Historical sites in Jamaica is probably not what you think of when you think of the Caribbean. You, like many others, probably think of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees in your head. Hardly surprising really. But did you know that Jamaica also has a lot of history to discover? It’s been under the rule of the Spanish and the British, while it was also a hotspot for pirates. All of these groups and more have left a fascinating mark on the island!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the top historic sites in Jamaica. Hopefully, it’ll help you to plan your trip much easier and really make the most of your vacation on one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean! A place to stay isn’t a problem while you’re on your vacation as there are lots of vacation rentals in Jamaica for you to stay and relax after a day full of activities.
Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay
Travelling to Montego Bay? This is one of the most well known Historical sites in Jamaica . Rose Hall Great House is a Georgian style Mansion with an awesome view of the Caribbean Sea. It’s infamous in these parts, mostly due to the legends surrounding Annie Palmer, the former owner and slave master of the house.
It’s every bit as terrifying as the home of Delphine La Laurie, one of the most notorious slave masters in Louisiana (which even featured in American Horror Story), it’s just not as well known. One of the things you can’t miss at Rose Hall Great House is the nighttime ghost tour. After all, Palmer was said to have disposed of 3 of her husbands, and she also tortured countless slaves. It’s probably not an attraction for the faint of heart, but it’s intriguing nonetheless!
If you’d prefer just to learn about the history of the house, visit during the daytime. There are some great beaches and golf courses nearby too to keep you busy!
Learn more about Rose Hall Great House during our Montego Bay Highlights Tour.
Fort Charles, Port Royal
There’s so much to entice you to Port Royal, overlooking the Jamaican capital of Kingston. In the 1600s, Port Royal was one of the largest cities in the world (and it was also known as the wickedest and meanest). It was known above all else for pirates, prostitutes, and rum, and it was Fort Charles that stood guard over it.
Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1692 destroyed the city, and Fort Charles is one of the only buildings that survived that and the subsequent tsunami. The Jamaican National Heritage Trust runs hour long tours of Fort Charles, where you can explore the area that had space for 500 troops and 100 cannons, to protect the city from pirates and invading armies. There’s also a maritime museum on site.
However, the star attraction of Fort Charles is the awesome views of the surrounding bay, the city, and the ocean. Don’t forget your camera as you’ll get some incredible panoramic shots!
Sunken Pirate City, Port Royal
Another great place to put on the list of Historical sites in Jamaica is Port Royal in Sunken Pirate City. If you hadn’t already guessed from the name, yes, it’s underwater! Unfortunately, most of the city was not as lucky as Fort Charles when the earthquake and tsunami hit in 1692, and is now underwater. The best way to see Sunken Pirate City is by scuba diving. You can get up close and personal with the remains of the city, and also see a number of tropical fish.
You don’t scuba dive? Luckily, all is not lost. Kingston has several museums which will tell you everything you need to know about the New World’s former most sinful city. Check out the Port Royal Collection, Museum of History and Ethnography, and National Museum of Archaeology for some of the best exhibits. It may not be as exciting as visiting the site itself, but at least you won’t get wet!
It’s disputed whether Columbus first landing spot in the Caribbean was Sevilla la Nueva (which is also in Jamaica) or this place – Discovery Bay. We’ll probably never know the true answer, but both of them are still cool places to visit. Let’s focus on Discovery Bay though. The name is slightly misleading – it’s an entire town rather than a bay. There’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained – shopping, places to eat, and lots of things to do.
For history buffs though, the one you can’t miss is Columbus Park. It’s a fascinating museum and archaeological park, featuring an old water wheel, sugar boiling coppers, anchors, and a little train which used to haul sugar to and from the Innswood Estate. If all that isn’t enough, the panoramic views of the bay and the ocean are absolutely stunning!
Bob Marley Museum, Kingston
A piece of more recent history now… Reggae music has been given protected status by UNESCO, and there’s one man responsible for that above any other. Of course, the great Bob Marley. He’s more than just a music artist, this man arguably put Jamaica on the world map, at least in the 20th century. He’s a symbol for peace, love, and hope, and the museum that was his former home is a great place to learn about his life and work.
It’s been open for more than 30 years, and a guided tour is a great way to learn more about Marley’s life, hear some of his best tracks, and it’d be rude not to also take a trip to the nearby Tuff Gong Recording Studio. The museum and café is run by his widow. Head to the One Love Café after your visit, as it’s said to be one of the best places to eat in Jamaica!
So, now you know more about the coolest Historical Sites in Jamaica…
You’ll want to book your trip as soon as possible to see all of these Historical Sites in Jamaica! However, it might be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never been to Jamaica before. Well how about letting somebody else help you plan your trip and leave you to enjoy yourself? At Your Jamaican Tour Guide we have a number of fully customized tours, each suited to different travel styles, interests, and budgets. Get in touch to find your perfect tour and take away the stress of booking the specifics of your vacation!