Living in JamaicaIyna Bort Caruso
Ian Fleming may have the singular distinction of creating the world’s most famous spy hero--James Bond--but he shares one thing in common with millions of others: he visited Jamaica and fell in love with it.
Jamaica, 600 miles south of the Florida coast, is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. It is made up of 14 administrative areas, or parishes, including only two cities, the cosmopolitan capital of Kingston at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the tourism hub of Montego Bay. Tourism dominates the economy. And while Jamaica is known for reggae and rum, insiders know its charms are far more considerable.
Interior mountains, rainforests and rivers make Jamaica a soft adventure paradise.
But the island’s impossibly blue waters and refreshing trade winds are responsible for the instant attitude adjustment.
Montego Bay on the northwest coast has been drawing crowds since it developed a reputation for the healing powers of its waters a century ago. Now people come to “MoBay” for golf, scuba, yachting, deep-sea fishing, historic landmarks and shopping.
It is a complete and immersive tropical destination.
Ocho Rios is a port town and a cruise ship terminal virtually equidistant from Montego Bay and Kingston. Horseback riding, golf and polo are on the short list of recreational options, along with its best-known natural attraction, Dunn’s River Falls. Two other popular resort towns are Negril on the far western tip and Port Antonio on the island’s far eastern curve. Negril is famous for its seven miles of white sand beaches, grotto-lined cliffs, Georgian architecture and breathtaking sunsets. Port Antonio once catered to the likes of Rudyard Kipling, J.P. Morgan Jr. and Errol Flynn. And while the elite still come, it’s more of a lush and hush hideaway.
Jamaica offers a full range of real estate options including single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and land for development. Affluent buyers can find beachfront and cliff-side mansions, villas in golf club communities, high rise tower residences and historic rural estates. There are no restrictions on purchases from overseas buyers, the bulk of whom come from the United States, Canada and Britain and dominate the luxury market. Many use their investment as rental income generators.