Both islands offer pristine beaches, fine dining and luxurious accommodations. But each has its own atmosphere and distinct characteristics that cater to different styles of tropical island vacation. Which Caribbean island is best for your travel preferences?

Jamaica is known for reggae music, its easy-going atmosphere and spanning landscapes, offering the adventurous visitor plenty to explore. Barbados is known for its boutique hotels, intimate culinary scene and authentic island culture for the reserved and relaxed guest. Keep reading to learn more about which Caribbean destination you should visit next.


The island nation of Jamaica is located in the West Indies about 700 miles off the coast of Florida. Historically a valuable colony due to its sugar production, Jamaica finally became independent from England in 1962. Jamaica’s largest city and capital is Kingston, which is thought to be the birthplace of reggae music and has a relaxing, “no worries” atmosphere. Aside from music, the country is known for its beautiful beaches, golf resorts and the popular natural attraction, Dunn’s River Falls.

Dunn River Falls, Jamaica
Photo Credit: Lakeisha Bennett

Attractions and Activities

Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls is located on the North coast of Jamaica near the town of Ochos Rios. It is one of seven natural waterfalls in The Americas that flows directly into the ocean. Thousands of visitors are attracted to the site every year to climb the step-like falls with a guide. The activity takes about an hour, and you’re able to explore the lagoons and surrounding greenery while venturing up the scenic falls.

Dunn's River Falls

Jamaican Golf

Jamaica is also known for its world-class golf! Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second largest city, is a popular spot among golf enthusiasts. According to Golf Digest, Montego Bay has become the Caribbean’s premier golf destination, boasting multiple, newly-renovated courses for guests to play during their visit. The top three courses to play, also mentioned by Golf Digest, include The Tryall Club, The Ritz-Carlton White Witch G Course and the Wyndham Rose Hall Cinnamon Hill Ocean Course. To book a tee time, rates per player for 18 holes range from $115-$200 for all three courses.

Accommodations and Dining

The easy-going atmosphere, accommodation selection and culinary scene are one-of-a-kind in Jamaica. All-inclusive resorts tend to be more popular here. Many of the all-inclusive resorts are located around Montego Bay for easy access to golf courses and water activities. Because the larger resorts include their own restaurants, independent dining options are fewer. But there are still plenty of casual, family-friendly places to choose from in Jamaica! Fresh seafood is always delicious and available throughout the island. Popular Jamaican dishes often include Ackee, a Jamaican fruit, that is usually paired with cod.

Jamaica vs Barbados

Travel Options

Jamaica is 4,243 square miles and is much larger than many other Caribbean islands. It is fairly easy to get to from the U.S. mainland, thanks to its two international airports. Norman Manley International Airport is located in Kingston, on the Southeast side of the island, and Sangster International Airport is located in Montego Bay, on the Northwest side. If you’re staying at a resort, you’ll most likely fly into Sangster. Flight time from New York City to Jamaica is about 4 hours. Jamaica is a great Caribbean destination for the active and adventurous traveler. To view THIRDHOME Exchange and Rental luxury properties, click below.


Offering 60 miles of coastline and located in the eastern Caribbean, is the island nation of Barbados. Like Jamaica, it was also a British colony until its independence in 1966. Due to their relatively recent independence, Barbadian culture remained intertwined with British culture, and many English pastimes were popularized on the island. Traditions such as afternoon tea and cricket matches are still popular among locals. Barbados is known for its luxury boutique hotels, colonial history and unique culture. It is thought to be one of the most prosperous Caribbean islands, touting the 2nd largest GDP per capita among its Caribbean peers.

Jamaica vs. Barbados

Attractions and Activities

Harrison’s Cave

A popular tourist attraction among outdoor explorers offers an experience unlike many others in the Caribbean: Harrison’s Cave. Visitors are able to venture into the caverns below Mount Hillaby. The cave was discovered in 1785, but its plethora of small passageways and nooks underneath the island weren’t fully mapped until the mid-1970s. Both walking tours and a moving tram are available for explorers wanting to take part in the subterranean experience.

