We often go to the Caribbean for a winter holiday (makes it sound as if we have a summer holiday too - we don't) and we're thinking of going to Jamaica this year.
What has always made me nervous about Jamaica is the aggressive beach vendors / hagglers etc. I don't want to go and feel stressed every day but from googling it seems it's going to happen and a simple 'no' doesn't necessarily work - which it often does on other Caribbean islands. I've seen a forum where a manager of a restaurant on the beach was struggling to deal with it because they enter the restaurant and stand next to tables too.
I understand that people make a living like this but it seems like there are more of the less genuine beach vendors in Jamaica and I really don't want to feel like I'm having to fight to get someone to leave us alone.
Does anyone have any experience?
Are you planning on exploring the island or staying at your resort? Because crime in Jamaica is a real problem. Lots of hotels caution guests before leaving the safety of the complex.
I'm sure there is crime in Jamaica but I wonder if these hotels perpetuate the myth to suit their needs. Of course there will be places that it's inadvisable to go to at night, but there are everywhere.
We stayed in a gorgeous hotel on the cliffs in Negril and went out and about without any worries.
You just need to say no and then ignore them. Don't engage in conversation. For tourists, you are no more at risk of being a victim of crime than in any other country.
Tourism is Jamaica's biggest industry, tourists are well looked after.
We stayed in a small hotel on the beach in Negril, there was a hotel security guard on the beach who told sellers to drift if they was being annoying.
There was an ace woman who sold fruit and sang a song - YouTube Negril coconut woman.
We felt safe in Negril and walked about and explored and had a lovely meal in a little local restaurant.
The only time I was hassled by someone was when we stopped along a road to eat some jerk chicken someone was cooking on a barrel bbq and a man asked if he could have my chicken. I laughed and said I don't share food and he had a chuckle and walked off.
"I'm sure there is crime in Jamaica but I wonder if these hotels perpetuate the myth to suit their needs"
No they do not do that. Kingston has a huge problem with regards to crime and foreigners have been targeted. This is what the Foreign office travel website on Jamaica says about safety and security. Most of this is really common sense stuff, you should always be aware of your surroundings wherever you are.
"Crime levels are high, particularly the capital city Kingston. Gang violence and shootings are usually confined to inner city neighbourhoods, including West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Harbour View, Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay. Public order incidents and demonstrations can occur in Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay. You should avoid all demonstrations. Criminals often use these events as cover for robbery and theft. You should be particularly vigilant in these areas.
The motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery. There are mobile police patrols, but you should take steps to protect yourself and your belongings. Be vigilant at all times, even if you’re staying with friends and family. Don’t walk alone in isolated areas or on deserted beaches, even during the day. Take particular care when withdrawing money from ATMs. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Try to vary which restaurants you use. Using the same place too often might make you a target for thieves. Avoid using buses at night.
Most hotels and resorts are well guarded, but robberies can occur. Follow hotel security procedures. Use hotel safe, lock windows and doors and report suspicious activity. If you are in residential accommodation, make sure proper door locks and window grilles are fitted and consider employing a guard and fitting a house alarm. Gated and guarded compounds are normally the safest type of accommodation".
As recently as 2005 Jamaica had the worlds highest murder rate. You can't pin that on propaganda by hotel chains!
Yes because there are problems with gang violence in some areas Lucky. I doubt many tourists would venture out to those areas though. In terms of being there on holiday, use common sense, like you would on holiday anywhere else, and you will be fine.
My hard as nails half Jamaican cousin left a friends house to be greeted by a gunfight in Kingston. As a Jamaican though I have no idea why any casual tourist would venture to Kingston (or Spanish Town for that matter). The tourist beach resorts will be fine.
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