Blessed with beaches, mountains, food and music, Jamaica’s considered the jewel of the Caribbean by many. But if you’d like to spend longer than a couple of weeks in the land of wood and water, you’ll want to venture beyond all-inclusive resorts to discover off the beaten track delights. There’s a way to do it safely, but prior planning is a prerequisite — here are 10 tips for a long-term Jamaican trip.
1. Government travel advice
Wherever you’re travelling, it’s wise to check official travel advice from your own government first — Aussies can check Smartraveller, but most nations have equivalents that are easy to find.
2. Check Your ConsuLate
Save the contact details of your consulate before you leave home. Australia has an Honorary Consul located at 80-82 Second Street, Kingston 13 — but UK, US and Canadian embassies in New Kingston can also offer advice.
Various US carriers fly to Jamaica, as well as long-haul British companies like BA and Virgin — find cheap flights by booking ahead of time on comparison sites like Kayak or Skyscanner.
4. Family AccomModation
Provided it’s not located in a higher-risk area in certain parts of cities like Kingston or Montego Bay, staying in a home with a Jamaican family lets you immerse yourself in the culture. Find out more on the Worlds Together Travel Network site.
5. Private Rentals
If you’d prefer renting a private property, the same safety provisos apply, but taking time to research rated Jamaican Airbnb properties means you’ll benefit from spending time in an authentic home rather than a hotel and enjoy a taste of local living.
6. Visit Firefly
Firefly is the former hillside home of playwright Sir Noel Coward in the rural parish of St Mary. It’s been preserved much as it was when he entertained real and Hollywood royalty there and the stunning views of the Caribbean coastline are simply sublime.
7. Get Rebellious
When you love roots reggae music, attending the Rebel Salute festival in the St Ann countryside is a no-brainer. It’s held annually in January and might be the most laid-back gathering on the planet. Find more info at rebelsalutejamaica.com.
8. Rockhouse Hotel, Negril
Negril is Jamaica’s most isolated tourist town and has boasted a Boho vibe since the 60s. Its Seven Mile Beach is one of the nation’s best and staying at Rockhouse Hotel is recommended — splash out on a waterfront cabin with its own diving deck.
9. Bob Marley Museum Kingston
A visit to the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road Kingston is a must for fans of the late, great musician. It’s his former home, so you’ll see his bedroom, kitchen and the outhouse area where his attempted assassination took place in 1976.
10. Staying connected
Jamaican broadband is fast and coverage is far reaching — so whether you want to keep in touch with far-flung family or study for an online degree with the likes of Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning, you’ll have no problem keeping connected.
That’s our list! Share your own Jamaican travel tips in the comments section.