Jamaica: detailed travel guide

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Jamaica: detailed travel guide

Almost three million Jamaica is perhaps one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. And, without a doubt, the most colorful and unique. The atmosphere of the Caribbean is as palpable as possible – Jamaica not only absorbed the spirit of the Caribbean Sea, but also strengthened it many times over.

Despite the fact that the island is located almost in the very center of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica cannot be confused with the rest of the islands of the Caribbean archipelago. It attracts tourists with the same tropical sun, white beaches and carefree resort life as most of the other islands. And yet, Jamaica is a special world, both culturally and historically.

A tourist who visits the island for the first time will immediately be struck by the distinctive “African” character of the island’s inhabitants. Yes, Jamaica has a lot to offer the curious traveler who is tired of the gray working days or who has managed to see many cities and countries.

The Blue Mountains are justly proud of their best coffee in the world, as you can see by visiting a century-old factory on Mavis Bank and trying a cup of coffee straight from the plantation. Diving enthusiasts will find first-class reefs, including the famous Runaway Beach or Ocho Rios. And Jamaica is also pristine waterfalls, swampy backwaters with crocodiles and manatees.

Fishing villages here coexist with cosmopolitan cities. And of course – unforgettable tropical sunsets on the spacious, palm-fringed white beaches of Treasure Beach or Frenchman Cove near Port Antonio. In short, much of what attracts a traveler to other parts of the world can be found here in Jamaica.

Yet nowhere in the Caribbean is the connection to Africa felt more tangibly than in Jamaica. In Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, slaves were brought from Africa, and sugar and rum were exported to Europe. The fugitive Maroon slaves who populated the slopes of Cockpit Country and the Blue Mountains have preserved many African traditions – including jerk, one of the hallmarks of Jamaican cuisine. And, of course, Jamaica is the reggae rhythm that burst into popular music in the 1970s and 80s. This region is literally steeped in unique history, stunning landscapes and original culture. So – welcome to Jamaica.

A visa to Jamaica for up to 30 days is placed upon arrival, at the international airport – at the immigration office, a stamp on arrival is simply noted in the passport. Visa price – $ 25.

How to get to Jamaica

Air traffic

Tourists, and especially those who decide to visit Jamaica for a beach holiday, usually arrive at the airport. Donald Sangster in Montego Bay on the country’s northern coast. In most cases, all international flights arrive there. However, those heading to the Blue Mountains region or starting their journey through Jamaica from its capital, Kingston, are hosted by the International Airport. Norman Manley.

A local airline network connects these two airports with other islands in the Caribbean archipelago, as well as with a network of smaller airports in Jamaica itself, as the island also has local airports that accept charter flights.

Direct flights from Russia to Jamaica are operated by Transaero, a ticket can be purchased as part of a package tour – with hotel accommodation, transfer and insurance. If you want to visit Jamaica on your own, then we recommend using the form below to search for tickets.

Sea traffic

Passengers of cruise ships stay on the island for a short time, but even for a short stopover, popular ports offer many different excursions. In 2011, the Falmouth cruise port in Trelawny opened, bringing the number of cruise terminals to three – the other two are located in Ocho Rios and Montego, two of the country’s largest tourist destinations.

A sea cruise is a very popular option among tourists interested in seeing more than just one Caribbean island during their trip. Entering the next port, you can make a choice – to agree to the excursion offered by the tour operator, or to explore the area on your own. There are many such opportunities in Jamaica, whether it is relaxing on the beach, shopping in duty-free shops, or visiting the Bob Marley Museum.

There is no ferry service to the neighboring islands of the Caribbean archipelago in Jamaica. Ferries connect only the island of Jamaica with the neighboring island of Navy Island, popular with tourists.

Weather in Jamaica

The best time to visit Jamaica is when it is colder and gloomiest in our area, from about mid-September to mid-April (the official winter season). It is also the driest season in Jamaica. The air temperature on the coast from October to March ranges from +28 ° С to +26 ° С, the average water temperature is +25 ° С. However, the prices, respectively, are higher than everything, so the semi-season in Jamaica, right up to July, is also quite attractive. As a rule, during this period, hotels reduce prices by almost a third, and the weather does not differ significantly from the most favorable. In the summer months it is hot, sometimes even stuffy. As for September and October – as a rule, this time of year is considered off-season due to the risk of hurricanes. Jamaica is located in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean – as a result, the island sometimes suffers from significant destruction.

In general, Jamaica’s climate is tropical, hot and humid, although the weather is more temperate in the mountainous interior regions of the island.

Cities and regions

Jamaica is the third largest English-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States and Canada. After declaring its independence in 1962, it remains in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Jamaica is divided into three counties, which in turn include parishes (numbering on the map – in order).

  • County of Cornwall: Hanover, St. Elizabeth, St. James, Trelawney, Westmoreland.
  • County Middlesex: Clarendon, Manchester, St Anne, St Catherine, St Mary.
  • Surrey: Kingston, Portland, St Andrew, St Thomas.

However, many thousands of visitors to the island are more familiar with the division into tourist regions: the northern and northeastern coasts, the southwestern coast, Kingston and the Blue Mountains.

