Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba. It mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain. The highest point is Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 meters (7,402 feet). Environmental issues include heavy rates of deforestation, coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills, damage to coral reefs, and air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions.

The Caribbean Environment Program, under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program, is concerned with the protection and sustainable development of the marine environment of the Wider Caribbean Region, including Jamaica. The Jamaica Protected Areas Trust is a public-private initiative, which maintains an interactive virtual tour of Jamaican protected areas. The Jamaican Caves Organisation is dedicated to the discovery, exploration, and preservation of the caves and karst of Jamaica.

Despite having a number of International Union for Conservation of Nature members, Jamaica has no designated biosphere reserves. Jamaica does have three Ramsar protected wetlands, Black River Lower Morass National Park, Palisadoes / Port Royal, and Portland Bight Protected Area. The Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains are also designated as national park. Known for its subtropical dry forests in southern Jamaica, there are many forest reserves managed by the Forestry Department. Alligator Pond and Gut River are classified as game reserves. Montego Bay Marine Park Trust was established to manage Montego Bay Marine Park. There is also a marine park at Port Maria, and a fish sanctuaries at Bluefields Bay, Discovery Bay, Oracabessa and Orange Bay. Offshore island Middle Morant Cay is designated a scientific reserve. Dunn’s River Falls is a famous waterfall near Ocho Rios, and a major tourist attraction. Green Grotto Caves are show caves and a prominent tourist attraction in Discovery Bay.

In Port Antonio, Hotel Mockingbird Hill is considered one of Jamaica’s better eco-boutique hotels. Kingston based Sun Venture Tours offers a variety of tours for nature lovers all over Jamaica. Equine tourism is available at Braco Stables, once a large sugar plantation in Cockpit Country. At Dolphin Cove Jamaica guests can experience swimming with dolphins, sharks, and stingrays, both at Half Moon and Negril.

IUCN members:


Jamaica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494, and settled by the Spanish in the early 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. Jamaican Maroons descended from slaves who escaped into the mountainous interior, and mixed with remaining Native American Taino people. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves. In 1958 Jamaica joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. (See Wikipedia Crime in Jamaica.)

Jamaica has no members in the International Center for the Study of the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, nor designated world heritage; however, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust is responsible for Jamaica’s material cultural heritage, and maintains a list of national heritage sites. The Tourism Product Development Company is the Government of Jamaica agency tasked with developing cultural heritage tourism and community-based tourism. The University of the West Indies at Mona maintains the Community Tourism in Jamaica portal. The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica is also involved in various aspects of tourism development. The Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, concerns itself with socially and environmentally responsible development in the region.

Reggae music and the Rastafari movement are major cultural exports of Jamaica, with Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) as reigning icon. Started in 1993, Reggae Sumfest is now the largest annual music festival in Jamaica, mid-July in Montego Bay, replacing the former Reggae Sunsplash. Since 1968, the Jamaica Tourist Board has played matchmaker between visitors and Jamaicans in a program called, Meet the People.


  • A causality analysis of tourism as a long-run economic growth factor in Jamaica by LA Amaghionyeodiwe, 2012
  • Once you go you know: tourism, colonial nostalgia and national lies in Jamaica by TASP Wint, 2012
  • The response of the tourism industry in Jamaica to crime and the threat of terrorism by A Hall, 2012
  • Using tourism to conserve the mist forests and mysterious cultural heritage of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, Jamaica by S Otuokon, SL Chai & M Beale, 2012
  • The impact of tourism on the physical environment of third world countries: a case study of Negril, Jamaica by AL Kauls, 2011
  • Tourism and its Others: Tourists, Traders and Fishers in Jamaica by G Sommer & JG Carrier, 2010
  • Using a knowledge management model as a framework for advancement of small-scale ecotourism entrepreneurship in Jamaica by DH Pearcy, 2010
  • Developing a Strong Rural Tourism Product: The Case of St. Thomas, Jamaica by A Nicely & R Palakurthi, 2009
  • How will climate change impact on the tourism industry?: Interviews with leading representatives of the travel and tourism industry in Jamaica by AJ Hall & A Clayton, 2009
  • Tourism and poverty reduction: the case of Jamaica by CHN Smith, 2009
  • Motivation for service sector foreign direct investments in emerging economies: Insights from the tourism industry in Jamaica by DA Williams & D Deslandes, 2008
  • Barriers to sustainable tourism development in Jamaica by L Altinay, T Var, S Hines & K Hussain, 2007
  • Towards a Sustainable Tourism Product for Jamaica: A Dynamic Simulation Modelling Approach by J Lewis, 2007
  • Valuation of environmental resources for tourism in small island developing states: implications for planning in Jamaica by E Thomas-Hope & A Jardine-Comrie, 2007
  • Crime and harassment in Jamaica: consequences for sustainability of the tourism industry by I Ajagunna, 2006
  • The Development of Tourism Businesses in Rural Communities: The Case of the Maroons of Jamaica by D Chambers, 2005
  • Valuation of environmental resources for tourism: The case of Jamaica by E Thomas-Hope & A Jardine-Comrie, 2005
  • Challenges for health and tourism in Jamaica by DVM Ashley & G Gordon‐Strachan, 2004
  • Towards an alternative tourism for Jamaica by I Boxill, 2004
  • Heritage Tourism Development and Unofficial History in Port Royal, Jamaica by AM Waters, 2003
  • The economic impact of cruise tourism on Jamaica by GL Chase & DL McKee, 2003
  • Tourism, linkages, and economic development in Jamaica by N Karagiannis, 2003
  • Transforming corporate mass tourism: Sandals Resorts International in Jamaica and the politics of enjoyment by PT Kingsbury, 2003
  • A Competitive analytical approach to health tourism in Jamaica by AP Crick, 2002
  • Bringing culture into tourism: festival tourism and Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica by K Nurse, 2002
  • Past, Present Amd Future Role Of The University Of Technology In Tourism And Hospitality Education In Jamaica by R Davis & A Sewell, 2002
  • Planning A National Tourism Human Resource Development Project: A Case From Jamaica by JA Hall & A Young, 2002
  • Tourism policy in Jamaica: A tale of two governments by D Chambers & D Airey, 2001
  • Ecotourism as a conservation strategy in Black River, Jamaica by DA Brief, 2000
  • Tourism Attractions: A Critical Analysis of the Subsector in Jamaica by LD Dunn, 1999
  • Environmentally sustainable development and tourism: Lessons from Negril, Jamaica by B Olsen, 1997
  • For love and money: romance tourism in Jamaica by D Pruitt & S LaFont, 1995
  • Women’s Contribution to Tourism in Negril, Jamaica by L McKay, 1993
  • Self-contained all-inclusive resort-hotels and small tourism business in Jamaica by B Henry, 1989
  • All are welcome: an anthropolgical study of tourism, cultural identity, and schooling in Jamaica by JA Gamradt, 1988
  • The environmental impact of tourism in Jamaica by B Henry, 1988
  • Tourism and changing attitudes to land in Negril, Jamaica by L McKay, J Besson & J Momsen, 1987
  • Food production and tourism in Jamaica: Obstacles to increasing local food supplies to hotels by FJ Belisle, 1984
  • Tourism and food imports: The case of Jamaica by FJ Belisle, 1984
  • The impact of the tourist industries on the agricultural sectors: the competition for resources and the market for food provided by tourism: the case of Jamaica by H Brown, 1974
  • Tourism and Development in Jamaica by PA Goffe, 1974

Jamaica Data