Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page >

Jamaica or Antiqua? Which has more to offer? Differences

Jamaica or Antiqua? Which has more to offer? Differences

Old Jan 10th, 2003, 02:49 PM
  #1  
Karina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jamaica or Antiqua? Which has more to offer? Differences

Myself and some friends are going to be vacationing at the end of February. We are trying to decide on either Negril or Antiqua.

Any information would be grateful.

Cost, Activities attitudes of the Islands.

Thanks a bunch!!!
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 02:55 PM
  #2  
Penney
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
WE have been to both a number of times and there are alot of differences. While both have beautiufl beaches, Negril in Jamaica has just incredible. The beaches there are considered amoung the best - calm and clear waters. I think too that Jamaica is a greener island (Antigua is drier) and mountainous island, offers more to see and do off the resorts (climbing water falls, touring, history, shopping, hiing, etc....) has more local charm and there is just something about Jamaica that makes us feel alive when ever we go. The people are wonderful. There is however alot more povery on Jamaica or seems so since there are more people about. Jamaica is far more affordable too - accomondations and flight are cheaper then Antigua.

Don't get me wrong; we loved Antigua and do hope to go back. Jamaica jsut offers alot more I feel.
 
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 03:00 PM
  #3  
antigua lover
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have not been to Jamaica but I visited Antigua a few months ago. We really enjoyed Antigua although most of the resorts are All Inclusive and I believe that is because there isn't a whole lot to choose from when it comes to dining out or night life. There is plenty to do as far as exploring the island and tours, but if looking for dining outside of the resort and night life, Jamaica would be the better choice. Antigua is one of those islands to get away from it all and just relax, in my opinion. Good luck in choosing and enjoy!
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #4  
Karina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What about the crime and attitude towards American. Is it safe to go into the towns at night to party or tto the casinos in St. John?
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 10:08 AM
  #5  
Cari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Both have so much to offer. Jamaica has wonderful beaches and is very lush. Dunn's River and Rose Hall are not to be missed, although they're not close to each other. The poverty, IMHO, is worse in Jamaica. It seems as though the residents live in much worse conditions. Although they give 100% to the visitors, we sensed more anger out of the life they've been given. Much quarreling went on between vendors, and I was literally pulled on several occasions to look at one's wares over anothers. Jamaica is a more inexpensive place to visit as well as a shorter flight.
Antigua has poverty, however, living conditions are slightly better and these residents take great pride in cleaning their homes and yards. There is a wide assortment of things to see and much history. Vendors graciously allowed the next vendor to sell their wares without any pulling and would say "That's all right. You take this one". I don't know that I would venture out at night on either island, but I know that in Jamaica, the hotel staff as well as taxi drivers told us to stay in at night. Antigua is a quieter island,so you may not find as much to do at night.
I don't gamble, prefer to shop. For that I would take Antigua. But good luck in whatever you choose.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 10:43 AM
  #6  
Penney
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jamaica gets a lot of talk about the poverty and pushy vendors. It is true - they are pushy! There is also a fair share of crime but this I feel to be so on most of the islands. We use comoon street sense that we would when going into any unknown area. We do venture on our own and jsut use smarts. As far as the vendors in Jamaica - a firm no works well. Good bargining though for items! Negril has some really great places right on the beach at ngiht for dinner and cocktails (go to www.negril.com for more info on the area.)

In Antigua, this problem exists too but I felt on a smaller level. There is less to see and do at night. The casino's are not all that great.

We found the people's attitude on boths islands to be varied. Some seem indifferent while others (most) seem to be very friendly and nice to speak with. Feel the people of Jamaica in particular are really great to gain knowledge from and so friendly.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #7  
liza
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: going out at night.

When we stayed at Sandals, an all-inclusive hotel, we were told not to go off the property at night.

When we stayed in a villa, then later several smaller hotels - not AI - the owners told us all about places to go at night, how to get taxis, good places to eat, dance, etc. We took their advice and had a great time.

Same island....different financial incentives, I guess. The non-AIs wanted us to enjoy JA, enjoy being "in town" and come back.

AIs make their money in Jamaica at least in part based on people's fear of going out. If too many people learn that Jamaica is as safe for a savvy tourist as anyplace, they may stop staying at AIs all the time....thus the warnings. That's my theory, anyway.

This spring will be our 10th trip to Jamaica and except for that one time we stayed at Sandals, we ALWAYS go out at night. Pre-bedtime, we take our children out with us.

