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All About Jamaica
Jamaica is the land where reggae was born, and the musical rhythms of this island nation define its people. But music isn't all there is to regional culture. The island's literature, dance, and other arts are infused with something unique something distinctly Jamaican.
Most of Jamaica's island crafts are emblazoned with Jamaica's most popular colors red, gold, and green. These colors can be found on everything from clothes to trinkets and smaller souvenirs. Jamaica's sculpture and fine arts are also well-known. Island leaders have brought the work of local artists to the attention of the international arts community.
Another way to catch a glimpse of Jamaica's color is to see it on film. Whether you're catching the latest Hollywood blockbuster shot in Jamaica or a movie set in the streets of Kingston, there are many different ways to see Jamaica on the big or small screen. Literature is also an important part of the island's arts. In fact, Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond novels, lived on Jamaica.
The best of Jamaica's literature comes from a number of sources. Those who moved to the island, like Fleming, only account for a small part of the island's literary success. Several Jamaican authors and poets have published accounts of life on the island. And Jamaica's folk stories truly capture the imagination.
Similarly, folk dances are energetic and vibrant expressions. With colorful costumes and movements that depict a wide range of experiences, from country stories to street life, the National Theater Company is just one popular way to see some of the island's best. But those looking for the latest popular dance styles can look in Kingston's dance halls. Jamaica's dances have become some of the island's most popular exports.
Theater is equally as important as dance, and many small theater companies have sprung up around the island. So, whether you're looking for an afternoon's entertainment or a performance that's a bit more black tie, you're sure to find it on Jamaica.
And of course no matter where you go, you'll hear music. Jamaica is world famous for its musical diversity that reaches beyond reggae. Ska, rocksteady, mento, and the more modern dancehall and ragga are just a few musical variations you'll hear.
Get ready to catch a glimpse of something vibrant, powerful, and beautifully Jamaican. The island's culture springs forward in local arts and entertainment.
Jamaica is one of the three islands in the Northern Caribbean forming the Greater Antilles. It is the largest English-speaking country in the Caribbean Sea, stretching 146 miles from east to west. Jamaica is well placed on the worlds major shipping and airline routes.
The countrys name is derived from an Arawak (aboriginal Indian) word Xaymaca, meaning land of wood and water. And so it is. With waterfalls, and springs, rivers and streams flowing from the forest-clad mountains to the fertile plains, Jamaica has one of the richest and most varied landscapes in the region.
For those who like to explore, the island offers a feast of contrasts. The north coast, with its popular resort areas of Montego Bay, Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio, features fine coral beaches and broad plains where sugar cane, coconuts and citrus fruits are grown. On the western tip of the island is Negril, once a remote, swampy outpost but now a beachcombers paradise. The southern region of the island offers a rugged coastline where majestic mountains plunge into the sea - like inspirational Lover's Leap in St. Elizabeth, a 1500-foot cliff of romantic legend.
The center of the island is mostly mountainous and heavily wooded, spotted occasionally with small mining towns and villages. And, of course, there's the famous Cockpit Country in the Northwest region, an eerie terrain of conical hills and deep sinkholes. The central mountain range, dominated by the 7,402-foot Blue Mountain, divides the south coast of the island from the north and extends from Half Moon Bay to Portland. This great variety of terrain and climate allows virtually everything to grow here.
Visitors can step into a country market and see a vast array of tropical fruits and vegetables with such unfamiliar names as callaloo, dasheen, soursop, breadfruit, cho-cho, ackee and Otaheite apple. Jamaica's main exports (other than tourism) are sugar, citrus fruits, bananas, spices, bauxite and world-famous Blue Mountain coffee.