Tips on going to Jamaica????

by Tatiana 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • Tatiana

    If all goes as planned, two female friends and I will be heading for Ocho Rios, Jamaica, for 7 days come March. It's not near Kingston, where there is supposed to be lots of crime and gangbangers. But, since I have never been before, does anyone have any suggestions/tips?

    We will be staying at "Rooms on the Beach" Hotel. Seems okay from all the info I've collected. I know not to carry cash. Or large amounts anyway. Don't be caught with drugs, etc., etc.

    We just don't want to end up on the front of the Enquirer.

    Someone told us they charge an extra 15% tax at restaurants...besides the tip. True?

    I GoogleEarthed it, and it is beautiful.


    Just be very careful!!! Be sure you and your friends stick close together and you should be fine. The hotel that I stayed at made sure that a staff member went outside with us and hailed our cabs, etc. He was concerned for our safety and gave me some good advice. He really encouraged us not to party away from the all-inclusive hotel. I felt pretty safe there, but it was wild out on the streets. The drug scene there is out of control! Trust your intuition and if you don't like the way something is going down and you feel uncomfortable...leave.

    It is beautiful and you should have a wonderful vacation.


  • ozziepost

    G'day April,

    You have me envious! It's many years since i was in the Caribbean. Ooh, the memories.

    You sure you want to leave your hotel details up on the board?

    Cheers, Ozzie (envious class)

  • DevonMcBride

    Stay at an all-inclusive resort and don't go off of it at night. If you go to the nightclubs, only use licensed cabs that the hotel finds for you. I've heard of women getting raped and robbed by unreputable cab drivers.

    I work in the travel and tourism industry and hear a lot of stories that don't get media attention.

    One other tip, be very careful if you are flying on Air Jamaica. Over the past few months I've heard several instances of theft from luggage on Air Jamaica flights flying through or departing from Montego Bay.

  • Tatiana

    Thanks. Now I'm really scared. JK

    The hotel is huge, so I should be safe. Also, one of my friends is a kickboxer.

    I have the number of a cab driver that someone from another board used on her wedding vacation there. She says he's very reliabIe, so I will only use him. I was reading the gov cautions online, and that's why I asked. Seems there is a lot of crime and drugs, but mostly in Kingston. At least that's the city most mentioned.

    I heard they have wonderful flea markets.

  • Tatiana

    Oh...and we're not flying Air Jamaica.

  • stillAwitness

    There was an article last month in Cosmo about how us women should prepare when travleling abroad. Some of the points were:

    -Know the customs. Is it frowned upon for women there to wear short skirts, wear pants, jewelry? If so then one should respect this. (But this would be primarily in places like India etc.)

    -Always stick togethor.

    -Never make it obvious that you are a tourist. (But this may be kind of hard sometimes)

    -Never take aboard suspicious packages that someone may have given you. (Aint nothing worse than to be held up in an oversees jail where the U.S Embassy keeps putting you on hold.

    Now from what I've heard about Jamaica-avoid getting your hair braided down there (which is quite the "touristy" thing to do for most girls. They will charge you outrageous prices (Last I heard it was like $5 per braid) You're better off getting braids done here in the states if thats absoloutely what you want to do.


  • dorayakii

    Jamaica is an island of contrasts, from the extreme por to the obscenely rich, from the sterotypical jolly "no problem" attitude, to a vicious inlerance of differences. jamaica is a very, very different island to the rest of the Caribbean. There is a huge "us-them" culture in Jamaica. My family come from the south central part of Jamaica and when my grandparents return, people treat them as if they are aliens.

    It is very easy to get into an arguement with a Jamaican as they often seem very opinionated and caustically sarcastic to British/American ears.

    I recommend to stay in the Northern, more touristic part of the island, Ocho Rios, Dunn's River, Negril, Montego Bay etc... They are very beautiful. You will find many "natives" who are very friendly as well as European and American tourists.

