The culture of Jamaica has long been attractive to tourists: Bob Marley counts for some of this.
But the nature of the island is not as caricatural as pop culture will have you believe. Before you fly off to a Jamaican vacation, memorize these travel tips for Jamaica.
Travel Tips for Jamaica
Take a Break from Jamaican Time
Obviously Jamaicans are known for being laid back. Most island cultures are, but these Caribbean people are really comfortable at any level.
The weather, as far as we know it, does not really exist. Events seem to get stuck in two-hour time slots. While stores can claim to open at 10 am, a safer bet would be noon. Do not be frustrated, or you will be angry during your entire trip.
Do Not Buy Ganja
Ganja is illegal in Jamaica. This does not mean that most locals take this into account. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, everyone (from grooms to waiters and jewelry vendors) will ask you if you want some smoke.
They do not talk about cigarettes. Smile politely and say no. Possession can lead you to prison, and there is nothing classy about it. Police who want the bail money can even intentionally trap you.
Stay Away From Tourist Bars
Although your first instinct may be to go to "customers like you", you'll have a much better time and spend less money visiting bars where locals hang out.
Ask the hotel staff or tourist information staff where they are going when they go out and if it is safe for foreigners. Usually everything is fine, but it is good to make sure.
Go Out to See the Country
No matter where you stay, there will be excursions available in the countryside. While the hustle and bustle of city areas is exciting, rural areas are a completely different world.
You will not be treated as a tourist target, constantly wondering if you want to buy something. Locals in these areas really embrace the relaxed Jamaican spirit.
Negotiate Prices in Advance
While you may consider yourself of the middle class, you will be considered rich in Jamaica. Travelers stand out in a crowd, regardless of your ethnicity.
The local population assumes that you have a lot of money because, relative to them, you travel. Many will try to sell you goods and services at outrageously high prices.
Study the Common Jamaican Terms
While Jamaicans speak English technically, you will not recognize many expressions. They speak patois, a mixture of English, native dialects and other languages.
At times, you can have an intelligible conversation and suddenly, without warning, it can escalate into gibberish.
Get Ready for Mosquitoes
Jamaican mosquitoes can be monsters that resist insect repellents and lotions. I know you want to enjoy the island's sun as much as you can, but when packing your suitcases, think about long-sleeved shirts and pants.
At times, you'll want to protect your skin as much as possible.
Make sure to take a few pairs of decent shoes, collar shirts (with sleeves) and light pants.
The Most Beautiful Beaches are Paying
The Jamaican government seems to be a big supporter of a free market economy. Privatization is entering areas that many travelers would not think of. For example, many of the most beautiful beaches are not owned by the government but by major resorts.
Head to Montego Bay for Golf
If you are a golfer, you will definitely want to pack your bags and purchase a travel package in this area. Located along the coast, between pristine sandbanks and lush vegetation, are some of the most scenic and challenging courses in the entire Caribbean.