(Text by magicseaweed). Being the third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica stands out on the map, but it is relatively obscure in terms of Caribbean surf destinations. Despite its size, only the eastern tip receives a decent amount of windswell worth exploring, with options for both north and south coasts. See the photos below and check the links for the latest surf reports from Bull Bay, Boston Bay and Rozelle Beach.
As Jamaica’s capital city from 1534 to 1872, Spanish Town was the focal point of the island’s social, economic and political life. During this time, the town witnessed the evolution of modern Jamaica. It welcomed the Spanish when they fled Sevilla La Nueva and observed as they developed its land. It watched the English invasion and subsequent occupation of the island, and later, listened while the governor read the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves, in its “Plaza Mayora.”
To ensure you don’t miss any of these important sights, it’s best to have a local guide help you find your way through the town’s maze of streets and lanes.
Start: Spanish Town Methodist Church, White Church Street
Finish: Emancipation Square, at Rodney’s Memorial
Distance: Approximately 0.75km (0.5 miles)
In its prime, Spanish Town was a magnificent and impressive metropolis with stately red brick homes and grand monuments. Today, it is Jamaica’s third largest urban center with a population of approximately 87,000 people and, sadly, much of its grandeur has been lost to the ravages of time. Some shining examples of Georgian architecture still exist, however, as reminders of the town’s golden era.
1. THE METHODIST CHURCH
Opened in 1953, this small but beautiful chapel serves as the head of the Spanish Town Methodist Circuit, which was created in 1816 and consists of five churches.
Directions: Immediately facing the Methodist church, you’ll notice the massive western wall of the St Catherine District Prison.
The Reggae Sumfest road trip from Kingston to Montego Bay is one of the best of the summer. This year there is a whole week of Sumfest dance sessions and activities July 16-22. Click here to buy tickets on the Sumfest site! To get to Montego Bay from Kingston its a quick drive north through the mountains to Ocho Rios, take a left and one and a half hours of seaside towns and long stretches of beach later you've arrived at your destination--the 25th staging of the legendary Reggae Sumfest. The new toll road from Kingston to Ochi is always there for those in a rush. But if you have the time, the old road through Moneague and Fern Gully is the thing to do!
What's the best route from Kingston to Port Antonio? The scenic ‘Junction Road’ of course! Constant Spring Road takes you out of town and across the border into the parish of St Mary and over to the lush landscape of Port Antonio in under 2 hours. To leave town, Constant Spring Road becomes Stony Hill Road and then the A3 Junction Road, a winding, riverside route that is the main route between Kingston and Annotto Bay on the North Coast. To the left of Junction Road is the river, and to the right is the Blue Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring 1000s of acres of biodiversity.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Mountains to the north east of Kingston, Gordon Town offers a small town vibe 20 minutes outside the city. Perhaps best known in recent times as home to Miss Lou, the teacher, folklorist, activist, artist and actor. The Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley O.M passed away in 2006 and is still remembered as one of Jamaica's "greatest treasures", according to the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. Gordon Town has another attraction. This one brings people of all ages up from Kingston or down the hill from Irish Town to bath in the Gordon Town Falls.