Just a short trip across the Caribbean from the Cayman Islands, Jamaica is a country steeped in history. Whether you’re interested in the colonial period, Jamaica’s enormous contributions to music, some of Jamaica’s cultural history, or just escaping for a bit of a break, we’ve got a run down on everything you must see whilst holidaying here. Of course, there’s plenty more to Jamaica than just history. There’s the thriving food scene, the stunning natural landscape, and the unparalleled hospitality of the people. So, pack your bags, we’re heading to Jamaica.
Stay at The Goldeneye Estate
If you’re looking for a hotel with a difference then the Goldeneye Estate couldn’t be more perfect. The famous James Bond novelist bought 15 acres in 1946 right next door to the prestigious Golden Clouds estate. His estate overlooks Oracabessa Bay and was fitted with pretty wooden windows, a sleek swimming pool, and tasteful shutters, to help it blend in with its setting. Fleming spent twelve years at the Goldeneye Estate, writing in every spare minute he could. All of his James Bond novels were written at the estate, making it a real place of interest for any fans. Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, bought the estate in 1977 and began work adding cottages, huts, and an inner lagoon, as well as acquiring an additional 25 acres of land.
Since 1980, the estate has been open to guests, who can choose to stay in a variety of tropical buildings with views either of the spectacular gardens or of the private beach below. The garden is certainly not to be missed whichever building you’re staying in, as it has been graced with the presence of many celebrities. Each of these trees has a plaque commemorating the famous people who planted it, making it a great game spotting name.
Caymanas Park is the next stop on this whistle-stop tour, been the home of horse racing in Jamaica since 1959. Formerly a sugar plantation owned by Alexander Hamilton, Caymanas Park was designed to be a state-of-the-art facility by Bartholomew Vicens-Oliver and still lives up to modern tracks with its amenities. Located in the Kingston Resort Area, Caymanas Park is the island’s sole horse racing track. They host race meetings every Wednesday and at the weekends too. Access to the premium stands is $4, whilst the open access grandstand is just $0.50. For those who’d like to place a bet on the action, there are bookmakers available on the course. However, if you don’t want to leave your spot in the stands then it’s also possible to bet online. SBO has created a rundown of the top betting sites available for use at the moment, including information on how to make deposits, the sports that you can bet on, and any bonuses that you can take advantage of.
Whether you win or lose though, the fun of the sport and the history of the track is what we’re really here for. Some of the most fascinating histories can be found in reggae songs from the 60s up until the 80s. There’s the tragic mention of the horse Long Shot, who famously died during a race at the track, in the song Long Shot (Kick the Bucket) by the Pioneers. Before this, they’d also written a track inspired by the very same horse, called Long Shot (Buss Me Bet), in which the horse tries hard, but fails to win.
The final leg of our tour takes us to one of Jamaica’s most celebrated touristic sites, Devon House. This mansion was originally owned by Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. He made his money in the gold mining trade and decided to make this stunning 19th-century home on the corner of what is now known as Millionaire’s Corner. Steibel commissioned a perfect blend of the Caribbean and Georgian architecture, celebrating the best of both styles. Nowadays Devon House is often used for important visits to Jamaica, as well as welcoming visitors from the public too. It’s possible to tour the mansion and marvel at the stunning antiques that adorn it. Stiebel collected pieces from all across the globe but had a particular penchant for English and French antiques. If you’re ready for a bite to eat then enjoying the restaurant is highly recommended. Whilst the whole menu is delicious, the Devon House ice cream frequently wins awards for its delicate flavors and unparalleled creaminess.
NOTE: Gambling is illegal in the Cayman Islands