The capital of Jamaica – Kingston – until some time was its only city, and still remains not only the administrative center of the island, but also its business and cultural capital. Kingston is the main air and sea gateway to the country. About the capital of Jamaica, we can rightfully say that Kingston, with its chaotic traffic, loud music and chaotic interweaving of streets on the outskirts, is its “calling card”, its throbbing heart. Kingston embodies the spirit of the island, its history and attractions.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay

A cosmopolitan city, Jamaica’s lively and upbeat capital contrasts with the rest of life on the island, calm and carefree. For the tourist, Kingston is primarily the capital of reggae music. There are also beaches in Kingston, so a traveler who starts visiting Jamaica from its capital does not need to move to other regions of the country that are traditionally focused on tourism. Despite the fact that guests of Jamaica prefer not to linger in Kingston, due to its peculiar street culture and social problems, tourist activity here does not stop all year round.

Indeed, slums on the outskirts of the city to an unprepared visitor may seem unattractive and even intimidating. But as for the city center, its business part – here a pleasant contrast to modern buildings is the Georgian style, with porticoes and balconies traditional for the architecture of the 18th century.

Located on the northern shore of Montego Bay, or as the locals call it, MoBay is the island’s second largest city. The local harbor was also visited by Christopher Columbus, who gave it the name “Harbor of Good Weather”. The Spanish settlers who founded a town on its shores named it Monterias. The Spaniards hunted wild pigs, which were found in abundance in the surrounding hills, and even drowned for export “pork oil” for some time. The very name Montego Bay comes from the Spanish word “manteca”, which means pork fat. On old maps, Montego Bay is marked exactly like this – “Salt Harbor”.

But at present, Montego Bay is famous as the tourist capital of Jamaica. Donald Sangster International Airport, one of two international airports in Jamaica, receives flights from all over the world daily. The city is also famous for its cruise port, many duty free shops – and of course its beaches, the most famous of which, Doctor’s Cave, attracts beach lovers with its clear turquoise waters.

Negril is also famous for its 7 miles (approximately 11 kilometers) white sand beaches. Negril’s atmosphere is much more relaxed and leisurely than Montego Bay. Returning to the hotel, you still do not leave the beach, as most of the hotels are located right on the Caribbean Sea. You will be surprised at how far you can go into the water until the water reaches your neck.

Ocho Rios, or Ochi, in the local dialect, is located on the northeastern coast of Jamaica. It is also a popular beach tourism destination. The traveler can find here both a relaxing holiday among the exotic nature of Jamaica and a variety of beach activities.

Tucked away at the easternmost point of the island, Port Antonio is still relatively little known to tourists, but it is the seclusion that gives the city its charm. The beaches are also beautiful here, although they are more rocky than in other places. Visitors to the city, however, will find their charm in the welcoming tangle of Port Antonio’s old streets. A visit to Port Antonio can also start exploring the picturesque nature of the north-east coast of Jamaica.

But even in Port Antonio itself there is something to see. One of the most visited places is, of course, the Blue Lagoon, where the film of the same name was filmed. It got its name because of the many shades of blue that the water of the lagoon shimmers with during the day.

Mandeville is the only major (by Jamaican standards) city that is not on the coast. It is located on a plateau that rises 660 meters above sea level, one hundred kilometers from Kingston. Mandeville is considered the most “English” city in Jamaica – the spirit of the colonial past is strong here like nowhere else on the island.

Mandeville is also famous for its hot spring near the Milk River. It is believed to be the most radioactive natural source on the planet. Its 30-degree water is known for its healing properties, especially for those suffering from rheumatism or arthritis. However, due to the high level of radioactivity, baths are allowed no more than 15 minutes a day.

Ocho Rios Port

Ocho Rios Port

Runaway Bay, a town on the north coast of Jamaica, is considered one of the island’s most scenic natural areas. Located just 16 kilometers from Ocho Rios, it attracts those seeking a break from the bustling city life amid the pristine beauty of Jamaica.

Another place that tourists have only recently begun to discover is Whitehouse. By and large, this is just a fishing village, and almost all of its inhabitants are engaged in fishing. The village got its name from the plantation estate on Reynolds Beach.

Whitehouse beaches differ from most Jamaican beaches in that they are mostly rocky and not sandy like many other beaches on the island. But the shallow waters and surrounding reefs attract those who are fond of diving or snorkeling, and are not averse to exploring the underwater world of Jamaica.

What to see in Jamaica

Jamaica, an island rich in history and culture, offers the traveler the greatest variety of activities and entertainment, including those that are possible only in Jamaica. Unlike other islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica is unique for its architecture and history, and the characteristics of Jamaican cuisine. But first of all Jamaica is, of course, music. Everything is permeated with reggae rhythms here, it sounds everywhere – on beaches and discos, and in a taxi driver’s car. It is all the more surprising that the musical background of the Jamaican carnival, which has recently been held on the island, is not reggae, but “soka”, or “soul calypso,” a musical rhythm brought to the island from Trinidad and the eastern Caribbean.

The first thing that strikes a traveler who has just set foot on the island is the genuine beauty and pristine nature of its landscapes. They are extremely diverse due to the fertility of the soil. Even the hotel gardens are beautiful, but there is no shortage of botanical gardens on the island that are worth visiting. Therefore, hiking in Jamaica has recently become increasingly popular, especially in the Blue Mountains and Cockpit Country.