Vendors can be pushy...if I am not in the mood to buy (which is almost always, I'm not a big shopper), 90% are dealt with by smiling and saying "no thanks" while continuing to walk. The other 10% may be more presistent but I basically don't break my stride...if they are rude I'll be rude right back. I know people are just trying to make a living but I want the same respect I give. It's worked fine for 9 trips so far.

There is poverty in Jamaica. I don't hold it against Jamaicans, in fact I have spent a good bit of time over the last few years learning about the reasons for the poverty there. Most Jamaicans are glad to give you their perspective and great lessons (for most Americans who don't have a clue) in world economics and the fine points of World Bank loans, debt payment and structural adjustment programs, if you care to learn about it.

Each Jamaican home I have been inside was spotless. A lot of times what appears to be trash in the yards is stuff that is being saved...Jamaicans don't throw out anything that might be useful later so you will often see big planks of wood, sheets of recycled tin, cinderblocks, etc. that appear to be just laying around.

Also, many homes you pass seem to be falling down when in fact it is the opposite. Jamaicans cannot afford bank interest rates, they do not for the most part have mortgages. They build their homes a bit here and there, as they have materials and time and money. Often a home will be built over 10 years or more, with the owner living elsewhere or in a finished part of the home while construction is ongoing.

When you drive by though, it just looks like it's falling down with rebar sticking out of the concrete, etc.

I haven't been to Antigua but Jamaica is much larger, I'd assume there is more to do there (I've been 9x and havent even touched the eastern half of the island).
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 02:35 PM
  #8  
Karina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for all the Information!
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 02:57 PM
  #9  
Kim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I would have too agree with most of the posters Jamaica is your best bet. We love it and will be there in Feb.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2003, 03:48 PM
  #10  
Eric
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Great post by Liza... I agree completely. She brings up some good points about the all inclusives. They do perpetuate the myth that leaving their grounds and exploring on your own is dangerous. Too bad, as this hurts the local venders and small businesses. My advice for anyone visiting Jamaica is to get away from the hotel, on your own. Pack a bag for the day, walk out to the street and hail a cab. The price will be FAR less than using the resort's drivers and tours, and you will get a true taste of the island.

Eric
 
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 09:29 AM
  #11  
tom
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It will be easier to get marajuana in Jamaica. In Antiqua you will be able to Gamble. Both Islands should provide you with excellent beaches.
 
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 10:45 AM
  #12  
Lola
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Can only talk about Super Clubs Braco in Runaway Bay Jamaica--it was terrific, adults only. Largest pool on island and plenty of activities. However, in all honesty I did not feel comfortable once I left the grounds.
As for Antigua--there is no problem exploring the island. We stayed at Sandals so I do not know about other properties. We hired a driver to take us around to different places to tour while he explained the history etc.--Sugar Mill, Devil's Bridge, Falmouth Harbor etc.
On Sundays do not miss Shirley Heights standing on a mountaintop in Antigua overlooking the ocean with all the sailboats and joining the large crowds mesmerized by the sunset setting over the ocean--gorgeous view! Barbecue and drinks sold at Shirley Heights with live island misic and reggae. Really gears up just before sunset to later at night.
Antigua is very popular for sailing and boating activities, much less in Jamaica.
 
Old Jan 12th, 2003, 12:06 PM
  #13  
Cindi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I went to Jamaica this past summer and stayed at Breezes in Runaway Bay. I loved the beaches. I stayed for five days and only left the resort once to go on a guided tour of Dunn's River Fall. I would never leave the resort without going on a guided tour sponsored by the hotel. Our resort was not the fanciest, but you could not beat the service, activities, food, and friendly staff. Our hotel had an activity during the lunch hour (swimsuit contests, goat races, dance contests), dinner hour ( happy hours, beach party, etc) and late night (concert, disco party, piano sing-along at the bar), plus they had all of the water sports and the the drinks was constantly flowing. Next time, I go, I might pick a more luxirious SuperClubs location, but it will definitely be SuperClubs. They know how to entertain their guests. I went to St Thomas this past summer as well, and it did not have hardly any activites planned for the guests who spent time on the property. I hope this helps.

