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14 Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Jamaica

14 Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Jamaica

Jamaica’s stunning landmarks will never weaken your spirits. Jamaica’s breathtaking mountains, forests, lovely seaside resorts, and coral-lined beaches all beckon to you with adventure.

The beautiful Caribbean island country is a stunning travel vacation. If you plan to travel to Jamaica and don’t know what to visit, this list is for you!

There is ton of history in Jamaica which has led to landmarks of both, the past and present.

Jamaica was occupied by the Arawak and Carib aborigines when Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) landed there in 1494. The Spanish colonists captured Jamaica in 1655 and soon after enslaved its aboriginals. In 1838, slavery was abolished and the freed Africans, as a result of no land ownership, became indentured laborers on plantations.

The island gained independence from Britain in 1962, becoming a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Let this first hand research be your guide on what to expect and see while checking out the beauty of this country. Plan your memorable travel in Jamaica now and dive into the list of spectacular landmarks in Jamaica!

List of the best famous landmarks in Jamaica

There are many Jamaican landmarks. One of them is famous and stands out to everyone.

It was the first Jamaican landmark named like that, and it’s still on top of the list. Let’s get into it.

1. Fort Charles

Address: 1 Queen St, Port Royal, Jamaica

If you are a history buff and love Jamaican history, you should consider visiting Fort Charles. It is Located in Port Royal – a small port town that was founded by the entrance of a natural harbor.

As the first fort to be constructed in Port Royal town, Fort Charles was constructed by the English to protect the land they had conquered from the Spanish.

It was initially named Fort Cromwell after Parliamentarian Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell of England. In 1662, the forts’ name was changed to Fort Charles.

It was designed to look like a warship with cannons surrounding its exterior walls to keep away invaders. However, this didn’t stop the Native Americans who (with some encouragement their French allies) sacked the fort in 1689.

The fort lost its significance in the year 1692 after it was hit by a dreadful hurricane. It has however retained much of its appearance and has become a great part of Jamaica’s cultural history.

Its main attractions are the Museum, the Giddy House and the Battery.

The Giddy House was constructed in 1888 as a storage house for weapons and gunpowder.

The name Giddy House comes from the feeling that tourists get when they visit the house. This is as a result of its 45° slant as a result of the 1907 earthquake.

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2. Emancipation Park

Address: Oxford Road and, Knutsford Blvd, Kingston, Jamaica

The quote “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds” that’s found at the parks entrance best explains the story behind this Park. This Park is themed as a “Tribute to Freedom.”

There is a huge sculpture at the entrance of a man and woman gazing to the sky – it symbolizes the abolition of the salve trade – the majority of Jamaicans are descended from Africans forcibly brought to the Carribean and Americas as slaves.

This 7-acre piece of land that the Emancipation Park was built on is located at Oxford Road and, Knutsford Blvd, Kingston, and was offered to the Jamaican government as a gift by the Liguanea Club.

Once you land at the Norman Manley International Airport, the park is roughly a half an hour drive away. For great accommodation, the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is just across the street from the park.

High numbers of immigrants led to the growth of a new parish (St. Andrew/Uptown) where the well-off merchants moved to. The 1907 earthquake would push even more people from Downtown Kingston to Uptown.

There are several things that you can enjoy at the Emancipation Park which include a jogging trail, a mini gym and there are beautiful flowerbeds all over the park.

Enjoy the serene environment of the park and the cool breezes as you take a stroll.

Emancipation Park was constructed in 2002 and was opened on July 31, 2002, a day before Emancipation Day which is celebrated August 1st.

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3. Bob Marley Museum

Bob Marley Museum

Address: 6, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica

The location of the reggae star Bob Marley has so much history to offer both to his fans and the world in general.

Located at 6, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston, it was once the legendary musician’s home. It was converted into a museum by his wife Mrs. Rita Marley 6 years after Bob Marley passed away and is one of the most famous Jamaican landmarks out there.

Bob Marley’s Museum is roughly a 10-minute drive from the Emancipation Park.

It will take you about half an hour to get to the Museum from Kingston Railway Station. You could also use buses to get there, they drop you off a short walk distance from the museum.

On the 3rd of December in 1976 it was the site of the failed assassination attempt on Bob Marley’s life. His home was raided a couple days before he was to perform at the Smile Jamaica peace concert.

Bob was shot in the arm, but he survived, and continued with his struggle for peace in 3rd world countries.

The museum offers a couple of tourist attractions that include an 80-seat theater, a gift shop and a photographic gallery.

