Is Jamaica really safe?
Yes and no. The poverty is staggering. I've traveled in Mexico and the poverty in Jamaica is incomparable. Consider that in Mexico people make very little, but things also cost very little. In Jamaica people make very little, but things cost a lot. It is a small island and the economy is in big trouble. So, when you're going on vacation to forget about your worries keep in mind that when you come to Jamaica you'll see people that have worries that you can't even fathom. So, think about how you feel when you're in the poorest neighborhood in your town. Do you feel safe? The facts are that poverty makes most people feel very uncomfortable.
No one ever threatened us or even approached us in a threatening manner. Beach vendors did approach us from time to time, but they were always considerate and backed off quickly. However, women traveling alone should be warned that they will most likely be propositioned. Another fact of island life is that lots of women come to Jamaica looking for a "renta-rasta" (also sometimes called "renta-dreds"). This is a symbiotic relationship where the lady gets what she wants (sex, attention, companionship) and the man gets what he wants (money, gifts, etc). Jamaica is also a fairly macho culture. So, women traveling alone should be aware. Also, openly gay couples would not feel comfortable or welcome in most areas of Jamaica. Jamaica is also virulently homophobic and violence against gays is not only common, but often sanctioned by the authorities.
Finally, having said all of this, I saw a lot of families with children and they seemed to be having the best time. One of the paradoxes of this culture is that they really treasure children and go out of their way to make sure that families and children are happy and comfortable.
Beware: Tourist Harassment
My boyfriend and I stayed at the beach club condos in Negril. We were the only interracial couple there and were harassed repeatedly. Locals would try to pressure us into buying things all sorts of things, and when we refused, they tried to intimidate us. Some followed us back to the hotel area. Many others were being harassed, but it seems that we were particularly targeted. It's like they expected my boyfriend to be rich because he was white, and expected me to persuade him into buying all their unsolicited, illegal things. We were both deeply saddened since Negril is beautiful and is considered to have top rated beaches.
regarding the previous post
I good travel agent would have told you about the (extra charges) pertaining to watersports transportation, and the exit tax. Most all inclusive resorts do not offer offer free parasailing or other advanced watersports. Travel brochures, web sites and other literature almost always indicate the services that are free and the ones that cost extra. As far as transportation from and to the airport, these services are just like taking a cab ride and tipping is a common courtesy. You have the choice of not doing so. I have traveled all over Jamaica, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. The fees discussed in this posting are all common fees. You should always book travel out of the country through a travel agent so you can be educated on thise types of concerns. Especially if you have never traveled outside of the country.
When visiting the cliffs to swim or snorkel, make sure you wear those aqua socks because there are sea urchins all over the place. They hang out on rocks and the ladders that you use to exit the water.
Credit card fraud at SEASTAR INN Negril
SEASTAR INN - NEGRIL JAMAICA: Had a good time until I was shocked to receive a "revised" bill when I returned home for an upgrade charge which was unauthorized to my credit card. They were unwilling to remedy the situation by refusing to reverse the charge. Since the charge was neither authorized nor signed by me I have contacted various agencies for assistance. BEWARE THAT THEY CAN DO THIS TO YOU AS WELL AND PROBABLY DO THIS TO OTHERS. STAY AWAY!!!
No Problem Man
I have been to Jamaica on two seperate trips. The first was for seven days at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Montigo Bay. A very laid back family oriented property. The second trip was to Negril and a five night stay at Hedonism. I was insulted by the Social Director. I filed a complaint the next day with who i thought was the General Manager and in turn ended up being the Resident Manager. Who was also best frineds with the Social Director. I spent the last 24 hours in Jamaica trying to save myself from being gaffed by a fish hook. The resident manager told the Social Director of my complaint in which he sneaked 4-5 local Jamacian men into the resort to physically harm me. I avoinded these men on several occaisions. Security on the property was turning their back on the situation because it involved management. My purpose of this tip is to tell people never COMPLAIN in a 3rd worl country. I did not realize the danger i had placed my life in. Even after being told by several other Jamaican employee's "No Problem Man", Don't ever lodge a complaint. I was even harrassed after arriving back in the USA. We are very lucky in our nation not to be completly corupt in all areas, however keep in mind Jamaican thrive on fear once it is visable. NEVER COMPLAIN Ron in Fla, and to the losers who threatened my life, come see me and my little friend in Pensacola, FL Thanks
DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING!
