Travel Tips & Features

A Real Jamaican Tourist would…

What would it take to experience Jamaica like a real tourist? Read what other have said and add your suggestions.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Will find the best jerk (pork, chicken, etc…) is Boston Bay, Portland. If you travel to Kingston, the Chelsae Jerk Centre which is off Half Way Tree Road and behind New Kingston is also serves good jerk. While in Kingston you may also want to try “drum-pan chicken,” in Liganeau near Lane Plaza or up Red Hills Rd.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would not leave Jamaica without stopping at Faith’s Pen which is on the way to Ochi from Kingston for some roast corn, roast yam, ackee and saltfish.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would not leave Jamaica without going to Hellshire Beach, in St. Catherine, and eat some fish and festival. Even though Hellshire is the original you may also get this taste delight at Cable Hut Beach, St. Thomas.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would not limit him/herself to the North Coast, which is commercialized specifically for tourists, but would venture and explore the Blue Mountain Peak and bamboo raft the river, drive up to Newcastle and Hollywell, experience the beautiful remote Reach Falls in Portland and tour the amazing Lover’s Leap.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would fly Air Jamaica to experience the best pilots in the world, to get prepared for the Jamaica experience and finally everyone gets FREE champagne.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Will stop at Devon House for ice cream on their visit to Kingston.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Knows that vendors peddling rope bracelets, beaded necklaces, shell earrings, T-shirts, hand-carved pots pipes and other Jamaican “touristy” merchandise are just trying to make a living. Haggling with local vendors is a part of the tourist experience and just kindly saying “I am not interested” or “I will have to check with my wife/husband” will end this experience.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Who does not have a strong heart should probably take the mini-buses, taxi (government registered taxis have a red license plate) and other mode of transportation rather than renting a car, motorcycle or scooter. Be aware that there is a main road that can take you around the island, but this road is mostly one lane each way in the countryside. Passing is an experience.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Knows that they will almost always get better price on any purchase for US dollars. Also carry small bills to avoid getting your change in Jamaica dollars, you may spend half the day trying to convert The Jamaican Dollar to US currency.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will always agree on a price before taking a taxi anywhere.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
knows that the car you reserve before you arrived in Jamaica is never always available.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
who rents a car knows that maneuvering along narrow meandering roads, dodging goats, chickens, cows, donkey carts, and children along Jamaica’s countryside requires exceptionally good driving skills.

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will rent a small car, such as a Starlet, and try to make it steer a straight line. (All the ones I tried tended to go right.) Then take it way up into the back roads of St. Elizabeth — Middle Quarters, Whitehall, Giddy Hall — when it is raining. Our empty Orange box drinks were floating around like so many small boats on the floor. We though it was great…Contributed by Bryon Silvera

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
knows that not not all white people in Jamaica are tourists… Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would not leave Ocho Rios without spending an evening from 5 to 9 P.M. sitting at the Clock and watching Jamaica go by. Seeing the country folk coming in to Town with their wares to sell on Thursday nights and buying a drink from the drink carts at the roundabout..Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will discover that maps are a Western concept, that the best way to find your way is to ask people you meet, and that local people have local names for places which no map-maker ever discovers. Read and learn if you want to avoid your travelling partner(s) threatening to get out and walk miles from home-base!…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would not leave Jamaica unless they take a mini bus ride along the north coast, soak up the sun and sea in Negril, take a raft ride down the Martha Brea river in Falmouth, visit the Rose Hall Great house, climb the falls in Ocho Rios Dunns River , take a trip to the blue lagoon and lovers leap, eat all the jerk chicken and pork you possibly can and last but not least support all the vendors that make and sell good crafts on the streets…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will remember to re-confirm their return reservations within 48 hours of their expected departure…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will start drinking on the plane so he can handle the ride to his accommodations!…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
knows “soon come” can be anywhere from 1 minute to the time your collecting your social security checks. Be patient the only thing every Jamaican has a lot of is time…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will not stop at exploring the beautiful island of Jamaica, but will venture beneath the surface of the warm Caribbean Sea and explore the spectacular coral reefs. Crystal clear water, wondrous colours, marine life, and the peaceful serenity of scuba diving in Jamaica. Come dive Jamaica and feel alright….

