Breathtaking views and delicious Jamaican food make Travel Consultant Marina Delfos’s job sound like an endless vacation. Find out which spots she recommends exploring on your next trip to Jamaica.
What’s something that would surprise most people about Jamaica — any off-beaten path things to explore?
Jamaica is a haven for “off the beaten track” experiences from caving in the Cockpit Country, hiking to hidden waterfalls, and visiting 18th and 19th-century ruins in the most unexpected areas throughout the island. But what is surprising to many persons I talk to about our island’s rich history, is our Jewish heritage and that Jamaican Jews are the oldest continuous community on the island. Cemetery tourism has not quite caught on yet here in Jamaica, but I have been offering tours of the 200-year-old Falmouth Jewish Cemetery since 2013. It is a small yet significant cemetery and descendants of persons buried there still call Jamaica home, including Chris Blackwell, Founder of Island Records & Island Outpost.
From roadside stalls to holes in the wall to fine dining experiences, what are the best places to try that celebrate Jamaica food culture?
The list is endless but let me try and narrow it down. The ultimate fine dining experience for me has been my visits to Stush in the Bush on Zionites Farm in Free Hill, St. Ann. Your senses will never be the same again and it is perfect for special occasions. For an enjoyable Jamaican breakfast and lunch on the weekends, Winsome’s “Crystal Edge Restaurant” in Irish Town, St. Andrew is a favorite spot. Treasure Beach is like a second home, so I would have to mention the pizza at Jack Sprat and the freshly made bammy you can order with all of your meals. There is the most delicious garlic coconut lobster at Diner’s Delight by Frenchman’s Beach. Or you could add adventure to your culinary experience and take a boat ride to Sister Lou’s River Stop on the Black River for the best stuffed crab backs ever.
What are the most Instagrammable spots in Jamaica?
Where do I start?
* The view from Lover’s Leap, St. Elizabeth
* The Great Pedro Bluff at Great Bay in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth
* The view from Noel Coward’s Firefly in St. Mary
* New Castle, St. Andrew
* The Rose Hall Great House at night (I highly recommend their night tour)
* The pool at Strawberry Hill
* St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Falmouth, Trelawny
* The old Spanish Bridge on the White River near Labyrinth, St. Mary
What is a recommended “treat yourself” (spa, massage, etc.) experience you should do in Jamaica?
I have grand dreams of where I would “treat myself” and they include the Ocean Spa at Jamaican Inn, the Spa Pavilion at Rock House, the Driftwood Spa at Jakes in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth and the spa at Strawberry Hill in Irish Town, St. Andrew (in the mountains above Kingston).
What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy on the island that you suggest to visitors?
If any of our visitors are staying at one of the many excellent hotels in Kingston, I would recommend requesting the hotel to pack a picnic basket of cold cuts, cheeses, breads, and pastries plus a good bottle of wine. Then, head to “the hills” to spend a few hours at Holywell Recreational Park. Spread a blanket, breathe in that wonderful clean air, enjoy the mists as they pass through, relax, read, and even take a nap. Stop for a coffee at Cafe Blue in Irish Town on the way back down to Kingston. It rejuvenates me every time I do it.
Photo Courtesy: Falmouth Heritage Walks Facebook Page