    The South part of the island is more poverty-stricken and crime-ridden, particularly Kingston. When i was in Kingston for one day, i heard two gunshots and was terrified. Being from England, i'd never heard a gunshot in my life. Be careful not to wander around on your own always travel with a party or with a guide. The rest of the south part of the island has very nice friendly people, but you have to be careful because there is a lot of theft due in part to the poverty. Keep digital cameras and camcorders well hidden.

    Be very careful that they don't overcharge you, because, as with anywhere, they can tell you are a foreigner and will often charge you 10-fold the original asking price.

    Many Jamaican men display behavior and attitudes that might shock visiting women, often expressing disdain for the notion of female equality or women's rights. Rape is rampant in Jamaica. If you're a single woman, it will be assumed that you're on the island searching for a 'fling' Any argueing to the contrary will likely be met with tiring attempts to get you to change your mind.

    If you go along with the flirting, don't expect a Jamaican man to understand if you've no intention of going all the way. Your innocent acceptance will be taken as a sign of acquiescence. The Jamaican male has a fragile ego and is likely to react strongly to feeling like a fool. Be clear about what you want.

    If you are gay, DO NOT under any circumstances reveal that information. Jamaica is one of the MOST adamantly homophobic nations in the WORLD. Don't expect to be able to display your sexuality openly without an adverse reaction. Beatings, murders, torture and slashings of gays (or those suspected of being gay) are not uncommon, among both the police and civilians. If the police are called, they will often just sit back, watch and laugh, or even join in the beating.

    It sounds quite negative but these are just guidelines of things to be careful of. Its a lovely island, really, if you know what you're doing.

  • Honesty
    I heard they have wonderful flea markets.

    Go to the market in a group ONLY. DO NOT SEPARATE FROM EACH OTHER. DO NOT AGREE TO SCORE GANGA FROM ANYONE AT THE MARKET (it is a thief or an undercover bobby you are speaking to. Either way you are screwed).

    If you go to Mo Bay do not advertise you are an exJW, fader, etc. at the Pelican Restuarant. Peter, the owner is a loyal FDS elder and almost all the staff are dubs. His wife is nice and great to talk with, though.

    If you go to Negril do not tip the guys diving off the cliffs at Rick's . They make plenty of $ as it is.

    Do not dive on any of the ganga planes at Negril unless you have plenty of friends going with you. Oh yeah, the morays are more afraid of you than you are of them but don't stick your fingers into any holes in the reef.

    The North Coast Assembly hall is a good example of how the WTBT$ spends money in third world countries. Just think of a pole barn with a thatched roof and picnic table seats. It is about 35 km east of Mo bay on the south side of the North Coast Freeway. Just a little past Ian Fleming's (the James Bond 007 author) house on the water.

    The Mo Bay KH is a good example of how the WTBT$ makes sure they put their best foot forward in third world countries. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Mo Bay. Tile floors, huge windows and fans, etc.

    If you go to the KH for a TMS/SM meeting make sure you take last month's KM with you cuz the Jamaican brothers don't have the current month KM and they only have 5 or 6 KM's so copies are made to share. That is what really got me doubting the FDS and its claims of food at the proper time.

    Jerked chicken is good and will not make you sick.

    The water is Ok to drink. At least it was when I left the North Coast in '94.

    Ackee and codfish is good for breakfast. Don't worry about the texture of Ackee, it's not rubber.

    Red Stripe beer is Ok but it's not a Mick or Heineken so don't get your hopes up.

    Hire a driver with a late model vehicle, preferably a SUV or minivan. It is more expensive but worth the extra $.

    Tip your driver well and he will stay with you and protect you from the scam artists.

  • minimus

    I've been there about 5 times---so I do like it! You HAVE to be streetsmart Everything said here is right on. Jamaicans are sexual people and they, on the resorts are notorious flirters so know what you're doing. Ganga is available and you will be asked regularly to imbibe.

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