is the official language, although many Jamaicans speak a local dialect
of English that incorporates African, Spanish, and French elements. Among
the Christian majority, the Church of God, Baptists, Anglicans, Seventh-day
Adventists, Pentecostalists, and Roman Catholics predominate. Several
well-established Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu communities exist. A number
of popular sects, such as Pocomania and Rastafarianism, are a significant
and famous feature of the national religious life.
In the mid-1990s school attendance by children between the ages of 6 and 11 was nearly universal, and 70 percent of all 12- to 18-year-olds attended secondary institutions. In 1993 the enrollment in primary schools was 333,100; in secondary and vocational schools, 235,100.
The population of Jamaica (1997 estimate) was 2,615,581, giving the country an overall population density of 238 persons per sq km (616 per sq mi). The annual rate of population increase, formerly high, declined to 0.75 percent by 1997. Emigration, primarily to the United States, Britain, and Latin America, has been substantial.
A major institution of higher learning for the entire Caribbean region is the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus (1948), located at Kingston; it has more than 5000 students and a library with more than 450,000 volumes. Jamaica also has a number of vocational and technical schools, teacher-training colleges, and a college of arts, science, and technology.
The position of Jamaica as a dependency of Britain for more than 300 years is reflected in both language and customs, which are combined with African influences. Reggae, a distinctively syncopated style of Jamaican music, much of it highly political, was popularized in the 20th century by Bob Marley and others. It was a pervasive influence on rock music in the 1980s, especially in Britain.
Agriculture Some 25 percent of the total Jamaican labor force is engaged in agricultural production. The chief crop is sugarcane; the harvest in 1997 was 2.6 million metric tons. Other leading agricultural products are bananas, citrus fruits, tobacco, cacao, coffee, coconuts, corn, hay, peppers, ginger, mangoes, potatoes, and arrowroot. Jamaica grows nearly the entire world supply of allspice. In 1997 the livestock population included 420,000 cattle, 440,000 goats, and 180,000 pigs.
Mining and Manufacturing The bauxite and alumina (enriched bauxite ore) industries are a mainstay of the Jamaican economy. In 1996 annual production of bauxite amounted to 11.8 million metric tons.
Manufacturing is becoming increasingly important to the Jamaican economy, accounting for 17 percent of gross domestic product. The government has granted concessions, such as duty-free importation and tax-relief programs, to further industrialization. Along with established food and beverage industries, plants manufacturing such products as printed fabrics, clothing, footwear, paints, agricultural machinery, cement, transistor radios, and fertilizers have been set up. A petroleum refinery in Kingston produces fuel sufficient to meet about half the national demand.
Banking and Foreign Trade The unit of currency is the dollar, consisting of 100 cents (37.12 dollars equal U.S.$1; 1996). The Bank of Jamaica, established in 1960, is the central bank and bank of issue. Several commercial banks are also in operation.
Foreign trade is primarily with the United States, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Canada. Among the chief exports are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, clothing, and coffee, and all exports were valued at $1.4 billion in 1995. Food and animal products, chemicals, textiles, machinery, and petroleum are major imports; the value of all imports amounted to $ 2.8 billion.
Tourism is vital to the economy and provides a large portion of foreign-exchange earnings. In 1996, 1.2 million people visited the island, contributing $159 million to the economy.
Transportation and Communications Jamaica has 340 km (210 mi) of railroads. In 1996 Jamaica had 19,000 km (11,800 mi) of roads; of these, about one-fourth were paved. Numerous international airlines and Air Jamaica serve the island, and internal flights are provided by Trans-Jamaican Airlines.
Jamaica has two broadcasting companies, one public and one privately owned. In 1995 the country had 438 radio receivers and 400 television sets for every 1000 residents. In 1996 there were 142 telephone mainlines per 1000 people.
Labor In 1996 the employed labor force exceeded 1.3 million. The main trade unions included the National Workers’ Union of Jamaica (NWU) and the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU). The NWU had 102,000 members; the BITU more than 100,000. Each union was closely identified with one of the two main political parties: the NWU with the People’s National Party and the BITU with the Jamaica Labour Party.
GOVERNMENT The Jamaican constitution, promulgated in 1962, established a parliamentary system of government patterned after that of Britain. The prime minister is the head of the government. The British monarch is the head of state and is represented by a governor-general, who is appointed on the advice of the prime minister.
Executive Executive power in Jamaica is vested in a cabinet. The cabinet consists of some 20 ministers and is headed by the prime minister. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party and is appointed from the House of Representatives by the governor-general. The prime minister appoints the ministers of the cabinet.
Political Parties Jamaica has a two-party political system. The People’s National Party (PNP) is socialist in orientation, and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supports free enterprise in a mixed economy. Minor parties include the Workers’ Party of Jamaica, a Marxist group, and the Jamaica American Party, which favors U.S. statehood for Jamaica.
Legislature Legislative authority is vested in the bicameral Parliament. The 60 members of the House of Representatives are popularly elected to terms of up to five years. The 21 members of the Senate are appointed by the governor-general, 13 in accordance with suggestions by the prime minister, and the remaining 8 on the advice of the leader of the minority party.
Judiciary The legal and judicial system is based on English common law and practice. The judicature comprises the supreme court, a court of appeals, resident magistrates’ courts, petty sessional courts, and other courts.
