12 Experiences that are Uniquely (Real) Jamaica

1. Hear good music all the time, anywhere, everywhere
And I literally mean- everywhere. Whether its blasting from a car driving by, from the set-up shop around the corner or your neighbour singing out loud, music is weaved into so many aspects of life and it sounds real good, more often then not! (P.S: for good music around the clock without having to book a flight to Jamaica, tune into Riddim Radio)


2. Buy coconut water at the airport
No- not the stuff that comes out of a carton, I’m talking about the real deal, fresh out of the coconut. Everytime I land at Kingston Norman Manley, the minute I step out, there’s a man selling fresh coconut water. And if he’s not around, fret not, you’re bound to drive past a dozen other vendors on the road.

Just one of the countless mango trees

3. Take a stroll under fruit studded trees…
Jamaica is such a delicious destination because of the fruits that grow everywhere- even more so noticeable if you go to “country”. I remember in some areas, fruit was so abundant that you’d walk on the road, look down at your feet to only see the ground covered with mangoes that had fallen off a nearby tree.

4. Party until late- very late- at night
Jamaican nightlife starts much later and consequently, ends much later too. You might find yourself leaving a party as the night becomes day, watching the sun rise as you carry your tired feet back home.


5. Make friendships in the most random and unexpected moments
Jamaicans are a friendly bunch- there’s no doubt about that. There is a delightful sense of human connection and interaction on the island, which makes Jamaica such a charismatic destination. Who was once a stranger today might end up being a friend and a lunch date tomorrow. The best things happen when you expect them least.

6. See the sky glitter & glimmer at night
At night, something beautiful happens. If you’re up in the Blue Mountains, a dark curtain brings about the night and with it, a glittering performance of dancing fireflies. And if you’re further out from nature, you can still catch a glimpse of a lit up Kingston sparkling from a distance.

7. Bicycle acrobats
Has anyone else noticed that some Jamaicans have some serious bicycle skills? I have seen people ride their bike carrying a gas tank in one hand and holding onto the bicycle with the other. I’ve seen all sorts of bulky objects being carried on a bike with an incredible sense of balance all throughout crazy traffic! I often have to pinch myself and blink twice at such sights!

8. Greet people in a million ways
There is a world beyond the standard handshake or hug, and it exists in Jamaica. There’s the “lion paw” (popular with Rastas), the “thumb-rub”, the “hand shake and finger snap” (which I’ve only seen once) and probably a whole lot more that I’ll have fun learning about…

9. Clapping on a plane
Nuff said.

10. Be given a nickname
If you come to really get to know some Jamaicans, you might come to see that after a few encounters, they’ll start calling you by another name. The whole nicknaming thing is taken seriously and if you’re given one, consider it a good sign. You’re experiencing the Real Jamaica 😀


11. A patty a day keeps the doctor away
The patty, the patty… loved & adored by all! These savoury turnovers can be found stuffed with beef, chicken or vegetables and they can be enjoyed at any time of the day, everyday.


12. “Grocery shop” while driving
More often then not, as you drive, you’ll come past road vendors at stop lights selling everything from fruits, nuts, donuts to tissue papers. Just roll your window down and get those bananas that you had on your grocery list. Driving & shopping, it’s called multi-tasking, my friend!

If you are interested in this feature, please contact the Real Jamaica team! Thanks!


Culture Nut & Curious Cat, Owner of Marianna’s Kitchen (67 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston).
Follow me on Instagram or check out my photography at Flickr.

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