Set sail on a sunset cruise, test your skills at windsurfing, go on a snorkeling adventure, or simply enjoy the ocean views as you lay upon soft, white sands. No matter what kind of beach experience you enjoy, Jamaica is certain to deliver a fantastic sun-and-sand vacation.
Each year, honeymooners, vacationers, solo travelers and adventurers flock Jamaica’s beaches as much for the culture as for the tropical breeze and clear, calm waters of the turquoise sea. Read on to find the perfect stretch of sand for you with this guide to the best beaches in Jamaica.
Which Part of Jamaica Has the Best Beaches?
One of Jamaica’s most beautiful and laid-back destinations, Negril has the best beaches on the island. The town is famous for its five mile stretch of breathtaking sandy beach that gives way to spectacular sea-facing cliffs. Sunsets here are some of the most stunning on the island and very easy to see.
What are the Top 5 Best beaches in Jamaica?
- Seven Mile Beach, Negril: One of Jamaica’s most popular beaches, Seven Mile Beach in Negril has severally been voted as one of the best in the world. Located on the west coast, the beach is famous for its silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, dramatic sunsets and great island vibe.
- Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay: If golden sand is your style, then you cannot afford to miss out on Doctor’s Cave Beach. The beautiful azure waters are warm, calm and crystal clear. As you lounge on this tranquil beach only the sound of crashing waves will interrupt your bliss.
- Frenchman’s Cove Beach, Port Antonio: The beach at Frenchman’s Cove in Port Antonio is one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Surrounded by vegetated rocky cliffs on both sides, the stunning contrast between the emerald forests and blue skies and ocean make it truly special.
- Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth: Located on the southern coast, Treasure Beach is a hidden gem that offers a quiet retreat ideal for those looking to escape the crowds. An afternoon spent on the beach or in the charming little fishing town nearby will feel like a journey back in time.
- Boston Bay Beach, Port Antonio: Boston Bay in Port Antonio is famous for 2 things—its jerk food and its waves. The beautiful beach is one of the few places in Jamaica where surfers can be spotted almost all year round. While the beach is pretty small, it boasts smooth sands and stunning blue waters.
Does Jamaica Have White Sand Beaches?
The Jamaican coastline boasts an abundance of white sand beaches that seem to go on forever. Here, beach lovers can enjoy soft, grainy white sands with turquoise waters splashing against its shores. Seven Mile Beach in Negril is one of Jamaica’s most sought-after white sand paradises.
Are There Black Sand Beaches in Jamaica?
No. Black sands on Caribbean beaches are formed when hot lava flows from volcanic islands into the sea, and then breaks up into black sand pieces that eventually flow back to the shore. Jamaica does not have any active volcanoes and therefore cannot develop black sands on its beaches.
Does Jamaica Have Pink Sand Beaches?
No. Pink sands derive from microscopic coral insects known as Foraminifera. These tiny marine creatures have bright red shells and live on the underside of coral reefs. When they die, they wash up on shore, turning the sand a lovely pink color. Foraminifera are not found along the Jamaican coastline.
Can You Swim in the Ocean in Jamaica?
Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Jamaica. In fact, there are very few places along the entire coast of the island where you cannot swim. Jamaica boasts an abundance of seaside delights to keep swimmers and snorkelers busy for weeks, from sunrise to sunset.
Is It Safe to Swim?
As with everywhere else in the world, occasional strong current will make swimming difficult. That said, the water is mostly calm in Jamaica. Be sure to observe the following safety tips for swimming in the Caribbean Sea in Jamaica:
- First learn how to swim in the surf – this isn’t the same as swimming in a lake or pool.
- Never swim alone. Always swim in groups.
- Only swim within designated areas that are protected by lifeguards.
- Be alert at all times and check local weather conditions. When in doubt, do not go out. In the Caribbean, tropical storms, depressions and hurricanes can significantly increase the hazards of swimming, even if they don’t touch the island you are on directly.
- Never swim drunk as alcohol impairs your balance, coordination and judgment.
- Never float where you cannot swim.
- Never dive headfirst. Always check for depth and obstructions before diving.
- When wading out, ensure that you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
- Obey all orders and instructions given by lifeguards.
- Pay close attention to children and elderly persons. Even in shallow water, waves can cause them to lose their footing.
- Keep an eye out for marine life. Aquatic animals and plants can be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone. Caribbean coral can cause serious cuts.