The most important thing…..A Real Jamaican Tourist must remember is this….Make sure you leave all of your worries at home, leave the work behind, forget about everything except for one thing…..slow down, relax, ’cause every little ‘ting is gonna be alright!…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would not leave Jamaica without visiting Nonesuch located in Portland between Hope Bay and Port Antonio. A magnificent view of the Blue Mountains and the shore lines of Port Antonio…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
discover that maps are a Western concept, that the best way to find your way is to ask people you meet, and that local people have local names for places which no map-maker ever discovers.

Read and learn if you want to avoid your travelling partner(s) threatening to get out and walk miles from home-base! …Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would never leave the island without seeing Reach Falls, rafting down the Rio Grande and having lunch at Boston Bay. Then crying real tears as the plane departs for home, flying over all the friends that you are leaving behind….Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would not leave Jamaica without an uphill drive to Bonnieview to a beautiful view of the harbour’s of city of Port Antonio. ….Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would visit ‘Rick’s Cafe’ in Negril to watch the sunset and cliff divers. Make sure you order some rum punch, the waiter will tell you ‘soon come, no problem’ the rum will arrive eventually, as you wait, sit back enjoy the sunset and the rum…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would have to know the difference between a Peeny Wally and a Blinky or a puppy…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
WILL NOT be confined to the grounds of an all-inclusive resort! A real Jamaican tourist will venture out and discover the REAL Jamaica, including the friendly people and great foods…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will not assume the following:

  1. Everyone is related to Bob Marley
  2. Everyone says “No problem mon”
  3. Marijuana is legal
  4. That “obeah” and “voodoo” are the same
  5. That the inside of their All-inclusive hotel is as much of the island as they need to see.

A real Jamaican tourist WILL assume the following:

  1. Jamaicans are great
  2. The island is the most beautiful place they’ve ever been to
  3. They will return once a year, every year
  4. They won’t stay at the same hotel everytime
  5. And with each visit, they WILL get better at navigating Jamaican roads.

Submitted by Melanie Ferguson

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
A real tourist in Jamaica doesnt only visit the beaches, but must go to the mountains. A few nights in the cool breezy blue mountains at Strawberry Hill (expensive but worth it) in Irishtown Ja. is luxury and quiet. I recommend that your stay be at the end of your trip, it is a great way to wind down. Dont forget to take in Dinner at the Blue Mountain Inn, romance and exquisite dining. Take it from somebody that has been to Jamaica often….Contributed by [email protected] or [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will no longer be a tourist (thank God), once they dump the guide books and all their advice to avoid the “locals”. Listen to, speak to, and live with Jamaicans. How else can you say you were really there? Your life will never be the same…Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Will not stay confined to an ‘all-inclusive’, will explore the island and find friendly people, will visit Bill’s Place in Ochi, eat at the local restaurants, will eat jerk, will take the time to talk to the locals, will definately see a reggae show, will visit Irie Beach outside Ocho Rios, will visit Alfredo’s on the beach in Negril, will not miss the beautiful sunsets in Negril, will take time to visit establishments other than the highly recommended and over-priced places pushed by travel guides, and most certainly, the real Jamaican tourist will visit again, and again, and again,….Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Will truly appreicate the people of Jamaica that work so hard in the resorts, and shops and will not be rude, but remember that they are trying to earn a living too.