There are also several tours which include the Bob Marley Home Tour, Bob Marley’s “Making of the Music tour and the Combo “One Love” Tour that you can take.

Once you have completed taking your tour at the museum, you can relax and have some delicious food at the One Love Café. This is one of the most famous attractions you can possibly visit in Jamaica.

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4. Seville Great House

Seville Great House & Heritage Park
Image from Viator

Address: CQPM+7RC, Priory, Jamaica

There is a legend about the haunting of the Seville Great House by the spirit of the vicious female plantation owner Annie Palmer. She was nicknamed the white witch who haunted the Rose Hall grounds at Montego Bay.

The Seville Great House was constructed as a symbol of English victory after it was abandoned by the Spaniards in the mid 17th Century.

Located at CQPM+7RC, Priory, the is the main attraction and one of the most historic sites in the Seville Heritage Park, making it a significant park of Jamaican history. It was built in 1745 by the grandson of a British Army officer, a Captian Hemmings, who was governor of what was New Seville.

The house had two stories initially, but it was reduced to one floor by the 1898 and no one had gotten around to restoring it until 2010, when the reconstruction of Seville Great House and the Seville Heritage Park started.

The Great House offers daily guided tours and a display of artifacts. The museum also offers an interpretive exhibition of property through the years dating from as far back as A.D. 650.

This includes DVDs that are used to show simulations of what things used to look like back in the day.

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5. Good Hope Estate House

Good Hope Plantation and Secret Falls Tour
Image from Viator

Address: C89F+24J, Wakefield, Jamaica

This historic Jamaican landmark was built on an estate that belonged to one of the largest slaves and landowner in Jamaica, John Tharp.

The exact location of the great house is C89F+24J, Wakefield, on top of a hill overlooking the country.

Though built in Georgian style that was contemporary in England, it was tweaked a bit to make the Good Hope Estate House more suitable to the Jamaican Climate. Things like hip roofs were added to help it withstand Caribbean hurricanes.

When it comes to fun travel activities, you have a wide range to select from both on and off the property.

The Good Hope Estate House private beach is only 25 minutes away. With the combination of the sea, sand and mountains, you get the full Jamaican experience in one location.

Activities include zip lining, dune buggy rides, and river kayaking. You can even hire an ATV to tour the entire 2000-acre property.

If you are travelling with your family, friends or business colleagues, you can stay at either one of the villas available at Good Hope Estate House.

Their entrance fee is flexible for those visitors who just want to visit the property without any add-on activities.

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6. Mayfield Falls

Address: 3254 Norman Manley Blvd, Negril, Jamaica

The Mayfield Falls are found along the Mayfield River, and they are made up of 21 cascades. The tallest (9.8ft) is nicknamed “Washing Machine” and is large enough for most people to go behind the falls.

These Falls are located at 3254 Norman Manley Blvd, Negril, in the Glenbrook Westmoreland Parish.

The location of the Mayfield Falls is quite beautiful, with its lush plant life and native Jamaican wildlife. You will likely see lots of native species of birds and butterflies.

The mountain trail has great scenery, and it only takes 1-2 hours to hike to the falls. To cover all the falls on your tour, you should consider hiring a tour guide. A good guide is bound to have some tips on how to improve your experience during the tour.

Whether you are traveling with your kids or just your spouse, or solo, Mayfield Falls can be a great destination. The river doesn’t have strong currents, even when it rains they’re fairly gentle, so it’s pretty safe for kids.

There are numerous tours to choose from depending on how much you’d like to spend. There are also activities such horseback riding.

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7. Sam Sharpe Square

People In Sam Sharpe Square
Image by andreyss / CC BY 3.0

Address: Montego Bay, Jamaica

The Sam Sharpe Square is located at Downtown Montego Bay and it offers visitors a trip down the country’s memory lane.

Sam Sharpe was an anti-slavery activist and Jamaican National Hero from the 1800s. An enslaved Jamaican he became a hero by never halting his fight against slavery in the face of incredible odds.

Sharpe was a literate slave who became a Baptist church lay preacher and used his influence with the other slaves to resist passively by downing their tools so to speak.

However, the peaceful resistance that started on Dec 25th, 1831, turned violent after only 2 days. During the ensuing 1831-32 Baptist War, Sam Sharpe was a key organizer and leader among Jamaican slaves.

It is frequently speculated that the actions of Sharpe and heavy handed reprisals lead to the British abolition of slavery a few years later in 1838.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, after Jamaica gained independence from the British Empire, Sharpe’s portrait was added to $50 Jamaican banknotes, and he was proclaimed as a Jamaican Hero in 1975.

