16 Interesting Fun Facts About Jamaica

28/12/2021Tom Spruce

These 16 fun facts about Jamaica are perfect for feeding your pre-trip excitement. Or for just busting out on a rainy day.

Jamaican beach
These facts about Jamaica prove there’s more to this island than meets the eye. Photo by A.V B.S on Unsplash

Fun facts about Jamaica are perfect for livening up any occasion

Looking for some top quiz filler? Pop out a fact. Hoping to break the ice on that awkward first date? Pop out a fact. Trying to appease a room full of bored-looking execs while you desperately attempt to get your faulty technology working in that big business meeting? Pop out a fact.

Basically, what we’re trying to say is, that these facts about Jamaica will both aid and astound in equal measure. But what are the facts?

Gimme the facts 

  1. It is the third-largest island in the Caribbean
  2. Jamaica is home to 4 major mountain ranges
  3. The island is part of the Greater Antilles archipelago with 5 other island states
  4. Jamaica actually sits on top of a large underwater mountain
  5. One-third of all Jamaicans live in the capital Kingston
  6. Jamaica gained independence from Britain in 1962
  7. In Jamaica, they drive on the left side of the road
  8. It’s home to one of the largest butterflies in the world
  9. 250 species of bird call the island home
  10. The flag’s three colours represent: difficulties, sunlight, and agriculture
  11. The colours on the nation’s flag make it one of just two in the world not to share a colour with USA’s flag
  12. Jamaican-made Appleton Estate 50-Year Rum is the most expensive rum in the world
  13. The island cultivates one of the world’s rarest and expensive coffees
  14. Ackee and saltfish is the country’s national dish
  15. Ian Fleming wrote all his James Bond thrillers in Jamaica
  16. The first Caribbean country to launch a website

Jamaican Geography Facts

1. It’s the 3rd Largest Island in the Caribbean

Although Jamaica is probably one of the most famous Caribbean destinations, it’s only the third largest island in the region.

The top three largest Caribbean islands are Cuba, Hispaniola, which is made up of Dominican Republic and Haiti, and Jamaica. 

There’s plenty of beach space on one of the largest Caribbean islands. Photo by Michael Mims on Unsplash

2. Jamaica Is Home to 4 Major Mountain Ranges

As an incredibly mountainous island, the Blue, John Crow, Don Figuero, and Cockpit Country mountain ranges are all found in Jamaica. Which probably explains why there’s more to Jamaican than pretty beaches.

In fact, Jamaica is that mountainous, it actually sits atop a huge underwater mountain – see fact 4.

The mountain ranges in Jamaica provide stunning lush landscapes. Photo by Rock Staar on Unsplash

3. Jamaica Is One of 6 Island States Which Make Up the Greater Antilles

Alongside it’s large Caribbean island brethren Cuba and Hispaniola, Jamaica is part of the Greater Antilles. 

The two other island states which make up the acrhipelago are the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico. 

Man on a beach with a both and palm trees
Some of the most popular Caribbean islands are in the Greater Antilles. Photo by Andy ngucaj on Unsplash

4. The Island Sits on Top of a Large Underwater Mountain 

An awesome fun fact about Jamaica is that it actually sits on the summit of a vast underwater mountain. 

The submarine range which supports the island is known, unsurprisingly, as the Jamaica Ridge. This vast underwater range separates the Cayman Trench and Cayman Basin from the Columbian Basin. 

But there’s certainly more to do on this mountain’s peak than any other we’ve heard of. For example, Mystic Mountain & Dunn’s River Falls are just 2 excursions you need to try in Jamaica.

People talking in water of Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica
There’s never been more to do at the top of a mountain. Photo by Alexander John on Unsplash

Jamaican Culture Facts

5. A third of all Jamaicans live in Kingston

It’s probably not a surprise to learn that a lot of people live in the country’s capital city. But Kingston is a, must-visit, hive of activity on the island. 

Visit enthralling locations like the Bob Marley Museum which is hosted in the late reggae star’s former home. Plus, you can check out famous sights like Devon House, Hope Botanical Gardens & Zoo, as well as Port Royal dubbed “the wickedest city in the world” because of its history as a haven for pirates. 

Port Royal was the pirate and shipping capital of the Caribbean during the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous blaggards Captain Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, and Calico Jack all pitched up here in the past.

