Mandeville, Jamaica has for years been one of the most preferred destination for returning residents and expatriates. The town is popular with PeaceCorp volunteers and tourists because of its low crime rate, business friendly environment and first class amenities.

Mandeville was founded in 1814 and is named after Lord Mandeville, son of a former governor of Jamaica. Some of the original buildings still stand today such as the parish church, the village green and the courthouse. The town is the capital of the parish of Manchester and is the fifth largest urban center in Jamaica. Mandeville’s altitude is over 2000 feet and the town has an almost temperate climate which is one of the attractions which pulled visitors to the town from the days when there were sugar plantations.

Once likened to an English town, Mandeville over the years has transformed into a North American esque town with numerous fast food franchises, first class amenities and an orderly public system. Mandeville has numerous upscale suburbs and housing is in high demand which makes accommodation expensive. Apartments are quickly sold or rented as soon as they enter the market.

Of worthy mention is that Mandeville is the pioneer of community tourism in Jamaica. The concept is popular with tourists who prefer an alternative to the sun and sand all inclusive tourism experience. Visitors pay to stay with locals where they are provided with food, accommodation, tours and souvenirs.

There are three universities in Jamaica and Mandeville is home to the Northern Caribbean University, the only one located outside of the capital Kingston. Its programs have attracted thousands of students both locally and internationally which has made some persons calling for Mandeville to be designated a university town.

Mandeville is the economic capital of Central Jamaica and many prominent businesses, banks and government institutions are based in the town. It owes its economic prowess to the bauxite industry which started with the opening of Jamaica’s first bauxite plant at nearby Kirkvine in 1952. The success of the industry enabled Mandeville to develop rapidly in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Mandeville, Jamaica has the distinction of being one of the first urban centers in the Caribbean to have a comprehensive electronic surveillance system. An initiative between the business community and the government, the system has contributed to the maintenance of public order and a reduction of criminal activities in the town. A reserve army base is located on the town’s perimeter and there is also a regional police headquarters in the heart of the town.

The development of modern highways has reduced the travel time to Kingston and Montego Bay, the two major cities in Jamaica. Mandeville has been plagued for years with water problems because of its elevation which makes the pumping of water difficult. This has been a cause of concern for developers when they are planning large housing developments.

© Nicholas Dixon

Author's Bio: 

Nicholas Dixon is the Webmaster of, a website about the salubrious highland town of Mandeville, Jamaica which is the home of the first golf course in the Caribbean.