Jimmy Buffet is to be congratulated. On the strength of one average pop song, he has absolutely taken over the tourist north coast of Jamaica. Margaritaville is everywhere - two in Sangster airport, MoBay, Ocho Rios and Negril. You cannot avoid the advertising for Margaritaville - it is everywhere, as are marketing outlets. I went to the one in MoBay once and believe me that was once too often. In all my travels, I can remember very few places that so completely fit the definition of tourist trap.
The security staff are surly to the point of rudeness. Once inside, if you are a male, you will be totally ignored at the bar until the barmen have decided to stop flirting with the drunken seventeen year old American spring breakers. Assuming you can get a barman to serve you the drinks are expensive and nothing special. I saw one guy spending $36US on a single cocktail. What the hell was in it I have no idea but given that drink on Jamaica is relatively inexpensive it sounded like a rip-off to me.
Now to the entertainment. On the top floor, a DJ was playing the standard Jamaican fare, but was apparently more interested in dancing himself than DJing. Downstairs in the main room, things were little better. There was a dreadlocked MC overseeing such things as a wet T-shirt contest, women faking orgasms on the microphone and him asking various young holidaymakers what was the “freakiest” thing their boyfriends had ever done to them. This last was done to the complete embarrassment of some of the girls on stage and to the point where at least two of them walked off. I’m certainly not young, but I doubt if I would have enjoyed this even 25 years ago.
On the (first available) bus back to the resort I did hear a number of tourists, much younger than me and without prompting, come to the conclusion that “Margaritaville sucks.” I can put it no better myself.
Unique Suggestions: Believe me, you don't have to go there.
Fun Alternatives: The Bobsleigh bar just along the street (Eadt) on the other side is much better.
On our second cruise to Jamaica, we decided we wanted to shop at the Craft Market so the tour bus driver let us off & didn't come back for a couple of hours. Somewhere along the way into the Craft Market, the vendors seperated my husband & I. I kept looking for him but the different shop owners would say, "He's OK..see, he's over there. He was really looking at this item. I think he wanted to buy it but got something for YOU instead." I would buy it for him. He was hearing the same thing from the shop owners where he was. They knew how to work us. He ended up BROKE. My husband is very tight with his money. But they had a way to make you spend..spend...spend...I ended up with enough money for lunch & a couple of drinks at Margaritaville. The little flea market & mall at the terminal has more stuff than the Craft Market.Those shop owners won't reach out & grab you & pull you into their shops & booths. On our way to Margaritaville, this local stopped me & started tying these twine macreme anklets & bracets on me & kept saying they were free when I started to protest..when he finished tying them on, they were suddenly $5.00! So, I advise you to stay clear of that Craft market & the City Center if at all possible. Have the bus driver drop you off in front of wherever you want to go & don't walk. Margaritaville was only about half a block from where we were let off to shop at a little souvinier shop for Blue Mountain Coffee.
Unique Suggestions: My daughter & her friend stayed up front & got their hair braided. They were finished about the time we walked out & the bus came back to get us.
Fun Alternatives: On our first cruise to Jamaica, we went on an Island Tour. It was GREAT! We had the best guy for a tour guide. His name was Norman & he sang, & he told us stries & he told jkes & he pointed out different fruits & explained how to eat them & when to eat them. He pointed out foliage & told us the names. He took us to a gift shop where we weren't bothered by the locals. He took us to a big beautiful place called Richmand Hill (I think it's where most folks get married because it was decorated up for a wedding..beautiful view of the bay), & he took us to The Pork Pit to eat..it was GREAT! I reccomend this tour.
for a few jamaican dollars you can refresh yourself. by the way, you have to know that street sellers and taxi drivers have a local price, and a tourist price. you can pretend being an experienced tourist and pay, almost, the local price. the first thing you need is the jamaican money. only first time tourists pay with us money. the second thing you have to remember is that jamaicans call the local money "jeys", in contraposition to "us", for american dollars. if you want to look really experienced, try this approximation: "ya man. respect! how many jeys you want for a coconut?". if the seller does not smile, you did something wrong. just smile, and repeat your phrase in plain english
Souveniers, gifts and crafts are quite overpriced, so haggle over the price and you'll get an important discount.
Unique Suggestions: If the seller doesn't seem to accept your offer, pretend you are leaving the shop without buying anything, and then he'll say: "OK, I accept!"