I have traveled to Ocho Rios 20 times in the past 23 years. I have gone with just my husband and in groups of friends and family of 25. Of all the trips i have felt "unsafe" once. My g/f and I have been downtown at night alone and had no problems. I suggest one uses common sense. The Jamaican people as a whole want tourists. When my hubby and I ( our first trip) were told that this guy would shows us some interesting places to take pictures we had to walk with him past the flea market. The locals yelled out he was a "bad man" we excused ourselves and learned from it. I have never had anything taken from my room at the resort. ( It's called a safe people...get one) Act as if you're in a large city anywhere else in the world. Take precautions. Also know...prices go up when the cruise ships come into any island. Stay away from the markets on those days or show them your hotel bracelet. Barter..they expect it and you can get really good deals. And yes..you will be offered ganga...just be firm when you say No thanks...I have even gone so far as to say..No thanks, Im a police officer.....they found that funny.
It is not like Dunns River or YS where you have a dry side to walk up and still see the falls. This is primarily an all wet tour. Be very careful and make sure you have firm footing when maneuvering. Pay attention to the guard. Bring your own watershoes because normally when you rent them at the place they may not have your size and be too expensive.
Going back down they will take you down a dry path but you really can't see the falls from here.
I do not recommend this adventure for the physically challenged or elderly.
Beware of time dilation - local habits and customs could cost you a whole evening but afford you a good nights sleep. For those that want it, and i'm thinking about one of Jamaicas most famous exports - not rum! the other one, then there is plenty of it. I was offered good size buds on a regular basis and it was highest grade - apparently. This is Pablo, owner of the best bar in Belmont, this buds for you! Everyone you meet will tell you he is a farmer ( even if you know they drive a truck for a living ) but you know what he means..
I like to get out of the tourist places when I travel so I decided to hire a taxi to go into the city of Ochorios, against the advice of almost everybody. I've been in plenty of sticky situations and this one made me feel the most uneasy out of my vacations. There were men in fatigues holding AK-47 standing on almost every street corner and my taxi driver was bumping people as they crossed the road. But I found a cool pair of shorts, so it was all good.
When you first arrive in a small town or a crowded Kingston street, it is important to take a little time just observing the scene. You will need to assess the people and activity. Most of the people you see will be perfectly harmless. Their friendliness will be honest and any interaction with them will be enriching to your travel experience. Even all those who I considered as potentially troublesome, were polite even when they would try to hustle me. A firm no worked nicely.
If you leave your hotel/resort be aware of the locals. They think nothing to approach you and try to sell you drugs. They are pushy but if you tell them no and continue to walk away generally they lay off.
It is not recommended to backpack through Jamaica. It is a most violent country and the only tourism is behind locked gates and secluded beaches with all inclusives. It is not recommended to take public transportation especially if you are foreign, and worse still if you are european or white. It has the highest murder rate of any country which is not at war. it would be very different if you can rent a car with a driver and he can take you from place to place. it is not safe to stay in "private rooms". sorry to be so negative, I have lived in Jamaica and have hundreds of friends who always lament and mourne about the violence of the country. NONE of my friends would recommend Backpacking through the country. If you decide to go, PLEASE BE EXTRA CAREFUL and especially at night, especially in towns and villages and especially most of the time.. Sorry.
Let me start of by saying this is just my personal opinion.
I too went to Jamaica wanting to experience jamaican culture....I spendt 10 days traveling to 4 different cities in Jamaica.
At the end of my trip my conclusion was that Jamaica is only good for people who want to go and just relax in a resort....and do nothing else.
Everttime I went out to experienc the culture we were confronted by people who wanted to ge some money from us.....either by begging, selling us drugs, or trying to rip us off in some way or another. This truly got in the way of esperiencing any culture. Moroever, I would be afraid to go with a 2 year old child. The beaches are not clean, and the streets somewhat dangerous.
However, if you go to a resort....the beaches are made to be clean, and the resort, staff, awesome. I would only reccomend jamaica to people who want to crash in a resort and experience the finer things in life.
