Jamaica is well-known for its reggae culture and was home to the legendary Bob Marley. It is also home to some of the world’s fastest sprinters. From its coffees and crafted rums to stunning beaches along the Caribbean’s coast and magnificent waterfalls in rainforests, there’s no reason for every traveler not to include wonderful Jamaica in their bucket lists. For first time travelers in this charming country, here are ten tips for a more enjoyable and safer vacation.
10 Stay Out Of The All-inclusive Resorts
For travelers seeking to see more of Jamaica, staying in an all-inclusive resort will limit a Jamaican trip. The country is not just all about the resort hotels and infinity pools, and the best way to explore the country is by staying at local guesthouses and lodges. Through this, guests will obtain local recommendations such as where to go, eat, and do. It also gives the tourists a chance to interact with the locals.
9 Take Route Taxis
Route taxis are the most common means of transportation in Jamaica, with each taxi following a specific itinerary and charging a set cost. Route taxis are less expensive than private taxis, sometimes known locally as chartered taxis, making them more convenient. From the airport to downtown Montego Bay, it should only cost J$100, which is comparable to US$1, and from Montego Bay to Negril, it should cost J$475 or US$4. The fee for other locations will depend on the route taken, but it will almost certainly not surpass US$10.
8 Do Not Stay Longer In Negril
Negril is a beautiful place, but it is touristy and expensive, especially for travelers on a tight budget. It is recommended that those who wish to visit Negril stay for no more than two days. Furthermore, Negril's seven-mile beach will be swarming with people and hustlers hounding tourists to buy their goods. As an alternative, look for other beaches in Jamaica, such as Winnifred Beach near Port Antonio, which are less crowded, more tranquil, and surrounded by nature.
7 Use Common Sense
Tourists need not be concerned about their safety to protect their belongings from thieves. Tourists are urged to bring a black plastic bag and place their essentials inside to avoid becoming targets. Thieves, and even locals, would not suspect that the plastic bag contained a camera, money, or anything else valuable. Jamaica has a high number of tourists. Therefore, it is safe to visit; travelers should only use common sense to keep themselves safe.
6 Best Time To Visit
The off-season is the best visit because everything is substantially less expensive. There will be fewer hassles, fewer tourists, lower lodging prices, and more opportunities to bargain. The off-season lasts from about the middle of May until December. From November to December, the weather in the islands is ideal, with temperatures ranging from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit. It is also the best time to discover hotel and flight deals. Summertime offers lower rates, but the drawback is that it is also hurricane season.
5 Don't Just Stay At The Beaches
Jamaica is well-known for its turquoise blue Caribbean waters and white sand beaches, but it offers much more. Many lush green mountains, stunning caverns, breathtaking waterfalls, remote settlements, and other natural beauties to explore. It is a challenge for every tourist to wander around the country and venture further away from the shores. Furthermore, several guided tours provide off-the-beaten-path activities in Jamaica, such as calm rafting, Rastafari experiences, river and waterfall combo trips, and so on.
4 Eat At Local Restaurants
Local eateries are perfect for travelers looking for a less expensive yet delicious supper. Numerous local restaurants serve more traditional cuisine, and travelers may ask locals for recommendations. The majority of the local restaurants also serve highly distinctive Jamaican cuisine and beverages. Jamaican cuisine is known for its wide range of spices and flavors. Typical Jamaican meals include Ackee & Saltfish, Curry Goat, Oxtail, Escovitch Fish, Callaloo, etc.
3 Additional Reminders
For travelers visiting the beaches, it is highly recommended to have a sunblock as the temperature in Jamaica can be extra hot, and the sun is extremely intense. At night, make sure to bring a mosquito repellant, especially around sunset, because mosquitos in Jamaica appear once the sun goes down. When it comes to drinking water, tap water is safe in most destinations around the country. Furthermore, most of the plugs in Jamaica are 100 V; thus, it is best to get a universal adapter.
2 Jamaican Currency
Jamaica's currency is the Jamaican Dollar, with 150 JMD equaling one US dollar. Tourists are advised not to exchange cash at the airport because the exchange rate is lower than in the city. ATMs are also operational in Jamaica, allowing travelers to access their savings. US cash is accepted for visitors from the United States, making it easy to deal with the local currency. Furthermore, even if ATMs are available, always have cash on hand.
1 Be Respectful
Respecting the locals would also make tourists feel safer and more at ease. Tourists are more likely to approach local merchants when visiting Jamaican craft markets and beaches. The best thing for tourists is to directly say "no" before leaving because not making eye contact with them is considered disrespectful. Furthermore, Jamaicans will appreciate tourists that try to learn their language. Therefore, it's a good idea to acquire a few local phrases.