Driving in Montego Bay, let's just say, you'll be putting your life in DANGER! These people drive like maniacs and there is only 1 stop sign all the rest are yields. Renting a car is not a good option here! If you do rent a car, get as much insurance as you can and don't drive around town, go on the mountain roads, even those are bad because they drive about 70mgh on a thin little road. There is no tow truck to call in Jamaica, when they wreck a car that is where it will rust away.
The sun is really strong in Jamaica and if you have been hibernating all winter and are pasty white like me, you can get burnt pretty quickly. The 1st day, I swear I got burnt just walking the length of the beach which can't be more than 15 minutes. I've given up on trying to tan and slather 50 SPF sunblock over every inch of my body, spend most of my time under a beach umbrella and still manage to get a few burnt spots, make sure you reapply frequently if you are in the water. Don't forget the top of your head which can burn as well, I always bring along a light colored hat to wear to keep my part from burning.
Another danger in the sun, especially if you are enjoying the all inclusive heavily rum fortified drinks, is dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water.
When we got off the Suncat to do some shopping near Margheritaville, we were offered drugs at least twice in five minutes! We found it very distressing, as a man followed us saying "I got sth for ya". We didn't even look at him, but he kept insisting till a guy (I think it was someone from the shop) asked him to go away. So do be careful while walking around the city.
In the last few years Jamaica has made a cross country highway. There are hardly any signs informing you of the speed (I can't remember any). The point is that on any smooth road, guys like myself like to put the foot on the accelerator. DON'T! There are cops lurking in wait to catch you in the act. Like Britain it is a stealth tax, a means of making money for the government. Unlike Britain it comes without the warning of a yellow speed camera or speed limit signs. Most will write you a ticket but there are some who will ask you the very interesting question, "What can you do for yourself?", meaning "How much are you willing to give me to avoid a ticket?"
To all my USA travelers, when going here or anywhere in Jamaica for that matter. Please travel as light as you can. When you get there, keep a keen eye on all your luggage and keep them close at hand. The contents are easy resale items. When you arrive to your hotel, have things like your ID and passport put away and do not walk with them. They are hot items to the locals to steal. I am sure no one wants a great trip ruined by theft.
One of the scams seems to be for the person that inspects your car when you return it to the rental office to say you have damaged it. We were accused of causing body damage when there obviously was none.
Lucky for us we had taken photos of the car before we left the lot and on the return.
The photos showed the insurance company that there was no damage done and it was dropped.
Locals are always trying to sell you drugs and always try to get you in their shops.
Honestly, if you don't like that, then don't go off the resort. We went off the resort and many people tried to sell us stuff and it was really hard to feel comfortable.
i dont know where i picked up the bug/ parasite. It is 11 days after returning and i still have diarrhea. Take immodium along to stop the diarrhea for a while. Dont know if there are vaccinations that you can have before you go.
Like always in jamaican biggest cities be carefull in downtown, specially if you are a tourist.
Try not to walk alone, specially at night.
For more information have a look in my "Warning or Danger Tips" from Kingston and Negril.
I will never complain about New York traffic again! Montego Bay's narrow sidewalks & streets, cars driving on the left, few lights and fewer crosswalks make crossing the streets scary! Sometimes the locals will help you if they see you struggling to cross.
I’m not the one to tell you what to do and what not to do but I can give you a good advice;
Stay away from drugs!
First; What ever you have heard, drugs are illegal in Jamaica!
Second; You don’t want to become or act like a stoned punk.
Downtown Montego Bay has little to offer besides a couple of restaurants and a private beach you can pay to get on to. You will be offered drugs of all kinds as the local vendors and hustlers descend upon you like locusts. Others will push cheap trinkets at you and then rudely insult you with terms such as "blood clot" when you turn them down. Some guys will offer "to show you around" and follow you until you pay them for their "services". Don't. This is probably the most aggressive behavior I ever experienced anywhere I have travelled. Be firm and keep walking. Don't go down there at night.
If you are like me and find sugar in your coffee sacrosant, then tell the people making it, we stopped of at a McDonalds (yes I KNOW!) and I was gagging for a coffee, it came back with about 12 spoons of sugar in it.....I was sweating pure cane.
Be absolutely vigilant about putting all food in the fridge, the insects are very partial to any small offerings and will move in to your snackettes, before you can say....'I love that grape Punch!'
This may sound bizarre to some people, but I suffer from Restless legs syndrome, this was really, really, bad to the point where I wanted to cry..because my daughter broke the fan in our bedroom and there was absolutely no escaping the oppressive heat... Its really quite odd, even though the sun has long gone and the nights are very very dark, (no street lighting as such in the villages)..the heat seems to intensivy and lies thick in your personal atmosphere...So, take precautions in terms of maybe a personal fan, if you are in a fancy hotel, no prob, the air conditioning will 'kick in', but if like me, you are an opportunist who will accept gratefully an invite to another country,(bear that in mind folks *wink*) and lay my head anywhere (all I ask for is a mirror and the make up bag, yep vanity is my weakness) ...
I went to Montego Bay for a conference this month. I stayed at the Hilton Rose Hall resort. You are very safe at the resort, but you won't really see Jamaica. It's really not a good idea to venture off on your own.To get out and about, it's best to hire a driver who not only will show you the sights, but keep you safe. I contacted Lindsay McFarlane from SNL Tours after reading good reviews for him. Lindsay picked me up at the airport in his comfortable van and he took me through the bustling city, local produce market, the historical St. James Parish Church (built in 1775), an amazing scenic overlook at the Richmond Hill Inn. We took a quick break at an authentic Jamaican bar for a cold Red Stripe then off to my hotel to check in. A couple days later, I called him again and he took us into the mountains of Jamaica for more amazing photos. His prices are very reasonable and using him resolves any safety concerns. Well worth it.
Because my time was limited, I wasn't able to see some other areas that Lindsay recommended (Dunn's River Falls, etc.), but I plan to return to Jamaica and I will definitely use Lindsay again. You can email him at email@example.com.