Tired of your busy life and want to experience something new? It may be a great time to consider starting a life abroad. If you want to live in a tropical paradise, you should know the 15 best places to live in Jamaica.
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean. It is famous for its architecture, cuisine, culture, and beaches.
If you’ve been to Jamaica before, you know how incredible a place it is to live. The country’s hospitable and welcoming locals even add to the place’s charm. However, there are hundreds of places to consider if you want to make Jamaica your home. Here are our top choices for the best places to live in Jamaica.
#15 Spanish Town
The Spaniards once conquered the historical city of Spanish Town. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the country. So it’s the ultimate place to live for history buffs. A lot of world-class reggae artists also call this town their home.
This unassuming town dates back to 1534, when it used to be the island’s capital before the title went to Kingston. The place also features many attractions, such as the Cathedral of St. James or St. Jago de la Vega Cathedral, the oldest Anglican Cathedral in the Caribbean.
Despite being filled with attractions, you have to consider the distance between commercial and residential areas if you want to live here, which can be around 25 to 40 minutes away. If you’re going to work, you may also need to travel out of the city.
Despite being a small town, the scenery of this place is something you won’t get tired of. However, you may want to invest in a home within a gated community if you want to enjoy peace of mind when it comes to safety.
#14 Ocho Rios
Although it has a higher cost of living, one cannot deny Ocho Rios’ magnetic charm. It is a top choice of ex-pats who have a knack for adventure.
The town center itself can be extremely crowded, and the traffic can be horrible during certain times of the day. Despite this, Ocho Rios is still a great jumping point if you want to explore nature and the beach.
Beautiful green hills surround the town, which is a favorite of hikers. Ocho Rios also has rivers if you want to cool down after a tough week at work.
One of the top places to relax in the area is the Blue Hole, which is a pool that has a stunning waterfall and caves. Should you want to become a master at water rafting, head to another spot called the White River.
It’s also worth noting that the town can be a tourist hub, so expect many resorts. There are also a lot of tourists because it is a popular stop for cruise ships.
#13 Runaway Bay
If you want to live by the sea while you’re in Jamaica, look no further. Runaway Bay is one of our favorites on this list of the 15 best places to live in Jamaica. If you’re a nomad, it will be easy to fall in love with this beautiful spot.
Located on Jamaica’s north coast between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, the spot comes with a beautiful beach line that started to get developed in 1960. Through the years, it expanded its character and style that has captured the hearts of ex-pats from all over the globe.
Although it’s a small town, there are still loads of residential options here, especially on the hillside. Aside from being quiet, you’ll be able to enjoy a view of the beach from the top. But if you want to be closer to the sea, there are also many villas near the beach.
Another historic town that made it in our list of the 15 best places to live in Jamaica is Falmouth. Although it is famous as a cruise ship port, it’s one of the best places to live in the country. This town got its name from Falmouth in Cornwall, UK, and was intended to be a colonial settlement.
Now, tons of heritage buildings dot the area, which makes it the perfect home for ex-pats inspired by architecture. The cost of living and rent in Falmouth is also lower than in major cities in Jamaica.
One of the most popular areas for ex-pats to live in Falmouth is Granville. It is located just outside the town, and emancipators had set it up as a free village.
It has a very welcoming vibe and community. However, you can also choose to live in the old town if you want to be closer to places to drink or eat.
#11 Treasure Beach
When you picture living in Jamaica, the first thing on your mind may be living on an idyllic beach that fuels your bohemian spirit. If you want to make this vision come to life, head over to Treasure Beach.
This beach lives up to its name. Located on the southern coast of Jamaica, it is a six-mile-long beach where you can soak up the sun, sea, and sand. The town surrounding the picturesque beach is everything you’d expect it to be – chill, with a rustic vibe. There are also tons of residential accommodations to choose from, especially in Frenchman’s Bay if you want to be near restaurants and other establishments.
This area is one of the best places in Jamaica where you can live like a local and meet other travelers at the same time. Unlike Mobay, it has a very unassuming atmosphere. However, there are not many places with good wi-fi. The beautiful sunset makes up for it, though.
The charming town of Hopewell is home to tons of bed and breakfasts. Located not too far from Montego Bay, this spot boasts a community of mainly American and English ex-pats, so you’ll find like-minded people here.
Hopewell has a small-town fishing village vibe, and because there aren’t any tourists, it’s also more affordable than big cities. However, if you love activities and being in the center of the city, you may find it hard to live here since there aren’t a bunch of activities to do.
There also aren’t many establishments that offer work opportunities, so unless you work remotely, this may be an issue.
Although the town can feel isolated at times, the beach makes up for it. If you love exploring, you can go to the Bamboo District, a jungle area where bamboo is grown commercially.
#9 Nine Mile
If you’re a Bob Marley fan, you may want to spend some time in Nine Mile. This small village with a tight-knit community doesn’t offer much to do, but it has a famous claim – Bob Marley was born and buried here.
Living in this rural village may make you understand the music of Bob Marley on a deeper level. Here, you can also explore the home where Marley grew up, which still has all its original furnishings. You can also explore the Bob Marley Mausoleum managed by his family.
Although the cost of living can be pretty expensive here, you should consider Lucea if you are looking for a home in Jamaica. This small town has tons of coastal white sand beaches. If you want to enjoy privacy or avoid huge beach crowds, there are also different private coves to choose from.
The small colonial town of Lucea is a famous tourist spot, but it also has a vibrant community of locals and ex-pats that will make you feel instantly at home. You’ll find it nestled between Negril and Montego Bay, but it doesn’t have the same relentless crowd as the two cities.
