaica

Source: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski / shutterstock

Port Antonio

The coastal city of Port Antonio is a fantastic place to stay in Jamaica. Quiet, quaint and charming, Port Antonio captures the hearts of all who visit. For travelers seeking a laid-back place to stay in Jamaica, with access to the beach and plenty of history to explore, Port Antonio is the place to stay.

Active travelers will really love Port Antonio. The city acts as a gateway to the jungles and mountains of Jamaica. Jamaica is best known for its pristine white beach, but the mountains and forests should not be overlooked. Hiking in the John Crow Mountains is often the highlight of a vacation to Jamaica. The Reach Falls are another iconic natural landmark that is not to be missed.

To the east of Port Antonio lies the Blue Lagoon. Highly photogenic and simply breathtaking, Blue Lagoon in Portland, Jamaica, is a must visit. The lagoon is best experienced by a traditional bamboo raft.

Travelers can experience authentic Jamaica in Port Antonio.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, Beach Bums, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Hikers, Nature Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Blue Lagoon, Jim Crow Mountains, Rio Grande, Navy Island, Folly Ruins, Winnifred Beach, Frenchman’s Cove Beach, San San Beach, Hope Bay Blue Mountains National Park, Turtle Harbor, Titchfield Cannons, Errol Flynn Marina

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Trident Hotel – Trident Hotel is an exceptional hotel in Port Antonio. Opening up on to the ocean, the Trident Hotel is complete luxury. There is a private beach area for guests to make use of, in addition to a gym and a gorgeous spa complex. The rooms are modern and there are large villas available.
  • Goblin Hill Villas at San San – Goblin Hill Villas at San San is a very good hotel in Port Antonio. Each villa comes equipped with a kitchen, living room space and a private bathroom. There is a tropical, beach theme to the rooms which adds a sense of authenticity to the stay. A grocery shopping service is available.
  • Pimento Lodge Resort – Pimento Lodge Resort is a superb hotel in Port Antonio. There is a colonial feel to the hotel and it is owned and managed by a local family All rooms offer a balcony or terrace. There is a coffee machine in each room in addition to air conditioning and free WiFi.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Source: Dean Fikar / shutterstock

Montego Bay

The city of Montego Bay is one of the most popular destinations in Jamaica. Montego Bay is the city in which the big cruise liners come into dock and the whole place is well prepared for large influxes of tourists. There are dozens of big resorts in Montego Bay, making it an ideal destination for first-time travelers, traditional holidaymakers, and families.

Montego Bay is a great place to stay for travelers keen to snorkel and go diving while in Jamaica. Off the coast of Montego Bay lie the protected waters of Montego Bay Marine Park – home to a phenomenal array of aquatic life.

For those seeking to learn more about the history of Montego Bay, a visit to Rose Hall is a must. Built in 1770, Rose Hall is a restored Georgian mansion. It is said that Rose Hall is built on the haunted grounds of an old plantation. Guided tours of Rose Hall are available every day.

Good For: Active Travelers, Art Lovers, Budding Historians, Beach Bums, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, Deep Sea Divers First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Nature Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Whistle-Stop Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Doctors Cave Beach, Hip Strip, Rose Hall, Montego Bay Marine Park, Aqua Sol Theme Park, Dead End Beach, Fort Montego, Mosino Casino, Montego Bay Cultural Centre, Was Natango Gallery & Garden, Saint James Parish Church, Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, Old Hospital Park, Jamaica Zipline Adventure Tours

Hotel Recommendations:

  • SeaGarden Beach Resort – SeaGarden Beach Resort is a top pick in Montego Bay. Situated a 12-minute drive walk from the beach, the ocean comes right up to the hotel complex. All rooms and suites at SeaGarden Beach Resort have air conditioning and a private ensuite bathroom. Scuba diving and other activities are arranged daily.
  • Secrets St James – Secrets St James is a fabulous hotel in Montego Bay. There are gourmet dining options and an exciting gaming lounge within the resort complex. Guests have the option of booking a room or a spacious suite for their stay. All rooms come with a mini bar and access to free WiFi.
  • Breathless Montego Bay – Breathless Montego Bay is a popular 5-star resort on Sunset Drive. The whole resort is modern and stylish. Many of the rooms and suites offer ocean views. Guests have access to the outdoor swimming pool and sun deck. A luxurious, tropical breakfast buffet is included in the room rate.

Negril

Negril, Jamaica

Source: Jason Benz Bennee / shutterstock

Negril

For travelers keen to maximize their beach time during their trip to Jamaica, Negril is the best place to stay. Best known for its lengthy white beaches and calm blue waters, Negril is the picture postcard destination of Jamaica.