Fans of outdoor activities will also find something to their liking in Jamaica. Hotels provide sports equipment for water sports (windsurfing, small boats and kayaks), and there is also no shortage of tennis and squash courts. Golf is no less popular with tourists, especially in Montego Bay, where only in the city itself and its surroundings there are six courses, which are easily accessible by transport. And, of course, sea cruises in the setting sun, and treks to the rivers – all this awaits the tourist.

Kingston

Kingston

Kingston

The Bob Marley Museum is open Monday through Saturday. The tour lasts 1 hour, including a 20 minute film. The first tour starts at 9.30 am, the last one at 4 pm. The museum, replete with both Bob Marley memorabilia and his personal belongings, is considered the number one attraction for all visitors to the island. It was once the home of Bob Marley and his recording studio. Everything in the building has been preserved in its original form – even the traces of bullets left after the attempt on the artist’s life. Bob Marley lived here until his death in 1981.

The National Gallery of Jamaica, which presents the artistic history of the island: from the Arawak Indians, its original inhabitants, then the colonial period, to the works of contemporary artists. Since 1963, annual visual arts exhibitions have been held to encourage aspiring Jamaican artists. Entrance – J $ 100

Devon House is one of the most colorful examples of Jamaican architecture, a restored home owned by George Stibel, the first black Jamaican millionaire. Most of the original interior has not survived, but the manor still retains the colonial spirit of the 19th century. House Tour J $ 700. Entrance to the manor garden is free.

Port Royal. Once known as “the richest and most depraved city on earth,” Port Royal rose to fame as “the pirate Babylon” in the 17th century. The most famous pirate who took a fancy to Port Royal harbor was Henry Morgan, who plundered Spanish ships that were heading from the colonies to Spain through the Caribbean Sea. The city flourished, and the pirates grew rich – until June 7, 1692, there was a strong earthquake, which did not spare either the pirate ships or the inhabitants of the city, a significant part of which went under water. This disaster helped to establish Kingston as the new capital of Jamaica.

Port Antonio and the northeast coast

Immerse yourself in the world of the fugitive Maroon slaves, immediately in the vicinity of Port Antonio, on the northern slopes of the Blue Mountains. This will be assisted by Grand Valley Tours; the 4-hour walking tour from Moor Town costs US $ 50 including transportation.

To the west of Port Antonio, you can go rafting on the Rio Grande on a bamboo raft. Rio Grande Experience (001 876 993 5778), price US $ 65.

Ocho Rios and the north coast

Dunns, Waterfalls and Park is a 200-meter cascade of waterfalls surrounded by forest. Tours are held daily from 8.3 to 16.00. The place itself is notable for the fact that here four rivers merge into one stream, which rapidly falls right into the Caribbean Sea. Under the guidance of an experienced guide, visitors can climb the waterfall directly over the rocks. It is better to go on an excursion early in order to avoid crowds of visitors.

Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios

For those looking to shake off the crowds and spend time in a more relaxed environment, a region as rich in history as Ocho Rios has a lot to offer too. First of all, this is the “Ninth Mile” – the birthplace of Bob Marley, where his museum is now located, more modest than the capital, as well as the marble mausoleum where the singer was buried more than thirty years ago. It’s a fairly remote area, but Chukka Cove Farm offers daily tours from Ocho Rios starting at US $ 74.

Not far from Santa Anna Bay, you can also visit the ruins of the first Spanish settlement in Jamaica along with the Seville Great House & Heritage Park, as well as visit an 18th century plantation and manor. Horseback excursions with Hooves; the three-hour tour will cost US $ 70.

Coyaba River: A wonderful botanical garden with an unusual collection of exotic plants, located in the hills just above Ocho Rios.

And, of course, once in these places, it is worth seeing the Orakabessa Bay, where the “Golden Eye”, the home of Ian Fleming in Jamaica, is located.

Montego Bay and Negril

Perhaps the two most popular resorts for those arriving in Jamaica for the sun and sea. Both Doctor’s Cave Beach in MoBay, with its white sand and beach activities, and the seven-mile, seven-mile Seven Mile Beach of Negril, vie for popularity with tourists. The high cliffs at the southern end of this beach attract local daredevils who literally tempt fate in front of the audience, jumping off the rocks into the sea.

Montego Bay

Montego Bay

Flocks of tropical fish, octopuses and barracudas on the coral reefs of Montego Bay, and the Tron and the wreck Katrina in Negril are some of the best diving spots on the island. Jamaica Scuba offers equipment and instructor services for US $ 60 per person.

Appleton Estate Rum Factory, Siloa – the soul of the finest rum on the island. Rum has been made here since 1749. Visitors to the factory are introduced to all stages of rum production, along the way with tasting the brands of this drink, which is produced here. Don’t forget to bring along a bottle of rum as a keepsake!

The Blue Mountains rise above eastern Jamaica. In the dark, tourists set out to at dawn, after a night ascent, climb to the top – Blue Mountain Peak (2256 meters above sea level). In fine weather, you can see Cuba from here. Tours are offered by the owners of Whitfield Hall, a former 18th century plantation estate located near the Blue Mountains, for J $ 14,400.

At the Mavis Bank coffee factory, all the subtleties and nuances of making Blue Mountain coffee will open to your eyes. Here you can also buy original coffee and other souvenirs.

Jamaica beaches

Of course, beaches are the main target of tourists on the island. The most interesting beaches in Jamaica are listed below, using the links you can get detailed information – location, photos, infrastructure, cost (if the beach is paid) and other nuances.

