Is Jamaica Worth Visiting?
6 Stereotypes to Drop Right Now
I learned something interesting from a casual conversation with an acquaintance the other day. She is the country club type (no judgment intended), the ideal suburban mom with two kids, a dog, and the house with the picket fence.
I was surprised to learn that she had never visited Jamaica and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to do so. As I pondered the question, Is Jamaica worth visiting?”, I realized she believed some set things about Jamaica:
- Jamaica is nothing but a beach and once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
- Jamaica is just for people who want to smoke weed.
- Jamaica is excessively violent so you could not possibly be safe there.
- Jamaica is for spring breakers and party-goers.
- Jamaica is not somewhere to take a family as pretty much everyone stays at the all-inclusives, which are for adults only.
- Jamaica is a poor country with poverty at every turn.
Have you heard these statements yourself? Read on and I’ll show you why Jamaica is worth visiting – at least once!
Is Jamaica worth visiting?
6 Stereotypes about Jamaica that You Need To Drop Immediately
1. Jamaica is just a beach and once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
Sure Jamaica is known for its gorgeous beaches and bewitching sunsets but that’s just a small fraction of what Jamaica has to offer.
For non-beach lovers, there are alternatives galore – so much so that it could take almost a lifetime to exhaust them all.
Jamaica is one of the most diverse countries in the Caribbean, if not the world. Landscapes vary from rugged mountains to flat arid plains, all within a few hours’ drive. Activities range from adrenaline-pumping zip lining to serenely gliding down a river on a bamboo raft.
History and architectural buffs will have their fill from this island where multiple cultures met – the Taino, African, Spanish and British – and more recently the Indians and the Chinese, creating a melting pot like no other.
Natural wonders like mineral springs and a bioluminescent lagoon and gardens with beautiful botanical specimens offer experiences that can’t be had elsewhere. Art, food, and music festivals offer world-class experiences like no other.
2. It’s all about weed
Contrary to popular opinion, the average Jamaican is not a “chain-smoking happy-go-lucky guy with a large spliff in hand.”
That might be the image that tourists see or what popular media portrays, but that’s not reality.
Remember the old joke.
Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber, was asked why he robbed banks. His answer was, “That’s where the money is!”
So why do loafers hang out on the beach or near tourist hangouts offering marijuana for sale?
Because that’s where the tourists, their main customers, are!
Here is what no one will tell you:
The stereotype goes both ways!
Many of these people who will be offering you marijuana believe that the average tourist coming to Jamaica is looking for marijuana and they are all too happy to provide it.
3. Jamaica is unsafe
Did you know that up until 5/31/2022, the US Travel Advisory has Jamaica at a level 2 – just like the UK, France, Germany, and Belize? As of 5/31/2022, it was a level 3 like Japan and the Cayman Islands. Mexico is a level 3 or 4 depending on the area.
If you read the advisory, you will note that the change is due to specific areas to be avoided. These aren’t places where a tourist, or even a local, would “end up by accident”.
It is important to realize that Jamaica is an island country, about the size of the state of Connecticut. To not go to Jamaica because of crime would be sort of like saying you would boycott the whole state of Connecticut because there are a few areas in the state that have high crime rates.
Or, like saying you won’t visit Chicago because there is crime in certain areas. (We live a couple of hours from Chicago and yet we visit every chance we get! It’s a wonderful city.)
Here is the reality.
Crimes affecting locals are definitely an issue.
The good news is that rarely do they affect tourists (not that that makes it right). Crimes of opportunity such as pick-pocketing or stealing cellphones are common. Violent crimes against tourists are uncommon, and when they happen they make the news and stay in the news, especially the international news.
The best advice is to use common sense.
Stay at a licensed property as opposed to a random place for cheap rates. Don’t go off with “new friends” you meet hanging out on the beach – especially people who have way too much time on their hands, aka no job!
Don’t get involved with the drug scene. Don’t drink too much if you go partying. Don’t go out alone after dark. Stay in well-populated areas. Know your surroundings.
