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Insider Guides

An Insider Guide To Jamaica With Nina Brooke

Traveling seascape artist Nina Brooke paints the world from a bird’s eye view. Growing up by the sea, traveling between the rugged North Cornwall coast and the azure tropics of The Caribbean, the rolling storm swells and crystal-clear coves have played a fundamental role in her creative development.

Spotlighting the best places to dine, play, and get some kip in Jamaica, Nina Brooke shares her insider tips.

Essential items to pack?

Paint, brushes, bikinis, camera, and cool clothes for all eventualities.

The best time to visit Jamaica is…

Any time. We are here in July and it has been nice to leave Cornwall at the busy height of summer to arrive somewhere calmer and less crowded. I’ve always enjoyed visiting places out of season. In Jamaica, the sun shines and the water is turquoise and warm all year round.

Our first pitstop should be…

A dip in the ocean to wash off the journey and get on Jamaica time – slow things down.

Courtesy of Jamaica Inn

Courtesy of Jamaica Inn

Your favourite hotel to check-in at is…

Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios – situated on one of the most beautiful beaches on the north coast, arriving at this iconic hotel you feel like you’ve come home. It’s like a family and everyone here is so kind, helpful, and welcoming.

For an early morning workout head to…

Oceanside yoga at Jamaica Inn followed by laps of the turquoise cove.

Where should we go for breakfast?

Summer House – they do an excellent brunch!

How about for a long, lazy lunch?

Stush in the Bush – lunch heaven. Expect eight courses of plant-based feasting with the incredibly knowledgeable and welcoming hosts, Lisa and Christopher.

Your favourite restaurant in town?

Miss T’s – a hidden gem in the centre of Ocho Rios serving the most delicious Jamaican food, juices, cocktails, and wine.

And for dinner with friends?

Budget: It’s got to be Scotchies for the best jerk chicken and pork, and the most amazing atmosphere.

Blow Out: The Bizot Bar at GoldenEye – a true blow out, but worth it for the views (and James Bond heritage).

The drink to order at the bar…

A ‘vesper Martini’, with a twist.

The best place for people watching…

The whole place is fabulous for people watching – Friday at the farmers’ market in Ocho Rios is pretty good for watching the world go by.

The culture spot to rave about…

It’s a long drive, but the Blue Lagoon in Port Antonio is well worth the trip.

The best place to treat yourself is… 

Jamaica Inn Ocean Spa.

One place only locals know about…

It’s not necessarily the easiest to get to, however, it is one of the most unique. It’s called Floyd’s Pelican Bar located on the south side of the island approximately a kilometre off the coast of Parottee Bay in St. Elizabeth (not far from Treasure Beach). It is a tiny bar made of driftwood, stilted on a huge sandbar and has to be one of the most authentically Jamaican places to have a drink in the entire world.

For a change of pace try…

A planters punch at 11:30AM gets you in to the Jamaican swing of things.

In a word, Jamaica is…


Lead photo image @doon.williams

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