I’ve been staying in Jamaica for extended periods of time since 2005. So in the last decade, I’ve learned the ups and downs of this beautiful island. I want to share my tips with you.
1. Love: Nature
There’s beaches, waterfalls, mountains, I could go on and on. It’s everywhere and almost always within walking distance. I recently visited Blue Hole near Negril, Jamaica. The mineral spring felt amazing and the divers were incredible.
The roads are narrow, bumpy and windy, because of the landscape (mostly coast lines and mountains). This can make for some hectic traffic at times. Not to mention they drive on the left side of the road. So it’s a bit of a thrill if you’re not used to it!
2. Love: Food
The food is full of flavor and spice. Jerk and curry are very common. There’s usually someone at a roadside cooking Jerk chicken on a BBQ, which smells just as good as it tastes. You can find all types of fresh seafood, usually paired with some rice and peas (technically they’re red kidney beans).
Vegetarians have no problem finding a tasty dish because all rastafarian food is completely vegan and delicious.
There are lots of cats, dogs, chickens, and goats. At outdoor bars and establishments, you might see some cats lounging about. Chickens just wander around, they’re noisy and start to cock-a-doodle-doo the moment the sun begins to rise. Be sure to watch for goats and dogs on the street, when you’re driving.
3. Love: Good Vibes
It’s a happy place. Jamaicans are fun people. They’re laid back and carefree. Plus they love to sing and dance. So be ready to let loose, open your mind and enjoy the experience.
With all the people and tourists, trash is not always taken care of as expected by those used to the western standard of living. Also, not everyone is aware of the consequences of throwing garbage on the ground. You just have to ignore and throw your own garbage in the trash bin.
Since its nice and warm all year, that also means there’s bugs. Bring some repellant for the mosquito’s and watch where you step. You’ll never forget your first time accidentally standing in an ants nest, trust me.
5. Love: Music
Like I said, Jamaicans love to sing and dance so of course there’s lots of music. Whether it’s a house, a church or a party, they play music and they love it loud! You can almost always hear some music in the distance, especially on the weekends. A band rehearsing outside on the porch is pretty fun to watch.
For people who are light sleepers or really value quiet time, you might be annoyed by the music. It makes people feel good and brings life to the party, so there’s really no way to escape it. Just bring ear plugs or learn to like it.