With its diverse history and celebrated arts, Jamaica offers a great multicultural experience for visitors. The capital and largest city, Kingston, is home to the Bob Marley Museum, African Heritage Museum, the National Gallery and Institute of Jamaica. The city also has tours of many authentic Reggae studios where well-known hits were created.
At the 21st Annual Jamaica Product Exchange (JAPEX) convention, Multicultural Travel News interviewed Marc Melville of Chukka Caribbean Adventures who noted that many of their tours are designed to showcase the area’s heritage and history. He made specific mention of the “House and Carriage Tour” at Good Hope Estate. This tour brings visitors to eight buildings of historical significance in the hour and a half tour. Another tour he mentioned was the Taste of Jamaica Tour which allows its participants to experience the spices and tasty food of the island.
There are many cultural events year-round and throughout the island that display the drama, folk forms, culinary arts, gospel, dance, speech, music and arts of Jamaica. Here are a few:
- Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival: Held at various locations for a week every January, the international and local performers at this festival demonstrate the great influence of age-old tradition of jazz and blues.
- Port Royal Annual Festival: Port Royal, once home to pirates and buccaneers, used to be known as the “wickedest city in the world.” Today, the fishing village remembers each March its long, infamous past with delicious seafood, kid-friendly attractions, competitions and performances.
- Carnival: During Easter Week, the well-known Caribbean event celebrates with many parties, musical entertainment and parades.
- Reggae Sumfest: Jamaica’s largest concert festival and the world’s premiere reggae event is held every July in Montego Bay. It features both local musicians as well as international artists.
- Heritage Fest: This annual October festival in Kingston draws on food, dance and music to celebrate the diversity of Jamaica’s history. From Indian curry to Lebanese dancing to Chinese fortune telling, the three day Heritage Fest pays homage to all of the diverse ethnicities found in Jamaica.
- Oktoberfest: The Jamaica German Society celebrates this festival every October in Kingston with beer drinking and traditional German food.
By: Lisa Skriloff and Colleen Ring