Jamaica – Ya Man!
Open your mind, open your eyes and all of your senses. Here you are a true Explorer. Our biggest error is wanting to feel like we are at home when we are away, but to travel is to adapt – don’t expect that the Caribbean is just like Europe or the US, it drums to a different beat. No rush, just relax!
Besides all of the things that come to mind, there is a Jamaica that is not commercial, nor the one that you don’t see on TV, but one you will discover if you get the right information. Read its books, listen to its music.
It is really affordable to travel to Jamaica from Miami, and Miami is one of the two airports that offers affordable direct flights from the US (along with New York). Additionally you now have flights from Fort Lauderdale which is only an hour away from Miami, and with more flight options, connections through Mexico, etc.
Like other Caribbean’s, Jamaican’s are happy and friendly, but they also seem less committed. They will tell you to meet in an hour and they may not show up at all or may appear three hours late. Or they may say they have to go do something and they may not do it at all. So, don’t get upset, be patient, and don’t lay for things ahead of time without a guarantee. As always, all of this just makes the adventure more interesting.
#Practical Tips By Silvia
- Best time to travel: October through April
- Vaccines: Are not required!
- Visas: Visas are required for residents from Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, República Dominicana, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay and Perú. The rest of the Spanish speaking nationalities can enter without a visa, although the duration of permission to stay in the country varies from 14 to 90 days, depending on the nationality. Also, visas are not required for For more information, you can visit Jamaica’s website (http://www.pica.gov.jm) or the website of the Jamaican consulate in your country.
- Budget: 80€ a day or $90 a day (based on the exchange in 1/2019)
- Private Taxi: from airport to Montego Bay (aka Mobay) = 1.000 JMD = 7€ or $8
- Local Shared Taxi (or mini-bus): 400 JMD per 1 hour = 3€ or $4
- Tourist Bus: Knutsford Express – Negril to Puerto Antonio (wifi+A/C) = 5250 JMD = 34€ Or $38
- Airbnb: Private double room with bathroom = 10.000 JMD = 20€ Or $23 per person
- Hotel: Room with ocean view in Mobay: 12,900 JMD = 88€ or $100
- Street Food: Fruits, vegetables and fish = 1000-1500 JMD = 7€ – 10€ or $8 to $12
- Meal at a restaurant: 2000-4000JMD € = 14€ – 27€ or $16 to $31
- Natural fresh coconut on the beach: 200JMD = 1€ or $1.5
#Silvia Says Eat Local
It is really worth it to eat from the street food stands, even though some find the concept of eating from these places in such picturesque places amusing, the reality is that nobody died from eating from a a street vendor.
I am not saying you have to eat it everyday, but these are full of locals, and you have to try it. The conditions of higiene or the appearance of the plate do not matter, they are not meant for taking pictures for Instagram. If the locals eat there, why not you? More than once you will be pleasantly surprised. You can train your stomach little by little. Don’t be so uptight when you are traveling, try everything!
When a local place is good, it’s better than a restaurant!
#Silvia Says Take Public Transportation
Escape the main roads and grab a local shared taxi with the red stripe, taking public transportation at least once in each country is another essential factor in cultural immersion. This is how they move around. Take advantage to chat with your travel companions. There is also a mini-bus that is part of local transportation, it usually has the name of its destination on the front of the bus – all you have to do is move your arm and wave your hand up and down to stop one (here if you stick out your thumb they understand it as you are ok and do not need them to stop).