Jamaica is an island country in the West Indies and the third biggest island in the Greater Antilles which is rightly called the pearl of the Caribbean Sea. The picture-perfect nature, snow white beaches, national parks with waterfalls, Bob Marley and famous rum — this is all about Jamaica. The island used to be the centre of the world's piracy during the colonial era, that's why it is a great attraction for divers from all over the world. The exotic variety of marine creatures, reefs and mysterious caves is also appealing. Thanks to the environmental programme, you can see dolphins, eels, rays and snapping turtles here again. Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular here, besides, the pleasant tropical climate is favourable for diving all the year round. The main attractions are Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and Port Antonio.
Jamaica offers many exciting diving spots. The famous Widowmaker’s Cave in Montego Bay is even better than any roller coaster. Some of the interesting reefs are Basket Reef, Airport Reef and many others. There is a National Marine Park in Negril. Here you can visit the popular Throne Room filled with yellow sponges, plane Shallow and plane Deep wrecks. You absolutely must dive to the Kathryn shipwreck in Ocho Rios.
Most of the dive shops are in a small village of Negril and in Montego Bay. Various diving safaris and diving tours are on offer here. You can take a training course, order instructor services or rent the necessary equipment.
March is very windy but April attracts with a more stable weather. The wet season starts in May. The air temperature stands between +27 and +30 °C, water temperature is around +28 °C. However, diving in Jamaica is possible all year round.
The wet season stretches all the way through June. There are no rains in July and August, the weather is hot and the humidity is high. The air temperature fluctuates between + 30 and 32 °C, while the water temperature is between + 28 and 29 °C.
September brings back the rains. In October hurricanes and typhoons could occur. November is the perfect time for diving, as the sea is calm. The air temperature holds between +29 and 31°C, water temperature stands at +29°C.
Winter brings the dry season, it is not as hot and humidity is significantly lower. Sometimes there are chilly winds and nights are much colder. The air temperature varies between +27 and 29 °C, while the water temperature ranges from +27 to +28°C.
Most of the dives take place along the northern coast of Negril and in Montego Bay. The popular dive sites are The Throne Room, Widowmaker’s Cave, The Kathryn wreck, Rock Cliff Reef, Devil’s Reef, Sharks Reef, The Arch and Port Royal.
Sometimes outbreaks of dengue fever could happen in Jamaica, they are mainly caused by mosquito bites. Hepatitis, leptospirosis and tuberculosis are possible here, so you should get appropriately vaccinated before the trip. Healthcare standard in regions popular with tourists is adequate, however, in distant areas the services are limited. Private clinics demand payment in advance and a provision of a credit card number as a security measure.
Jamaica is considered a relatively safe place for tourists, the touristic area is thoroughly protected by the government. Walking at night, being alone on a trip and leaving tourist areas is not adviced. Thefts and frauds may occur in big cities.
Follow the standard safety precautions when diving. Tiger sharks attacked humans a few years ago. The underwater world of the Caribbean Sea is full of dangers from small moray eels to white sharks.
Jamaican cuisine is an interesting mix of dishes typical for local nations. Breakfast includes cod and the tropical fruit ackee. Try meat dishes, for example, Jamaican chicken, meat stew with greens and dried lamb with guava. Vegetarians can enjoy rice and beans cooked in coconut milk with spices, or pies with vegetable stuffing. Order gizzada for dessert — it is a tart with butter, coconut, ginger and nougat. Enjoy fragrant and mild Blue Mountain coffee, fresh fruit juices and herbal teas. Rum is a top choice among alcoholic drinks. Tap water is passable for consumption, but it is advised to buy bottled water.