16 Helpful Tips for an Enjoyable, Safe, and Secure Jamaican Vacation (Part 2)
Updated: Sep 6
Jamaican Experience; Jamaica Attractions; Jamaican Culture; Jamaican People; Jamaican Products; Jamaica Travel Tips and Assist
Jamaica is an amazing place for a holiday, and there are few places in the world where you can find such a rich, authentic, and culturally-oriented experience. If you are ever looking for a place of warmth, happiness, and adventure, then Jamaica should be your next vacation destination. This beautiful island has become one of the most popular vacation spots in the western hemisphere for so many reasons.
As a Jamaican local, I have many tips on how to enjoy your vacation while staying safe and secure. In Jamaica, exercise extra safety precautions – be alert not alarmed. Use your common sense and you should have no troubles traveling in Jamaica. Being aware of and
applying these tips can make your Jamaica vacation more fun and help keep you safe!
10. Spend Time on Jamaica’s Beautiful Beaches
Jamaica is known for much more than its rich spices, jerks and world class hotels. It is also highly rated for its beaches:
One of the most popular beaches in Jamaica is Negril Beach, also called Seven Mile Beach. The famously long, white-sand beach is on the west coast, stretching approximately five miles despite its "seven mile" nickname. It has been voted numerous times as one of the best in the world, boasting dramatic sunsets, silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, and an instinctive island spirit.
Due to the popularity of Negril Beach, it is often crowded with sunbathers, swimmers, and water sport enthusiasts. It is easy to find kayak and sailboat rentals to head out onto the water for the day.
If golden sand is your style, Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay is a must-visit. The tranquil beach has an almost perfect year-round climate of 80 degrees. There is a ban on radios and vendors at Doctor's Cave beach, so the atmosphere is quiet, with only the sound of crashing waves instead of reggae music. It is this purist beach vibe that vacationers enjoy. The beach is clean, and facilities are modern, with changing areas and equipment available for rent, like lounge chairs and umbrellas.
There is a reason that Frenchman's Cove Resort Beach in Jamaica has made appearances in movies like Club Paradise and other films because it is a tropical paradise. The lagoon-style beach is located in Port Antonio and used to be a secluded beach retreat for the Hollywood elite. What makes Frenchman's Cove so appealing is the quiet stream that converges into the turquoise ocean. The pristine sandy beach feels exotic next to the calm, bath-water-temperature lagoon. It is a quieter beach scene than other locations in Jamaica, which is exactly why it is popular with those who know about it.
11. Things to Bring
Here are recommendations for things to bring to Jamaica; things for you to have a safe and comfortable vacation.
There are many opportunities in Jamaica to visit water parks, beaches, and waterfalls that you should keep your phone safe in a waterproof case. In this way you’ll be able to take photos and use your phone, without it getting damaged.
Bring a charger, preferably two; keep one in your bag at all times and use the other in your hotel room. Charge your phone fully before travel. American equipment can work in Jamaica. If you are traveling from Europe, bring an adapter to convert from a European to an American plug. Don’t use your phone on the airplane.
Keep a bag close to you with all your important documents such as passport, identification, important addresses, contact numbers, a printout of your itinerary, copy of your passport, and contact details of your host/hotel.
Insect repellent is an essential in Jamaica. Mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the island, so to avoid bites, make sure you use insect repellent round the clock. As a Jamaican, I use body lotion to which I have added a few drops of Citronella Essential Oil – this keeps mosquitoes away.
Bring sunscreen and apply when going to the beach or walking around in the sun as you can get sun burnt even with a cloudy cover.
Come with flip flops or comfortable shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
Bring reef shoes – the one you can use on water falls – are essential. They are not very expensive in Jamaica, so pick up a pair here.
Bring masks and fins if you plan to go snorkeling. If you are coming for a long stay and enjoy snorkeling, then bring your own gear. Otherwise, you can rent gear for a short stay. Snorkeling gear is rented by the day or the hour.
12. Crime Hotspots in Jamaica
Travelers are rarely victims or targets of crime in Jamaica, but there are some areas in Kingston, Negril and Montego Bay that are at higher risk.
Crime in Kingston
Communities such as Cassava Piece, Tivoli Gardens, Downtown, Trench Town, Arnett Gardens, Denham Town and Mountain View are sometimes prone to local crime, not to travelers.
Tivoli Gardens, Downtown, and Trench Town, have sites of historic importance in Jamaica, and have reputable organized tours that take visitors into the community. These are safe so long as you stick with your guide and follow their advice.
Kingston Creative Artwalk offers monthly walking tours around Downtown Kingston, highlighting its colonial history and art influences, and is guided by more than 70 local volunteers.
Culture Yard in Trench Town guides visitors around the community where reggae legend Bob Marley lived, and showcases the influence of Trench Town on reggae music.
