Published February 25, 2012
There's more to Jamaica than sipping fruity drinks on the beach. This island in the Caribbean boasts majestic caves and waterfalls that are ripe for exploring. Here are several activities that Jamaica has to offer if you're interested in going off the beaten path.
Green Grotto Caves
Explore Jamaica's northern coast with a tour of the Green Grotto Caves. This is a great option if rain dampened your plans for an afternoon on the beach. The caves, which take their name from green algae that covers the walls, are located near Runaway Bay and offer a look at a subterranean lake via a guided tour.
Many years ago, groups of people used the caves as a hiding place, including the Arawak Indians and Spaniards. The caves were also featured in a James Bond movie and are home to a number of different species, including bats.
In St. Ann's Bay, also on the northern coast, is Hooves -- where you can take a guided tour on horseback, safely in a saddle, along the beach in your bathing suit. Your ride will also guide you through wooded areas, giving you the opportunity to learn about the culture of the Taino Indians, who lived in the area many years ago.
Your adventure will also take you near wetlands and coconut trees, and you can see where archaeologists completed excavations to learn about the area's history.
On Jamaica's southern coast is YS Falls -- a nature playground with seven waterfalls and ample opportunities for swimming. YS Falls, which opened in 1990, feels like a rainforest with lush gardens and trees. You can also take a ride from the top of a waterfall down to its base or show your adventurous side by coasting down a river in an inflatable tube.
YS Falls also has a restaurant, bar and gift shop to make your day even more enjoyable. There are lifeguards on the premises, but you still must know how to swim to be admitted to YS Falls.
If diving off a cliff is more your thing, pay Rick's Cafe a visit. Rick's Cafe, in Negril, was the first public bar and restaurant of its type when it opened in the 1970s, and the location was renovated several times because of hurricane damage. Unlike Negril's sandy beaches, Rick's Cafe is perched atop majestic cliffs that tourists often jump or dive off of. (The highest platform is 35 feet high.) Additionally, there is a cliff-side pool, restaurant, bar, as well as live reggae music on most nights.