- If caught in a rip current, keep calm to conserve energy and think clearly. Never fight against the current. Rather, swim out of the current along the shoreline.
- If unable to swim out of a rip current, calmly float or tread the water. Once out of the current, start swimming away at an angle towards the shore. If still unable to reach the shore, you’re your arms to draw attention to yourself and yell for help.
- Always stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties, as rip currents often occur near these structures.
Is It Safe to Swim at Night in Jamaica?
As with anywhere else in the world, swimming at night is not recommended in Jamaica. This is because you will not be able to see what you’re stepping on (sea urchin, jelly fish, etc.) Moreover, people will not be able to see you should you get into trouble while in the water.
Does Jamaica Have Good Snorkeling?
Yes. Jamaica boasts a magical underwater world of beautiful coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life. Shallow, crystal clear waters make it easy to see this enchanting underworld. Closer to shore are even more captivating views, which make Jamaica perfect for snorkeling.
Does Jamaica Have Crystal Clear Blue Water?
Yes. The blue hue of the sea is actually a reflection of the sky. Different shades of blue depend on what lies beneath the surface, while clarity is dependent on the absence of waves. On a clear sunny day when the water is relatively calm, the Caribbean Sea around the island of Jamaica is clear and blue.
Is the Water in Jamaica Warm?
Yes. In fact, Jamaica has some of the warmest waters in the Caribbean. Sea temperatures range from 81 °F between January and April, and 84 °F between July and November.
Average water temperatures of 82 °F mean that you can swim all year round. Every day is a beach day in Jamaica!
Can You Swim in February?
While you may experience a bit of rain in February, showers are usually light and quickly followed by clear sunny skies. Throughout the month, the sun shines for a good nine hours a day, making the sea pleasantly warm and ideal for swimming, snorkeling and water sports.
Are Beaches Public in Jamaica?
Jamaica has more than 50 beautiful public beaches. Some have an entry fee for use of facilities and may be protected by security guards. Many of the public beaches in Jamaica have hotels and businesses lining the stretch, and are lively with vendors, buskers and foot traffic.
Are There Private Beaches in Jamaica?
Yes. Many sea-front hotels and resorts in Jamaica are able to control access to what is effectively their private beach. For a fee, they may permit non-residents to gain access to their stretch of beach and use their facilities.
Private beaches in Jamaica are typically cleaner, more peaceful and free of vendors, buskers and foot traffic. Here, visitors can relax on white sands and swim in crystal clear waters without having to listen to musicians or people trying to sell them stuff.
When is the Best Time to Visit Jamaica for Beach Activities?
The weather in Jamaica is spectacular all year-round, which makes it an ideal sunny destination at any time of the year. That said, the best time to visit Jamaica for beach activities is at the start of “winter” from November to mid-December when the island’s beautiful weather is at its most pleasant.
Are there Jellyfish in Jamaica?
Dozens of jellyfish species are present along the west coast of Jamaica, ranging from the non-stinging type to others that cause a stinging rash. Fortunately, the box jelly – the most poisonous species, is not found in this part of the world.
That said, it is rare to encounter jellyfish along the beach in Jamaica. Jellyfish are mostly found along the cliffs where the water is deep, or may be trapped inside the coves after heavy seas. Jellyfish can also be found out at the reef.
What do I do if I get stung by a Jellyfish?
If you get stung by a jellyfish, you will experience intense pain that may be followed by itching, rash, and raised welts, none of which are life threatening. Sting symptoms are easily treated by applying topical antihistamines or even some simple vinegar. The pain should go away immediately.
Are there Sharks in Jamaica’s Waters?
Yes. But one thing you can be sure of is that you don’t have to worry about your Jamaican vacation being ruined by sharks. This is because the most common sharks in Jamaica are nurse sharks, which are docile creatures that normally live at the bottom of the sea.
Moreover, cases of shark attacks in Jamaica have been few and far between. If you’re still wary of encountering sharks, follow these simple safety rules:
- Always swim in groups – never alone.
- Swim close to shore sticking to shallow waters, as sharks prefer deep waters.
- Avoid swimming at night, as sharks are most active after dark.
- Never swim with open wounds or near fishermen, as sharks can smell blood from great distances.
- Avoid wearing shiny jewelry. Sharks may confuse the light reflecting off the metal for fish scales.
- Swim only in designated areas.