Nothing brings me more joy than writing this blog post on visiting St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. That’s because it’s where my family is from and I feel so proud to share our part of the island. Most people pass St. Elizabeth up to visit Ocho Rios, Negril and even Portland but my parish of Jamaica has so much to offer. Here is your guide to visiting St. Elizabeth, Jamaica.
How to Get to St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
You can fly into either Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston or Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay to get to St. Elizabeth. Pending where in St. Elizabeth you’re going to it’s about a two and a half hour drive from each. The main difference is there is a highway you can drive on when coming from Kingston for part of the way whereas from Montego Bay it’s all local roads. The airlines that fly to Kingston are American, Jetblue, and Spirit, Delta, Caribbean Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Cayman Airways, Copa, and WestJet. To fly into Montego Bay you’ll need to book with American Airlines, United, Caribbean Airlines, Delta, jetBlue, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, Air Canada, Copa, Condor, WestJet,Virgin Atlantic, or eurowings. You can rent a car at the airport from Alamo or hire a private shuttle.
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Where to Stay in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Since my family is from St. Elizabeth each time I visit I stay at my parents’ house. While I haven’t personally stayed here, Jake’s Hotel is rated as the top hotel in this parish. It’s located right at Treasure Beach so you can wake up and feel the ocean breeze! You can also check Airbnb’s in the area as there are quite a few. I recommend staying in the Treasure Beach area or Black River. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, sign up here to save $40 on your first booking. Here are 8 tips to guarantee a great Airbnb experience.
Attractions in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
While most tourist don’t venture here there are a lot of attractions in St. Elizabeth. Here are my favorite things to do when I visit home.
Appleton Rum is the spirit of Jamaica and it’s made only in Jamaica right in St. Elizabeth. Spend the morning here learning about how Appleton is made on this two hour tour. It’s very interactive and while learning the process you’ll be able to taste sugar cane, press your own sugar cane juice and try the molasses used to make the rum. The tour ends with a tasting of 3 different types of Appleton rum and they are quite generous pours. Tours are offered Monday-Saturday from 9:00AM-4:00PM and cost $30 for adults. My children who were 3 and 5 at the time of our visit were free.
YS Falls is my favorite place to go in St. Elizabeth. You can easily pair this with a trip to the Appleton Estate as they are only 15 minutes away from each other. YS Falls is more than a waterfall. There are two swimming pools, one heated and one with natural spring water. You can climb up the waterfall, walk across it, swing into it or even zip-line across it. Zip-lining costs an additional $35 for adults and $20 for children and there are 5 lines. This price is way cheaper than what you will find in Ocho Rios or Negril so if you’re visiting either places and want to zip-line definitely do it here. YS Falls is open Tuesday-Sunday from 9:30AM-3:30PM. The entrance fee is $19 for adults, $11 for children 3-12, and free for kids 2 and under. Credit cards are accepted here including American Express.
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Black River Safari
Did you know there are crocodiles in Jamaica? Well there are and they mainly live in Black River. You can see them on the J. Charles Swabys Black River Safari boat tour. The tour lasts one hour and we saw about 12 crocodiles on our tour. Our guide was excellent and explains the history of Black River. It was the first place is Jamaica to get electricity, even before most of the US. When we arrived at 11:20AM the paper with the tour times said we missed the 11AM with the next one was scheduled for 12:30PM. However when I inquired they said they could get us on a tour in 10 minutes and they did.
Floyd’s Pelican Bar
Down the street from the Black River Safari is Floyd’s Pelican Bar. When I say down the street I really mean the boats to take you to the Pelican Bar are down the street as it’s in the middle of the ocean. It’s a ten minute boat ride to this wooden hut sitting on top of a sandbar. We used Portia Tours to take us over, her number is 876-430-5460. If you don’t have access to a phone you can just follow the signs to Floyd’s Pelican Bar and you’ll see many boaters waving you down to take you over. The bar serves fresh fish, lobster and other seafood and it’s delicious!
Treasure Beach is the most famous beach in St. Elizabeth but you’ll still probably be one of a handful of people there. It’s a black sand beach and the best point of entry is by the Jack Sprat restaurant. Parking is free here and you’ll have somewhere to eat when you get hungry!
Lover’s Leap has the best view in St. Elizabeth and possibly Jamaica sitting 1,700 feet above sea level. It became famous due to a love story of a couple who was threatened to be taken away from each other by a plantation owner. The legend is they jumped from the cliff into the sea. Today there is a lighthouse and restaurant and Sunday evenings you can enjoy live music.
Where to Eat in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Alligator Pond in St. Elizabeth has some of the best seafood restaurants on the island. You’d be missing out by not making a visit for dinner at least one night. Oswald’s sits right on the beach and is a local favorite. You can pick out your own fish, caught fresh daily, and then choose the way you’d like it cooked. They also offer an abundance of other seafood and hopefully you’ll be visiting during lobster season. If you are, get your lobster grilled, you will not regret it!
Jack Sprat is a must when visiting St. Elizabeth. While they serve a variety of food they have the best pizza in Jamaica so I recommend having some here. Located on Treasure Beach it’s best to eat at Jack Sprat the day you visit there or if you’re staying at Jake’s you’ll have the luxury of eating here whenever.
I hope you will consider visiting St. Elizabeth on your next trip to Jamaica. It is such a beautiful parish and too often overlooked. Even if you choose to stay in Ocho Rios or Negril, it’s worth a day or overnight trip. Did you find this post helpful? Please share it!