Falmouth has been one of the most important and popular ports in Jamaica since 1769. Poised between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay on the island’s northern coast, it’s most known for offering the best of Jamaica’s activities, from horseback riding through the water, relaxing on the white sand beaches, exploring historic sites and natural wonders like Dunn’s River Falls, and offering some of the most popular eats in the Caribbean.
What can’t-miss things should you do when you visit? We asked Diego Pelaez, a Royal Caribbean Destination Insider, who lends his expertise on the Caribbean—and other destinations around the world—to help guests plan unique, custom-made private journeys for their trips. Here are his favorite suggestions for how to make the most of your time in Falmouth.
What To See
This is a great town to explore and get a sense of island life past and present, thanks to efforts to preserve what is the largest collection of Georgian architecture in the Caribbean amid newer additions. The Falmouth Courthouse, built in the Water Square and Market Street district in 1815, is one of the standout examples of the Georgian style. The Baptist Manse, a Masonic temple built in 1798, is another famous site. Nearby homes also have been preserved in careful detail, so onlookers can get a comprehensive look at what life in town was like centuries ago. Fun fact, Diego says: In 1799, Falmouth became the first town in the Western Hemisphere to have running water.
What To Do
Visit the Good Hope plantation and estate, which began as a sugar plantation and developed into a village after emancipation (in 1838—a quarter century before the United States). The estate is another jewel for architecture fans to enjoy exploring or simply visiting for tea time. Today, it’s home to the studio of David Pinto, a master potter who has returned home after years of work and exhibitions abroad.
Tour the Great House, featuring a 9,000-square-foot aviary, and cool off in the pool, Diego suggests. For more thrilling adventures, Good Hope also hosts river tubing, zip lining, and dune buggy and ATV rides.
Where To Shop
Travelers can easily get to the center of this “quaint and bustling town,” Diego says, which boasts a busy district of local businesses. “The town is the best example of local life,” he adds, noting there’s everything from handmade souvenirs to specialty food and drinks spots. On Wednesdays, businesses from around the island congregate for what is known as the “Bend-down Market,” where you can snag specialty foods and ingredients, home goods, and clothing and accessories for unbeatable prices.
Where To Eat
Run, don’t walk, to sample the world-famous Jamaican patty: flaky dough pockets filled with Caribbean spices and meats, which is one of the island’s signatures. Diego sends his friends to Tastee patties. Good Hope also is known for serving the island’s other great culinary crown, jerk chicken and pork, and for a little fanfare, Diego says not to miss Club Nazz, which is an easy stroll from the pier.
There are many options to explore Falmouth, Diego says, and “a private driver may take you on a more customized experience of the countryside, local meals and historic sites.” Head to Royal Caribbean’s website to learn about its Jamaica-bound Caribbean cruises and shore excursions.