And yes, you will come back, again and again because you love the friendly people, the incredible turquiose waters, the sunshine, the music, and most of all the beauty that surrounds you and gives you peace, if nly for a short while…..Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will no longer be a tourist (thank God), once they dump the guide books and all their advice to avoid the “locals”. Listen to, speak to, and live with Jamaicans. How else can you say you were really there? Your life will never be the same. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will not stay confined to an ‘all-inclusive’, will explore the island and find friendly people, will visit Bill’s Place in Ochi, eat at the local restaurants, will eat jerk, will take the time to talk to the locals, will definately see a reggae show, will visit Irie Beach outside Ocho Rios, will visit Alfredo’s on the beach in Negril, will not miss the beautiful sunsets in Negril, will take time to visit establishments other than the highly recommended and over-priced places pushed by travel guides, and most certainly, the real Jamaican tourist will visit again, and again, and again. Contributed by …[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will truly appreicate the people of Jamaica that work so hard in the resorts, and shops and will not be rude, but remember that they are trying to earn a living too. And yes, you will come back, again and again because you love the friendly people, the incredible turquiose waters, the sunshine, the music, and most of all the beauty that surrounds you and gives you peace, if nly for a short while.Contributed by…[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will generous with his/her smiles and not be pompous. Enjoy. Contributed by…[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will never leaves Jamaica without visiting Montego Bay!!!!! Contributed by…[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will forget about all of the stories that you hear about goats and people jumping out in front of you while you are driving down the winding road, because it is true. Just rent as small a car as possible. And JUST DRIVE! Enjoy the country! Stay away from the north side of the island. Drive deep into the country and you will find the most humble, honest, down-to-earth friendly people that you will ever meet. They will love to talk to you. Don’t be afraid to stop by a bar or a shop and mingle with the locals. Have a Ting, a Ginger Beer, a Suck-Suck, a Bun & Cheese or a Sour Sop drink. You will feel much better afterwards. Sit down and play a game or two of DOMINOS. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, plays Dominos like the Jamaican People. If you do these things, you will have the most enjoyable vacation ever. Iguarantee it! Contributed by…[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
… will know that there is a difference between the “tourist price” and the “local price”! Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
… must go to Belmont on the South Coast to see Studio Black by Jah Calo, telling respect from his good fried ‘Markus’, buying a ‘Jamaican Girl’ or something else and spending a few days at Mr. Foresters Cottage, to feel the real living and the spirit of Jamaica !! Don’t like ‘soon come’ !! Irie man and it’s better in Jamaica than in any other place in the World See You !! Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
… will find out all he can about Jamaica before arriving and then use the information against Jamaicans after leaving the island. Contributed by…[email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
… A would NOT drive through “Junction” from Kingston to Ocho Rios without stopping at “Aquarius” for fried chicken. Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…should take advantage of the competetive craft market and enjoy one’s vacation to the fullest. Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…would check out “Strawberry Fields” (Sonrise Retreat)” and Riverlodge in Robins Bay. Most people never heard of these.Drop me a line if you’re going and I will tell you who to see. It’s not the Hilton, but it’s the best Jamaican vacation you’ll ever have.Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will check out the south coast, Treasure Beach to Alligator Pond. Check out Lil Ochie Pub in Al Pond, were you pick your fresh fish out of the fridges, grab a few Heinekins and eat your grilled fish dinner outside, while enjoying the vibe from the massive sound system.

A real tourist will bring a cold Red Stripe to the night security person, who watches the property, and your rental car or bike.

A real tourist will not freak out when the rental car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. With a few J’s in your pocket, help soon come.Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will say hello and goodbye to everyone they have any comment to such as a store owner or vendor or someone whom they are asking directions from.Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…will “take in” a good dance before leaving the island. No one can say they fully experience Jamaican culture if they have never seen Rory, Ricky Trooper or one of the others in action. Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
…would not leave Jamaica without seeing a sunrise or a sunset at Rick’s Cafe in Negril or the hills of Ocho Rios.Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would ride a bike down the blue mountains, eat red snapper (at least once), and go to Margarietaville in Mo-Bay for the sunset and fantastic atmosphere! Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would not leave Jamaica without experiencing the mineral baths at Bath Fountain in the hills of St. Thomas. Come out of those resorts!! Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
… would not leave Ocho Rios without a trip to Dunns River Falls. A word of advice, however, “Leave your room key and safe key with somebody who’s not climbing the falls. or you will lose it like we did.” Contributed by… [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…

