Recently I went on vacation to Jamaica with friends. I'll detail what we did in 7 days to give you an idea of what you can visit and the associated cost.
Day 0: arrival at the airport.
We arrived at the Montego Bay airport in the evening. So it was a short evening for us. I advise you to check in at your hotel and then look for a place to eat. For our part, we went to the NAME casino open 7/7 24/24, there was even a band singing Reggae all evening. Perfect to start the adventure. In addition, the cocktails are more than generous in quantity.
Day 1 Montego bay and surroundings
We started at Doctor's Beach, a fairly touristy spot in town. If some beaches are free around, we opted for a private beach the first day. The advantage is that you have a dedicated waiter who comes to take your orders on the beach as soon as you raise a flag!
Beach entrance: CAD 10.99/person
In the evening, we rented a car to go to Luminous Lagoon. I really recommend you! This is a part of Jamaica where fresh and salt water meet... the place is inhabited by a bacterium which in complete darkness will make the water flicker at the slightest movement. We opted for a boat trip of about an hour during which you can bathe and produce this fluorescent light around you while swimming. Be careful not to stay too long because the waters are stinging and sometimes you can rub shoulders with jellyfish!
Car rental price 207 USD for 5 days
Luminous Lagoon cost: 34.31 USD/person
Day 2 Diving and cliffs
Wake up really early: 6 a.m.! We have an appointment in Negril at One love Scuba to go scuba diving. For this, you have to pass a test as a beginner as well as training in a swimming pool. Once on the boat, you will dive for about 45 minutes at a depth of 20 meters! An unforgettable experience in which you will see coral and marine life!
Scuba diving: 120 US dollars/ person
A must see in the Negril area! It's a big dance bar where you can both dive from a cliff (different heights and under supervision) and watch a magnificent sunset! Between 2 swims, you can also go dancing or sip a cocktail.
A little pearl right next to Rick's Café.The food there is delicious and the view of the sea is breathtaking. Also if you come during the day, it's an incredible place to swim near the cliffs.
Day 3 discovery
One of the famous falls you can find in Jamaica! You access it via the entrance to the park in a large parking lot. You will be taken for a ticket inside with a kind of tractor train! Once you arrive, the first attraction you will see are hummingbirds which are very present and beautiful to observe. Inside the park, you can swim but also jump with a rope from a small cliff.
YS falls: 19 USD/person
If you have time after the falls, you can go to the Appleton Estate! They offer a nice tour of the cane fields and you will also be entitled to a cocktail (sometimes very busy). The tour is really interesting and you will be able to taste molasses as well as cane sugar . Finally a rum tasting awaits you at the turn.
YS drops: $39
Day 4 cockpit country
To visit Cockpit country we chose a guide. We joined him around 9am at Clark's Town. From this point, a 4x4 picked us up and drove us to the starting point of the hike. The latter is about 16km. Most impressive is not only the landscape, but the interesting discussions we had with our guide. He also showed us cassava farms and explained a bit more about the politics of the country. Once the hike was over, he drove us back to a public taxi which took us back to our car. The hike we did Burnt Hill Trail.
We ended the day driving straight to Ocho Rios. A long drive that ended with us pushing our car whose engine throttle had given out a bit on the drive .
Visit with guide: 70 US dollars/ person
Day 5 Blue Mountain
We visited Green Grotto during the morning. As we had a long way to go and had to replace our car (RIP), we went directly to Blue Mountain where we had an appointment to spend the night in a cabin! And what an adventure! Just the way to get there is adventurous in the mountains. Once we arrived at Mavis Bank, a taxi picked us up to take us to the heights to our Hotel/shed WHITFIELD HALL. Over 30 minutes of completely inaccessible roads without the proper vehicle and good Jamaican driving.
We arrive in an atypical place, where our host prepares a typical Jamaican meal for us by the light of oil lamps illuminating the shed. No hot water either, but that makes the experience quite unique!
