Jamaica Travel Tips
With its slow pace of life, long sandy beaches, and great music scene, Jamaica is exactly what the doctor ordered. The Caribbean island has plenty to offer travelers of all kinds. Be it the baking sunshine, crystal waters, or the spectacular views, you’re sure to find something to tempt you here. Although it would be very easy to spend most of your time on beaches, try to spend time experiencing the local music scene and Rastafarian culture. Also avoid going during spring break when college students swarm the island and prices skyrocket.
- Accommodation: A night in a shared hostel dorm will cost from $15 USD, while a single room will cost around $20. Budget hotels start from $50.
- Food: Lunch and casual meals cost around $5, while dinner comes in at $12.
- Transportation: Buses are extremely inexpensive at around $0.90 per trip. Taxis on the other hand are expensive at around $20 for a 10-mile trip.
- Activities: Expect to pay $40 – 80 for snorkeling and $20 for the Bob Marley museum.
Money Saving Tips
- Shop around - If you’re going snorkeling, shop around for the best price as equipment and tours can vary widely even along one beach front.
- Route Taxis - These taxis are shared between many people, all following the same route. This works out to be much cheaper than private taxis.
- Avoid Spring Break - If you visit during the American spring break season in March, you’ll pay 25% or more for everything.
Top Things to See and Do
- Go rafting - Head to the Port Antonio area and take a trip down the Rio Grande River on a bamboo raft. Rafting is one of the best ways to see and enjoy the numerous caves, waterfalls and crystal springs that are tucked away throughout the island.
- Bob Marley Museum - Without a doubt, Bob Marley is one of Jamaica’s biggest exports. Make the pilgrimage to his museum to learn more about the iconic Rastafarian’s greatest influences and then, after all that, head to the Bob Marley Cafe where tenderloin kebabs and jerk wings are some of the delicious treats on the menu.
- Snorkeling – Put on that sunscreen and spend a couple of blissful hours uncovering the deep blue on a snorkeling trip. Go to the Northern coast where you can see a wide array of sea life, coral reefs, sponges and caves.
- Swim with dolphins - Ocho Rios gives you the chance to swim with dolphins. Looking for a bigger thrill? Go to Oracabessa where you can swim with stingrays instead.
- Rum Tours - Rum is another one of Jamaica’s best enjoyed exports. See where the foundations of rum were created and take a tour of the Appleton Sugar Plantation and the Appleton Rum Factory
- Caving - For the budding explorers among us, embark on an intrepid exploration of one of the 1,000+ caves which dot the island. To start, head to the Green Grotto Caves on the north coast.
- Plantations Tours - Go to the Sun Valley Plantation in Ocho Rios, a site which has been in operation since the colonial slave days. You will have the opportunity to take a tour down the Crescent River and experience real plantation life.
- Montego Bay - Montego Bay is the center of tourism in this country. Take a trip here to load up on your shopping and souvenirs. Visit the City Centre Plaza or the main Crafts Market for some good buys.
- Kingston - Witness history at your fingertips with a trip to Kingston, a city full of important landmarks such as Devon House, King’s House and the prime ministers’ house. Go to the shopping malls in Kingston to find some of the best coffee in the world and find deals on European and American clothes and luxury items.
- Dunn’s River Falls – Located in Ocho Rios, these falls are 600 feet up, and are absolutely stunning. For those who are adventurous enough, you can actually climb up them—but for everyone else, you should at least take a look.
- Cockpit Country – Just southeast of Montego Bay lies an area known for birds. Over 70 different species have been found here. It is very scenic, with interesting pockets and sinkholes of dissolved limestone, as well as many rivers.
- Rick’s Cafe – This is a popular place for locals and visitors alike. There are huge cliffs to jump off and many people even leap from the trees. It’s about 35 feet to the water, so if the height is too much for you, you can at least enjoy the sun and people-watching.
- Port Royal – This used to be the pirate capital of the Caribbean. Now, visitors are free to check out Fort Charles, the St. Peter’s Church, and the naval cemetery. Additionally, there are potential plans for a tourist redevelopment, which will include a theme park, pier, arcade, museum, and more.
- Lose Yourself in the Clouds - Holywell National Park lies in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Walk along the mountain’s edge and find yourself in a sea of clouds, with birds and monkeys screeching around you. A short drive from Kingston, this tropical park can easily be visited in an afternoon.