Jamaica in the Greater Antilles is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in the Caribbean. Most people associate Jamaica with Bob Marley and reggae, but there’s a lot more about the island that you probably don’t know. Here are a few fun facts about the island.

Official Language

A common misconception is that islanders don’t speak English. Although many Jamaicans speak Creole, many of them don’t understand the patois dialect. Jamaica is independent and is a Commonwealth of the U.K. Business and education are all conducted in English. The Creole dialect is considered to be too informal for schools and business transactions, and English is the official language.

Immigrants

The media draws attention to the illegal immigrants pouring into European nations and the United States, but many immigrants and expats from Asia, Europe, and North American are living and working in Jamaica. A substantial number of immigrants worked on the island but stayed on when their visas expired. Immigrants from the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, Italy, China, and Spain live and work in Jamaica.

Music Scene

Popular genres in Jamaica are Dancehall, Ragga, Rocksteady, Ska, and Dub. Live jazz performances reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance, are part of the nightly entertainment in Port Antonio. New Kingston is the spot for the late-night clubs that get rocking around midnight.

Fashion Week

New York and Paris have Fashion Week, and Jamaica has its own version. The Caribbean’s loveliest models take to the runway in local designers most beautiful creations. Headliners are some of Jamaica’s top musicians including Billy Ocean.

Jamaicans Don’t Swim

A lot of Jamaicans never learn to swim. When they spend time at the beach, it’s to enjoy the scenery. Most of the people you see swimming, snorkeling, and diving are tourists. Some locals participate in surfing, diving, or paddle boarding competitions, but not many of them.

Diverse Population

Many people are under the delusion that anyone from Jamaica is Black. However, the population is diverse and includes the community of Seaforth, a settlement of German, Chinese, and Indian immigrants.

Snowy Weather

As strange as it seems, it does snow on tropical islands like Jamaica occasionally. The Blue Mountain which soars to 7402 feet, sometimes gets a dusting of snow or sleet. There’s never enough snow for winter sports, but the mountain looks spectacular covered in snow and frost.

Craft Beer

Jamaica is known for Red Stripe, but craft breweries are creating unique new brews including a Jamaican-style Ginger Beer. Some breweries create brews with a lower alcohol content, making them an ideal choice for beach days.

Rally Jamaica

Each year in November or December, Jamaica hosts a road race with competitors who come from all over the Caribbean and Europe to participate. The Grand Prix-style race is run through the streets of Kingston.

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