Jamaica is a premiere destination in the Caribbean. Each year, tourist flock to this small island nation to enjoy tropical weather and warm sandy beaches. Known for its laid back atmosphere, tourists enjoy a variety of relaxing activities and fun filled evenings.
1. Small Snake Population
There are very few snakes on the island of Jamaica. The mongoose was imported to Jamaica to rid the cane fields of rats in 1872. As an added benefit, the mongoose has killed off almost the entire population of snakes. So running across a snake is a rare occurrence in Jamaica.
African slaves imported to Jamaica brought their own form of religion, Obeahism. Obeahism is a form of voodoo that is still practiced on the island. However, it is kept quiet, since the practice of Obeahism is punishable by death. People who practice this form of voodoo believe that the Obeah man can use evil spirits to bring good or bad luck to others.
3. Foreign Crops
The original inhabitants of Jamaica, the Arawak, grew corn and yams. Today, the major crops of Jamaica include sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes. None of these crops are native to the island; they were imported to the island at varying times in the island’s history. Coconut Palms, breadfruit, and bamboo were also imported to the island.
4. Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum
Rum is the national drink of Jamaica. Here rum is mixed with just about any other beverage. Try rum and coconut water for a very special island drink.
5. Bond, James Bond
British writer, Ian Fleming is famous for his 007 James Bond character. After designing his dream home, Ian Fleming choose to have it built in Jamaica and name it Goldeneye. In Jamaica, he wrote ten of his world renowned James Bond spy thrillers.
6. Olympic Winners
In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event. It was the bobsled event. The movie, Cool Runnings, tells the story of the Jamaica’s first foray in to the Winter Olympics. Only the United States has won more Olympic and World medals than Jamaica.
7. Independence and a Queen
Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to gain independence. In 1962, after years of internal self-government, Jamaica became an independent nation, but chose to remain a member of the British Commonwealth. Similar to Canada, Queen Elizabeth II remains the Queen of Jamaica but by tradition only.
8. National Dish
The national dish of Jamaica is Ackee and Saltfish. Most people in Jamaica eat it as a breakfast dish. Ackee is a fruit that grows locally. The dish is served with dumplings that are either fried or boiled. The saltfish is cooked in a small amount of oil with peppers and onions added for taste.
9. Flags of the World
Jamaica is one of only two countries in the world that has no colors in common with the flag of the United States of America. The other country is Mauritania (green and yellow). Libya used to have a solid green flag but has since changed it to include red and white. The Jamaican flag is green, yellow, and black. Two yellow stripes intersect in an X with green filling in the top and bottom and black on either side.
10. Innovative Jamaica
Jamaica was the first country in the Western world to build a railroad. They built their railroad a mere 18 years after Britain built theirs. AT&T copied Jamaica’s telephone system because it was so well developed. In 1994, Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to launch its own website.
11. Blue Mountains and Moons
The stunning Blue Mountains in Jamaica are named for the mist that covers them. From a distance, the mist appears blue. A second moon in a month is called a blue moon; however, there have been half a dozen sittings of sapphire colored moons in the past 40 years.
12. Orchids Everywhere
Over 200 species of Orchids grow wild on the island of Jamaica. 73 of the species are unique to Jamaica. There are a 1,000 species of trees and 500 species of ferns. Jamaica is the best place to see wild flora and fauna.