Capital | Kingston
Population | 2,847,232 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 10,991 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 6 August (1962 – from the UK)
Currency | Jamaican dollars (JMD)
Time Zone | UTC -5
Best Time to Visit | May to November – during the off season
Connecting with the Culture | Spending the day at Alligator Pond, a deep blue bay backed by dunes. Visiting Dunn’s River Falls, which tumble down to the beach in a series of cascades and pools. Hiking in the Blue Mountains. Surfing on Long Bay in the northeast of the island – a bay with rose-colored sand and deep blue waters.
Read | Jean Reys’ Wide Sargaso Sea, a sultry tale of post-emancipation Jamaica – (For anyone who has ever read Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre – Wide Sargaso Sea tells the back story of the woman living in the upstairs room of Thornfield Hall)
Listen | the king of reggae Bob Marley
Watch | Bob Marley: Time Will Tell, a documentary about Bob Marley and the Wailers
Eat | jerk (meat smothered in marinade and barbecued slowly in an outdoor pit over a fire of pimento wood)
Drink | skyjuice, a cool drink made from shaved ice flavored with syrup
In a Word | Evert’ing cool, mon (common greeting much like how are you?)
Characteristics | reggae; reefers and rum; Rastafarianism; palm-fringed beaches
Surprises | Jamaican’s sarcastic humor is legendary. The national motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’; once the major celebration on the slave calendar.
NEWS ABOUT JAMAICA
Jamaica and Georgia USA: Two places, One `Love' Mission
(HN, 3/26/12) - A beautiful sea breeze kissed our faces as we climbed down the hill at Highland House Farms towards the 5-acre garden. Filled with organic fruits, herbs, & vegetables this special corner of the world has big plans in the works for the children of Jamaica. Highland House Farmer Mark McBean used a machete to open fresh coconuts for us to drink as we inspected the rows of healthy plants, including Ackee trees (Jamaica’s national fruit), bananas, arugula, scotch bonnet peppers, mango, papaya, callaloo, & bok choy.
Brenda Isaac, owner of Highland House Farms & Founder of the One Love Learning Foundation - which stretches globally from Atlanta, Georgia, to Cape Town, South Africa, to Montego Bay, Jamaica - explains her vision for the property & the One Love Learning program. “We want children to learn through real life relationships with the earth, with each other, & in other countries. We want to celebrate diversity. For example, Americans eat spinach & collard greens while Jamaicans eat callaloo greens. They’re the same but different. Just like us.” (Read more by Pam McNall at Tucker Patch)