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Blue Mountains in Jamaica


Best Places to Visit in Jamaica for Christmas Cheer

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Jamaica for Christmas cheer.

As the holiday season approaches, Jamaica transforms into a festive paradise, offering expats and digital nomads a unique blend of traditional Christmas cheer and tropical vibes. From bustling markets to vibrant parades, the island is dotted with destinations that come alive in December, providing a warm and joyous atmosphere. Whether you're looking to indulge in local holiday treats, shop for artisan gifts, or simply soak in the festive spirit, these Jamaican locales are sure to fill your holidays with merriment and joy.

Kingston

Kingston, the capital city of Jamaica, is a hub of activity during the holiday season. The city comes alive with decorations and lights, particularly in areas like New Kingston and the historic Downtown. One of the highlights is the annual Christmas in the City event, which typically takes place in early December. This event features live music, dance performances, and a variety of local vendors selling everything from crafts to delicious Jamaican Christmas foods. The palpable energy and the blend of modern and traditional celebrations make Kingston a must-visit for holiday enthusiasts.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try some sorrel, a traditional Jamaican Christmas drink made from hibiscus flowers, ginger, and spices. It's a refreshing and festive treat that's especially popular during the holiday season.

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is known for its stunning beaches and resorts, but during December, it also becomes a center for holiday festivities. The town often hosts a Christmas parade, featuring colorful floats and costumed performers, bringing joy to both locals and visitors. The parade usually takes place in mid-December and winds through the main streets, ending with a grand celebration in the town center. Additionally, the local craft markets are perfect for picking up unique Jamaican Christmas gifts, such as hand-carved wooden sculptures and vibrant textiles.

We Recommend: Be sure to visit the Ocho Rios Craft Market for handmade souvenirs and gifts. It's a great place to find one-of-a-kind items while supporting local artisans.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay, affectionately known as MoBay, is another Jamaican city that exudes Christmas spirit. The Hip Strip, with its numerous shops and eateries, is festooned with holiday decorations, creating a merry atmosphere. The annual Harmony Beach Park Christmas Fair, typically held in late December, is a family-friendly event featuring local crafts, food stalls, and live entertainment. Montego Bay's blend of festive activities and beachside relaxation makes it an ideal spot for holiday merrymaking.

We Recommend: Indulge in some traditional Jamaican Christmas cake, a rich, fruit-laden treat that is a staple during the holiday season. It's often enjoyed with a glass of rum punch, another local favorite.

Negril

Negril is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful Seven Mile Beach, but during the holidays, it takes on a special charm. The Negril Christmas Parade is a highlight, featuring a procession of brightly decorated floats and performers that bring the town's streets to life. The parade is usually held on the first Sunday in December, kicking off the season's festivities. After the parade, the celebrations continue with beach parties and live reggae music, capturing the essence of a Jamaican Christmas.

We Recommend: After the parade, head to one of the beachfront bars for a tropical holiday cocktail. The mix of local rum and fresh fruit juices is the perfect way to toast to the season.

Mandeville

Mandeville, with its cooler climate and colonial architecture, offers a different take on Christmas in Jamaica. The town's Manchester Square becomes a focal point for holiday celebrations, with the annual Mandeville Christmas Fair. Held in mid-December, the fair features a variety of local vendors selling crafts, clothing, and traditional holiday foods. The town's historic churches also host Christmas Eve services, which are a beautiful and serene way to experience the holiday's religious significance.

We Recommend: Try the peppery and savory Jamaican Christmas ham at the fair, a beloved holiday dish that pairs wonderfully with the local bread and festive side dishes.

Port Antonio

Port Antonio, known for its natural beauty and lush surroundings, becomes even more enchanting during the holiday season. The town square is beautifully lit, and local choirs often perform carols, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The Musgrave Market is a great place to find holiday gifts, with vendors selling everything from spices and coffee to handcrafted jewelry. The relaxed pace of Port Antonio makes it an ideal spot for those looking to enjoy a peaceful holiday experience.

We Recommend: Don't leave without sampling some Blue Mountain Coffee, one of Jamaica's most famous exports. It's the perfect warm beverage to enjoy on a cool December evening in Port Antonio.

Spanish Town

Spanish Town, the former capital of Jamaica, is steeped in history and comes to life during the Christmas season. The town's heritage sites are often the backdrop for holiday events, including concerts and cultural performances. The Spanish Town Christmas Market, usually held the weekend before Christmas, is a bustling event where locals and visitors alike can purchase traditional Jamaican Christmas foods, crafts, and gifts. The market's vibrant atmosphere is a testament to the town's rich cultural tapestry.

We Recommend: Be sure to taste the traditional Jamaican patty, a flaky pastry filled with spiced meat or vegetables, which is a popular snack at the market.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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