The most popular beach in Negril is Seven Mile Beach overlooking Long Bay. There are countless beach bars and locally run seafood restaurants dotted along the stretch of Seven Mile Beach. It would be hard to sample them all during the course of just one vacation.

There are plenty of large resorts in Negril but there are many personable, locally-run hotels too. For travelers seeking an authentic experience in Jamaica, Negril can deliver.

Scuba diving and snorkeling off the coast of Negril is a very popular pastime for travelers and holidaymakers alike. The balmy water is often so calm and clear that marine life can be observed even in the shallows. To experience the beautiful coral reefs, it is best to book onto a day trip with a local guide.

Good For: Active Travelers, All Inclusive Travelers, Beach Bums, City Slickers, Couples, Culture Vultures, First Time Visitors, Families, Foodies, Hikers, Nature Lovers, Sightseers, Shopaholics, Luxury Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Seven Mile Beach, Negril Lighthouse, Bloody Bay, Dunn’s River Falls, Kool Runnings Water Park, Royal Palm Reserve, Mayfield Falls, Blue Hole Mineral Spring, Orange Bay, Canoe Beach Bar, Coral Beach, New Testament Church of God, Thatch Hut Bar & Grill, On The Rock’s Restaurant & Bar

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Coco La Palm – Coco La Palm is a fantastic hotel right on the beach in Negril. A romantic resort where the staff go above and beyond for their guests, Coco La Palm is a top pick in Negril. A continental breakfast is included in the room rate. There is local Jamaican coffee available for the coffee maker in every room.
  • The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel – The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel is a gorgeous hotel in general. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea, guests experience nothing but luxury at The SPA. There are cottages available and some offer ocean views and a private terrace. There is an airport shuttle service available. This is a hotel better suited to couples.
  • Sandy Haven Resort – Sandy Haven Resort is a 3-minute walk from Kool Runnings Water Park. There is a fantastic array of facilities available at Sandy Haven Resort. There is a bar and restaurant in-house and an outdoor swimming pool. The rooms are spacious and bright, many premium rooms offer ocean views.

Treasure Beach

Jake's Hotel

Source: booking.com

Jake’s Hotel

For travelers seeking a more off the beaten track beach destination in Jamaica, Treasure Beach is a great place to stay. Something of a hidden gem, Treasure Beach overlooks Frenchman’s Bay.

There is so much to explore in the Treasure Beach area. The name is somewhat deceiving, for Treasure Beach is the name given to four different coves and the villages that sit above them. Treasure Beach is made up of Billy’s Bay, Calabash Bay, Great Pedro Bay and Frenchman’s Bay.

Calabash Bay is the most notable of the collection of coves due to its black and red shady strips. Calabash Bay beach is perfect for sunbathing, playing and swimming. It is not uncommon to meet local villagers wandering the beach selling handicrafts and snacks.

The Treasure Beach area is perfect for travelers looking to live like a local in Jamaica. There are a few locally run restaurants dotted through the villages serving lovingly home-cooked Jamaican classics like goat curry, rice, and peas.

Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Like a Local Travelers, Nature Lovers, Off The Beaten Track Travelers, Long-Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Billy’s Bay, Calabash Bay, Great Pedro Bay, Frenchman’s Bay, Jack Sprat Bar & Restaurant, Smurf’s Cafe, Mellow Yellow Restaurant & Bar, Pardy’s Coffee Shop, Mandeville

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Jakes Hotel – Set in Calabash Bay, Jakes Hotel is a small, locally-run hotel with heaps of charm. Beautifully designed with splashes of color, Jakes Hotel is a top pick. Ideal for honeymoon travelers or long-term travelers in need of a treat, Jakes Hotel steals the hearts of all who visit.
  • Sunset Resort & Villas – Sunset Resort & Villas is an excellent choice in Treasure Beach. The resort has its own private swimming pool and sun terrace. The soft sands of Frenchman’s Beach are just a 10-minute walk away. There are both suites and rooms available This is a family-friendly hotel. The three bedroom villa can sleep up to 6.
  • Katamah Guesthouse – Katamah Guesthouse is a gorgeous accommodation option in Treasure Beach. Offering rustic, earthy design elements and a subtle sense of luxury, Katamah Guesthouse is a hidden gem. There are airy bungalows available and cozy double rooms too. There are kitchen facilities available to guests during their stay. The team can arrange an airport pick up.

Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Source: Jayne Gulbrand / shutterstock

Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay sits on the north coast of Jamaican, within the Parish of Saint Ann. Runaway Bay is a fantastic area for snorkeling and diving. The beaches of the Runaway Bay Area are like those that spring to mind when you think of a picture-perfect Caribbean beach.