  • Doctor’s Cave Beach
  • Turtle Beach
  • Seven Mile Beach
  • James Bond Beach
  • Whitehouse Beach
  • Treasure Beach
  • Boston Bay Beach
  • Reggae Beach
  • Bluefields Beach
  • Frenchman Cove Beach
  • Blue Lagoon Beach
  • Buccaneer Beach
  • Cornwall Beach
  • Dead End Beach
  • Dunn’s River Beach
  • Grande Beach
  • Half Moon Beach
  • High Low Beach
  • Runaway Beach
  • Beach Show Park Beach
  • Walter Fletcher Beach
  • White River Bay Beach

Entertainment in Jamaica

Diving in Jamaica

A coral reef runs nearly the entire length of the northern coast of the island, with an average distance of a mile to five miles from the coastline. The main diving sites are located along it – some on the main reef, others on miniature reefs and on “coral heads” standing on the sandy bottom. Most of the water here is no deeper than 30 meters. Among the fans of diving, Jamaica hardly holds the world leadership – but the fact that it is not so well known does not mean that these places are not of interest to those divers who decide to relax in Jamaica. The island has diving sites located close to the main resorts with experienced operators. Most of the diving centers are tied to hotels, but there are also independent companies that offer services to divers who come to Jamaica from all over the world.

Recently, reef marine life has suffered significant damage due to excessive fishing, but corals still retain good color, and visibility in the water is quite high – 20-30 meters – except for stormy weather, when in any case scuba diving does not seem possible.

The southern coast is less suitable for diving: it is shallow, often with poor visibility. Considering that there are also fewer tourist centers here, diving centers in this area are also not often found. Nevertheless, the southern coast may be of interest to divers: the ruins of the sunken Port Royal, near Kingston, are still in good condition, and divers can literally “plunge” into the atmosphere of history. The water temperature in Jamaica on average ranges from 26 to 29 degrees Celsius, depending on the season.

Marine life in coastal waters is plentiful: turtles, nurse sharks are not uncommon here, and hammerfish can be seen on deeper dives. Colorful stingrays, Caribbean eels, moray eels and, of course, stunning colorful sponges and gorgonian corals are common.

Surfing in Jamaica

Surfing has never really been widespread on the island, and even the Surf Association itself only appeared in Jamaica in 1999 through the efforts of a local celebrity – Billy Wilmot of the reggae group Mystic Revealers. The places that are most suitable for surfing are the northeast and southeast coasts. There is a good wave there all year round, but the best time is between November and the end of winter.

Windsurfing in Jamaica

But windsurfing has long gained popularity in Jamaica. There are many good windsurfing spots on the island, mainly along the north coast, between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The most favorable winds are in early spring, and then in July and August, when they reach a constant strength of 15–20 knots. Winter is a riskier time to surf as the north wind in Jamaica can be so strong that it can be difficult to stay on the board. Usually the winds get stronger in the evening, so the first half of the day is a good time for beginners. Typically, many hotels provide windsurfing equipment.

Best places to windsurf in Jamaica:

  • Bailey’s Beach, east of Kingston.
  • Burwood Beach public beach to the east of Falmouth, where the wind is considered the best windsurfing on the island.
  • Another popular destination in the same region is Silver Sands. The wind here can be quite strong, more suitable for advanced windsurfers.

Kitesurfing in Jamaica

Kitesurfing is just beginning to develop in Jamaica, so there are no permanent places on the island where independent tourists can rely on board and kite rental.

As a rule, most of the major hotels on the Jamaican coast provide good water sports kits for free. All-inclusive hotels also offer their customers other water activities: sea bikes and jet skis, kayaks, etc.

Many public beaches also offer snorkeling equipment – snorkelling and snorkelling – to rent, usually where conditions are suitable for diving.

Rafting in Jamaica

Jamaica also has something to offer tourists that is not found on other islands in the Caribbean – river rafting. However, Jamaican rafting looks a little different than the usual one – there are no inflatable rafts or rapids on mountain rivers that go around rocky rapids. Jamaican rafting is a leisurely and exceptionally enjoyable bamboo raft ride along the calm surface of the river, giving you the opportunity to experience the fantastically beautiful nature of the island from the inside. The rafts, about ten to fifteen meters long, are equipped with a raised passenger seat near the end of the raft and are steered by a bamboo pole held by the driver. Rafts were originally used to raft bananas from plantations to the docks of Port Antonio. The popularity of Jamaican rafting as a tourist attraction was greatly facilitated by the Hollywood actor Errol Flynn, who had a house in Port Antonio. The most famous rafting spots are the Great River (west of Montego Bay), the White River just outside Ocho Rios, and the Rio Grande near Port Antonio. Rafting in Jamaica is well worth trying.

Golf in Jamaica

Jamaica is proud of its unique golf courses, many of which are directly overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Most of the golf clubs are on the north coast, mostly near Montego Bay. There are also golf courses and beginner golf courses in Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay, and Negril on the south shore.

Hiking in Jamaica

Jamaica has a varied landscape, with mountains surprisingly high for such a small island. These places have been chosen by lovers of ecological tourism and hiking. There are dry and humid forests on limestone soils, and climbing higher into the mountains, you will find yourself in a real humid tropical jungle.

Hiking trails have long been popular in these areas, especially around the Blue Mountains. Recently, however, tourists have discovered new destinations – to the John Crow Mountains (in the northeast of the island, in the vicinity of Port Antonio), and to the vicinity of Cockpit Country, the refuge of fugitive Maroons.

