Visitors on the hunt for the ultimate fall and winter getaway can seek refuge from the impending chilly temperatures in Jamaica. With an enticing array of activities, travelers can participate in heart-throbbing mountain biking experiences; enter the challenging Jamaica Triathlon, rated as one of the top 100 triathlons by Triathlete Magazine; sample the island’s rums and cuisine; or tee-off on world-class golf courses for championship events.
“Jamaica is always buzzing with new and fascinating things to do,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “As the destination gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence in 2012, travelers can start enjoying the island’s extensive menu of cultural happenings, including cuisine, arts, entertainment and sports events.
Jamaica’s fall and winter calendar includes the following:
Pirates Gold “Rums of the Caribbean”, Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay
October 23, 2011
Pirates Gold “Rums of the Caribbean” festival returns to Jamaica in the second staging of the successful rums and spirit expo. The festival will highlight the history of rum making in the region and the pirates who made the rums famous. Various rum brands and rum based products in the region, as well as international markets, will be showcased.
Restaurant Week, Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios
November 11-19, 2011
A celebration of Jamaica’s distinct culinary culture, Restaurant Week allows patrons to feast on heavily discounted prix fixe menus from various origins such as Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, French and Jamaican. Special dining options for the week feature a three-course meal, including appetizer, main course and dessert, in settings that reflect the island’s sophistication and diversity.
Trelawny Yam Festival, Hague Show Ground, Trelawny
April 23, 2012
Staged just outside the resort capital of Montego Bay, the festival is a celebration of Trelawny’s rich culture and heritage, including the cultivation of yams, for which the parish is best known. Culinary connoisseurs will be intrigued with the endless possibilities of the tuber to create flavorful dishes – including wine. Patrons will also experience stimulating performances from cultural groups.
Arts & Entertainment
Accompong Maroon Festival, St. Elizabeth
January 6, 2012
The 272nd maroon festival will once again celebrate the legendary Maroons of western Jamaica who resisted slavery and fled to Jamaica’s untouched South Coast in pursuit of freedom. This event, which dates back to the 18th Century, is celebrated with traditional singing, dancing, drumming and blowing of the Abeng (horn). Visitors will also get to partake of a variety of traditional food and drink at the newly constructed African-styled Bickle (food) Village.
Rebel Salute, Port Kaiser’s Sports Club, St. Elizabeth
January 16, 2012
Reggae lovers will congregate on the South Coast to experience the top-tier reggae performers, both locally and internationally. Memorable acts from previous shows include Luciano, Queen Ifrica, Tarrus Riley and Tony Rebel. Visitors can sample Jamaica’s Ital cuisine (food prepared without salt), a tenet of the Rastafarian lifestyle.
Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium, Falmouth
January 25-29, 2012
This globally recognized event showcases performances from internationally acclaimed and celebrated artistes from a wide range of musical genres, including country, jazz, rhythm and blues and reggae. In honor of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence, this staging will feature top international acts of the past 50 years and Jamaica’s best local artists. Some of the artistes who have performed over the years are: Maroon 5, Diana Ross, Billy Ocean, Michael Bolton, Kenny Rogers and more.
Bacchanal /Jamaica Carnival, Kingston
February 18-May 1, 2012
Over the past two decades, Carnival in Jamaica has united thousands of locals and visitors over a 10-week period for 28 fun-filled events. The carnival begins with a beach jouvert party and ends with a road march – a costumed street parade where revelers enjoy soca, calypso and reggae music. Carnival activities are being hosted by Jamaica Carnival Inc. and Bacchanal Jamaica.
Spring Break 2012, Montego Bay and Negril
Jamaica remains the hottest destination for Spring Break. This lively party season is celebrated with special discounts offered at Coral Cliff, Margaritaville, The Groovy Grouper, The Jungle, and at several other attractions.
Fun in the Son, Kingston
March 17, 2012
Dubbed The Premier Christian Festival in the Caribbean, this is one of the island’s most anticipated gospel events. Fun in the Son combines entertainment with Christian ministry and brings together a diverse audience for an upbeat, vibrant gospel celebration.
9th Annual South Coast Hook & Line Canoe Tournament, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth
October 15-17, 2011
This three-day competition is a tribute to traditional fishing techniques. Using only a hook and line, local fishermen compete for prizes to catch the largest fish. The event will include environmental exhibits and a community beach party featuring a boat race, talent show and fish fry.
Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament, Errol Flynn Marina, Portland
October 15-22, 2011
The Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament is a qualifying event for the IGFA Offshore World Championship. Participants will enjoy a four-day fishing spree, filled with great entertainment and exciting competitions. The canoe tournament and marlin competition will feature entrants vying for a variety of prizes. Early registration is encouraged as berthing space is limited.
Jamaica Triathlon, Montego Bay
November 11-13, 2011
This challenging Triathlon is rated as one of the top 100 triathlons by Triathlete Magazine and features a 1,500 meter swim through the Caribbean Sea; a 40k cycle race starting at Iberostar Hotels and Resorts, taking riders along Jamaica’s elegant corridor in Rose Hall; and a 10k run at Iberostar. This year’s event will also feature options such as a Sprint Triathlon, Sprint Duathlon and Kids Triathlon.
LIME Jamaica Open Golf Championship, Half Moon Golf Club, Montego Bay
November 30-December 3, 2011
This highly acclaimed golf tournament will include 54-hole stroke play where golf professionals from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin and South America and the Caribbean will compete for the Jamaica Open trophy and cash prizes. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top 50 percent of the professional field as well as the top performing senior professionals.
Reggae Marathon, Negril
December 1-3, 2011
The Reggae Marathon & Half Marathon, now in its 11th year, is Jamaica’s premier international marathon event. Pulsating reggae music at each mile, keeps participants in an “irie” spirit, as they challenge themselves over distances of 42, 21 and 10 kilometers. The Marathon is operated to world-class standards, with the race set on an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) certified course featuring water/aid stations at every mile.
6th Annual Jamaica Invitational Pro-Am “Annie’s Revenge”, Montego Bay
December 7-11, 2011
Presented by NIKE GOLF, this championship attracts teams from the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. The foursome teams are comprised of three amateur golfers and a professional who will compete in over 54-holes, playing both the Cinnamon Hill and White Witch courses as they vie for the Jamaica Pro-Am Championship crystal trophy. Golf professionals will have the opportunity to compete for $15,000 USD in prize money, while amateurs have the opportunity to win great prizes donated by the official sponsors. For more information and to register.
Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival, St. Mary and Ocho Rios
February 19-26, 2012
This seven-day mountain biking event is an exhilarating voyage that includes lung-busting climbs, technical trail rides, fast downhill descents, double-track, and single-track. It has featured some the world’s top mountain bikers, including Cam McCaul, Kyle Ebbett and Kathy Strand.