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Jamaica’s stunning landmarks will never weaken your spirits. Jamaica’s breathtaking mountains, forests, lovely seaside resorts, and coral-lined beaches beckon 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! Jamaica has a ton of history that 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 experience guide you 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!
- Famous Landmarks in Jamaica
- 1. Fort Charles
- 2. Emancipation Park
- 3. Bob Marley Museum
- 4. Seville Great House
- 5. Good Hope Estate House
- 6. Mayfield Falls
- 7. Sam Sharpe Square
- 8. Devon House
- 9. Trench Town Culture Yard Museum
- 10. Dunn’s River Falls & Park
- 11. Rose Hall Great House
- 12. Firefly House
- 13. Greenwood Great House
- 14. Peter Tosh Memorial
Famous Landmarks in Jamaica
1. Fort Charles
Address: 1 Queen St, Port Royal, Jamaica
If you are a history buff, you should consider visiting Fort Charles. It is Located in Port Royal – a small port town founded by the entrance of a natural harbor. As the first fort to be constructed in Port Royal town, Fort Charles was built 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 fort’s 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 from their French allies) sacked the fort in 1689.
The fort lost its significance in 1692 after a dreadful hurricane hit it. It has, however, retained much of its appearance and has become a significant 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 tourists’ feelings when visiting the house. This results from its 45° slant due to 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” at the park’s entrance best explains this park’s story. This Park is themed as a “Tribute to Freedom.”
There is a massive sculpture at the entrance of a man and woman gazing to the sky – it symbolizes the abolition of the slave trade – the majority of Jamaicans are descended from Africans forcibly brought to the Caribbean and Americas as enslaved people.
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 half an hour’s drive away. The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel is just across the street from the garden for excellent accommodation.
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.
You can enjoy several things at the Emancipation Park, including a jogging trail, a mini gym, and 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 opened on July 31, 2002, a day before Emancipation Day, celebrated on August 1.
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3. Bob Marley Museum
Address: 6, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica
The location of the reggae star Bob Marley has so much history of offering both to his fans and the world in general. It was once the legendary musician’s home and was converted into a museum by his wife, Mrs. Rita Marley, six years after Bob Marley passed away. It is one of the most famous Jamaican landmarks out there.
Bob Marley’s Museum is roughly a 10-minute drive from the Emancipation Park. Getting to the Museum from Kingston Railway Station will take about half an hour. You could also use buses to get there; they drop you off a short distance from the museum.
December 3, 1976, was the site of the failed assassination attempt on Bob Marley’s life. His home was raided a couple of days before he was to perform at the Smile Jamaica peace concert. Bob was shot in the arm, but he survived and continued his struggle for peace in 3rd world countries.
The museum offers tourist attractions, including an 80-seat theater, a gift shop, and a photographic gallery. There are also several tours, including the Bob Marley Home Tour, Bob Marley’s “Making of the Music Tour, and the Combo “One Love” Tour.
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 visit in Jamaica.
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4. Seville Great House
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 the Spaniards abandoned it in the mid-17th Century. It was built in 1745 by the grandson of a British Army officer, Captian Hemmings, governor of New Seville.
Initially, the house had two stories but was reduced to one floor by 1898. No one restored it until 2010, when the Seville Great House and the Seville Heritage Park reconstruction 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 back to 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
Address: C89F+24J, Wakefield, Jamaica
This historic Jamaican landmark was built on an estate belonging to one of Jamaica’s largest landowners, John Tharp. Though built in the contemporary Georgian style 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’s private beach is only 25 minutes away.
With the combination of the sea, sand, and mountains, you get the whole 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 traveling with your family, friends, or business colleagues, you can stay at either villa available at Good Hope Estate House. Their entrance fee is flexible for those visitors who 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.
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 excellent scenery, and it only takes 1-2 hours to hike to the falls. It would be best if you considered hiring a tour guide to cover all the falls on your tour. A good guide is bound to have tips on improving your experience during the tour.
Whether traveling with your kids, spouse, or solo, Mayfield Falls can be a great destination. The river doesn’t have strong currents; even when it rains, they’re relatively gentle, so it’s pretty safe for kids. Numerous tours depend on how much you’d like to spend. There are also activities such as horseback riding.
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7. Sam Sharpe Square
Address: Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Sam Sharpe Square in Downtown Montego Bay 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 despite incredible odds.
Sharpe was a literate enslaved person who became a Baptist church lay preacher and used his influence with the other enslaved people to resist passively by downing their tools,
However, the peaceful resistance that started on December 25, 1831, turned violent after only two days. During the ensuing 1831-32 Baptist War, Sam Sharpe was a key organizer and leader among enslaved Jamaicans.
