Top Travel Guides - Traveling Tips For First-Timers In Jamaica
After exploring Jamaica without relying on any of the top travel guides and making a few mistakes here and there, we, at Leisure, have acquired a lot of knowledge about how to do it right. We also know what should not be done and how to experience Jamaica the right way. So here are some of the best Leisure travel tips for Jamaica, which you might never find in any top travel guides. These tips will help you get the most authentic experience of Jamaica, so you have the best time on this island of one love!
1. Do not choose all-inclusive resorts.
You will not find the authenticity of Jamaica behind the tall gates of the luxurious Jamaican resorts. Opt-out of staying in these all-inclusive properties. Jamaica is not about bland buffets, high teas, unlimited booze with overfilled swimming pools, and partying all night in popular places. There is so much more to experience in Jamaica other than these pristine resorts.
Stay at a local guest house or a simple hotel instead. These properties are a true reflection of the Jamaican spirit. Support the locals while you are there, not the big American businesses. When staying locally, you also get the right advice on things that should be done, the right places to visit, the right meals to indulge in, and of course, you get the opportunity to interact with the right people up close and personal.
Don’t opt for a “flashy” and painted version of Jamaica, where the only locals you will ever meet are drivers, chauffeurs, servers, and hustlers servicing you.
Another great way to find local touches in Jamaica is by finding a good Airbnb.
2. Say yes to route taxis.
One of the best and the cheapest way to go around exploring Jamaica is through route taxis. You do not require a private taxi to get around when you can travel and experience the island as other locals do. You might have to squeeze in a little with the locals there, but if you do not mind it, you will get to all the places in no time and almost ten times cheaper than private taxis.
3. Stay in Negril for a couple of days, or skip it entirely.
Yes, you heard that right! If you are looking forward to exploring Negril while on your trip to Jamaica, our top travel guides at Leisure will tell you just to do it for a couple of days. And, if you are not okay with it, you can even skip it altogether. Spending more than two days in Negril is a waste of your time and resources. The place is extremely touristy and not at all cheap for an average traveler. Negril is also extremely crowded and does not have the relaxed atmosphere that one wants on vacation.
The seven miles of beach is truly the only thing you will want to experience, but if on those 7 miles if you find more people than you find grains of sand, what’s the point, right?
You can find numerous other beaches, just as beautiful or even better, in other parts of Jamaica. You can opt for Winnifred Beach, for example. The beach is less crowded and gives you a relaxed atmosphere amidst nature.
4. Pay attention to cars.
You need to watch out for yourself sometimes, when in Jamaica. And for that, you will need to watch out for cars. Not many places on the island will have a sidewalk, so you need to pay attention to cars passing you by while you walk literally on the road. Yes, it sounds risky, but people here are used to it. It won't be easy to be acquainted with it at first, but you will get used to it.
Leisure’s top travel guides suggest you walk against the traffic, so you can see the cars coming towards you. Better safe than sorry!
5. Store your possessions in black plastic bags.
It might sound weird at first, but it is a genuine, tested travel safety hack! Instead of attracting any attention from thieves regarding your iPads or cameras, other travel gadgets, or some extra dollars with your sling bags or a day pack, you should put everything necessary in the black plastic bags available all around the island. People there also walk around with them, so you will be just a part of the crowd, diverting any attention coming to you.
6. Do not travel during peak season.
Everything is cheap when you opt for traveling during the off-season. There will be fewer people bothering you with items to buy, fewer crowds, cost-effective items due to extra bargaining opportunities, cheaper accommodations, and so much more! The best season to experience an off-season trip to Jamaica is from May to mid-December.
7. Explore other places, not just the beaches.
There is absolutely no harm in being a beach bum on your vacation. Everyone loves sands and shores, even Leisure’s top travel guides. But sometimes, there is so much more to explore rather than just the beaches.
In Jamaica, you can find lush mountains, awe-inspiring waterfalls, stellar caves, remote villages, and a lot more! Travel deeper into this land; it is truly a beauty and a breath-taking one at that!
8. Eat local.
Leisure’s top travel guides are all about supporting locals. That’s how the true travel industry grows! This applies to Jamaica too. When you are there, try to indulge in as many local services as you can. When you opt for a local restaurant, you are helping the country and its residents instead of going back to McDonald’s. You are doing them a favor instead of helping big burger giants get even more significant. When you are in a cultural land like Jamaica, why would you not want to explore the local tastes and dishes? Try out the authentic Jamaican flavors; you will love them. Plus, they will be cheaper on your pockets too!
9. Know the currency.
The best money tip our top travel guides can offer you is this one! Wherever you go in Jamaica, check out the prices quoted in, whether in Jamaican Dollars or US Dollars. If the prices mentioned are in US dollars, you should probably get out because that place is expensive. Instead, Jamaican dollar places will give you the best deals. It is the country's official currency, even though US Dollars are still accepted in a few touristy locations!
10. Just relax and enjoy
Just take it easy. Relax while you are in Jamaica. The place feeds on relaxation. You do not want a watch; you do not want plans, itineraries, or any deadlines. Time is not of the essence here on the island. Just sip on the coconut waters and kick back and enjoy the peaceful vibes of the island. You can get back to having a watch with you, checking your phone for email updates, calls from your bosses, or any other deadlines when you get back home! (If you ever feel like leaving the country, I sure don’t!)
Jamaica is not just an island. It is a feeling. Do not miss an opportunity to visit and explore Jamaica. You will fall in love with the culture, diversity, people, food, and flavors. Leisure’s top travel guides recommend this place for exploration and relaxation.
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