Fishing in Jamaica

Jamaica offers exceptional sport fishing opportunities, given that just 5 miles off the north coast of Jamaica lies the deepest point in the Caribbean, the so-called Cayman Trench, or Cayman Trench, a deep-sea crevice that lies between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Among the trophies that lucky anglers come across are blue and white marlin, sailfish, king mackerel, dorado, yellowfin and blackfin tuna, mackerel and bonito. The best fishing is on the north coast, with access to the sea from Ocho Rios and Port Antonio. There is also no shortage of fishing boats and boats that can be rented for the day for fishing.

Getting around Jamaica

Getting around the third largest island in the Caribbean can seem like a daunting task to the inexperienced traveler. However, by deciding in advance which method of transportation is best for you, you will turn traveling around Jamaica fun, not an embarrassment.

Car rental

Driving your rental car in Jamaica can seem like a real challenge to someone who is not used to the bumpy or unpaved roads that are not uncommon in Jamaica. And yet, for those who travel in a group, or would like to visit different places on the island during their vacation and get to know it as much as possible, renting a car is perhaps the best choice. Traffic here is left-hand, like in Great Britain, and traffic lights are found infrequently and at a great distance from each other. The main thing is not to forget to pay attention to the cattle that move slowly along the country roads, often making it difficult to move.

There are several car rental companies in Jamaica, and the best choice is, of course, in the big cities: Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The Ministry of Tourism of Jamaica has also prepared a detailed road map of the island, Discover Jamaica, which can usually be viewed at all car rental offices or at tourist offices around the island.

To rent a car in Jamaica, you need to be over 25 years old, have the license of your country, and a valid credit card.

In high season, car rental prices can go up to 120 (USD) per day, including compulsory collision damage insurance. Prices drop significantly off-season, up to 35 (USD) per day.

If you plan to travel around Jamaica in a rented car, beware of locals offering to “guard” your car, ostensibly against vandals, for a fee. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is better to try to park in another place, because the alleged “watchman”, if you refuse his services, he himself may well become this “vandal”. Also, only travel with clearly identifiable taxis and do not contact drivers offering to show you the “real Jamaica”.

Taxi

If you do decide to entrust driving to someone who thoroughly knows these places, then a taxi is a more suitable option. When choosing a taxi or minibus, look at those that meet the requirements of the Jamaican Union of Travelers Associations (JUTA); this means that the driver adheres to certain safety rules. You can verify that your driver belongs to this union by the abbreviation “PP” or “PPV” (Public Passenger Vehicle), which is located on the license plate. Uncertified or “pirate” taxis also offer their services, but tourists should hardly agree to them.

Taxis in Jamaica are paid differently by mileage than by distance from place to place, so bargaining with the driver for the fare is an unwritten rule, especially if you are interested in using the services of a driver and as a tourist guide.

And yet, taxi remains the most popular means of transportation for tourists looking to get out of their resort and explore Jamaica. Moreover, using the services of someone who knows the area and the local rules and traditions of driving, you can relax and enjoy the ride.

Typical pay

Technically, almost all taxis in Jamaica are equipped with a taximeter, but drivers rarely use them, if not at all. And this means: before getting into a taxi, you need to agree with the driver how much he will take for the trip and in what currency you should pay him. And here, just like in the market, start bargaining at half of the price that the driver will tell you. Once you get a little familiar with the local traditions, communication with Jamaican taxi drivers will be much easier.

Taxi prices average around $ 20USD for every 10 miles – but will almost inevitably be higher if you use the taxi service attached to the hotel. However, having bargained with the taxi driver, you can then do without a tip or additional payment. Typically, prices rise by a quarter between midnight and 5 am.

Information about taxis in Jamaica cities

Taxi prices around the city in Negril are quite low – about USD 4–5 Do not settle for taxi drivers who charge too high a price.

Kingston: here they call the price not for the passenger, but for the car, and bargaining with the driver is an absolute necessity. As far as Kingtson is concerned, taxis are the most reliable form of transport in the city.

Montego Bay. Most taxis here are concentrated along the city’s main tourist boardwalk, Gloucester Avenue.

Port Antonio. Prices in the city are slightly higher here, about 15–20 USD. Often the cars are also much older than in other cities in Jamaica.

It is not uncommon for those arriving in Jamaica to book a taxi in advance to get from the airport to their hotel. For those arriving for the first time on the island, this can be quite an expensive pleasure, so it’s better to get acquainted with the order of prices in advance.

Check the information below to get a rough idea of ​​how much you should pay for a taxi:

  • Montego Bay Airport – Montego Bay Hotels: $ 35 (USD)
  • Montego Bay Airport – Tyrol Hotels: $ 60 (USD)
  • Montego Bay Airport – Runaway Bay Hotels: $ 115 (USD)
  • Kingston Airport – Ocho Rios: $ 150 (USD)
  • Kingston Airport – Negril: $ 275 (USD)

Car rental with a driver

Travelers can also take taxis for walks and self-guided tours of the island. Prices for a day taxi tour can fluctuate depending on time and distance. When planning your trip, make sure ahead of time and that you have chosen a driver you trust. This also applies to licensed taxis at hotels and resorts.

