Jamaica As I Want To See It
September 23, 2012 10:33 AM   Subscribe

I want to tour Jamaica and learn about the history of the country, specifically focused on reggae music & culture. I don't want to stay in Resortlandia or do some kind of BS ecotour. Also, I don't drink. Can anybody tell me of a tour company or group that can help me do this?

I've been a huge, serious reggae fan for about 15 years. I've always wanted to go to Jamaica, but I've been afraid to go because I don't want to be let down.

I'm interested in taking some sort of tour that will teach me about the history of the country with a focus on reggae. I'd also like to go way up into the mountains where the Maroons are.

It seems like a lot of tourism in Jamaica is centered around getting wasted and staying on some sort of armed compound with other tourists. I don't drink alcohol at all, but I have an interest in Jamaica horticulture.

I have no illusions about going there and 'staying with the people,' or some other fake BS. I only plan on being there for about 10 days---not at all enough time to really get close and figure things out. I would like to just learn a ton about the damn place, so when I get home, my understanding of reggae will be enriched.

Ooooh! I forgot! I'd love to see some studios, and possibly go to some sort of sound clash or something like that. Eat akee & saltfish...goat...jerk chicken...learn some Patois...
posted by shushufindi to Travel & Transportation around Jamaica, Jamaica (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not stay with the people? For horticulture, check out the Jamaican WWOOF volunteer listings. See who's on couchsurfing.org in Jamaica. I assume Maroon culture is harder for visitors to access directly, but making connections with everyday Jamaicans through orgs like those two is probably the first step to making connections deeper in.
posted by kalapierson at 11:22 AM on September 23, 2012

Have you checked out the lonely planet book on Jamaica? I haven't been there, but the Central America books were really good about taking me to out of the way places and local culture.
posted by empath at 11:43 AM on September 23, 2012

I used to live there and one thing you should know (if you don't already): there's a huge difference between Kingston and the North Coast. If your goal is to get to know the country you should be sure to spend time in both, as well as in the mountains.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:04 PM on September 23, 2012

I can't help with organising holiday itself, but you might like to check out the Jamaica: Meet the People programme, which gives you the chance to spend time with Jamaicans who share a common interest with you. I had dinner at a family home with the programme, and it was a lovely experience: not cliched fakery, just a chance to spend a little time with Jamaican people who were proud of their country and wanted to help visitors get to know it. I think it's more geared towards spending a few hours with them rather than a whole week, but the organisers might be able to advise you on wider travels too.
posted by penguin pie at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2012

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