It is frequently speculated that the actions of Sharpe and heavy-handed reprisals led 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. He was proclaimed a Jamaican Hero in 1975. Initially called Charles Square, the square was renamed Sam Sharpe Square in 1983, and statues were 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 check out “The Cage,” a small brick structure once used for holding runaway slaves, vagrants, and drunks.
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8. Devon House
Address: 26 Hope Rd, Kingston, Jamaica
Devon House has a rich history and was built in 1881 in the late Georgian style rather than contemporary Victorian; the owner was George Stiebel, son of a Jamaican housekeeper and a German Jew.
George Stiebel was Uptown’s first black Jamaican millionaire (St. Andrew). He made his fortunes in Venezuela before returning home and becoming the Custos (a civic custodian) of St. Andrew.
Devon House has undergone two restorations since it became a National Monument on 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; it feels like stepping back into 1881 Jamaica. Take a tour of the mansion, see the well-maintained and beautifully designed dining room, and peek into the master bedroom.
It takes about 30 minutes to complete the mansion tour. Tours are available from Monday to Friday, 9 am-4 pm. The mansion remains closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday. When you get hungry, walk to the Devon House courtyard and select from the several bars and restaurants available.
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9. Trench Town Culture Yard Museum
Address: 6 & 8 1st St, Kingston, Jamaica
Trench Town was once home to reggae legend Bob Marley when he first moved to Kingston. T.T. Culture Yard Museum is a housing scheme constructed in the 1940s and comprised over seven blocks. It consists of affordable and modest dwellings made around public yards for displaced rural people.
Trench Town Culture Yard Museum offers many cultural things to see and enjoy. There are incredible 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 give you the best experience of West Kingston. Hiring a guide will help you better understand Trench Town and its way of life.
As well as Bob, other well-known Jamaican musicians were residents of Trench Town; many, like Bob, were 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 relatively 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 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-foot-high waterfall is a tourist attraction that sees tourists worldwide. There are two options for getting to the top: take the stairs by the waterfall, or brave the water and slipperiness and climb the waterfall!
Climbing up the waterfalls will take you about 1 – 1.5 hours. You get to take 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 give you a full day at Dunn’s River Falls Beach. You can get some fantastic shots of the waterfalls from this spectacular stretch of sandy paradise.
The park has many other activities, and you could check out nearby. You can ride horseback along the beach or cruise from Ocho Rios.
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11. Rose Hall Great House
Address: Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay, Jamaica
The Rose Hall Great House is a Jamaican visual marvel on Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay. It was built by a wealthy British planter and famous Jamaican millionaire, John Rose Palmer, in 1778-1790. It 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 three times by three different men, all ended up dead, and Annie inherited their wealth (except for poor old John Palmer, who died pennilessly).
She tortured and terrorized the enslaved people until, supposedly, she met an enslaved person whose knowledge of voodoo was more significant than hers. Legend has it that the enslaved person, Takoo, killed her with black magic, and after her death, she haunted the property after being cursed.
Voodoo aside, the property is on high ground, offering a great panoramic view of Montego Bay. This Jamaican Georgian house has a plastered upper story and a solid stone base—a destination to admire and enjoy a great trip in Jamaica.
The Rose Hall Great House is on 650 acres of land 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 Jamaica landmark features narrative, 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 evil spirit.
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12. 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 pirate 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 Henry Morgan and his men used 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 said, .”..the sentences seemed to construct themselves, the right adjectives appeared discreetly at the right moment, Firefly has magic for me.”
Sir Noel rests in his garden beside his favorite chill spot overlooking the sea. Some of the most famous names entertained on the property include Queen Elizabeth II, soldier, statesman Sir Winston Churchill, and legendary stage actor Lord Laurence Olivier.
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13. Greenwood Great House
Address: 435 Belgrade Ave., Jamaica
The Greenwood Great House is over two centuries old, and construction started in 1780 by the Barretts family – a British settler family that was successful in amassing wealth. This is one 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. It’s on the North Coast of Jamaica in the parish of St. James. If there, you and the family should 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 much of the agriculture and mining. Over 2,000 enslaved people played a significant 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 maintained the historical 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 their 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
Address: 4XXC+C8W, Belmont, Jamaica
Peter Tosh was a reggae musician and one of the three co-founders of The Wailers. The Peter Tosh Memorial was built to remind the world of the great musical man that lies there. It is an ideal spot to visit, explore and relax.
It’s a must-visit for any diehard reggae fan traveling to Jamaica. The Wailers (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer) significantly influenced politics and the entertainment scene at home and abroad.
Peter Tosh’s nickname was “Steppin’ Razor” for his passion for the causes he believed in. Proud of his work and the reasons he fought for, he was murdered in a suspected robbery gone wrong.
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. You can visit his grave for a small donation and even run into Mama Tosh.
Among the causes he championed, Peter Tosh was a passionate fighter for cannabis legalization. Incredible murals surround his grave, and cannabis plants are growing there.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.