A man from the car rental came to the hotel after we had been waiting for him for an hour or so. I can't understand that filling one form could take such a long time! First he wrote that our rental would begin at 6.00 p.m. that evening and refused to understand when we said that we wanted it to begin at 9.00 a.m. next morning. Finally he changed it to begin at 9.00 on the following morning and end at 6.00 p.m. on Tuesday. We asked if it was ok that we'd return the car at 6.00 p.m. on Tuesday not at 9.00 a.m. and he said that it was ok. We asked twice and both times he said that it was ok. We signed and had to pay the deposit of USD 1100. By mistake he gave us all parts of the credit card form, so if we had crakced the car they wouldn't have got a penny from us!
On Tuesday we hadn't been too long in our room, when the phone rang. It was from the car rental. It was an angry woman who shouted at Vesa that we should have returned the car at 9.00 a.m. and that we should now pay them USD 60 extra. Vesa said that we wouldn't do anything the kind, because we had asked twice if it was really ok that we could keep the car until 6.00 p.m. on Tuesday and the man said it was ok. The lady said that the man denies saying anything like that. She admitted that they had made a mistake, but still she said that we had to pay more! My sister's partner said that we wouldn't. She said that they'd come with a policeman and Vesa said that it was ok. She hang up. About half an hour later she phoned again and said that the man had admitted that he indeed had promised us the car until 6.00 that afternoon and said that they'd come and fetch the car! No apologies or anything. We were happy anyway, because we knew that we were correct.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Beware of the Ganja
Drugs do run rampant in Jamaica and we were approached many times by men selling marijuana probably because we are young and look like tourists. Be careful, it is illegal and you will be arrested if you are caught with the stuff. These dealers are pretty aggressive. They will even approach you at your suite window.
beggers beggers beggers
I have to admit... jamaica would be a much nicer place to visit if you didn't have to constantly deal with being followed by individuals making you feel bad if you don't give them money. Sometimes, even if you do give them money, they'll still follow you, asking for more. Now of course not all jamaicans are like this. But there's enough of them around to begin to stress you out. Just be prepared for it if/when you leave your resort.
There thousands of mosquitoes in Negril, specially when it gets dark. Use shocks, long sleve T-shirts, long pant and insect repelent at nights if you don't want to suffer!! Belive me, I had more 50 mosquito bits at the same time! It was horrible, specially in the morning when I use to wake up!!
Like most of the downtowns in Jamaica it isn't a very save place. Many 'rude boyz' will aproach you tring to sell you something, from earings to ganja, anything could be ofered in Negril.
Don't go alone, specially at night and it's better not to stop to talk to them if you aren't really interested.
If you have to talk to them look them to the eyes and don't show that you are afraid or you are lost.
At the airport on the way home, we ran into a guy that was actually kidnapped. He had a friend arrange a ride from the airport, only to find out that the driver "owed" somebody. He was taken into the mountains, robbed of $500+, and most of his belongings. They told him he would meet Bob Marley before the end of the week! He had been hiding for 10 days when we met him and was still SCARED TO DEATH that he wouldnt get out of the country. Does the phrase "third world country" come to mind? Be very very careful.
- Road Trip
Tipsy on the Cliffs
I noticed a few people sitting on the wall at Ricks Cafe. Is this the Danger part? A little? If you see how much the people drink here you can see why they have an ambulance leave at least once a night here from people falling and hitting the rocks from diving off the cliffs here.
- Sailing and Boating
- Diving and Snorkeling
JAMAICA NO PROBLEM
the main problem in negril is the drug traffic. if you are not interested in drugs, just say "no, thanks". ganja (marihuana) and cocaine are offered on the beach. but these are illegal drugs in jamaica, and penalties are severe. refrain from smoking ganja on the beach, because undercover narcotic police patrol the beach.
although negril is one of the safest destinations in jamaica, thefts are not uncommon. you should take care on the beach, especially in public areas. some of the more upscale hotels have security guards who will take care of your belongings. if you are staying in a cheap property, leave your money and documents in a safe box and never open the door to strangers. at night take a private taxi, and avoid walking on the road.
i was told one of the main problems in negril was the harassment. i expected to be harassed all the time, but this is not what i found. only from time to time a local seller tried to sell me his goods. a "no, thank you" was always enough to get rid of them. people in jamaica are very nice, and local sellers are not an exception. police jeeps patrol the beach 24 hours a day taking care of tourists. i visited several beaches in jamaica, and this is one of the safest ones i found.
Hustlers are everywhere
This really isn't a danger per se, just a damn nuisance! Hustlers are everywhere...be prepared to be offered everthing under the sun....jewelry, drugs, tours, this, that, & the other. "No thank you" became my most frequent phrase in Jamaica.
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