Kingston (Jamaica), largest city, capital, and chief seaport of Jamaica, on a deep harbor on the southeastern coast of the Caribbean island, at the foot of the lushly vegetated Blue Mountains. It is the island nation's chief transportation, commercial, and manufacturing center. Many tourists visit the area. The large harbor, protected to the south by the Palisadoes, a long sandspit, is a major port of call for Caribbean tourist and trading vessels. Exports include sugar, coffee, rum, molasses, and bananas. Among the manufactures in the city, produced mainly along the waterfront, are textiles, petroleum products, clothing, and processed food. The College of Arts, Science, and Technology (1958) is here, and the University of the West Indies (1948) is in suburban Mona. Also near the city, at the entrance to the harbor, are the partly submerged ruins of old Port Royal, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. In the following year, Kingston was founded by the British to replace Port Royal. The city flourished in the 18th century as a port for slave traders, and in 1872 it succeeded Spanish Town as the island's capital. Kingston was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1907. It became the capital of independent Jamaica in 1962. Population (1991, greater city) 587,798.
Montego Bay, city in
northwestern Jamaica, administrative center of Saint James Parish, Cornwall County, on Montego
Bay at the mouth of the Montego River, on the northwestern coast. An important port and rail
terminus, Montego Bay ships sugar, bananas, coffee, rum, ginger, dyewood, and hides. The city
has sugar-milling and liqueur-processing industries, and shoes, ice, and aerated water are
produced. The city is a major tourist resort and the heart of the so-called Gold Coast, with
fine beaches, golf courses, yacht basins, and other sports facilities. Marine gardens with
oyster beds are nearby in the offshore Bogue Islands. Tourism developed around the turn of the
20th century; nearby Doctor's Cave and White Sands soon became centers for winter visitors.
Traces of early Spanish occupation may be seen nearby. An Arawak village here was visited by
Christopher Columbus in 1494, and the later settlement was called Manteca Bay. Population
located on the west coast of Jamaica about two hours from Montego Bay, is known for its
significant number of small, value-priced and boutique hotels that offer a personalized
B&B-style experience with the amenities of traditional resorts, such as fresh water pools,
water sports, on-site restaurants, bars, and tour desks. The area was initially
"discovered" by American counter-culture in the early 70’s, who found the
laid-back, out-in- the-country, unpretentious and friendly lifestyle appealing.
is located on Jamaica's lush eastern coast and has
preserved its charm as a sleepy fishing village while still offering the comfort and variety
of a vacation hideaway. The natural beauty offers many exciting things to do such as hiking in
the Blue Mountains, exploring waterfalls and caves and of course, watersports. You should fly
into Kingston for your Port Antonio trip
Additional Information maybe found at Jamaica Travel
Most major hotels offer full- or half-day charters that include boat, captain, crew and equipment. Blue marlin is the prize, but wahoo and tuna are well worth the fight.
Mountain Climbing and Hiking
Our Blue Mountains reach above
7,000 feet. And our quiet country roads lead to misty forests, mountain trails and bird songs
you've never heard before.
Climb 600 feet up through cascading waters, much as the Spanish explorers did here centuries ago. Our most famous attraction, Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, is not to be missed!
Ride 30-foot bamboo rafts on hour-long voyages down picturesque rivers - but hang on for the rapids!
Jeep Safari Tours takes you into the wilds above Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in a region known for lush vegetation, mountainous slopes, cold, clear streams and pristine waterfalls. The tour – aboard eight-passenger English Range Rovers with zebra stripes – takes you to hidden waterfalls where you can swim in secluded water holes with hummingbirds and bougainvillea as your only companions. After a quick cool-off, you’ll explore Jamaica’s history to visit the ruins of an 18th-Century plantation destroyed in the famous slave rebellions. After you’ve worked up a sweat again you’ll be taken to a bubbling stream for a relaxing inner-tube ride down some calm but swift waters, where a jerk chicken lunch -- picnic style -- awaits. Contact: 876-972-2639
Black River Safari Boat Tours explores the beautiful Black River located on Jamaica’s South Coast by way of a safari boat tour. The safari includes a trip to spectacular Y.S. Waterfalls and a visit with "Herman" the friendly pet crocodile. Contact: 876-965-2513.
Rusty’s X-Cellent Adventures, located in Negril, offers local bicycle rides to fit the needs of people with all levels of skill and stamina, with names such as "Little Bay", "Iron Shore", and "Hog Heaven". Whether you want to ride through sugar cane fields and emerald countryside to a river filled with waterfalls in the mountains, or explore a group of ancient caves, Rusty’s will create a bike tour that fits your interest. For those feeling "x-tra" adventurous, you can even ride your bicycle down the waterfalls or off a cliff right into the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Contact: 876-957-0155.
Bicycles and mopeds are also for rent at some resort properties and at bike rental companies, which also rent motorcycles of various cc's.
Birding in Jamaica is enhanced
by the unique richness and variety of the landscape and the beautiful tropical climate. Rich
in bird life, there are 25 species and 21 sub-species of birds that are found nowhere else on
earth and the total number of different species is over 256.
Citizens: A valid passport (no visa required) or an original birth certificate
with raised seal or naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship
AND a state-issued photo I.D.
An oasis of beauty and calm just 15mins from Ocho Rios. 2 white sand
beach's, Moonraker bar & Grill. Beach chairs, showers & restrooms
included in US5 entry fee Water sports& horse rides available.