Day 6 Blue mountain part 2
Short night to wake up at 2 a.m. and start climbing Blue Mountain in the dark. Two of us have headlamps. Our goal, to reach the summit before sunrise. The hike is about 8.5km and is quite rough at the start! Alas lots of clouds once we got to the top.... we didn't see the sunrise but still a mystical landscape in the cloud forest as they call it around.
Our reward awaits us at the cabin with a delicious breakfast prepared by our host. Just before leaving with the taxi, he shows us the various fields of coffee plantations that surround the Blue Mountain region.
Once back in our car, we decide to end our day at the edge of the port of Ocho Rios for a well-deserved rest!
Taxi USD 100 total for 4
night 41 CAD / person
meals: CAD 20/person for dinner and breakfast
Day 7: Blue hole, Ocho rios and get back to Montego Bay nightclub
Last day of vacation! We end the holidays with a very touristy place: Blue Hole. A place with a guide where you can swim and jump in beautiful places with waterfalls.
We then spent the afternoon on a beach in Ocho Rios where we enjoyed the last moments.
We then returned to Montego Bay to return the car and spend our last night in a nightclub Lounge 2727.
Advice for driving in Jamaica
The roads: the roads are in a bad shape, be careful of the potholes on the road which are sometimes gigantic. Do not hesitate to slow down in the countryside to pass gently in certain places. Flat tires are common there, make sure your rental car has a spare wheel. We had a deflated tire for a semi-puncture, a mechanic repaired our wheel for only 10CAD. If you have to change a wheel, expect more to be around 80/ $90.
Jamaican driving: Jamaicans drive very fast, and do not hesitate to stick to your bumpers to make you understand that they want to overtake. They do not hesitate to overtake in a bend without visibility even if it is a bus or a truck that does it. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you understand the logic, no worries.
English-style driving: be careful, Jamaica is a former English colony, so you drive on the left! It doesn't take long to get used to, you just have to remember it when you turn into an intersection or take a new road
Driving at night: So it's true that you should avoid it for three reasons. At night, Jamaicans drive even faster than during the day. Also, you don't have any lights along the roads, so the visibility of potholes is pretty low. Also, Jamaicans have a bad habit of driving all the time with full headlights on, which makes it difficult in terms of visibility when passing vehicles.
Vehicles: Jamaica does not produce vehicles. It is therefore quite common to have old cars imported from Japan and that the entirety is in Japanese. By fiddling with the buttons you should get away with it!
With which currency to pay
Most often Jamaicans accept all kinds of cash: Canadian dollars, euros, USD dollars. But be careful!!If you pay in another currency other than the local currency, you will sometimes find yourself paying 10/15% more on the final bill. If your card allows you to choose in which currency you pay chosen when you can the Jamaican dollar, it is often a winner.
Cash: in remote countryside or on some tourist guides, only cash is accepted, and sometimes only local currency. Find out well before going to Blue Mountain in the cabanon for example (only Jamaican dollars were accepted).
Before leaving for Jamaica, I heard that it was a dangerous country to go to in terms of tourism. So of course we avoided Kingston but generally speaking, we never felt in danger in Jamaica, and the people most of the time have a nice capital to help us. People stopped us on the road to point out that our tire had punctured.
For women: As a general rule, locals will always try to see if there is a way with a woman by flirting a little. But usually a non-polite is enough to turn their request.
Another useful tip
Taxis: There are two types of taxis:
Public taxis: locals use them as transport buses, they are inexpensive but you will find yourself packed with other people.
Private taxis: more expensive, they will also see if you are a tourist, remember to always negotiate the price before taking the taxi or they may well ask you exorbitant amounts.
What's app: whether for taxis, hotels or tourist guides, what's app is the number 1 source of communication there. So if you want to contact in advance, or book your taxi from the airport, don't hesitate to send a what's app.
Telephone plan: Either you can take a SIM once there, or also check with your operator if they offer a plan allowing you at least to have internet during your stay. This will be essential knowing that most locals use what's app.