JM | Nov 18, 2022

Jamaica listed among top destinations to kick back and relax in new Lonely Planet ‘Hot List’

/ Our Today

Tourists travel on the Mystic Mountains Sky Lift. (Photo: Rainforest Adventures)

Global travel authority Lonely Planet this week named Jamaica among the most ideal locations to unwind as it unveiled its top destinations to visit next year with the release of its Best in Travel 2023.

Lonely Planet said its annual marquee moment celebrates its expert predictions for where to go in the year ahead and Best in Travel 2023 is its 18th annual collection, featuring 30 must-visit destinations around the globe.

Commenting on Jamaica, the travel authority noted that the indigenous Taino people named Jamaica ‘the land of wood and water’ – a lyrical description that evokes the peace of the country’s spirit across beautiful white sand beaches, scenic mountain peaks, waterfalls and rivers.


“With new hotels complementing its momentum to become a republic, Jamaica is a perfect spot to unwind,” Lonely Planet said.

In Lonely Planet’s look at ‘4 days to unwind in Jamaica’, travel writer Sheri-Kae McCleod said: “While one of the Caribbean’s largest countries, Jamaica is fairly easy to explore since its points of interest and attractions are clustered close to one another.”

She added: “Beyond its glorious landscapes, Jamaica’s culture and friendly locals also make for an unforgettable visit. The food, the music and the infectious joy of Jamaicans form memories visitors will take home with them, no matter where they come from.”

The Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road in St Andrew.

McCleod recommended that visitors start in the island’s capital, Kingston [and St Andrew], the centre of all business activity in the country.

“While on the east side of the island, the city offers easy connections to anywhere else, making it the perfect place to start your trip. Stay at the central R Hotel, where almost every room offers a breathtaking view of the city,” she wrote.

“Start the morning of your first day by visiting Kingston’s most popular tourist site: the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road, just a five-minute cab drive from the R.”

McCleod then suggested lunch at Devon House.

Olympian and World Champion Shericka Jackson at Devon House Bakery in St Andrew. (Photo: Facebook @Devon House Bakery)

“With no entry fee to get on the property, it’s a popular hangout spot for families. The grounds contain various shops and restaurants, including the famous Devon House Bakery, whose famous patties draw flocks of lunching locals.

“This baked delicacy is ubiquitous in Jamaica, but Devon House is the only place in Kingston where you’ll find patties with unique fillings like lobster (an absolute must-try) and ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit). For dessert, don’t miss the highly popular ice cream from Scoops, whose unique flavours include soursop and Blue Mountain coffee.”

McCleod also suggested a visit to the National Gallery and dinner at Gloria’s. 

Day Two’s recommended stops include a trip to the Blue Lagoon in Portland, lunch at Boston, rafting on the Rio Grande and dinner in Port Antonio.

Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, St Ann. (Photo: Visit Jamaica)

Day Three features a trip to Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, St Ann; lunch at Lobster Dave’s Seafood Restaurant, located at the Ocho Rios Fishing Village; and then an adventurous time at Mystic Mountain.

“As the evening winds down, take a 20-minute cab ride to Plantation Smokehouse, one of the most popular hangout spots in town,” said McCleod.

“In addition to terrific food and drinks, the lively atmosphere is another big draw. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself there on a Friday night, you’ll be entertained by a live band that rocks the crowd until closing time.”

On the fourth day, McCleod suggests visitors head to Jamaica’s South Coast for the opportunity to see more of rural Jamaica’s beauty.

The famous Pelican bar located in the sea in Jamaica. (Photo: Alamy)

Among the stops should be Appleton Rum Estate in St Elizabeth; Floyd’s Pelican Bar, a rustic shack in the middle of the ocean that’s a 25-minute boat ride from Black River; then a boat ride to Treasure Beach; and ending with a relaxing dinner at Jack Sprat at Jake’s, “the most popular hotel on Treasure Beach”.

For a full breakdown of McCleod’s proposed Jamaica itinerary, click here.

As part of its larger ambition to deliver an engaging product that solves proactive travel planning needs through personalised, local-led guidance, Lonely Planet reimagined Best In Travel for 2023 with this year’s list focusing on expert local perspectives, such as McCleod’s, and sorted by the type of trip best had there – Eat, Journey, Connect, Learn or Unwind.


This shift in the list’s organisation, Lonely Planet said, signals a reinvigorated dedication to aiding travelers in navigating the world in the ways most meaningful to them.

Along with Jamaica, the ‘Unwind’ category features the overlooked peninsula of Halkidiki in Greece, historic Jordan told through the lens of designer Tania George, and Malta.

The ‘Eat’ category features Peru’s capital Lima alongside chef Ricardo Martins, affordable world-class dining in South Africa and the dining scene around Umbria, Italy, among others.

Intrepid ‘Journeys’ include the reinstated night train between Istanbul and Sofia, Bulgaria and a long-weekend road trip through Nova Scotia, as well as Canada’s dramatic Atlantic province, narrated by surfer Dean Petty.

Travelers looking to ‘Connect’ with distinctive local scenes are directed to the buzzing art-centric Accra with Surf Ghana’s Sandy Alibo and musician Pure Akan, as well as Sydney, back on the map after the enforced separation of the past few years.

“2023 is shaping up to be the year to get out and explore. With much of the world firmly on the road to recovery, travelers are looking for different locations and experiences.”

Nitya Chambers, Lonely Planet’s senior vice president of content and executive editor

In the ‘Learn’ category, Lonely Planet spotlights destinations such as New Mexico, with the incredible Native American hoop dancer ShanDien Sonwai LaRance; Manchester, home to one of the UK’s most dynamic arts scenes; and the laid-back surf culture of El Salvador.

Each year, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023  lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. The nominations are then whittled down by its panel of travel experts to just 30 destinations. Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, community and diversity.

According to Lonely Planet’s Senior Vice President of Content and Executive Editor Nitya Chambers the release of Lonely Planet’s annual “hot list” of destinations and travel experiences comes at an exciting time to be planning travel.

Said Chambers: “2023 is shaping up to be the year to get out and explore. With much of the world firmly on the road to recovery, travelers are looking for different locations and experiences.

“The lists celebrate the world in all its wonderful enticing variety. Each of the itineraries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 shows how to leave the crowds behind and truly get the heart of a destination.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 – Complete List

Umbria, ItalyIstanbul to SofiaHalkidiki, GreeceAlaskaManchester, UK
Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaNova Scotia, CanadaJamaicaAlbaniaNew Mexico, USA
Fukuoka, JapanBhutanDominicaAccra, GhanaDresden, Germany
Lima, PeruZambiaRaja Ampat, IndonesiaSydney, AustraliaEl Salvador
South AfricaWestern AustraliaMaltaGuyanaSouthern Scotland
Montevideo, UruguayNational Natural Parks, Colombia JordanBoise, USAMarseille, France


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