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Favorite thing: Life is hard in Jamaica, something that the all-inclusive paradises can't disguise. "No problem, mon" is just an expression to sell a spirit, or a feeling, but people works hard in the meantime.
We hadn't many opportunities to meet real life, and maybe it wouldn't be easy for tourists adverse to "ganza culture", but I caught the sensation of bypassing the real Jamaica.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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Favorite thing: Just upon arrival we were surprised by the weight of Spain in the hotel. I don't know if the costumers were mainly Spanish, but the animation was clearly controlled by Spanish people, as I confirmed later.
This is not a critic but a compliment, since Spanish are masters giving life to their hotels and filling the guests hours with good moments.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Favorite thing: Different to many other places in the tropics, we didn't see many remains of colonial times, colonial architecture apart. The quick image a British looking church when passing by Montego bay, was the closest image to what I was expecting.
Maybe it is there, but kept in all-inclusive comfort by the sea, we couldn't watch it.Related to:
- Historical Travel
always pay in jamaican dollars!!
Favorite thing: in jamaica they will change auro or us in any cambio you have to find the best cambio in town still!! yesterday i change some euros it was 117 jamaican dollars for one euro but the coast of life is the same one than in the euro zone when you go to a shop!! one big mistake is to pay directly in euros or us because a shop will change it for you at the highest rate they can find!! you ll get far more for your money in the best cambio!!i can recommand a good cambio in ocho rios in OCEAN VILLAGE PLAZA behind the public beach they always give the best rate!! but in negril i don t know just walk and compare there is competition between cambio and bear the us rate exchange in mind so that when somebody propose a price in us and you want to pay in jamaican dollars they do not fool you again with the exchange rate !! you must stay vigilant and ready to discuss cause there are many traps for the tourist!! it is a pity if you don t come out of the resort do not be frightened police is everywhere in the touristcities!! SERAPHINE
Fondest memory: what i miss the most could be the breeze or swim endlessly in the seawater in shades of blue and green and also the freedom of going in casual clothes in a place where everything is much more simple and loose than in a western society!! the individual is strong in jamaica there is always a particular case that s why nothing is working perfect and the unexpected is always there !! the level of indiscipline is equal to the level of humanity with good and bad sides!! that s why the police is always there to force taximen to park in their spots and they will never do it!! this generates a lot of fun for the spectator cause the disorder is quite admirable and this creates also a lot of fun!! one thing with jamaica is that you will see a lot of people play and lauph in the streets !! but also on the other side some selfish behaviour!! the fact about this island is that this is a place of contrasts that can stimulate your ability to understand human beings!! and that is good for your personal development!!! SERAPHINE
Favorite thing: The city of Kingston is Jamaica's capital and largest city, with about 700,000 inhabitants. Downtown Kingston is the center of the nation's business and finance, and is one of the most important cities in the Caribbean region.
The Spanish established the first settlement in Jamaica, called Port Royal, which was at the tip of the peninsula that forms Kingston Harbour. Port Royal eventually became a town controlled by pirates, and the harbor sheltered pirate ships and fleets. In 1655, Oliver Cromwell sailed the English fleet into Kingston Harbour and captured Port Royal with little resistance from the pirates or the Spanish, who still had nominal control over the area. The British retained control of Jamaica until independence was declared in 1962. In 1692 Port Royal was leveled by an earthquake, and the survivors established a new town, called Kings Town (later shortened to Kingston), across the bay on the Liguanea Plain between the sea and the Blue Mountains. In the eighteenth century, Kingston became one of the most important trading centers in the Caribbean. Jamaica was the world's largest producer of sugar, and Kingston was the port from which the sugar was exported to Europe. The merchants gained wealth and political power, and as a result of their pressure, the capital of Jamaica was transferred from Spanish Town to Kingston in 1872.
In the 1960s, the development of Kingston's business district attracted companies, many of which established their Caribbean headquarters here. A building boom created office towers and other development, and an influx of shops and restaurants helped to make Kingston a cosmopolitain city. However, in the 1970s outbreaks of violent crime and riots led to a decline in tourism throughout the island, and the fortunes of Kingston declined significantly.
