Jamaica is one of the three islands of the Northern Caribbean that form the Great Antilles. It is the largest English-speaking country in the Caribbean Sea, extending 146 miles from east to west. Jamaica enjoys a privileged position on the world’s major transport routes and airlines. The name of the country comes from an Arawak (Indian Aboriginal) word meaning, land of wood and water. And so it is.
For those who like to explore, the island offers a flood of contrasts. The northern coast, with its famous tourist areas of Montego Bay, Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio, has beautiful coral beaches and wide plains where sugar cane, coconuts and citrus fruits are grown. On the western tip of the island is Negril, a city only recently discovered. The southern region of the island offers a rugged coastline, where majestic mountains plunge into the sea. Even young middle-aged Jamaicans remember when Negril was really nothing more than a lighthouse to guide ships along the rocky west coast.
The centre of the island is mostly mountainous and wooded, stained from time to time with small mining towns and villages. Then there is the famous Cockpit Country in the north-western region, a mysterious terrain of conical hills and deep sinkholes. The central mountain range, Blue Mountain, divides the south coast of the island from the north and extends from Half Moon Bay to Portland. This wide variety of soils and climate allows for the cultivation of anything.
The Jamaican population is by nature sociable and friendly, welcoming tourists with huge smiles, and open arms. As a culture, it is obvious that they prefer to laugh rather than cry, dance rather than stand still, and express themselves. Their complex past, marked by slavery and the struggle for independence, has formed a proud, resistant and strong people.
One of the characteristics of this fascinating land is certainly music. The warm and engaging sounds of popular music almost reflect the beat of people’s hearts. The origins of these sounds date back to African villages, where ancestors mourned the disappearance of a family member, welcomed a child into the family, or celebrated the end of the harvest, precisely through the beats of folk music, a fundamental piece of their lives.
Music has always been an instrument of expression, and this is precisely why sounds are rich in history and stories of freedom and independence. The fusion of African and European heritage has produced different types of music that still grow in many modern communities today.
Among the cities worth visiting is Mandeville, the capital of Manchester parish, a peaceful place, a restful mountain resort just over 2,000 metres above sea level, with a cool climate that makes activities such as golf, walking and horseback riding enjoyable.
The town is often compared to an English village and certainly boasts a village square, beautiful stone buildings and pastures with stone walls.
Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second largest and most important city and can be considered the capital of tourism on the island. It boasts a wide range of hotel accommodation, means of transport and is, in fact, a cosmopolitan holiday resort with a wide range of services.