If you make Lucea your home, you’ll also enjoy tons of fresh vegetables and fruits grown near the area. There are also tons of clubs and parks, as well as museums and other historical attractions.
With its beautiful lagoons, calm waters, and sandy beaches, Negril is one of our top choices of the best places to live in Jamaica. The ultimate dream home for beach lovers, this spot is on the western tip of Jamaica.
Here, you can find attractions such as Seven Mile Beach, dubbed as one of the best beaches in the world. There are also other famous spots like the Martha Brae River and Rick’s Bar.
Considering this, it’s no surprise why it’s a home for tons of ex-pats. Even major brands and fast food establishments have capitalized on this tourist hub. However, there are still plenty of local restaurants to choose from if you want to experience the best Jamaican cuisine.
If you don’t want to feel too cut off from the hustle and bustle of the town, you can check out the Long Bay Area, which boasts many hotels and resorts. Although it doesn’t offer the most affordable options for apartments and houses, you’ll be near the action.
If you want to live in a busier area, the Bloody Bay is also worth checking out.
#6 Port Antonio
Love jerk chicken? Why not settle in the birthplace of this tasty food? The perfect hub for foodies who are looking for a place with a chill vibe, Port Antonio is a great option. With its low cost of living and rent, you’ll make the most of your time here.
Also called Portie by locals, this spot lies on the northeastern coast of Jamaica. It boasts a fascinating history, of which the Georgian buildings that date back to Port Antonio’s colonial days bear testimony.
Most ex-pats call the East Harbor their home because this is usually where the action happens. Here, it’s easy to find restaurants, apartments, and other establishments.
Despite all these benefits, it’s worth noting that Portie is a three-hour ride to the nearest airport, which can be a disadvantage to ex-pats who constantly travel. Public transportation is also not the best, and you may need your car or motorcycle to get around town.
#5 Saint Ann’s Bay
Located on the northern coast of Jamaica, Saint Ann’s Bay is a historical city since it was the landing site of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas in 1494. Now, it serves as the shipping point for agricultural produce and is also a tourist spot.
Saint Ann’s Bay is also an inexpensive town that offers activities and a buzzing nightlife without the same crowd as nearby cities, such as Ocho Rios. It also has a wide array of boutiques, museums, and other shops in its downtown area.
This large coastal town located in southern Jamaica is known as a dormitory town of cities such as Spanish Town and Kingston. If you work in any of these cities, you can move to Portmore if you want to enjoy a low cost of living. Only a few people here work from their homes.
This spot does not get marketed as a tourist destination for travelers, so there are not a lot of ex-pats living here compared to Kingston. However, it’s still buzzing with life and offers tons of places for entertainment.
If you choose to live here, you’ll also enjoy beaches, shopping malls, and restaurants. The town has also developed its own unique culture, especially in art and music.
#3 Montego Bay
Montego Bay is one of the major cities in Jamaica, and as expected, there is no shortage of amazing things to do if you make it your home. Although it is primarily known as a tourist hub, it’s one of the best choices for ex-pats who want to soak up the sun and Rastafari culture.
Located on the northwestern coast of the county, Montego bay or Mobay is renowned worldwide for its picturesque beaches, golf spots, and resorts. Therefore, you can easily find places to eat and drink. The area also has a substantial international airport to make travel accessible for you.
This urban city is an excellent option for people who want to move to Jamaica because there are tons of safe housing options in the area. But because it is a tourist hub, Mobay can be expensive, especially if you live in the city proper. You may also need to invest in a car to get around the city.
The historic town of Mandeville is in West Central Jamaica. It is one of the best places to live in for people who want to see a new side of Jamaica aside from luxury resorts and white sand beaches. Instead of these tourist magnets are lush mountain scenes and a cooler climate that will remind you of the English countryside. Even old plantations here have transformed to become nature parks. Golfing is also a very popular pastime in Mandeville.
Despite not being as popular as other choices on this list, Mandeville is one of the easiest places to live in for ex-pats because it is a central location. Therefore, it is easy to visit other destinations in the country if you’re coming from Mandeville.
For example, if you want to take a break from this laid-back town, you can visit the beach of the southern coast around an hour away.
We’re ending our list of the 15 best places to live in Jamaica strong with Kingston. This country’s capital and largest city may not be the top choice of travelers who want to focus on beaches, but it’s one of the top choices for ex-pats, especially those who are creative. If you love the nightlife, you’ll adore the music scene in Kingston.
Unlike other capital cities, you can enjoy many green spaces in the area. Gardens and parks are prevalent across the heart of the city, where you can observe and mingle with locals. Two of the most popular places to visit here include the National Heroes Park and the Emancipation Park.
Because Kingston is a major Hubspot of people, it’s also common for ex-pats to do business here, especially near the university area.
However, Kingston can be crowded, which can be a disadvantage for those who want to move to Jamaica to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city. Its safety is also not the best.
Related: Best Cell Phone Carriers in Jamaica
Excited to Live in Jamaica?
There you have it: the 15 best places to live in Jamaica. Without question, Jamaica has its own “ting” going on – whether in its music, local food, and culture. It’s not just a fantastic destination for honeymoons, gap years, or nature and beach trips, but it can also be a place you can call home.
If you want to be in the main activity area of Jamaica, head over to Kingston, Montego Bay, and Portmore. But if you want to be somewhere more subdued, towns like Mandeville, Port Antonio, and Spanish Town are a terrific choice.
When you finally decide to plant your roots in Jamaica, you’ll understand that it truly lives up to the hype as one of the world’s best countries to live in.