Harrison's Cave

Folkestone Marine Park

Family-friendly activities besides lounging beachside are easily accessible in Barbados due to its smaller size. Barbados is known to have one of the lowest crime rates and some of the friendliest locals in the Caribbean. So if you’re wanting to explore the island a bit, activities are always close by and locals are happy to help point you in the right direction. A great option for families is Folkestone Marine Park. It is located on the west coast and is a fabulous spot to snorkel and interact with wildlife. An artificial reef was created by the shipwrecked Stavronikita, a Greek freighter that sank in 1956. Paddle boarding, diving and kayaking are also popular activities in the area.

Accommodations and Dining

Barbados is known for its high-end hotels that offer a unique and authentic island holiday like no other. Large, all-inclusive resorts are not common in Barbados, as affluent, low capacity hotels with intimidate atmospheres populate the island. Sunsets on the west coast of the island are unparalleled. This is especially true when dining at one of many boutique waterfront restaurants in western Barbados. A Caribbean sunset paired with local Barbadian cuisine is a match made in heaven. Barbadian food features a mix of African, Indian, Irish, Creole and British inspiration; a unique combination you won’t want to miss out on.

Travel Options

Barbados is only 166 square miles, about 26 times smaller than Jamaica! Grantley Adams International Airport is the only airport on the island and is located in Christchurch, on the southern coast. It’s important to note that when visiting Barbados, the exchange rate between Barbadian dollars and U.S. dollars is fixed at $2 BBD to every $1 USD. Barbados is a frequently visited destination by smaller groups, families and couples that are looking for a more relaxed yet luxurious stay. Click below to view THIRDHOME luxury Exchange and Rental properties in Barbados.

So, which Caribbean island is best for you?

Jamaica and Barbados are both luxurious and fabulous island destinations but are different in their respective ways. Any beachgoer would love to be on either coastline this very minute! But, it truly comes down to your own travel preferences. Jamaica is a great option for non-family travelers or large groups that are looking for an island escape with plenty of amenities. Visitors to Jamaica can expect multiple luxury golf resorts and accommodations. Traveling families and couples looking for a more intimate getaway should visit Barbados. Known for its safe atmosphere and friendly locals, visitors can expect an authentic island escape and child-friendly activities in Barbados. In the end, both Caribbean islands offer opportunities to create unforgettable travel memories.

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THIRDHOME is the luxury property and travel club for second home owners that enables its members to explore the world through a variety of travel experiences. If you’re interested in learning more, please click here.


Italy Jamaica

Concierge Local Experiences | Italy

THIRDHOME members have the option to add-on to their stays by using the club’s Travel & Concierge service. In Italy, for instance, members can embark on gastronomic tours of the city, discover hidden art scenes and book local sommeliers for tastings. This particular local experience was based out of the historic Palazzo 1619 Burano in Venice. If you want truly authentic experiences with your THIRDHOME trips be sure to give the Travel & Concierge service a try.

THIRDHOME member David says, “Liz, we just wanted to share with you that we’re having a great time and have really enjoyed all of our guided experiences you arranged for us in Venice. This was our first stay booked with THIRDHOME at the charming Palazzo 1619 Burano residence in the Venetian isle…thank you for planning the amazing artisan tours and private art-religious-culinary experiences…Each and every tour, including all the guides, were just out of this world. Thank you!” click here to read more of David’s review


Italy Jamaica

Tryall Wheelhouse | Jamaica

Nestled in idyllic Sandy Bay, this Tryall Private Club property is perfect for experiencing the white sands of Jamaica. The property itself has an open floor plan, designed to let the tropical landscape into the bright living spaces. Visit the private white sand beach for a swim or take one of the complimentary sea kayaks for a spin. When you’re not sunbathing on the beach enjoy the resort’s world-class par 72 golf course. This property also includes a full-service staff. Be sure to check out the Tryall Wheelhouse for your next Jamaican getaway.

