Jamaica 60!

Not one nor two but 60 big, big years! Jamaicans set their eyes on Independence Day the 6th of August to celebrate 60 years of freedom, 60 years of independence, 60 years of creating the Jamaica we know today. From sugar cane crowded plantations to night time folklores of rolling calves and the ‘river muma’; from the poetic tellings of the Honourable Ms. Lou to musical geniuses like Bob Marley; from world class summer festivals to sprint records by the world’s fastest men and women; ‘Jamaica likkle but dem tallawah’ (small but mighty) and that is why the theme for this year’s independence celebration is fitting - Reigniting A Nation For Greatness.

The Best Local Bites

The island cuisine is not just jerk chicken. Exotic meals like mannish water (goat belly soup) kidney and gizzards as meat kinds and curry chicken feet also taste a lot better than they sound once cooked by a Jamaican. These local dishes are not just flavorful but are deeply rooted in the history of the island and are a symbol and testament to their 60th year.

A part of the national dish in Jamaica is the delectable Ackee and Saltfish. The Ackee is actually a fruit grown on a tree. When ripe, the red pod opens up to show the yellow fruit with a black seed perched on top. The fruit is usually cleaned up and the seed removed before boiling. In a separate pot, the saltfish, also known as cod fish, is boiled to remove some of the salt contents before breaking the boiled fish into smaller pieces and later stir-fried with a little onion, tomato, pepper, seasoned to taste and the ackee stirred in once the saltfish is cooked. This flavorful combination is usually served with another local favorite - breadfruit, boiled dumplings and ground provisions like yams, green bananas and potato or white rice.

The food culture in Jamaica also has a lot to do with the ‘where and when’ food is present. At most Jamaican burials, there is a repass. Repass is where bereaved family and friends gather together to reflect and dine on what is usually a well cooked local meal. No repass is complete without a serving of chicken foot soup and curry goat.

One Good Thing About Music

As Bob Marley would have said, ‘one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain’. Even as early as pre-independence, music has played a big part of Jamaican history. Similar to its Caribbean relatives, Jamaica’s enslaved would use songs on the plantation to communicate how they would escape into nearby bushes in the middle of the night.

These songs grew quickly into the grassroots music that form the most harmonic parts of the Jamaican culture. From Mento to Ska then Rocksteady and Reggae to now rocking the world with Dancehall. Artists like Bob Marley and the Wailer Group paved the way for others like Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Lady Saw, Spice and the younger pool of artists like Shenseea, Jada Kingdom, Skeng, Skillibeng, Rygin King; the list is inexhaustible, and that is true to the music as well.

The island is overrun by vibrant beats starting with the churches, the adjacent bars, the local festivals by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Summer festivals like the Jamaica Carnival, the popular Reggae Sumfest and all the festivities in between.

1-2-3 Gold!

The little island of Jamaica, year over year, produces some of the world’s fastest men and women in athletic history from Merlene Ottey, Asafa Powell, Bridgette Foster, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Warren Weir to today’s Brianna Williams, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shericka Jackson, Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce, Hansle Parchment and Usain Bolt.

To date, Bolt is still the world’s fastest man with Frazer-Pryce, Thompson, Herah and Jackson neck and neck in world records. Thompson-Herah holds the spot as the fastest woman alive over 100m, Jackson, fastest woman alive over 200m and the trio Frazer-Pryce 1st, Jackson 2nd and Thompson-Herah 3rd for a 1-2-3 sweep of the 2022 100m world championships.

The island also placed third for most medals in the world championship 2022. Dem likkle but dem tallawah!

Bikinis, Beverages and Beaches

For one small island resting in the Caribbean basin, Jamaica captures the heart of its visitors with a look book of vistas. With a range of panoramic views, grand sweeping mountains and wispy, white sands of beautiful turquoise waters that make up the Caribbean Sea, there is so much to see, do, feel and explore.

West to East starting from Negril, there is the world famous Rick’s Cafe where thrill seekers can enjoy a cliff diver’s dream, plummeting into the waters lying in wait below. Rick’s Cafe also has one of the island’s most stunning views of the sunset.

The outpost is also another good stop, zipline through the treetops and into the refreshing tropical waters along the way. Later on, climb on horseback and enjoy a dip in the local waters with horse power.

In Montego Bay, Margaritaville’s inflatable water activities are best enjoyed after a relaxing boat ride along the city’s coastline; and Doctor’s Cave Beach is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.

A popular one in Ocho Rios is the boat ride over to the world famous and popular UNESCO site Dunn’s River Falls. The location has an interesting mix of waters from the Caribbean Sea and Freshwater cascades that keep guests on their toes.

On the way to Portland is the popular James Bond Beach where the first movie, Live or Let Die was filmed. The beach is discreetly located between a cluster of palm trees and is a nice getaway from the ordinary day to day.

Locations in between and around are too many to name, but what is sure among all stops is a mix of swimsuits, alcohol and refreshing waters.

Happy Independence Jamaica

Honestly, Jamaica is more than we could ever truly explain. The land of wood, water and wonder. Sweet, sweet Jamaica. Happy 60!

Visit islandroutes.com for more information on how you can celebrate with Jamaica this Independence Day.

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