Planning your next family vacation and thinking of going to Jamaica? The island is filled with sun, fun and adventure – perfect for entertaining the kids in your life. Plus, there are also plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax. Jamaica is a lot more than beautiful beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Read on to find out what we think are the best things to do in Jamaica with kids.
10 Epic Things to Do in Jamaica with Kids
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping at Mystic Mountain
Mystic Mountain is an outdoor park offering families the chance to experience a variety of adventures. Guests start their visit with a ride 700 feet up the mountain on a sky explorer chairlift. Along the way you will see forests below and the Caribbean Sea beyond. One of the most popular attractions here is the bobsled. You will sit in a specially made bobsled and hold on tight as you plunge more than 3000 feet down the mountain through a series of twists and turns.
If that doesn’t get your heart racing, head back up the mountain for the zip lining. Kids need to be 6 years or older for the ziplines and at least 48 inches tall for the bobsleds.
That isn’t all on offer here. There is a new ropes course to check out, Annancy’s Web and even climbing Reggae Rock. For those that want to relax a bit, there is a pool with waterslides looking out over Ocho Rios. Mystic Mountain is the perfect spot for active families looking for some thrills.
Ride Horses in the Ocean
Jamaica is the perfect place to experience horseback riding for either the first time or the 100th. While it’s amazing to ride horses anywhere, what makes it special in Jamaica is the ability to ride them in the ocean. On one of our trips to Costa Rica my son was so excited when we got to cross a river. This little bit of novelty goes a long way in making lasting memories.
Rhodes Hall Plantation near Negril is the place to experience this. Up mountains with gorgeous views over Negril and then down into the ocean you will go on this several hour ride. This fun can be had for kids ages 6 and up.
Eat Fruit at Sun Valley Plantation Tour
If you love fresh fruit, then you must make time to visit the Sun Valley Plantation. Popular with local school groups as well as tourists, here you can learn all about the fruits that grow on the island. Kids will see and learn about popular fruit trees like banana plants, apple trees and of course coconuts. And yes, at the end of the tour you get to sample some fresh fruit as well as try the national dish of ackee and saltfish.
Get Dirty at Yaaman Adventure Park
Another great spot for families visiting Jamaica with kids is the Yaaman Adventure Park. Here you can choose to do one or two activities or book a full day of adventure. Get covered in dirt while driving mud buggies around the park and through mud puddles. Or, take a jitney ride around the resort where you can try your hand (or feet!) at climbing a coconut tree.
For those into cooking, you can visit the owner’s home to cook your own Jamaica lunch of jerk chicken, callaloo, coconut rice and festival rolls. Afterwards, head out to the secret river and waterfall swimming hole for a refreshing cool down. Activities here at Yaaman is great for keeping kids busy, while also learning a bit about Jamaica in the process.
Rocklands Sanctuary & Feeding Station
For families who need a little time with nature, head to Rocklands Sanctuary & Feeding Station in the hills above Montego Bay. Here you can see a variety of colorful and migratory birds. You can even feed hummingbirds from your hand. This is something that kids will never forget. It also provides the perfect opportunity for photo opps! This is probably not best for small kids who struggle with being quiet as loud noises scare the birds away!
Relax, Surf & Sun at Your All-Inclusive
I know I said there is more to the island than beautiful beaches and all-inclusives, but this is a big part of the allure to visit! There are a ton of hotel options around the island offering a variety of options for relaxation, fun and water play. The Moon Palace Resort in Ocho Rios has 4 pools, a waterslide and a kids splash park for when you don’t want to head down to the beach. Here you can also experience FlowRider, a surf simulator. Start off with a bodyboard to get your bearings and then once you figure it out, try surfing on one of the standup FlowRiderboards!
Go to A Reggae Music Festival
Jamaica is synonymous with reggae, so how can you visit without taking in some of the local music culture. Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay or Sun in the Rebel Salute are both family friendly events well worth planning a trip around if you have flexibility of when to visit. Many of the traditional music festivals in Jamaica are alcohol free, focus on peace and harmony which helps create a family friendly environment. Definitely worth exploring while in the country.
No festival while you are on the island? Head to the Bob Marley Museum where you can explore more about reggae and the life of one of the most inspirational reggae singers that lived.
Take a River Safari Tour
One of the most unique things you can do in Jamaica with kids is to go on a Black River Safari Tour. On these guided tours you will visit wild mangroves, crocodiles and see a variety of birds. There is a point on the tour that you can even pet a crocodile!! Back at the head office you will learn more about crocodiles and maybe even get to hold a baby. This experience is located about an hour outside of Montego Bay, which is a bit of a drive, but for animal lovers this is one of those day trips that will be well worth it.
Climb Dunn’s River Falls
Jamaica is filled with amazing waterfalls, rivers and beaches. One of the most iconic spots on the island is Dunn’s River Falls. This waterfall runs down limestone terraces offering a beautiful landscape and a luminous lagoon to lounge in. Older kids who are brave enough can try to hike up the waterfall against the current. In addition to the beautiful falls, there is also a beach at the base that is popular with families (and many other tourists!)
For those looking to escape the crowds a it, head to Konoko Falls for another limestone waterfall with less crowds.
Explore White River
Visiting Jamaica with kids means getting out and about to explore the many great rivers. The White River near Ochos Rios is a popular spot for tubing. You can also check out the Blue hole which is a picturesque swimming hole.
If you are near Montego Bay, you must check out bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae River. You will climb aboard a 30 foot bamboo raft and set off for an authentic Jamaican experience.
Jamaica with kids is a fantastic family vacation with so much to do and see while also getting plenty of down time at the beach or pool. There are two main airports in Jamaica – Montego Bay and Kingston. Both offer plenty of non-stop flights from major US cities. Once you have arrived, you can choose a variety of places to stay, but we highly recommend staying near Ochos Rios, where there are a ton of things to do. On your way you might pass through Port Antonio which is the islands 3rd largest port ands here most of the bananas and coconuts leave from!
When you are in Kingston, if you have time, check out Devon House for a look into the history of Jamaica. And lastly, don’t forget to sample some Blue Mountain coffee while in Jamaica!
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Jamaica is an amazing country for travelers, but accidents happen, therefore you should make sure to have international insurance in place before you go. This is the one non-negotiable item I make sure to book for any trip abroad. For me personally, I have a year long plan with Allianz. However, they also have 1 trip plans in a wide range of affordable options including coverage for both travel hiccups and medical emergencies. Check out their plans and rates here.
For a bit more of a comprehensive insurance with higher allowances for things like dental, repatriation of remains, etc, I also recommend World Nomads. World Nomads does tend to be a bit more expensive, but their coverage is much more comprehensive. Check their rates here. And as always, read the fine print to know exactly what is and is not covered!
My choice in insurance often is dependent on the location I am traveling too (the political stability, chance for great misfortune, etc) or if I am taking a tour that requires specific coverage.
I have used both companies myself as they are both known for being responsive to claims and are reputable.
Are you ready to get to Jamaica?
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