WHY IT RATES: Jamaica’s pleasant winter climate and vacation traditions make it an excellent choice for a winter vacation in the Caribbean. – Lacey Pfalz, Associate Editor, TravelPulse
With a wide array of unique Jamaican cultural traditions to be discovered around the island during the holiday season, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism invites travelers to reward themselves with a truly authentic getaway and discover the many ways to celebrate the holidays. in Jamaica.
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“The holidays are the perfect time for a carefree getaway and to experience our distinctive way of celebrating here in Jamaica,” said Donovan White, director of tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “It is important to us to provide authentic experiences for travelers, and we invite all who wish to join in our festivities and deepen their understanding of the culture and history of Jamaica.”
Throughout the season, Jamaicans celebrate in a way that showcases their famous warm and friendly culture and laid back island vibe. Travelers can listen to reggae groups playing traditional and folk songs at bonfires on the beach, in hotels, or on the street. There are plenty of accommodations, restaurants, and street vendors offering Jamaican party food and drinks, like chocolate tea or a refreshing sorrel drink.
Decorations ranging from sand snowmen to Jamaican-colored Christmas trees can be found around every turn, adding an extra dose of joy.
Christmas Eve celebrations include the traditional Grand Marché, or “Gran Market” as a Jamaican would call it, as vendors take to the main squares. The Grand Marché takes place in the main towns of the island and all are invited to join the community in this bountiful market-style shopping experience. Travelers can also see brightly colored houses draped in “pepper lights” while enjoying Jamaican Christmas carols.
On Christmas Day, visitors can experience a traditional Jamaican Christmas dinner of holiday staples including ham shoulder, gung peas with rice, and goat cheese curry, with fruit cake. soaked in rum for dessert. It is customary to associate this meal with sorrel, the designated Christmas drink, made from hibiscus.
The celebration doesn’t end there, as the famous Junkanoo Street Parade, stemming from Jamaica’s rich African heritage, takes place on Boxing Day. On the streets of every town and village, communities dress in extravagant costumes, showcasing popular figures such as the Woman with the Belly, the Horse Head and “Pitchy Patchy” to name a few.
“There is something for everyone to enjoy while on vacation in Jamaica and it includes a wide variety of accommodation ranging from boutique hostels to large all-inclusive hotels to suit all budgets,” White said. “If people are looking for a vacation experience beyond the ordinary, we have it here.
To learn more about what to do and where to stay on the island this winter, visit www.visitjamaica.com.
THE SOURCE: Jamaica Tourist Board press release.