In some ways, Jamaica and San Francisco are cultural cousins.
Both boast a laid back ambience and a tradition of artists, writers and musicians who have left an indelible mark on global countercultures.
So if you’re a local leaving The City by the Bay to vacation in Jamaica for the first time, there’s every chance you’ll feel at home there but you might welcome some savvy insider knowledge.
With that in mind, here are seven tips for a vibesy Jamaican vacay:
Fancy chilling out on the unspoilt shores of St Elizabeth parish in a pretty pastel-coloured adobe villa set in a compact, chic, boho resort? Then staying at paradisiacal Jakes in Treasure Beach will beright up your street.
The biennial Calabash festival is also held in Treasure Beach. It’s an intimate affair where you can enjoy readings from literary heavyweights like Zadie Smith and Salman Rushdie during the day and share a beachside beer with them in the evening – calabashfestival.org has all the info.
3. Zion Country
Nestled between the John Crow Mountains and a private Caribbean beach where you can spot manatees, Zion Country eco resort is undiluted, off-the-beaten-track brilliance. Book a cabin at zioncountry.com.
4. Harbour View Roundabout
Follow the main road from Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport and you hit Harbour View Roundabout before turning left for the city centre – pause for a culinary pitstop and pick up some delicious jerk chicken from spice guru Robert Breary.
5. Rebel Salute
If you’re a San Fran music fan planning ahead for next year’s Jamdown vacay, don’t forget that the Rebel Salute reggae festival is held annually at the end of January. This Rasta-run gathering in rural St Ann is teetotal, but features world-class music, vegan food and indigenous herbal medicine.
6. Bob Marley Museum, Kingston
The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston is at 56 Hope Road, the sprawling uptown home where he spent the last years of his life playing football, relaxing with his bredren and recording awesome albums like Exodus. It also bears the bullet holes from his failed 1976 assassination attempt. Find opening times at bobmarleymuseum.com.
Firefly in St Mary is the former home of playwright and polymath Sir Noel Coward. Originally the mountaintop lookout of notorious privateer Sir Henry Morgan, its sublime view across the Spanish Main makes it one of the world’s most picturesque spots. Firefly-jamaica.com has the lowdown.
You won’t struggle to find flights from San Francisco to Jamaica with carriers like American, Jetblue and Delta, but bag a bargan by checking a comparison site like skyscanner.net.
Meanwhile, if you prefer reaching departures in your own ride, find SFO parking at Looking4.com and book early for the best deals.
So ends our list, but please share your own SFO to Jamaica vacay tips in the comments section.