Like many Caribbean islands, Jamaica is no stranger to the isolated beachfront resort, giving you an almost fantasy-like experience of the island. However, venture out into the streets, to see ‘the real’ Jamaica and the fantasy of a tropical paradise does not fall away.
Travelling the island can be done via a number of ways. Private hire taxis, coaches, busses and minibuses are cheap to hire, with drivers happy to take you anywhere for a small fee. One fantastic example of this is the cross-country journey from Montego Bay to the capital, Kingston for US$8 a ticket. For tourists, both the Jamaican Dollar and the US Dollar is acceptable tender in the costal regions and Kingston, though it is strongly advised that if you pay in one currency, you receive change in the same currency to avoid irregularities. Venture further inland and the Jamacian Dollar is the currency in demand.
Jamaican cuisine is largely consistent with other Caribbean cuisines, with the majority of popular dishes being fried vegetables and fish, whilst the most popular meat dishes are stewed or baked.
This means that the vast majority of Jamaican dishes sit on the savoury side of the palette, though they are well balanced against fresh fruit or any number of sweet tasting, hot and jerk sauces which together, make any dish appeasing to all of the senses.
The main staple of a dish varies from town to town, with costal regions favouring seafood, whilst inlanders make you understand why curried meats, such as Curry Goat, Chicken and Lamb are so well associated with this island in particular to the rest of the world.
For those looking to experience a more ‘BBQ vibe’ which they may feel fits the weather better, Smokehouses offer a perfect blend of BBQ’d meats with the flavour and panache of a stewed dish.
As such, smokehouses offer the best range of food that you can either grab on-the-go, or eat whilst you sit down and dwell in the moment you have amongst friends and family.
With the average temperature ranging between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius at the coasts and 15 to 22 degrees Celsius in more mountainous regions averaging across the year, appropriate attire is key. No matter the purpose of your trip; whether it is to relax on the sand or go hiking at altitude, clothes that keep you cool should be the only items you are packing- meaning the woolen jumpers can stay at home.
The tropical weather can make you a prime target for insects, so whilst you are packing the sun-cream, a can or two of insect repellent will go a long way in keeping you comfortable, particularly once the sun goes down and the warm weather keeps you in your short sleeves or backless gowns.
Accommodation is easy to come by all across Jamaica, with places to fit any and all of your needs. 5-star luxury resorts are easy to find and are perfectly located for those looking to spend a week or two relaxing. For those looking to take on all 14 parishes, hotels are available across the country for you to spend the night or two, whilst for those who may be looking to fully immerse themselves in the Jamaican lifestyle, or simply save money on their trip; guest-homes can be rented for as little as US$12 a day.
The sheer number of activities available can ensure your stay is busy from the moment you land, even if you only visit tourist hotspots. Varying from busy adventure and discovery days to nights out, you may very well find yourself swimming with the Dolphins in Dolphin Cove, or on a Bobsleigh at Magic Mountain in the morning, then spending the evening at the Rose Hall Great House Night Tour or the famous Margaritaville.
As Jamaica is a popular holiday destination, a travel representative may handle your excursions on the island and their fees. However, the quoted price given to you by your travel rep may be inflated, so seeking independent travel arrangements may lower your quoted price.
Like all places, Jamaica does have an element of danger, and whilst the authorities attempt to tackle crime across the country, your tour rep and locals will recommend that for your travel, you should take a taxi whenever possible and do not walk around areas you are not familiar with, particularly at night.
And lastly, whilst Marijuana consumption has been decriminalised in 2015, possession of the narcotic is prohibited and it is advised that you politely, yet strongly decline if you are solicited.
Overall, Jamaica offers a picturesque perspective of the Caribbean and its family friendly vibe makes it a near perfect getaway for the family, whilst the intimacy such a warm and vibrant environment creates, makes you see why Jamaica is the number one honeymoon destination for newlyweds and those looking to renew their vows.