THIRDHOME member Douglas and Kimberly say, “What a wonderful week we had at the Wheelhouse! The Villa is beautiful and the views are spectacular. We started off with a few days of rain, but the staff, especially Gavin came up with all kinds of fun things for our kids to do!” click here to read more of Douglas and Kimberly’s review


Members, click here to view all available weeks and plan your next THIRDHOME trip. Remember, you must be logged in to your account to see availability.

Want more information about our luxury home exchange club? Click here to learn more about THIRDHOME.

THIRDHOME “Tercera Casa” es un intercambio internacional de casas de lujo. Este concepto crea una tercera opción para disfrutar las vacaciones. Uno de los inconvenientes más frecuentes de ser propietario de una casa de vacaciones es la monotonía del viaje. Con un intercambio de casas, se puede seleccionar un destino diferente por una semana en la casa de otro miembro.

Por ejemplo, si es propietario de una casa en el capital de Guatemala y posee una segunda casa vacacional en La Antigua Guatemala, su opción está limitada a pasar sus vacaciones en La Antigua. Cuando se decide a salir del país y viajar por ejemplo a Belice, no se está utilizando la casa vacacional y por lo tanto está perdiendo costo en el mantenimiento cuando no se usa frecuentemente. THIRDHOME le puede ayudar a cambiar este problema y darle una solución al agregar su propiedad a una selección exclusiva de 10,500 propiedades en más de 95 países. Para poder aplicar a la membresía, sólo necesita ser propietario de una segunda casa y de una pasión para viajar en lujo. Por cada semana que usted está en el sistema de THIRDHOME usted adquiere “llaves” para viajar a la casa de un otro miembro. Para obtener más información, puedes visitar nuestro sitio de web en

A continuación le invitamos a ver un ejemplo de estas propiedades:

Marbella, España

intercambio de casa spain

Disfrute de las vistas del Mediterráneo desde esta villa andaluza, mientras toma mojitos junto a la piscina.

Bariloche, Argentina

intercambio de casa bariloche

Un escape a las montañas de los Andes, como Pablo Neruda, en esta suntuosa mansión en Bariloche.

Kalafati, Grecia

intercambio de casa grecia

Planear una semana de sueño en el Mediterráneo, con un personal de 7 personas, no tendrá que levantar ni un dedo.

Montejo Bay, Jamaica

intercambio de casa jamaica

Para un viaje de familia, esta villa en Jamaica acomoda hasta 8 personas.


Si está interesado en saber cómo puede aprovechar su casa de vacaciones para viajar por el mundo, póngase en contacto haciendo clic en el link abajo.


Póngase en contacto

Bring out your inner James Bond on this Curated Journey to Jamaica! Not only did Ian Fleming (the author of James Bond) live in Jamaica, it was also the filming location for many iconic moments in the James Bond movies. This journey includes a stay at two incredible resorts, one in the mountains and one on the beach.



3 Nights at  Strawberry Hill

Strawberry Hill is located in the heart of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains and has impressive sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. Your stay includes accommodations, daily breakfast, airport transfers and arrival cocktails. Fun optional tours are available including hiking through a coffee estate, a guided trip through Kingston, and a Jamaican music roots tour.




4 Nights at GoldenEye

GoldenEye is located exactly on the land where Ian Fleming wrote all of the James Bond novels. Included are accommodations, glass-bottom boat outings each morning, a snorkeling tour of the reef, tennis court access, and non-motorized water activities. Optional tours while staying at GoldenEye include a day at Pantrepant Farm, a day exploring Port Antonio, or having tea with artist Laura Facey.


If you book this Curated Journey between May 31-December 19, 2017 (subject to availability) you will receive a special discounted rate including a $100 resort credit that can be applied towards dining. In addition, you will receive a 30-minute Blackwell Rum Scrub spa treatment. 

Ready to explore the island that inspired such an iconic character? Click here for more information and to reserve your trip to Jamaica.


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