The square, which was initially called the Charles Square, was renamed to Sam Sharpe Square in 1983, and statues erected in his memory.

While there you should also check out the Montego Bay Museum which is housed in the Montego Bay Civic Center.

You should also checkout “The Cage” which is a small brick structure that was once used for holding runaway slaves, vagrants and drunks.

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8. Devon House

Devon House

Address: 26 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica

Devon House is located at 26 Hope Rd, Kingston and has a rich history. Built in 1881 in late Georgian style, rather than contemporary Victorian, the owner was George Stiebel, son of a Jamaican housekeeper and a German Jew.

George Stiebel was the first black Jamaican millionaire in Uptown (St. Andrew). He made his fortunes in Venezuela before moving back home and becoming the Custos (a sort of civic custodian) of St. Andrew.

Devon House has undergone two restorations since it became a National Monument in January 23, 1968; the first was in 1968-9 and the second one in 1974. The second refurbishing was done in Victorian style.

You can tour Devon House and it feels more like taking a step back into 1881 Jamaica. Take a tour of the mansion and see the well maintained and beautifully designed dining room, and take a peek into the master bedroom.

It takes about 30 minutes to complete the mansion tour. Tours are available from Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. The mansion remains closed on Christmas Day and on Good Friday.

When you get hungry, take a walk to Devon House courtyard and select from the several bars and restaurants available.

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9. Trench Town Culture Yard Museum

Inside Of Trench Town Culture Yard Museum
Image by YardEdge / CC BY 2.0

Address: 6 & 8 1st St, Kingston, Jamaica

Trench Town was once home to reggae legend Bob Marley when he first moved to Kingston. The address is 6 & 8 1st St, Kingston, and it’s now owned by the neighborhood residents.

TT Culture Yard Museum is a housing scheme that was constructed in the 1940s and its made up of over 7 blocks. It consists of affordable and modest dwellings made around public yards for displaced rural people.

Trench Town Culture Yard Museum offers a wide range of cultural things to see and enjoy. There are cool artifacts on display, a beautiful mural, live music events and always good conversations with the residents of this tenement yard.

The great thing about visiting Trench town is the genuine and unassuming vibes of the residents that gives you the best experience of West Kingston. Hiring a guide will help you get a better understanding of Trench town and their way of life.

As well as Bob, other well known Jamaican musicians were residents of Trench Town, many, like Bob, determined to change the world by shedding light on things such as violence and political tension through music.

Planning a visit to the museum is quite easy thanks to the availability of ticket information, directions and special events.

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10. Dunn’s River Falls & Park

Address: Main St, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The Dunn’s River Falls & Park is one of Jamaica’s major tourist attractions. It’s located a short distance from the Ocho Rios resort center, one of Jamaica’s fastest growing resorts. This strategic location means the park sees a lot of visitors.

One interesting fact about the Dunn’s River Falls & Park at Main St, Ocho Rios, is that it was the site of the 1657 Battle of Las Chorreras between the Spanish and the English.

Climbing up the 180 feet high waterfall is the main tourist attraction that sees tourists from all around the world. There are two options of getting to the top; you can take the stairs by the waterfall, or you could brave the water and slipperiness and climb the waterfall itself!

Climbing up the waterfalls will take you about 1 – 1.5 hours. You get to take couple short breaks on your way up for photos and relaxation.

The Park offers a safe area on the river for your children to enjoy the water without any risks.

Your Park entrance fee will also get you a full day access to the Dunn’s River Falls Beach. You can get some amazing shots of the waterfalls from this spectcaular stretch of sandy paradise.

There are many other activities both in the park and close by that you could check out. You can go horseback riding along the beach or take a cruise from Ocho Rios.

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11. Rose Hall Great House

Rose Hall Great House

Address: Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Located on Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay, the Rose Hall Great House is a Jamaican visual marvel.

It was built by a wealthy British planter and famous Jamaican millionaire called John Rose Palmer in 1778-1790 and has been a subject in several Gothic novels, primarily due to John Palmer’s wife, Annie Palmer.

Annie Palmer was born in Haiti. Her parents died of yellow fever when she was a child, and she was purportedly brought up by a Haitian woman who taught her voodoo.

Married 3 times by 3 different men, all ended up dead and Annie inherited their wealth, (except for poor old John Palmer who died penniless).

She tortured and terrorized the slaves until supposedly one day she met a slave whose knowledge of voodoo was greater than hers. Legend has it that the slave, Takoo, killed her with black magic, and after her death she has been haunting the property after being cursed.

