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Top 3 Areas To Visit In Jamaica

4 min read
Top 3 Areas To Visit In Jamaica

Jamaica is a beautiful island with warm, inviting breezes and incredible turquoise colored water, and it’s one of the top vacation destinations in the Caribbean. There are many reasons this tropical island receives so many tourists every year, including its ease of getting there. The 3 main tourist destination cities or areas are Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. All 3 areas are must sees for every traveler there, so try to include them on your list when you visit. Stay away from the south island areas if you can, as they are dirty and crowded in the big cities, especially Kingston. Definitely NOT recommended or on the heavily traveled tourist path.

Montego Bay is on the north coast toward the west of the island, and is a great location to set up base camp in one of the popular all-inclusive resorts in the area such as RIU. Some people will opt to stay right on the property for the whole vacation and never leave! There are usually so many things to do when you stay at an all-inclusive resort that it’s quite possible… However, try to get off property for at least a little while to go visit some of the many attractions around. Montego Bay is located close to the airport, and if you fly into Jamaica for vacation this is the airport you will most likely arrive at. I would not suggest renting a car and driving in Jamaica your first time there, as some areas are very rural and it can be dangerous after dark. As you proceed down the road, you’ll see farmers or locals walking with donkeys loaded up with firewood or other goods, and even some of the goats that are on the island right on or near the roadside. Also, an unfortunate gift from the British is the wrong side of the road driving involved, which makes it that more dangerous.

Jamaica is actually a contrast in vacation destinations, even though it’s definitely a must see at least once in your life, you do need to be careful while you are there. The people can be friendly, but there is also rampant poverty all around, so theft goes on quite frequently, even at the big all-inclusive resorts. Laptops are a big draw for thieves, and you WILL find employees such as maids or other people at the resort that will steal things from your room if they can, especially laptops that are left out in the open. NEVER leave one in plain sight for the day, expecting that it will be still there when you return later on. Utilize the safe when possible, which is actually more possible today due to the small size of blackberries with email and browser internet access. So if at all possible, be safe and leave your laptop computer at home. Your Blackberry will fit inside the room safe quite nicely.

One of my favorite areas of Jamaica is Negril, way over on the extreme west coast of the island. This is a very popular tourist area, but the drive over there is through some poverty stricken towns, so be prepared for that. Once you get closer to Negril, it becomes much nicer and the beaches just stretch on for miles and miles with white sugar sand and incredible water. As you swim, the sting rays will come right up to you and you’ll see many other varieties of fish. There is good snorkeling, and be sure to enjoy the touristy destinations there such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. One can’t miss destination in Negril is Rick’s Café. This is the home of the world famous high divers, and you’ll enjoy a spectacle toward sunset right on the water’s edge as the locals will jump or dive out of the tallest trees above the grotto below for tips. It’s truly amazing, and may have you shaking in your boots! Anyone can tempt fate and jump or dive off a lower tower or platform at their own risk, and many people do! It’s always a fun time at Rick’s Café.

More toward the east is the tourist destination of Ocho Rios, which receives a lot of traffic from the cruise ship terminal located there. This is a fun town, with some great and must see things to do, such as climbing Dunn’s River Falls (waterfall), and the new zip line experience that recently opened there. Whenever you see a video or picture of Jamaica, you will normally see Dunn’s River Falls and all the tourists climbing up following a tour guide. This is a fantastic experience, and I recommend it highly to everyone! It was definitely one of the highlights of the vacation, because the water is so cool and refreshing and you can take your time at some points and relax in the pools along the way. Do NOT attempt to climb it without a guide though, as it can be extremely dangerous because not all areas are good routes up. There are quite a few exposed drop offs, and if you get in the wrong area it can be very hard to get out of with the strong currents. You may get swept off the edge, which would be a bad thing… Having said that, it’s safe enough with the proper guide but be sure to wear shoes of some kind with a good grip for the rocks. Water shoes are best.

I hope you think about planning a trip to Jamaica soon, you will really enjoy it as long as you go with the right expectations. If you stay in the resort completely, there will be plenty to do and see, but also try to venture out and see a few of the sights. It’s safe enough, so enjoy yourself!

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