Jamaica for teenagers

From Rastafari villages to hidden waterfalls featured in Hollywood movies, here are five things that will keep your teenagers entertained when they get bored of the beach

5 mins

1. Drop in on Bob Marley

There is something about Bob Marley’s music that resonates with teenagers across all generations – we’ll say it’s his message of peace and love, shall we? – and chances are yours have discovered and downloaded his songs themselves.

Bob Marley grafitti (Shutterstock.com)Bob Marley grafitti (Shutterstock.com)

The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, set on Hope Road in the hills above the city, was where Marley lived. It also served as the headquarters of the Tuff Gong label. The rooms have been kept as they were when Marley lived there and are filled with rare mementos, including a vast array of gold records from around the world and Bob’s favourite shirts.

After communing with a life-sized, three-dimensional hologram of Brother Bob from the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, drop by the One Love Café for a Marley-inspired cake and juice. More information

2. Tour a Rastafari village

The Rastafari Indigenous Village on the Montego River, just outside Montego Bay, is home to a community of Rastafarians and offers a unique chance to learn more about the Rastafarian way of life.

Your teenagers will be taught the  principles of living in harmony with nature and the role of Haile Selassie, and given a tour of the village kitchen, where the chef explains the vegetables, herbs and spices used in Rastafarian cooking. There is also a tour of the village herb ‘library’.

Rastafarian leading tour (Chris Willams, Travel Foundation - UK)

The tour ends with a traditional drum and chanting session in the centre of the village. Herbal tea and fresh fruits are served to you whilst you listen and you will be invited to join the drummers at the end of the session. There is also the chance to learn how to make traditional Rastafari craft. More information

3. Head underground

The Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency has developed a series of activity-based tours to ensure you see all that the Cockpit Country has to offer in the most environmentally friendly way. Their Cockpit Country Underground Adventure, for example, is the perfect introduction to the region’s stunning karst topography.

Entrance to Jamaican cave (Shutterstock.com)Entrance to Jamaican cave (Shutterstock.com)

The trail to the caves meander through Jamaica’s largest remaining contiguous rainforest. Inside the caves, huge chamber rooms glow in beams of light as spectacular stalactites sparkle like diamonds. There is also a crystal clear underground pool where you can go for a swim. More information

4. Spot the world's second smallest bird

Jamaica has more endemic species of bird than any other Caribbean Island – 28, in total – and over 300 species have been recorded on the island. The birds are invariably bright and colourful, their environment pristine and untouched. It’s no surprise, then, that Jamaica is regarded as a birdwatching haven.

Green Breasted Mango Hummingbird (Shutterstock.com)Green Breasted Mango Hummingbird (Shutterstock.com)

The thickly forested Bluefield Mountains are a great place to start. Rising from the sea, they have been listed as a globally important bird area and it was here that British naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, the 'Father of Jamaican Ornithology’, spent most of his time.

Keep your eye out for the Red-billed Streamertail (the Jamaican national bird), the Vervain (the second smallest bird in the world) and Mango Hummingbirds. You should also be able to tick off Jamaican Tody, Jamaican Becard, Jamaican Oriole, Jamaican Spindalis, Orangequit, Jamaican Euphonia, Jamaican Elaenia, Jamaican Pewee, Olive-throated Parakeet, Northern Potoo, Rufous-tailed Flycatcher, and Jamaican Woodpecker. More information

4. Take a selfie at Reach Falls

This off-the-beaten track cascade is a hidden gem on Jamaica’s north coast. The attraction features a nature walk along the path of the river, underground cave and swimming pools. Reach Falls has over 23 species of ferns and it is nestled in the Montane Forrest of the John Crow Mountains which is home to a variety of birds, including the black, and yellow-billed parrots.

Reach Falls (ABTA)

Your teenagers will also be impressed that Reach Falls has been featured in Hollywood films, including Tom Cruise’s Cocktails and the remake of Lord of the Flies. It provides a stunning backdrop for the mandatory selfie. More information

5. Give something back

Ensure that your family’s visit to Jamaica is more than just a holiday by helping out on one of the island’s many volunteering projects. Volunteering offers a unique opportunity for your teenagers to truly integrate into the neighbourhoods and meet local residents.

Waiting for volunteers at a Jamaican National Park (Shutterstock.com)Volunteers at a Jamaican National Park (Shutterstock.com)

Whether supporting a reading program or helping farmers for a day to plant and harvest crops, there are a host of flexible activities for travellers to choose from. Indeed many hotels and resorts are aligned with community programs and can schedule a volunteer activity during your trip. More information

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