Voodoo aside, the property is on high ground, and it offers a great panoramic view of Montego Bay. This Jamaican Georgian house has a plastered upper storey and a strong stone base. A destination to amdire and enjoy a great trip in Jamaica.

The Rose Hall Great House is on 650 acres of land that was divided for different purposes such as sugar cane farming and pastures for cattle.

The great house was renovated and turned into a museum showcasing the original fittings, antiques and slave history. This was done by a couple, Michele and John Rollins in 1977. This is one of those Jamaica landmarks that features history, modern Jamaica and spooky tales.

One of the popular tours of Rose Hall Great House is the Annie Palmer “White Witch” legend horror nights.

The tour includes random bloodstains, creepy tunnel walks, staged murders and hauntings; there are also seances held to try and get rid of Annie’s malevolent spirit.

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12. Firefly House

Noel Coward's Statue In Firefly House

Address: Mason Hall St. Mary, Jamaica

The Firefly House is located at Mason Hall St. Mary, and earned its name from the luminous insects that come out during the warm evenings.

Originally the land belonged to the Welsh privateer Sir Henry Morgan, who would later become a plantation owner and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. The building that now serves as the restaurant and gift shop used to be the lookout hut used by Henry Morgan and his men during his privateer days.

Firefly House was built in 1965 as a vacation home for the celebrated British singer, songwriter, playwright, actor, and national treasure, Noel Coward. It is also his last resting place and was later listed as a National Heritage Site.

The Firefly House was previously used as a lookout point due to its strategic position by the sea.

Noel Coward came across Fireflies during one of his excursions.

Coward found the place so enchanting and inspiring that he would write much of his later works there. He was quoted as saying “…the sentences seemed to construct themselves, the right adjectives appeared discreetly at the right moment, Firefly has magic for me”.

Sir Noel’s resting place is in his garden next to his favorite chill spot overlooking the sea.

Some of the most famous names that have been entertained on the property include Queen Elizabeth II, soldier and statesman Sir Winston Churchill, and legenday stage actor Lord Laurence Olivier among many others.

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13. Greenwood Great House

A Pond In Front Of Greenwood Great House
Image from Viator.com

Address: 435 Belgrade Ave., Jamaica

Located at 435 Belgrade Ave., St. James on 84,000 acres of land, the Greenwood Great House is over 2 centuries old. Construction started in 1780 by the Barretts family – a British settler family that was successful in amassing wealth. This is on of the most historic sites in all of Jamaica.

The house has now become a national landmark offering historical tours and is one of the top attractions in Jamaica.

Its in the North Coast of Jamaica in the parish of St. James. If there, you and the family should take a walk through this hilltop mansion to learn its history and marvel at its splendor.

The Barretts family was a big part of Jamaica’s history and controlled a lot of the agriculture and mining.

They had over 2,000 slaves who played a big role in their wealth accumulation. The property was later purchased by Thomas ‘Bob’ Betton in 1976 who turned it into a museum.

Bob and Ann Betton have been able to maintain the historic integrity of the Greenwood Great House for decades since acquiring it. They have received several awards for their hard work including the Berger Paints Heritage in Architecture Award, the National Association of Returning Residents plaque, and the Musgrave medal for thier efforts.

It only takes the tour guides about 45 minutes to guide you through all the rooms as they share their knowledge of the house and the Barretts.

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14. Peter Tosh Memorial

Small Space Inside The Peter Tosh Memorial
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 4XXC+C8W, Belmont, Jamaica

Peter Tosh was a reggae musician and one of the three cofounders of The Wailers. The Peter Tosh Memorial was built in order to remind the world of the great musical man that lies there. It is an ideal spot to visit, explore and relax.

The Peter Tosh Memorial is at 4XXC+C8W, Belmont, and is maintained by the Tosh family. It’s a must visit for any diehard reggae fan traveling to Jamaica.

The Wailers (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer) influenced both politics and the entertainment scene both at home and abroad in a major way.

Peter Tosh’s’ nickname was “Steppin’ Razor’ for how passionate he was about the causes he believed in. Proud of his work and the causes he fought for, he was murdered in a suspected robbery gone bad. 

The surviving members of Peter Tosh’s family can frequently be found at the Memorial grounds. They’re more than willing to chat about the life of Peter Tosh. For a small donation you can visit his grave, and you might even run into Mama Tosh.

Among the causes he championed, Peter Tosh was a passionate fighter for the legalization of cannabis. His grave is surrounded by great murals and there are cannabis plants growing there.

There are numerous activities and tours you can participate in, they include reggae horseback riding and tours of Bluefields Bay and Abeokuta Paradise Nature Park.

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