  1. Survived Gilbert
  2. Has had the obligatory visit with the Colonel in the Maroon village of Accompong
  3. Has savored the absolutely magnificent Baked Alaska at the Blue Mountain Inn (above Kingston)
  4. Has enjoyed the Spiced Fresh Water Shrimp from roadside vendors on the way to YS Falls
  5. Has eaten more than one bunch of guineps sold by young boys along the road east of Falmouth …

Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would sit by the sea at Manchaneil and enjoy the spectacular scenery and refreshing breeze while eating roast fish. Taking a bath during the night at Reich Falls is a must. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will not leave Jamaica without learning to “dance Jamaican” or at least taking a Jamaican dance lesson. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
buys their mashait (machete) at a hardware store instead of the market in Ocho Rios. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would visit the Apostolic Ark Pentecostal Church in Brown’s Town, St. Ann. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
would venture out past the comfort of the hotels and the Americanized bars and interact with the people of Jamaica, take the bus from Negril to Kingston and back (the way the locals do), eat at Juicy J’s and Di Happy Banana in Negril (big up ‘Sweetie’) , would not treat the locals as their personal slaves, would stop thinking that every Jamaicans’ philosophy is “no problem mon” and stop buying “Jamaica No Problem” paraphernalia, and would realize that not everyone abides by the American work hours of 9 to 5. Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
will not leave Jamaica without studying the Jamaican people life style’s and attitudes torwad you(being from America) because they’ll either big you up or try to play you with your money talking about these “hustlers” Contributed by [email protected]

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
forget the restaurants and tourist traps. The best experience I ever had in Jamaica was sitting on the side of a country road eating jerk chicken out of some aluminum foil with a REAL Red Stripe on the side, just watching the sky and the bauxite mine workers leaving the job and walking to the bus stop. – Contributed by mello61

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
A real Jamaican Tourist will never climb Dunn’s River Falls while wearing white tennis shorts that become see-thru when wet (now I know why that girl held
my hand so tight), but WILL buy many Red Stripes out of the coolers at the Ocho Rios market, definitely haggle and buy a wood carved head (or several) at the market, read the Gleaner every day, easily make friends with everyone they come in contact with, and really enjoy the goats milk in the most fantastic coffee in the world! – Contributed by Bert James

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would not leave Jamaica without going to Blue Mountain Bike tours. WICKED!
Also, a real tourist wouldnt look for a McDonalds or KFC. Try something Jamaican. My just may like it. – Contributed by KS

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
1. Renting a house is the only way to go
2. Understands some Patios, never say Ya Mon’
3. Everything in Jamaica is negotiable

1st time visitors should remember these tips:
1. Don’t get in a taxi until you’ve agreed on a price
2. Jamaicans WILL run you over, be careful near roads
3. You won’t want to leave, stay 2 weeks or more
– Contributed by Graham

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
I hesitate to submit an entry to “A Real Tourist…” as a I think anyone holidaying in Jamaica should not admit to being a “Tourist”. Instead, keep well away from anywhere other non-Jamaicans may be seen, live with the locals – in the countryside if you can. Make some contacts before you go, and don’t expect everything to be the same as in Florida! I’ve visited JA four times and still have no desire whatever to see Dunn’s River Falls or drink strangely- named concoctions that the locals have never heard of! – Contributed by Peter Hyd

A Real Jamaican Tourist…
Would have real Jamaican people to show you around the island plus being able to have all your friends there to enjoy the experience with you!
– Contributed by two_sexy_ozzy_chick

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