On an island large enough by Caribbean standards like Jamaica, hiring a car is perhaps the most efficient way to travel. Yes, the road conditions are far from ideal, and getting from place to place can seem like an adventure in itself. And yet, most tourists opt for a taxi, despite the prices.

Buses

As far as travel by bus is concerned, it is undoubtedly the cheapest and most economical way to travel around the island – although hardly the most reliable and comfortable. Buses almost never stick to their timetables, especially in remote parts of the country, but fixed-route taxis that run through major cities can usually get around with the same ease as regular taxis.

You can make a choice in favor of a bus if you need the most economical option for traveling around the island and in its cities – but only if the schedule and “climate control” are not your priorities. Simply put, if you don’t mind spending time waiting for the bus under the scorching sun. But for the traveler who is not averse to plunge into the exotic outside of his resort area, the bus is an ideal means of transportation.

Bus prices are exceptionally low, about USD 1 for every fifty miles, and about USD 1.50 – USD 2.50 on average for the same distance in a minibus. Minibuses on Negril charge 2 USD all day and night.

However, after getting out of Kingston or any other major city, it can be difficult to catch a bus, because drivers decide at their own discretion when to enter the route. Buses and minibuses throughout the Caribbean are famous for the fact that there is no timetable for them, and Jamaica is no exception. But still, buses around the island run quite often – in addition, in Jamaica, it is customary to pick up passengers from the side of the road, and this is another “plus” for bus travel around the country.

In addition, the Jamaican bus is a cultural phenomenon in itself, sometimes no less interesting than city or natural attractions. Drivers only set off when their bus is already packed – and given the lack of air conditioning, you can be sure that you will get to know the local atmosphere in full.

Bus service is better in some regions than others. Here are some tips to help you navigate Jamaica:

  • In Negril, minibuses from hotels and resorts run around the city, so the need for public transport is small. Nevertheless, on the Boulevard – the central street of the city – minibuses move all day.
  • Public transport Montego Bay does not actually exist, but for the convenience of hotel visitors, there is a busy route.
  • Traffic on the streets of Kingston is chaotic, including bus traffic. When deciding to use the Kingston buses, beware of pickpockets.
  • In Port Antonio it is customary to “vote” for a minibus to stop and pick up passengers. Transport usually stops not only at the designated stops.

Jamaican cuisine

Jamaican cuisine is a truly colorful mix of recipes and traditions. Here you can find dishes that are traditional for all the Caribbean, as well as distinctive Jamaican food. Jamaican cuisine has a reputation for being spicy, but most restaurants still offer a more moderate menu. As in other Caribbean islands, the main islanders are barely rice and peas (which are often cooked here with coconut milk), and meat pies like empanadas, popular in Spanish-speaking countries. aki “, growing only in Jamaica – it looks like an omelet, but with its own unique taste. Another distinctive Jamaican dish is codfish, dried cod mixed with onions and tomatoes. They are cooked only in Jamaica – therefore, if you want, in the literal sense of the word, to learn the “taste of Jamaica”, you should definitely try them.

Another local dish is bammi. Jamaicans believe that it was prepared by the Arawak Indians, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. These are flat, floured cassava tortillas that are commonly eaten for breakfast.

And, of course, the main culinary feature of Jamaica is jerk. This is a kind of barbecue – meat cooked over charcoal, which is pre-marinated in local “jerk” spices. The most popular variety of the dish is chicken or pork jerk, although the truly famous, unique Jamaican jerk is made from goat meat. However, if you see fish or shellfish jerk on the restaurant menu, do not deny yourself the pleasure of trying it. It should also be remembered that Jamaicans prefer well-done meat, so it may seem a little dry to European taste.

Easier eateries – the so-called “jerk centers” – can be found throughout the island. From the very morning, smoke begins to rise over the braziers – and often just barrels -. Huge pieces of pork ribs and chickens are fried on coals made of clove wood (they give the meat a special taste). The buyer chooses … pays … A few strokes of the machete – and the meat is already cut into portions, which are then laid out on a piece of paper. Nobody particularly “bothers” about hygiene issues. After all, the main thing is the unique Jamaican flavor!

There are also many eateries on the island that sell, especially takeaway, Chinese or Indian food – however, curries and jiaozi still have a specific Jamaican flavor.

The aital cuisine, which is adhered to by the Rastafarians, adherents of Rastafarianism, the local Jamaican religion, stands apart. Rastas follow strict rules in food and prepare food without meat, salt or oil – but still delicious, thanks to the creativity of the chefs in the use of spices. Aital dishes are not often found on the menus of those restaurants frequented by tourists, and can only be found in special Rasta eateries on the island. However, if you wish, and with the help of local guides, it is quite possible to visit the institution where these unique dishes are prepared.

Once in Jamaica, it is impossible to ignore the abundance of local fruits. All the diversity of the tropics: papaya, “star apple”, Spanish lime – melicocca, pineapple, breadfruit – jackfruit, as well as “agli”, a Jamaican hybrid of mandarin, orange and grapefruit – all this is sold literally at every step by street vendors.

Jamaican fruits, unlike imported ones, are inexpensive. If you don’t know how to eat them, ask the sellers – and at the same time ask them to wash the purchased fruits!

Don’t miss the opportunity to try coconut water – it is not at all the same as coconut milk. Coconut water, clear and refreshing, also has a tonic and healing effect. Bottled coconut water is sold everywhere on the island, but it is not comparable to fresh, freshly opened coconut.