Runaway Bay is best known for being the birthplace of Bob Marley. Although technically Bob Marley was born in the inland village of Nine Mile, for those who want to visit the site of Bob Marley’s birth, and final resting place, Runaway Bay is a great place to stay.

Green Grotto Caves are another must-visit attraction in Runaway Bay. The underground cave complex runs for 1.5km and sits 12 meters below the earth. A trip to Green Grotto Caves takes around an hour and a half, and during the tour visitors learn about the ecology and history of the caves. From the Arawak Indians to the Spanish settlers and later the British, the caves have played a significant role in the history of the parish.

Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Like a Local Travelers, Nature Lovers, Off The Beaten Track Travelers, Long-Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Green Grotto Caves, Nine Mile Village – Bob Marley’s Birth Place and Mausoleum, Cranbrook Flower Forest & Riverhead Adventure Trail, Cecille’s Garden, Royal Palm Estate, Runaway Bay Golf Course, Runaway Bay Beach, Cardiff Hall Beach, Seven Oaks Sanctuary for Wildlife, Cool Blue Hole, Ocho Rios, Discovery Bay

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Cardiff Hotel and Spa – Cardiff Hotel & Spa is a good hotel in Runaway Bay. A simple, humble hotel run by a team of locals, Cardiff Hotel features a swimming pool and a sun deck. There is a massage service available too. There is a free shuttle service to the beach throughout the day.
  • Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa – Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa is a large complex offering everything holidaymakers could ever ask for. There are three swimming pools and seven different restaurants within the resort complex. The swim-up bar is a real treat. There are wonderful rooms and luxurious suites with sea views available.
  • Melia Jamaica Braco Village – Melia Jamaica Braco Village is a popular choice in Runaway Bay. There is free WiFI throughout the hotel and air conditioning too. Melia Jamaica Braco Village is a family-friendly hotel and there is a childminding service available upon request. There are all-inclusive packages available for great value for money.

Mandeville

Golf View Hotel

Source: booking.com

Golf View Hotel

The tiny city of Mandeville is perfect for travelers seeking an authentic inland experience in Jamaica. As the capital of the parish of Manchester, Mandeville is a developed city with all the home comforts long-term travelers often crave.

There is a laid back, relaxed feel to Mandeville, despite its built up nature. Home to around 72,000 people, there is a vibrancy and infectious energy to Mandeville that is a joy to experience.

For travelers keen to taste authentic, home-cooked Jamaican food, there is plenty to choose from in Mandeville. It is true that the best meals aren’t found by scouring the guidebooks, but by chatting with locals and finding out where they head for a feed.

Mandeville is an hour or so inland from fellow hidden gem, Treasure Beach. Staying in one, or ideally both of these areas gives travelers the chance to scratch beneath the surface of this Caribbean nation.

Cecil Charlton Park is a cute space in the center of the city. Ideal for meeting locals and learning their stories.

Good For: Active Travelers, Beach Bums, Budget Backpackers, Like a Local Travelers, Nature Lovers, Off The Beaten Track Travelers, Long-Term Travelers

Neighborhood Highlights: Cecil Charlton Park, Marshall’s Pen, Treasure Beach, Keeps Left Historical Landmark, Manchester Golf Course

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Agapantha Cottage – Agapantha Cottage is a superb hotel in Mandeville that gets rave reviews from all who stay. The staff are ever so hospitable and welcome guests like old friends. There is a homely feel to Agapantha Cottage and guests instantly feel at home. The garden is beautiful.
  • Golf View Hotel – Golf View Hotel is one of the most established hotels in Mandeville and is a popular choice. After a day exploring Mandeville, or out on the golf course, guests often congregate in the hotel bar to sample the selection of local rums. All rooms have air conditioning and a private bathroom.
  • Country Home Villa Bed & Breakfast – Country Home Villa Bed & Breakfast is a luxury hotel in Mandeville. There is a gorgeous garden with plenty of shady spots perfect for reading or relaxing. There is WiFi throughout the hotel and all rooms offer a flat-screen TV with cable channels. An exceptional breakfast is included.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Jamaica
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List of Image Sources

Where to Stay in Jamaica:

Montego Bay, Jamaica

  • Kingston: Photo Spirit / shutterstock
  • Port Antonio: Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski / shutterstock
  • Montego Bay: Dean Fikar / shutterstock
  • Negril: Jason Benz Bennee / shutterstock
  • Jake’s Hotel: booking.com
  • Runaway Bay: Jayne Gulbrand / shutterstock
  • Golf View Hotel: booking.com