Nowadays, Kingston is rarely visited by the tourists who stay at the hotels and resorts on the north coast. However, there are attractions in Kingston that make a day trip to the city worthwhile, including historic sites, attractive gardens, and wealthy neighborhoods with tree-lined avenues and expensive homes. Nevertheless, the city in general is large and not very attractive. Much of Kingston is characterized by slums where feral goats and wild dogs roam the streets, eating the garbage. Violent crime still persists in these slum areas which should therefore be avoided by tourists.
Favorite thing: With about 82,000 inhabitants, Montego Bay is Jamaica's second-largest city, and is the country's tourism capital. Montego Bay is the gateway to most of Jamaica's resorts and hotels, which are located on the north coast not far from the city. Montego Bay itself has no shortage of beach resorts, golf courses, historic great houses, restaurants, and night clubs. Most travelers arriving in Jamaica land here.
The large bay on which Montego Bay is situated was first visited by Christopher Columbus in 1494. He named the bay El Golfo de Buen Tiempo, which means the "Fair Weather Gulf." The Spanish established a fort to protect the strategic bay, and a settlement grew up around the fort. The Spanish called their settlement Bahía de Manteca, which would eventually be corrupted to Montego Bay under the British. Manteca is the Spanish word for "lard" or "fat," and refers to pigs' butter which was made from feral hogs and exported to Spanish colonies in South America and the Caribbean.
In 1655, Oliver Cromwell's Caribbean Expedition seized Jamaica from Spain. Under the British, Jamaica became the world's leading source of sugar. The area around Montego Bay was a major producer of sugar and bananas, and the town grew in size and importance. Slaves were imported to work the sugar and banana plantations and they soon outnumbered their masters. Jamaica's first slave revolt occured in Montego Bay and other revolts soon followed across the island. After slavery was abolished in 1834, sugar was no longer being produced in large quantities and Montego Bay declined economically. However, with the growth in tourism that began in the early twentieth century, Montego Bay again became an important part of Jamaica's economy.
Movies/books set in Jamaica
Favorite thing: Before I travel, I always like to see movies set in the location I'm traveling to or find a good book to read whether it be fiction or non fiction.
I can only think of one book that I've read featuring Jamaica which is Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, fans of the novel "Jane Eyre" will recognize the main character, Mr. Rochester and his first wife, the mysterious woman in the attic in "Jane Eyre". A movie version of this book also exists.
Movies filmed in Jamaica that are also set in Jamaica include "Dr. No", the 1st James Bond movie ever with Sean Connery and Ursula Andress as "Honey Ryder" in that famous bikini (the author, Ian Fleming, had a house in Jamaica), "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", with Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs, which could be a travel commercial for the lush beauty of Jamica; "Cool Runnings" about the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team; and "The Harder They Come" a "blaxploitation" film set in Kingston with reggae artist Jimmy Cliff.
Ochos Rios Jamacia, beautiful...but
Favorite thing: Very beautiful and lush. Very Mountainous in the Ochos Rios area and was so beautiful to cruise into harbour.
The area we were in was especially poor and we were bothered constantly. Everyone wanted to be our taxi driver, tour guide or lead us to "a friend's shop". Been to Mexico many times and they seem laid back compared to Jamacians. I understand it's desperately poor but pushing so hard and making tourists feel unsafe is going to drive tourism from this area. We were just there for the day as we were on a cruise.
I personally would not go to this area of Jamacia.
Fondest memory: The beauty of the scenery, mountains and that tacky but fun picture Terry had taken with his Jamaican "hotties".
All of Kingston is NOT a Government Yard
Favorite thing: Kingson is as safe as any large city with problems. There are areas where you DON'T want to venture, and areas that you shouldn't miss. Botanical gardens, museums, galleries, University of the West Indies. Try www.couchsurfing.com and locate folks who live in Kingston, most will be quite happy to show you around their city. If you travel smart and use common sense, you should do well in any city you visit. Enjoy your time there!Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Business Travel
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: Kingson is as safe as any large city with problems. There are areas where you DON'T want to venture, and areas that you shouldn't miss. Botanical gardens, museums, galleries, University of the West Indies. Try www.couchsurfing.com and locate folks who live in Kingston, most will be quite happy to show you around their city. If you travel smart and use common sense, you should do well in any city you visit. Enjoy your time there!