Safety in Montego Bay
Areas to avoid include Norwood, Clavers Street, Hart Street, Rose Heights, Canterbury, and Flankers. It’s unlikely any travelers would visit these communities, but avoid them as they are unsafe.
Is Negril safe?
Considered to be more popular than Kingston, Negril is a small resort town on the north west side of Jamaica. Stick to the well-traveled areas, such as West End, which are generally safe.
Take particular care at nights, and take taxis to avoid walking alone.
13. Safety in Kingston
My nephew, Mark (Jamaican born), was here in Kingston on vacation with his family in 2019 and sent me an engaging, colorfully-written report for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. I took this extract from it on “Safety in Kingston,” which has general tips for safety:
Safety in Kingston depends on where you go and at what times. Keep in mind that Kingston is the capital of Jamaica. That means Kingston is filled with government bureaucrats, business folks, and distinguished diplomats. During weekdays, Kingston is crammed with these people and others crossing the streets wherever they please contributing to the rush hour congestion. Coach buses, overloaded minibuses, and speeding cabs seem to all be competing for the most irritating horn, or for the vehicle able to produce the largest amount of black billowing smoke from a modern exhaust. If the streets are paved, they are pockmarked with holes of every variety.
It’s a city, so keep your head on a swivel and move with purpose. Don’t loiter in areas far from your lodgings where you don’t see professionals or other travelers. Go to areas which are paved, well-lit and guarded; think about avoiding areas that don’t meet all or some of those conditions.
Shun night-time excursions to areas of town you haven’t been to during the day. Or adopt the motto: When is doubt ask it out. If you’re not sure if a destination makes sense ask a relative, a local, or a hotel concierge about the place you want to go. Basically, use some common-sense.
14. Don’t go "Off-the-Beaten-Track" in Jamaica if it’s Your First Time Visiting
Traveling to Jamaica for the first time? Going off-the-beaten-track is fun to think about. This is not always a good idea in a strange destination where you don’t know your way around and aren’t on a paid tour. For tourists especially, exploring in this way is not recommended in Jamaica. Stick to highly populated areas, and if you’re in Jamaica for a low-key activity like backpacking, it may be best to do so with an experienced guide.
15. Enjoy a Cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain® Coffee
Jamaica Blue Mountain® Coffee is known world-wide for its exquisite taste which is a result of the conditions under which it is grown. A rare coffee certified by the Jamaican regulators of the agricultural industry.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee® is not something you’ll want to miss out on while in Jamaica. This coffee is widely recognized as one of the best coffees in the world! While in Jamaica, you’ll be able to pick up Blue Mountain Coffee® to take home for friends and family!
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee® is also available online at the Jamaica So Nice Shop.
16. Treat Local Merchants with Respect
If you visit spots like the Jamaica Craft Market, expect that you will be approached by local vendors. Some will call out to you asking what you need, or offering what they’re selling. While some travelers might recommend not making eye contact in these scenarios, in Jamaica this will likely come across as rude. You can simply wave and say "no, thank you," and continue on your way. It’s okay to say no if you don’t want anything, but if the vendor trying to get your attention has something you’re interested in, it’s also okay to go check it out.
Generally, when shopping at local craft markets, you should go to the vendor with the warmest smile, who is the least bit pushy; from these types of vendors you can usually get what you need at a decent price. Overall, show everyone respect as you go along your way, which in Jamaica includes greeting strangers who might randomly say hello, rather than just passing you by.
It’s best to buy authentic Jamaican products as Jamaica offers a wealth of creative, high quality goods.
17. Live the Community Jamaican Experience
Community Tourism is a promising aspect of tourism in Jamaica as it focuses on introducing the culture and history of Jamaica to both locals and visitors. The experience differs from the resort type vacation as it offers an educational and enriching experience.
Stay at local guesthouses and hotels for the community Jamaican experience. When you stay at locally-run guesthouses and hotels, you can get local advice on things to do, places to visit, eat, and of course the opportunity to interact with locals. A great way to find local accommodation is on Airbnb. For some suggestions check out this article on the best Jamaica Airbnbs.
18. Jamaica So Nice Launches the Travel Tips and Assist Group
The Jamaica So Nice Travel Tips and Assist Group was launched on Friday, August 27, 2021. The objective of this Group is to share the Jamaican experience through our attractions, culture, products, and people. So do join us on Facebook. Our aim is that you have fun while staying safe and secure on the fascinating island of Jamaica. So, if you need information, or have a concern about travel to Jamaica, do contact us:
· 50 Essential JAMAICA TRAVEL Tips | WATCH BEFORE YOU GO!!! (Part 1/2), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj2ZaQq5X88
· 50 Essential JAMAICA TRAVEL Tips | WATCH BEFORE YOU GO!!! (Part 2/2), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oCiyvgfH4A