Be Wary of Renting a Cheap Villa in Jamaica

Be Wary of Renting a Cheap Villa in Jamaica

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10 Things to Think about Before You Book a Cheap Villa in Jamaica – Updated 6/27/2020

If your vision of vacation bliss is traveling with nothing more than your backpack and having a roof over your head, then this article isn’t for you. This article is for the person who is expecting a high-quality vacation, generally considered a luxury vacation but is looking for a cheap villa in Jamaica and is balking at paying what most people would consider a reasonable rate for what is offered.

Who doesn’t love to score a great deal? It’s human nature. I would bet money that even the Oprahs and Bill Gates of the world want to get value for their money, however, they perceive that to be.  I would also bet that they wouldn’t risk saving a dollar if it meant that it could bring a lifetime of regret.

In this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to think twice about renting a budget villa or vacation rental in Jamaica, or anywhere for that matter. Clean is the new luxury. Stay safe!

Two Truths that You Should Consider Before You Book a Cheap Villa in Jamaica

As with anything of value in life, there are two truths that couldn’t be more applicable in the travel industry.

1. You get what you pay for.

If you are happy with a 2-star property, that is your choice, and you should not pay more than 2-star range rates. If you want a 4 or 5-star property, don’t expect to pay 2-star prices, unless you want to be seriously disappointed.

2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Be sure you ask why that beachfront property is costing you $40 per person per night when comparable properties are well above that price.

So, before you google “cheap villa in Jamaica”, ask yourself one question – Do you want to risk being stuck with your friends and family in a crappy villa or vacation rental in a foreign country during your hard-earned and limited vacation time?

Or even worse, do you want to unknowingly be in an illegal vacation rental?

Don’t pick a villa anywhere just based on price. There is no surer prescription for regret and unpleasant memories.

4 Things that Affect Prices in Jamaica that You Probably Didn’t Realize

  1. Jamaica exports very little and imports a lot. As a result, the fluctuation of the Jamaican dollar on the world market directly affects local prices.
  2. At US$0.42 per kWH, Jamaica has one of the highest costs of electricity per kilowatt hour in the world. Compare that to an average of $0.10 per kilowatt hour in the United States. (Certain states, such as Hawaii, do have very high electricity costs by comparison
  1. Petrol costs about $US4 per gallon. This affects on-island transportation costs, which in turn affects the cost of almost everything else that is offered for sale.
  2. The foreign currency exchange rates, of the US dollar in particular, affects prices. This is especially true in the tourist areas. As the Jamaican dollar slides (down), prices go up.

These 4 factors, more than any others, influence prices across the island in every sector.

Considering the cost of electricity, gasoline, and the fluctuation of the Jamaican dollar, Jamaica is surprisingly and relatively inexpensive and offers value for tourists. Still, despite the impression that you might get from lower-end all-inclusive packages, Jamaica is not cheap.

Why then are some Jamaica villas so cheap?

There is a market for budget villas in Jamaica. But here is what you need to understand …

The tourism industry in Jamaica is seasonal. Properties try to get most of their bookings during the high season to be able to weather the low season when occupancy numbers are lower.

Some villa owners will drastically slash their prices to snag a booking. Some take the position that they prefer to take almost any price rather than having the property empty.

Don’t be suckered by low rates.

You may think you just won the lottery with a sweet deal but the question is can these owners deliver what they promised at the cheap rate or is this “low rate” that you are quoted the real value of the property you are renting.

10 Reasons You Absolutely Must Be Wary of a Cheap Villa in Jamaica

  1. Some of the cheap villas in Jamaica are likely older homes with small room sizes and lower overall square footage. They also are less likely to have many amenities beyond a pool. Typically, they have not been upgraded in a while so you are likely dealing with older kitchens and bathrooms.
  2. Renting the villa might be more of a hobby as opposed to a business. The property is likely available for rent when it is not being used by the owner’s family. With the introduction of Airbnb, this is a great way for many people to try to make some money from the tourism industry. These properties are almost always flying under the radar of government agencies.
  3.  The level of support that is available to you will most likely be limited.

Typically, cheap villas in Jamaica have fewer staff, usually a cook/housekeeper and a groundsman, at most. That may be fine for a 2 bedroom property but woefully inadequate for larger ones.

  1.  Cheap villas in Jamaica are less likely to be properly licensed and certified by the Jamaica Tourist Board.

There are a host of certifications that are required to have a licensed villa for rent in Jamaica. These certifications cost a lot of time, money, and effort both to obtain and maintain.

All staff who handle food should have valid food handler’s permits.  Does the property have the required health certificate? What about the pool, fire, and safety certificates? Are these certificates up to date? What about public liability insurance? Is the property licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board? Is that licensure actively maintained?

If even some of the high-end, high occupancy, and high priced villas are operating under the radar, what do you think will be the case among the cheap villas in Jamaica?

  1. Consider the likelihood that owners of cheap villas in Jamaica will have adequate funds for reinvestment in the property.

Luxury comes at a cost, a very high one since most items have to be imported onto the island. Don’t expect these properties to have hotel grade mattresses, high-quality bed linens, and towels.

Will they have adequate dinnerware or are they using the same ones from when the villa opened 10 years ago? Will they provide beach towels or will you have to lug your own taking up valuable luggage space?

Do they spend the money to be constantly fighting the almost impossible task of fixing and repainting rust that develops simply from being near the sea or will you be looking at signs of disrepair at every turn? Maintenance costs on homes anywhere near the sea are like the “800lb gorilla in the room” no one talks about.

  1. What do these cheap villas do to keep costs low?

Do they run the pool filter for less than the recommended amount of time? Do they add the right amount of chemicals to keep the pool clean, germ-free, and clear? 

