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 to relaxing on the white-sand beaches, to exploring historic sites and natural wonders like Dunn’s River Falls. It also offers 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 cruises.
Read on for some of his favorite suggestions for making the most of your time in Falmouth.
What To See
Falmouth gives visitors a sense of island life, both 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 area in 1815, is one of the standout examples of this particular style. The Baptist Manse, a Masonic temple built in 1798, is another famous site. Nearby homes also have been preserved in careful detail, so visitors can take in the full picture of what life in town looked 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 Coach House, which began as a sugar plantation and developed into a village after emancipation (in 1838—a quarter century before the United States). The estate, now a luxurious hotel, is another jewel for architecture fans to enjoy exploring or simply visiting for tea time. Today, it’s also 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. Good Hope also hosts river tubing, zip lining, and dune buggy and ATV rides. Sound interesting? Find more information about a Good Hope excursion.
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. The Island Tour & Shopping excursion will give you a great look at the town of Falmouth and all of its local shops.
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 signature dishes. Diego sends his friends to Tastee. 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 and Restaurant, which is an easy stroll from the pier.
There are many options to explore in Falmouth, Diego says, and “a private driver can take you on a more customized experience of the countryside, local meals and historic sites.” For more culinary inspiration, here are the nine must-try Jamaican foods.
Ready to get away? You can explore future Jamaica-bound Caribbean cruises here.