Jamaica is a stunning country. Made up of 49 islands, Jamaica is very much seen as an idyllic beach holiday. However, with its rich history and strong local culture, there’s a lot more to Jamaica than just white sand and crystal clear waters.
Before taking a look at the 7 tips when travelling there, it would be a wasted opportunity to overlook the luxury that the likes of Iberostar’s Hotel in Jamaica offers. Jamaica is without a doubt the undisputed champion in luxury hotel resorts.
Winter is the Best Season to Visit Jamaica
It may sound odd, but in many tropical climates around the world, visiting during winter is ideal. Winter in Jamaica is between November and January. Temperatures are a little more bearable (below 30°C) during this time and there’s actually less rain. Furthermore, the June-November wet season has a lot more thunderstorms and dangerous weather.
However, it’s worth noting that most hurricanes are between August and October. So, you can technically visit in the rainy season outside of this time period, as long as you have a hurricane tracker app, travel insurance, and plan your trip carefully.
Make a Plan on Which Side of Jamaica to Stay
Whilst it’s an island, that doesn’t mean Jamaica is small. In fact, it’s a lot bigger than most of its neighbouring island countries. So, before booking a hotel, decide which side of the island you want to stay on.
If you’re a beach bum and into water sports, head to Negril. Here there are plenty of surfing and sunbathing options with incredible beaches. However, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay are great for having a more buzzing atmosphere mixed with some great local attractions. And, for those looking for music and nightlife alone, Kingston cannot be topped.
It should be noted too that Negril is the most touristy place in Jamaica. This makes it expensive, crowded (in peak season), and therefore not ideal for the average backpacker. But, it could be perfect for those travelling with a bigger budget who are looking for plenty of amenities.
Finally, both the very north and south coasts have the notorious dreamy laid-back Jamaican vibe. These are ideal for a sleepy, relaxing visit.
Hire a Car to Explore Jamaica
Public transport is readily available in Jamaica, but it will be a lot more restrictive. Air-conditioned buses and taxis are available in the major towns, but if you’re heading outside of those, a car will give you a lot more opportunity to visit more attractions.
In particular, those into hiking and exploring should hire a private car. Car hire is possible at both Montego Bay and Kingston.
If you do take taxis, it’s possible to take route taxis. These are what the locals use as they’re cheap. These are vehicles where you share and squeeze in with some locals that are heading the same way – it’s way cheaper than private transport.
Be Careful When You Walk the Streets
Jamaica doesn’t have the best pedestrian infrastructure. Sidewalks can often be non-existent, yet many drivers fly past cars very quickly. You should be extra careful when walking around and keep an eye out for traffic.
It’s worth walking against traffic (on the ‘wrong’ side of the road) so you can see oncoming traffic, as opposed to cars coming up behind you.
Travel Like a Local and Talk to the Locals
Jamaica isn’t like most western countries, speaking to strangers in public is perfectly normal. Jamaica is a very friendly place with interesting people.
Some Jamaicans will be looking for business, but many are simply friendly and open people so interacting with them is the best way to learn more about this fascinating country.
Greeting people on the street when walking past is normal and older people are treated with greater respect.
Take Extra Caution if you’re an LGBTQ Traveler
Jamaica remains to be, on the whole, less tolerant than Europe and North America. Sexual acts between men, for example, can result in up to 10 years in prison.
You very much could stay in Jamaica and not realise this, however, this all needs to be taken into consideration for certain minorities and sexualities.
In popular tourist destinations, you should be just fine since most of them welcome LGBTQ travellers. But, you cannot be sure exactly how you will be treated in other parts of the country so always be vigilant.
Is Jamaica Vegetarian-Friendly? How about Vegan-Friendly?
With 1% of the population being Rastafarian, plant-based food is readily available on the island.
In fact, it may be better for vegan food than you’re used to back home with all the freshly available fruit and vegetables. Rice ‘n’ peas are a common dish too, even in non-Rasta restaurants.
Some other popular Jamaican dishes include Jamaican Bammy, Gizzada, Blue Mountain Coffee and much more. For meat lovers, don’t miss out on the Jerk-Chicken, Oxtail and Run Dun.
Final Word about Visiting Jamaica
Jamaica is a great holiday destination for both luxury travellers and backpackers. Jamaica has a very friendly and fun atmosphere. With world-class beaches, 5* resorts, and amazing nightlife and nature, Jamaica has it all.
I hope you have enjoyed this article about the best Jamaica Travel Tips. Don’t forget to subscribe in order to get more awesome updates and tips straight to your e-mail!
Have you ever been to Jamaica? Would you like to? What were some of your best Jamaica Travel Tips? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!
Until next time, my friends!