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Soaking Up The Culture
Favorite thing: I wish, I could have interacted with more of the people and soaked up more of the culture than just being stuck in a resort, I am a hands on kind of person and I enjoy learing the ways of the other people along with their lives. Being tied into a resort keeps you safe and thats always good but I wanted to seek more of the people and culture.
Fondest memory: Dunns River Falls was for sure the greatest experiece by far and the crazy horse from Prospect Plantation.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
driving on your own
Favorite thing: Hello Daisy ,I was in Negril for 4 months over the winter & purchased a scooter to tour around on. Contrary to what was posted earlier, I would have to somewhat disagree. I would assume that you would be using it for day trips in which case you just take your time (your on vacation) the local people are very helpfull with directions and you should not be afraid to stop and ask , especially the small buisnesses these people will help.
There are however many large potholes on all of the roads (thats why u take your time) if someone wants to pass , let them, who cares. Night driving can be a challange in the country so I always tried to get back to my base by dark though. Places like Negril are well lit so you can drive all over at night without any problems ( sometimes you just have too much fun to leave a rest. earlie)
As mentioned they do drive on the left, a little freaky but just keep thinking LEFT o.k. Next , I purchased a great map at the gas station. Very clear with all of the villages on it although if you get off the beaten path you pretty much remember the name of the village and ask someone NO PROBLEM it is usually a 4 corner main intersection and your off on the right track. Road signes are there but not as many as in Canada or the USA so just keep an eye open & you will usually see one with the milage to or direction for your destination.
Hope this helps, any others I can reply if u wish....have a great trip mon.
Favorite thing: Although US dollars are widely accepted in most places frequented by tourists, it's worth getting a small amount changed into Jamaican currency. You'll need this if you want to buy anything in local shops, such as the ubiquitous drink shacks where sodas and beers are such great value. And even in the tourist places you'll find prices a little lower if you can pay in Jamaican dollars rather than US ones.
When we were there the exchange rate was 65 Jamaican dollars to US$1, so you can see that this fifty dollar bill is worth only about 80 cents.
If you don't want to bother changing money you can still do as we did and save the Jamaican dollars you'll be given as change in some places to use as payment in local bars and shops.
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Favorite thing: Jamaica is a green and fertile island, and we saw many of the fruit and vegetables that we enjoyed at mealtimes growing beside the road as we explored. These included the bright red ackee fruits, which are only safe to eat when they have split to reveal the creamy yellow flesh inside; bananas; coconut and date palms; lemons; pineapple; calabash (used for crafts e.g. bowls, not to eat) and of course the famous Blue Mountain coffee.
In the gardens of Peter Tosh’s mausoleum in the south west of the island we were shown a more notorious crop, but one which is closely associated with Jamaican culture: cannabis.
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Favorite thing: The national bird of Jamaica is the delightful Doctor Bird or Streamertail. The reason for the second name is obvious as soon as you look at one, but why the first? We were told by our hosts at the Blue House that in the past doctors on the island wore very formal suits, with coat-tails, very much like the long tail feathers that trail behind this little hummingbird. Another popular name for the bird is swallowtail, and again you can see why.
You’ll see many depictions of the Doctor Bird in Jamaica – a stylised image is used on the tail fins of Air Jamaica’s planes, and many other companies use it in advertising. But none of these images come close to the beauty of the real thing, with its iridescent colours and darting movements.
Fondest memory: One of my favourite times of day at the Blue House was the early morning, when I would sit out on the terrace with a cup of Darryl’s strong coffee, grateful to Michael who always got up first and got the coffee machine going! The Doctor Birds too would be just waking up and flitting from flower to flower, while I tried (almost always in vain) to capture them with my camera. This is my best attempt of probably about 100!
Later in the holiday we went to the Bird Sanctuary at Rocklands (more on my Negril page) where we were able to get really close to and study these birds as they perched on our fingers to drink sugar water – what a special experience that was.Related to:
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