Am I missing out on jamaica?

Jan 8th, 2004, 08:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 287
Am I missing out on jamaica?

I ahve never had a desire to go to jamaica. But before I rule it out as a vacation spot completely, can someone please tell me if I would be missing out? I like to explore islands but i know this isn't really possible on Jamaica. Are the beaches wide and white? And how is the diving?

I have been to Aruba and Cayman and loved them both.
Kristen is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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Of course it's possible to explore Jamaica. We do it every time we go, last trip we went literally all around the island. One will need to be comfortable around black people that aren't waiters or maids though. For a lot of Americans that's hard, it's too much like being in an inner city, espcially when coupled with what look like falling down houses and little shacks. (I say "look like" because in most cases those houses with unfinished walls and rebar sticking out are being built very slowly - mortgages are almost nonexistent in JA - not falling down).

Lots of poeple go to Jamaica just for the nice beaches (yup, several are wide and white - diving OK but not like Caymans or Belize or T&C), they are certainly there, and if you want to you can just do that in a large resort and stay put.

Lots of other people go for the unique culture, the people, the exploring. I'm one of the latter, beaches bore me after a couple of days and one of the things I really like is meeting people from other countries and getting to know how they live, how they think, etc. I also really like swimming in waterfalls, tubing down rivers, hiking in valleys and taking boat rides.

I have not been to Aruba or GC - my impression is that they are very Americanized and also expensive for what you get, loding and foodwise. If I'm right and that's something you like about those places, you may not like Jamaica. If I'm wrong or that's not what you like about them, give JA a look.

liza is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Thanks for the info. FYI...Cayman is expensive but Aruba is not expensive at al. And there are lots of things to explore on both islands (caves, trails etc...)
Kristen is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 03:30 PM
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There always seems to be alot of controversy on Fodors when the subject of JA comes up. The replies are usually polarizing. Some hate it and some love it. We have been there 3 times and that says alot in itself. We have never had a problem and indeed have found the natives to be friendly and helpful. JA is not as prosperous as GC and Aruba and you will see poverty as Liza has described. If that is a turn off then it would be best not to go. However JA seems to have a certain vibrancy or feel all its own and its pretty cool to experience. And the food is mouth watering! I remember reading something before our first trip there. If you are friendly with the Jamaican people you will receive it back with interest and I have found this to be so. Would we go again? Yes we would. All that being said I would avoid Kingston. Even some natives I know say that. We also have been to Aruba and GC. Jamaica is lush and tropical, unlike Aruba and more like GC but better IMHO. Good luck with your decision. Larry.
jacketwatch is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,189
What are the two most uncultural, non-Caribbean-feeling islands in the Caribbean?
Grand Cayman and Aruba.
GC and Aruba have the lowest crime rates of all the heavily touristed islands.
Jamaica is very much the opposite in most every way in comparison to GC and Aruba.
People that love Jamaica like the great beaches, the casual atmosphere, the vivid cultural influence, and are able tune out the poverty and disparity between the moneyed tourists and poor locals.
Jamaica has a lot of positive attributes, which is why it's a popular tourist destination.
But make sure you know what it's like before you go, because it's not some people's cup of tea (just like Aruba is not a favorite of many Caribbean-o-philes due to its lack of culture).
travleis is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 55
Can't help but agree with the above posters & only wanted to add that the "vibe" is unique & to me, quite appealling. I treasure the friends we have made & look forward to see them each trip. If you give respect you'll get respect. Since our 1st trip, it keeps rolling around my head & always brings a smile to my face. Others on this board disagree strongly, so be prepared for an onslaught of negativity.
superdan is offline  

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