Aerial view of Kingston, Jamaica
Visit all the must-see sights in Kingston. Photo by Patrick Superior on Unsplash

6. Jamaica Gained Independence From the UK in 1962

After more than 3 centuries of British rule, Jamaica finally gained its independence in 1962. Independence Day is celebrated on 6 August with huge street parties (as would imagine in Jamaica). 

However, the island remains part of the Commonwealth. So they still recognise the Queen as their head of state. 

 7. They Drive on the Left Side of the Road

As a result of that colonial past Jamaica keeps hold of many British laws, constructs, and quirks. Driving on the left side of the road is just one of them.

Pink VW Campervan on the beach in Jamaica
Get on the left side if you’re planning a road trip in Jamaica. Photo by li hao on Unsplash

Jamaican Wildlife Facts

8. Home to One of the Largest Butterflies in the World

The endangered Homerus swallowtail has a maximum wingspan of 6 inches and is one of the 12 largest butterflies globally. Endemic to Jamaica, when in the caterpillar stage of development it emits a foul smelling odour to ward of predators. 

9. 250 Species of Bird Call the Island Home

Of those 250 species, 26 are endemic to the island. This icludes the tiny vervain. At just 2.5 inches tall, it’s the second smallest bird in the world. Talk about a twitcher’s heaven!

The tiny vervain bird. Image from Pixabay.

Jamaican flag facts

10. The Flag’s Three Colours Represent: Difficulties, Sunlight, and Agriculture

The three colours on the Jamaican flag all have resonance with the island.

Jamaica’s Information Service say the black symbolises the strength and creativity of the people. The gold represents the natural beauty of sunlight, as well as the wealth of the country. Meanwhile the green signifies hope and agriculture

11. Jamaica’s Flag Is One of the Only Flags in the World Not to Share a Colour With USA’s

There is some debate about which other countries have colours that don’t feature red, white or blue. Mauritania used to been another of these nations until 2017 when they added two red bars to their flag. 

Another debate is about Sri Lanka. Depending on which flag you look at, some believe the panel on the right to be red while others argue that it’s a shade of purple. 

So Jamaica could well be the only flag in the world to not feature red, white or blue

Man waving the Jamaica flag
The Jamaica flag is something of a unique look. Photo by Joey Nicotra on Unsplash

Food & drink facts

12. Jamaican-Made Appleton Estate 50-Year Rum Is the Most Expensive Rum in the World 

Weighing in at a whopping $4,000 (approximately £3,500) a bottle, Appleton Estate 50-year Rum was released in 2012. Only 800 bottle were ever produced to celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence. 

Although, visiting the Appleton Rum Estate is a much cheaper way to explore more of the island’s rum heritage. Touring the estate is a must-do excursion in Jamaica

13. The Island Cultivates One of the World’s Rarest and Expensive Coffees

From one super rare and expensive drink to another. Blue Mountain Coffee is so expensive because it take so long to harvest it. The high altitude and gradient of the hills make it extremely difficult to produce a crop. Making it super rare and expensive. 

14. Ackee and Saltfish Is the Country’s National Dish

Due to it’s mixed cultural heritage, Jamaica’s cuisine generally takes influence from across the world. However, the Ackee and saltfish recipe is an islander’s staple diet. Jerk chicken and curried goat or mutton are also right up there as the nation’s faves. 

Ackee and saltfish is a Jamaican delicacy
Acke and saltfish with dumplings is the dish to have. Photo by Gabre Cameron on Unsplash

Modern culture facts

15. Ian Fleming Wrote All His James Bond Thrillers in Jamaica

The eponymous spy was created in Jamaica through the works of Ian Fleming. Inspired by a covert naval operation the author was engaged in at the time called GoldenEye, Bond was born on Fleming’s 15-acre estate.

Aston Martin
Bond was born on the island. Photo by Samuel Girven on Unsplash

16. The First Caribbean Country to Launch a Website

Back in 1994, www.jamaicatravel.com was created as a space for people to learn more about the dazzling island. 

Start Exploring Jamaica

Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it. Why not get out there and start exploring the island for yourself

We’ve collated four resorts that even TripAdvisor agrees are some of the best in Jamaica.

Click the button below to check them out. 

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