Did you take your family to Jamaica? How did it go?
June 29, 2016 5:38 PM   Subscribe

We're thinking of doing Jamaica for Christmas. We're hearing conflicting reports about how safe it is, how serious harassment by hustlers and panhandlers is, etc. We've heard ten different schools of "common knowledge" ranging from: okay if you stay in a resort to okay if you keep your head about you to completely okay and shame on you for doubting. I'm tired of asking my pal Google and I'm looking for first hand experience. Specifically, we're interested in Negril/Montego Bay.

We have a budget of $900-1100 ish per person and there are the two of us, plus a seven year old. We've done all-inclusive before, but were thinking of venturing outside that box this time, both to try more things, and because we could then book just flight/hotel now and then save up meal/spending money later.
posted by DirtyOldTown to Travel & Transportation around Negril, Jamaica (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have stayed in Negril Bay as well as many other places in the Caribbean. You will likely be safe, but frankly that is the LAST place I would ever return to in the Caribbean. I would never travel there with a kid, just because you may need to do some quick thinking and acting, especially if you are not staying at an all inclusive.

So many better choices, but I guess Jamaica is cheap.
posted by jcworth at 7:41 PM on June 29, 2016


Jamaica is a great place to visit, not just in the winter but all year round. Even if you are not staying in an all-inclusive, you don't need to worry about safety. You will be automatically recognized as a tourist (for better or for worse) and people will be very welcoming and friendly. Tourism is a huge part of the Jamaican economy, so locals will want you to have a good experience.
If you leave the heavily tourist areas, yes, there may be panhandling and people on the street. But consider that panhandling, street homelessness, etc is also a problem in "first world" countries - just look at San Francisco!

Please don't be scared off by some Internet commenters. My family is from this beautiful island and have recommended trips to many people over the years. Every one has been extremely happy with their experiences, even if not staying at all inclusive and have recommended Jamaica to other friends as well.

Once you go, you'll know (too)! :)
posted by lovelygirl at 5:32 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


One other thing to note- many, if not all stores and restaurants will likely be closed on Christmas Day and/or Christmas Eve, so I would plan ahead for those days!
posted by lovelygirl at 5:52 AM on June 30, 2016


We visited Montego Bay. I don't recommend it. If you're looking to venture outside of the resort areas, you'll be asked to buy drugs on every corner you turn. It was shady, and we didn't like it much at all. We were only there one day, for one stop though during a cruise.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 2:15 PM on July 1, 2016


I'm pretty amused by the irony of your question contrasted to the answers you've gotten. It definitely validates your query!

Many governments issue travel advisories for their citizens. The US State Department issues recommendations for Jamaica. I'd bet Canada and the U.K. do too. Hopefully that will provide you with something more than anecdotes.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:04 PM on July 1, 2016


We never did come to a decision on whether we were comfortable or uncomfortable about this. We went back and forth several times.

In the end, though, my kid saw a YouTube video about Chichen Itza and he sort of chose Cancun for us. Jamaica is still on the table for later vacations, though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2016


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