Do they have air-conditioning? Is the hot water heater only on at certain hours of the day while you are there? Do they have a backup power generator?

  1. What steps have they taken to ensure your safety?

Do they have a COVID-19 plan in place with adequately trained staff?

Does the pool have an entry or exit rail as required by code? Is the property safe for children? Do they have electronic gates to secure the property? Do they have an adequate number of properly serviced fire extinguishers? Are the fire extinguishers the appropriate type for the setting?

Is it that Jamaica is so dangerous that you have to have security? No, but there is tremendous value in peace of mind, especially since Jamaica still struggles with the perception of not being safe.

  1. What level of service will you be receiving?

Will you have staff only from 9am to 5pm or will you have more expanded hours? Or, does someone simply meet you at the door and hand you a set of keys? Will you be able to have your meal times whenever you want? Will the staff have a clue of how to help you book an attraction or will they just hand you a phone book?

How much work do you want to do on your vacation? Having staff support is key to a relaxing Jamaica villa vacation. You only have to have the villa experience once to know that.

  1. What are you getting with the villa rental?

Have the rates been stripped down to bare bones only to have add-ons for things you didn’t expect? How much extra will your airport transfers be? Will they do your laundry or is that at an additional cost? Will they change your linens at all during your stay?

  1. How do they support their staff?

How can they pay their staff or keep their staff if they do not take in enough rental income to support the business? This might not be your problem but think about how this cycle of cheap villas contributes to the cycle of poverty in Jamaica. Paying fair prices for your villa rental makes it more likely that the villa staff will be able to keep their jobs when there are no guests in house.

Key message: Respect your budget; but, don’t pick a villa in Jamaica just based on price.

There is nothing wrong with looking for an affordable villa in Jamaica. Just remember that there are so many big things as well as little things that make a world of difference between a cheap Jamaica villa and a more expensive one.

Some people buy Kias, Some buy Hondas. Others buy Mercedes, BMWs, or Bentleys. Others will buy a 5-year-old Chevy with 100,000 miles and think they struck gold. Just don’t pay for a used Chevy and show up expecting a Bentley.

You don’t have to rent an expensive over the top villa like some of the ultra-exclusive villas, many of which are in another stratosphere and out of the reach of even some of the Joneses. Whatever you do, think carefully before you rent a cheap villa in Jamaica. Choosing quality over price will give you the best result.


Why Mais Oui Villa isn’t cheap?

Our philosophy is that every guest at Mais Oui deserves a Mais Oui experience, and that is the experience that we deliver. We constantly try to improve on that experience, not diminish it.

Invariably, when people ask for lower rates, they expect the same level of service and accommodations as if they had paid full price. We need to be confident that we can provide the quality vacation experience that we have advertised. We, therefore, set our rates accordingly.

We take our commitment to all our future guests very seriously. We provide what we promise, plus some little secret extras. We can’t do that and remain a sustainable business on discounted rates.

Lower rates mean cutting quality somewhere and that’s something we just won’t do at Mais Oui. There is a certain Mais Oui Villa standard that we maintain which our guests appreciate and expect. It is based on these standards that they recommend us to their friends and relatives. We treasure that trust.

How does Mais Oui add value and keep the rates reasonable for guests

We offer a boutique villa vacation experience that we have honed over many years both based on our own experience as world travelers as well as from the feedback of our guests.

There is a certain basic standard for a Mais Oui vacation experience and so the majority of our amenities, as listed on our website, are available to guests and are included in the rates …. private pool, hot tub, tennis court, gym, roof deck pavilion, billiards, ping pong, foosball. We do not want a situation where we are charging extra for each additional amenity. Who would?

This approach allows guests to have a fantastic Mais Oui experience without paying extra for what they don’t need while still having the option of adding on other luxuries that they would enjoy.

How can Mais Oui guests enhance their villa vacation experience?

You have the option of customizing your stay with us based on your needs, budget, and interests.

Culinary experience

Why settle for an inflexible meal plan? You can design your menus with the chef or choose from ours. You have no need to be worried that you might need gluten-free, lactose-free or vegetarian meals. Do you want steak and lobster every night or do you want a more local menu? Do you want breakfast only and dinner or the full three meals per day? It’s your choice based on your budget.

An adventure-filled experience with private chauffeur services

Want to see the island? Do you have a special interest that you would like to pursue? Golf? Fishing? We can arrange for a private van and driver service to show you the sights in privacy and comfort on your own schedule and based on your desires – not based on what we think you should find enjoyable!

Pampering wellness with spa services

For the ultimate in relaxation and to create an even more holistic experience, you can create your own unique Jamaica spa vacation.

Here you get the best of both worlds. You have access to spa services should you want to enjoy them but if you don’t care for spa services, you don’t have to pay extra just because we have a spa.

Because the spa is exclusively for our guests, you don’t have to worry that strange people will be coming on-site for spa services. In fact, even the therapists are only on property by appointment.

If you have other interests simply let us know and we will figure out how we can help.

Contact us for a CUSTOM QUOTE so we can show you what a private personalized Jamaica villa vacation at Mais Oui could look like for you and your group. You’ll definitely appreciate the difference.

If you’re thinking of a villa vacation rental for your Jamaica vacation, get our exclusive FREE BONUS sent directly to your inbox to help you pick the perfect Jamaica villa vacation rental.

  • 12 Question Cheat Sheet to show you what you absolutely must get right before you start searching for Jamaica villas to rent
  • The Savvy Villa Traveler’s Worksheet to figure out your “must-haves” for your dream vacation
  • The Villa Selection Worksheet to narrow down your choices and pick the winning villa rental

‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian

Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, bachelorette getaways, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!