Just my personal opinion.
yes Jamaica, Has crime, but every where in the world has it, too, the only difference is how much if is advertised, unlike some countries that cover dem up to make dem selves look good Jamaica doesn't.
and even doe Jamaica crime rates are high the crime is concentrated in the ghetto areas, of the country and rare ventures out with out reason, crime in Jamaica is mostly gang warfare, its not like America and the Arabic countries, where you can bee shot dwn any time by any one for no specific reason other than you were dere and that person was feeling depressed, Jamaica, on a real is allot safer than allot of first world countries, because you don't have serial killer and suicide bombers, and they don't rob banks,
On the cruise ship, the cruise director told us to NOT make eye contact with the people standing outside the shops. He said each one would try to convince you to go to THEIR shop, and would follow you to make sure you did. He said it, but I didn't believe... Besides, I'm Southern - we make eye contact and talk to EVERYBODY! Well, it happened exactly as he said it would. At one point, my friend and I had 3 people waiting for us to exit a shop... I won't lie - it was scary.
Also - don't wear ANYTHING to bring attention to you. I had a handbag made of candy wrappers that I got in Mexico. At least 4 people commented on it, trying to engage me in conversation so I would stay in their shop longer and buy something. I think this is probably good advice when you travel anywhere...
This is extremely important: When looking for a taxi, be sure that it has red license plates. Only cars with these plates are licensed to take you places. Local people get into cars without these, but be sure to exercise caution as a tourist
Most GLBT travellers would feel uncomfortable in Jamaica. It tends to be a very conservative country and SS couples especially should be aware of stares and unkind comments they might receive there. Not to say that they can't have their views on morality, but it means we (the community) don't have to support them with our money. Although I enjoyed my stay for sun and some of the culture, I wouldn't return.
Cases of gay-bashing and homophobic lyrics in music have been all too common in the past. Do a search on Beanie Man and Buju Banton for more info.
You’ll see conch shells like these for sale all over the island. I wondered if their sale was legitimate – apparently it is. But while not illegal, buying them is to be discouraged as demand now outstrips supply and conch are slowly disappearing from the waters around the island.
Having said that, you’ll see it on the menu everywhere and no one suggests you shouldn’t buy it – I ate it several times in fact. So think twice before buying a shell, and at least restrict yourself to just the one, but you don’t need to worry about the law if you do decide to buy.
One thing that concerned me when planning our Jamaica trip were the reports I read about the degree of hassling other travellers had experienced here, but I have to say that for us at least it wasn’t anything like as bad as it’s reputed to be. Yes, you will be encouraged quite vigorously to buy crafts at the markets, by eager stall-holders all selling much the same as the previous stall you visited. Yes, you will have taxis slowing down alongside you as you walk, their drivers apparently unable to believe that you prefer to go on foot. And yes, in Negril especially you’ll be offered “smokes”. But we found that a friendly smile accompanied by a firm “no thank you” seemed to do the trick in most cases.
In the craft markets a useful line to take seemed to be “I’m not shopping today” but if you use this you have to mean it – a stall-holder will quite naturally take offence if you say that and are then seen purchasing from the stall next door. One plus point though is that a rule prevents stall-holders from trying to persuade you to check out their goods unless you’re in front of their stall, so at least you can only be accosted by one at a time! And believe me, I’ve been very many places where the sellers are far more aggressive, so don’t let worries about this aspect put you off visiting Jamaica.
You can hire a car in Jamaica but it’s not for the faint-hearted! Local drivers are very casual about safety matters – they drive very fast, very close to the car in front, often on the wrong side of the road (it should be the left as in England), overtake on blind corners and talk constantly on their mobile phones – often all at once! The alternative to driving yourself is to hire a driver, which we did on several occasions, but this too can be daunting. Certainly they are more at home with the local driving etiquette (e.g. letting in other drivers when they overtake in tight spots) but you are subjected to their speeds and hair-raising manoeuvres. The best of them, like our driver in Ocho Rios, the lovely Dave, will moderate their usual style to be a little less scary, but some of the taxi drivers seem to enjoy watching you grip the seat in fear – so don’t let them catch you at it.
Whatever you do though, please don’t let any nervousness about the roads keep you from exploring the island one way or another – there’s a lot to see out there and it would be a real shame to miss it.
went on the 15-21st of may. Today i find out im overdrafting and i got a call from fraud alert....more
We got married on the beach at the all inclusive Couples Tower Island on 10/2/10. I cannot say...more
I got to stay one night (only one night boo!). We arrived at night and left after breakfast. I did...more
More Regions in Jamaica