They say that it is worth visiting Jamaica for one Jamaican rum. Jamaican rum is known for its rich, rich flavor. Jamaicans consider him to be much richer than his equally famous rival, Cuban rum. Jamaicans prefer light rum, however varieties of this drink include clear, light, dark and very dark. The strength of alcohol also varies – from less than 40 degrees to 75 degrees. Most often, light rum with a strength of up to 40 degrees is sold in Jamaica. Stronger rums are generally popular in cocktail making.

Another hallmark of Jamaica is the local Red Stripe beer with a distinctive red stripe. Like Jamaican rum, it is exported to many countries.

Purchases in Jamaica

Unlike most islands in the Caribbean, where imported materials are used to make tourist souvenirs, Jamaica is large enough to sell original products worthy of buying them as a souvenir of the island. Where better to shop – consult the hotel. Local craft markets as well as shopping malls that sell souvenirs for tourists can be found in any city in Jamaica.

In addition to the Jamaican dollar, the US dollar is accepted everywhere on the island. The exchange rate is fluctuating, in April 2013 it was JA $ 98 for US $ 1. It should be remembered that street vendors or small tourist shops may not have change, so it doesn’t hurt to stock up on dollar change in advance.

As a rule, sellers always have a calculator at hand, but the tourist should not forget that the dollar is often taken at an undervalued rate.

VISA, MasterCard and, to a lesser extent, American Express and Discover credit cards are accepted in almost all supermarkets, pharmacies or restaurants on the island. A curious exception to this is gas stations, which mostly require cash payment.

In tourist centers like Negril or Ocho Rios, prices tend to be lower. And, of course, when buying souvenirs, tourists should not forget about the so-called “tourist traps”, where local crafts are sold at significantly higher prices than in other places on the island.

In small shops and shops, as a rule, it is customary to keep barkers who invite tourists to enter, sometimes quite intrusively. If you are not interested, be polite but firm. However, if you do decide to make a purchase, do not forget to bargain – in Jamaica this is considered in the order of things. The first price they tell you will almost certainly be overpriced. Typically, the main souvenirs are wood carvings, pottery, ethnic drums, and crafts made from shells and coconuts. T-shirts with the image of Bob Marley, Jamaican clothing with patterns and embroidery, and, of course, the most popular Jamaican souvenir – a colorful rastaman hat, are always popular among tourists.

There are also many duty free shops on the island selling jewelry, perfumes, rum, as well as local spirits such as rum liqueur or Tia Maria coffee liqueur.

The famous Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee gives a wonderful taste to the coffee liqueur. Jamaican coffee is recognized by connoisseurs as one of the best in the world – not least due to the special microclimate of the Blue Mountains, fertile volcanic soil, fogs and clouds, as well as the temperature, which is almost always five to seven degrees lower than on the rest of the island. Coffee is one of Jamaica’s main exports. Japan alone buys over 70% of the Blue Mountain crop, so be sure to buy the original coffee and not the blend of the same name.

And, of course, Jamaican rum. Despite the fact that rum production in Jamaica has recently experienced a slight decline, the two leading brands of Jamaican rum – Appleton and Myers – continue to occupy the top positions in the ranking of elite alcoholic beverages. In any store selling liquor, you will definitely find these brands of rum, but if you want, you can buy and taste lesser-known brands: Trelawny, Coruba, Wray & Nephew and others. The price of rum depends on the strength and aging.

Having mentioned rum, it is impossible not to recall another product in which Jamaica competes with Cuba with dignity. The main reason why aficionados, avid cigar smokers, value Jamaican cigars so much is the quality of the tobacco. There are many brands of cigars produced on the island, but the most famous outside the island are Santa-Cruz Montalvo and Pride of Jamaica. Their distinctive feature is that they are 100% hand-rolled Jamaican tobacco in Kingston. Distinctive taste – rich and strong, yet soft.

Royal Jamaica cigars deserve a special mention. They are rolled from tobacco leaves grown in Jamaica, Nicaragua and Honduras. But the feature is not only this. As a rule, cigar tobacco is dried without additives, but for Royal Jamaica cigars, tobacco during the drying process is sprayed with a mixture of “betune”, consisting of aromatic herbs, vinegar and the same Jamaican rum.

In Jamaica, it is not uncommon to find Cuban cigars, which are in demand primarily among tourists from the United States, where Cuban cigars are still under embargo. However, it should be remembered that sometimes you can get local cigars of not the best quality in Cuban packaging.

Communication

Mobile communications in Jamaica are provided by the local GSM 900 operator Digicel – you can find out about their services on the website. International calls can also be made by a pay phone that accepts cards or coins. As a rule, such payphones can be found in hotel lobbies or in post offices, but international calls are quite expensive, so it is easier to buy a local SIM card – all the more so, given that the roaming of Russian operators is unimportant and works intermittently.

The situation is about the same with WiFi services. In hotel lobbies, as a rule, there is free WiFi access. To access the Internet elsewhere on the island, you can buy a modem from Digicel retail outlets.

Safety in Jamaica

Despite the fact that rumors of crime in Jamaica can reach tourists, vacationers on the island rarely come into contact with crime. As pointed out by the Jamaica Tourism Bureau, the likelihood of being robbed in New York is much higher than in Montego Bay – so don’t let Jamaica’s reputation prevent you from fully enjoying what this wonderful island has to offer.