This is the same advice I would give to anyone going to any unfamiliar city or country.
Who’d a thought?
Read the blog post: Is Jamaica safe to visit
4. Jamaica is just for spring breakers.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The images of scantily clad spring breakers on booze cruises or at all-inclusive resorts with free alcohol sell airline tickets and multiple room nights.
But clearly, that lifestyle is not for everyone.
Jamaica has properties that appeal to all tastes and budgets.
Many celebs love Jamaica. Beyonce and Jay-Z as well as Will and Jada Smith love Jamaica. Bill Clinton certainly loves the golf. Barack Obama enjoyed his visit and plans on returning. Anthony Anderson and George Lopez do too.
5. Jamaica is not somewhere to take a family
Most people equate an all-inclusive resort catering exclusively to adults with Jamaica. However, those same all-inclusives have realized that those adults have kids and would love to return. As a result, recent years have seen more family friendly properties popping up.
Experienced travelers to Jamaica skip resorts in favor of renting villas because they know that is a well-preserved secret to fabulous family-friendly, and therefore child friendly, vacations in Jamaica.
Activities abound for kids of all ages and interests – whether it’s going to the beach, exploring caves, swimming with the dolphins, or visiting a local school, and everything in between.
If you’re worried about your younger kids missing school, don’t be! A trip to Jamaica offers a fantastic and fun-filled education in history, physics, botany, geology, geography and a host of other useful topics.
6. Jamaica is a poor country
That’s only partially true.
Tourism is Jamaica’s most valuable resource. There are properties to suit all budgets and tastes – from barebones camping sites to opulent villas and resorts that serve royalty.
While Jamaica is not a financially well-off country by any stretch of the imagination, the same level of poverty can be right here in some areas of the United States, if we open our eyes to see it.
Not seeing poverty won’t end poverty. Actually, not seeing poverty helps to perpetuate it no matter where it is.
It is an erroneous conclusion that poorly decorated businesses and half-constructed homes equate to poverty. Plans, dreams, and goals simply happen much slower for the average person in Jamaica than in more developed countries.
That unfinished house that “you can’t understand how someone could live in” is a source of pride for the occupants. A bank loan in Jamaica carries an interest rate in the high double digits and the owners wouldn’t qualify for one anyway without a high-paying job and or some form of collateral.
That incomplete house represents the collective effort of a family to stretch their dollars to complete the building project on their own. What a powerful lesson in determination and perseverance!
Want to help?
Realize that your vacation dollars, spent wisely, can help the local economy. Stay in some of the smaller locally-owned properties where the money that you pay stays local and is not funneled off the island.
So, is Jamaica worth visiting? You bet it is!
I hope this blog post has given you much to think about. Jamaica indeed is worth visiting!
If you’ve been to Jamaica, you’re probably overdue for a return trip. If you’ve never been, add it to your list of places to visit.
Have a question? Ask us.
Jamaica is so much more than sun, sea, and sand. Check out our blog’s home page for some key articles for you to read to help you figure out when to go, where to stay, and what to do in Jamaica.
We encourage you to visit Jamaica, our island country. You will be glad you did. Chances are you’ll get the bug and become a repeat guest year after year.
When you do, bring the whole family and extended family too. We have just the place for you to stay – Mais Oui Villa, where we plan amazing customized vacations for our guests, one group at a time.
For those who want an experience that marries privacy, luxury, high-touch personalized service, unparalleled amenities, and sustainability, look no further than our 8-bedroom staffed villa, Mais Oui, the perfect choice for family vacations and celebrations.
If you love our house and want to stay with us, here is the link to our own website to book directly with us: https://MakeItJamaica.com
If for whatever reason you wish to book through an online agency, here are the links to our listings. They will charge you a fee, but if you don’t mind, and it makes you feel better, even safer, then, by all means, go ahead and book through them. We prefer for you to book through them than to not book at all.
We look forward to hosting your group soon!
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, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
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