Let’s not beat around the photography bush on this one. There are stunning pictures of Jamaica to be taken at virtually every turn. Yes, you’ll use up a fair few MBs, snapping away at the dreamy shores, but for the keen-eyed photographer the options are endless. Jamaica’s waterways hold a few secrets, abandoned buildings offer more than just ghost stories and the mountains deliver more than just a jaw-dropping landscape shot. Wherever you are on the island, you’ll want a cameraphone at the very least.
Let’s cast aside the tropical marine life that darts in and out of the rockier parts of Jamaica’s coast for a second. Why? Because there are greater photography treasures to be sought out. The sunken pirate village from the 17th century is a cracking spot for a bit of maritime archaeological snapping. There’s just the slight problem of access. You’ll need to have a chat with the Jamaican government just to be allowed to dive the waters of Port Royal. Pictures of Jamaica aren’t always easy to come by, but if you do get permission, there’s much to catalogue on the sea bed. If you can’t get to the sunken city, there’s a nearby wreck that makes a mighty consolation prize. Languishing on the sand since 1944, The Texas is an American Navy ship with gun turrets, an impressive propeller, and coral covered decks.
Orbzii tip: Due to the location of the Texas, you’ll have to check in with the harbour master for a safe time to dive. It’s not the currents that are the problem, but the fairly busy shipping lanes.
How do you feel about a little bit of UrbEx? Nothing too sketchy, just an abandoned church to get some very atmospheric pictures of Jamaica that hold up to scrutiny a little more than the cocktail-round-the-pool classics. Duppy Church is just down the road from Manchester’s Mile Gully. Free to enter – as you’d expect from a crumbling relic, it’s a pretty safe spot but it’s wise to nip into the local police station and let them know you’ll be poking around the ruins to get a few shots. The islander’s have many a tall tale to tell about the ghosts that are said to haunt the church and graveyard. Make sure you visit during the day – taxi drivers refuse to stop near here at night. Turns out, they really are a superstitious lot.
Not a category you’ll typically find in photography articles. Mainly because places where you can snap away at glistening micro-plankton are few and far between. But Montego Bay gives you the chance to get some very different pictures of Jamaica. Hop on the Glistening Waters tour. Make sure you’ve got those camera settings just so and enjoy an hour-long light show in the Luminous Lagoon waters. Yes, it’s a bit of a tourist-trap with a restaurant, cocktails and night swimming, but it’s probably one of the easiest ways to snap bioluminescence in the world.
Photographers in the know tend to head to Treasure Beach for a snap or two. And, it has its merits. A generally quiet spot, it’s easier to get that abandoned beach vibe here than almost anywhere else. The only problem could be that everything of note has been papped here. If you’re looking for something more exclusive, try to find a way into Frenchman’s Cove. This private estate is now a rather plush hotel, and one of the island’s best beaches for photography. Every hue you’d expect from a Caribbean beach is on point. The sands are as white as they get, so naturally the sea is the kind of turquoise you can only dream of. Even the trees get in on the act, flanking the cove with some softening foliage. There’s a reason Queen Elizabeth II dropped in for a holiday here back in the day.
When you see pictures of Jamaica, you’d be forgiven for thinking that, by law, all cameras must point their lenses towards the ocean. Turquoise and stunning as those shores are, the John Crow Mountains can more than compete on the landscape front. Trot up into the hills and you’ve got access to 100,000 acres of national park. The Blue and John Crow Mountains join forces and culminate in a whopping area of tropical rainforest. Vantage points naturally come at a price. We’re talking a 4 hour schlep to reach Jamaica’s highest view point. But along the Blue Mountain Peak Trail you’ll have the chance to capture shots of some of the island’s rare endemic birds and plants. Not a bad trade, all things considered.
It’s rare you’ll find us recommending a touristy spot when we’re in the business of tipping you off to secret places. But sometimes we just have to. And, when it comes to getting pictures of Jamaica, we can’t overlook the Martha Brae River raft experience. If your camera equipment can withstand a little excess moisture, getting shots from a river raft offers you some chances to get pictures from angles you could never normally access. Low shots close to the surface, snaps from the middle of the river – or even a river raft selfie. The river ride itself? Well it’s a calm and soothing 3 mile drift through Cockpit County. Tree-flanked, the banks are awash with tropical fruits and some of Jamaica’s wildlife.