In most cases, large hotels and resorts provide all the necessary security measures, so those who have made their choice in favor of large resort chains have nothing to worry about. If you are staying at a simpler hotel and are traveling on your own, you should be careful about your safety, but not to such an extent that traveling on your own in Jamaica seems like something impracticable or not worth the risk. In fact, Jamaica has a lot to offer its guests, so there is simply no point in sitting still – you need to pack up and hit the road to see everything for yourself!

There are certain precautions to take in particular when traveling to Jamaica, as tourists in cities – as in any large tourist city – are a popular target for a certain type of criminals. Pickpocketing and petty theft are common in crowded areas. This is especially true for crowded bus routes, and for street markets, which are almost always crowded. Be especially careful in such places, and do not lose sight of your surroundings in order to prevent such actions: keep wallets and bags in front of you, wallets in inner pockets of jackets or front pockets of trousers, handing large sums of money, do it discreetly. These few simple precautions can keep any traveler in a good mood. Also, try not to wear expensive clothes when going to public places, and do without expensive jewelry that attracts attention.

The most important rule, for all occasions, is to remember common sense and be attentive, not forgetting to look around. Just as you don’t leave your bag on a bench in any major city in the world, don’t do it in Jamaica.

In fact, the main inconvenience that can be encountered in Jamaica and which can create problems is not so much street crime as the intrusiveness and obsession of traders, and not only traders. However, if for some tourists the opportunity to bargain in street shops is entertainment in itself, to others it may seem an annoying hindrance. You need to be firm, and in most cases you will be left alone. You should be aware of the local specifics when faced with beggars or annoying barkers: the European way of just walking by and pretending that this does not apply to you is hardly the best solution. Otherwise, the beggar may follow you, showering with offensive words. Better to say firmly, “I am not interested”, or just gesture to make it clear that the offer did not interest you – and you will be left alone. Try, if possible, not to go to areas where only the local population lives – and even more so, do not agree to offers to “see the real Jamaica”, to take a tour of the place, to watch something, to lead, to show, etc.

Also beware of the marijuana sellers, or “ganja” as they call it. Although smoking marijuana is common in Jamaica, it is still illegal.

Tap water in Jamaica is of acceptable quality, but chlorinated, so bottled water is recommended for drinking.

Medical service

Medical care in Jamaica is quite expensive, so it doesn’t hurt to get travel insurance before heading to the island. At your hotel or resort, be sure to seek medical advice, dentist or doctor advice. As a rule, most hotels invite doctors and dentists on call, so for non-urgent situations, you can make inquiries at the reception before going to the hospital. If you need urgent medical intervention, then there are 16 public hospitals, or 6 private clinics in Jamaica.

Below is a list of hospitals, their locations and telephone numbers, in case of need:

  • University Hospital of the West Indies – Mona, Kingston, 876-927-1620
  • St. Ann’sBayHospital – St. Ann’s Bay, 876-794-8565
  • Port Antonio Hospital – Naylor’s Hill, Port Antonio, 876-715-5778
  • Mo Bay Hope Medical Center – Half Moon Resort, Montego Bay, 876-953-3981
  • Cornwall Regional Hospital – Mt. Salem, Montego Bay, 876-952-5100

Dial 110 to call an ambulance.

Useful Tips

Holidays in Jamaica will cost an average of about $ 300 (USD) per day if you plan to stay in an all-inclusive mega resort: as a rule, in this case, the price includes not only the room itself, but also food, excursions and entertainment as well as security. Of course, you can stay in Jamaica for a much lower fee, but on average, you should focus on the price of $ 80 (USD), regardless of the region of the country.

Typically, these are guest houses located in the tourist areas of Montego Bay or Negril, although not in the very center. The hosts are almost always a family that rents out rooms. Remember that in Jamaica, you almost always get what you pay for, so you should carefully check the terms of the hotel or guest house you want to stay in before making your final decision. You can bargain in almost all such places on the island, especially during the off-season.

If your vacation in Jamaica will not be in an all-inclusive hotel, then daily expenses can be reduced to a minimum of $ 30 (USD), but still the amount of $ 40 – 60 USD looks more realistic.

Let’s say, in a restaurant, you can spend from $ 8 to $ 30 (USD), or a little more, depending on the class of the institution. But despite the prices and style differences, tune in to spend at least $ 30 (USD) per day on food. Some hotels offer discounts to guests who will be eating at the hotel restaurants, so it is a good idea to inquire at the reception for possible discounts and special offers.

Don’t forget to bring your personal hygiene items, sunscreen and sunglasses – purchased locally, they will cost at least 20 percent more, if not more. Do not forget to bring the necessary set of medicines with you, as well as the prescription for them if you have any questions at customs.

The electrical voltage in the network in Jamaica is 110 volts, and sockets are “American”, for plugs with two flat pins. Hotels usually offer adapters, but if you are planning an independent trip around the island, it would not hurt to stock up on adapters in advance.

Where to stay

There are many options available for living in Jamaica. Hotels in Jamaica come in various categories and stars, using a convenient form with many filters you can book a hotel in Jamaica. Don’t forget that by booking a hotel on Booking.com using the links above, you are participating in a great prize draw! In addition, you can rent an apartment in Jamaica, which may be convenient for some categories of tourists – families with several children who prefer to cook for themselves, and so on.

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