Cindi.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2003, 09:30 AM
  #14  
Cari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
To Liza and Eric:
We love Jamaica. However, are you aware that the Bureau of Consular Affairs states that crime is a serious problem in Jamaica?
There was a writer who disappeared in Jamaica 2-3 years ago. I would never tell someone not to go there, as it is a beautiful place. There is crime everywhere, but when it it to that extent, my advice to others would be to make sure you are safe. I would not have left the hotel at night. Liza, just because you came home alive just means you've been ok so far. And, Eric, we did leave the resort during the day as did many others and spent money. Night time is a different story.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2003, 10:40 AM
  #15  
Eric
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Cari,

I agree about walking around at night in Jamaica... It can be a little hairy at times. However, walking and taking local taxi's is a great way to get around during the day, and it is much cheaper and less "touristy"... My experience is that you can walk the beach of Negril well after sunset with no problem - though things get awful quiet after midnight. If you visit the countryside of JA (Little Bay, Treasure Beach, etc.) you can walk around whenever you want with no problems - like walking around in rural America - very little risk... In the Jamaican countryside the people are very religious and hard working, and you are very likely safer than in any major US city. It's the tourist areas (and Kingston) that crime rates are higher.

You have to use common sense and keep your wits about you whenever you are in a third world country. I've found this true throughout the Caribbean, as well as in Ghana, Nepal, India, etc... Indeed, in the traveling I have done though - I’ve only experienced crime in major metropolitan areas (NYC and Vancouver BC)...

Eric
 
Old Jan 13th, 2003, 11:09 AM
  #16  
Jan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Eric, I was just going to say that you have to exercise good judgement and common sense wherever you travel to, not just to third world countries, as there is crime the world over.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2003, 11:54 AM
  #17  
paul
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
What about Antigua? Is there a lot of Crime in that country?
 
Old Jan 13th, 2003, 01:50 PM
  #18  
liza
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
The writer is the only tourist disappearance (at this point assumed to be murder) that I am aware of in Jamaica in the past few years. Other Carib islands have had rape/murders of tourists more recently/frequently than that.

The State Dept has a crime warning of some sort about EVERY Caribbean island (and Mexico). Read a few and you'll see some differences between islands but not a ton:

http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html

Antigua: Violent crimes and armed assaults have been perpetrated against tourists. Petty street crime also occurs, and valuables left unattended on beaches are vulnerable to theft.

Jamaica: Crime, including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica, particularly in Kingston. In several cases, armed robberies of Americans have turned violent when the victims resisted handing over valuables. Tourists should always pay extra attention to their surroundings when traveling, exercise care walking outside after dark, and should always avoid neighborhoods known for high crime rates. As a general rule, applicable everywhere, valuables should not be left unattended, including in hotel rooms and on the beach.

Mexico: Crime in Mexico continues at high levels, and it is often violent, especially in Mexico City, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo. Low apprehension and conviction rates of criminals contribute to the high crime rate. Other metropolitan areas have lower, but still serious, levels of crime. Travelers should leave valuables and irreplaceable items in a safe place, or not bring them. All visitors are encouraged to make use of hotel safes when available, avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or designer clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that will be needed on each outing. Visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times, even when in areas generally considered to be safe. Armed street crime is a serious problem in all of the major cities. In February 2001, a U.S. citizen tourist was murdered in a bungled robbery attempt in daylight near Mexico City's upscale San Angel handicraft market.

St Maarten: In recent years, street crime has increased. Valuables (including passports) left unattended on beaches, in cars and hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft. Burglaries and break-ins are increasingly common at resorts, beach houses and hotels. Armed robbery occurs occasionally.

...you get the idea.

There are no guarantees in life but using common sense (not getting drunk and wandering around on your own, leaving the big jewels home, walking where there are people and lights at night, using taxis after a certain hour, not going off with strangers to buy drugs, etc etc) makes the risk to me, acceptably small, about on the order of getting from my job to my home here in the US.

I cannot imagine giving up the experience of eating a dinner out (after dark of course, sunset is about 5:30 in the Carib) or seeing live music on the beach, for safety reasons.

People need to make their own decisions, of course.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 06:05 AM
  #19  
wally
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Which Island is cleaner. Less trash laying around. A friend of mine was in Antiqua a couple of years ago and said there was a lot a garbage around. Is Jamaica the same?
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 06:49 AM
  #20  
Kara
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wally, I was in Antigua in October and I didn't see any garbage lying around. We really enjoyed the island and the locals. And the beaches are great!
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Holly Beren
Caribbean Islands
37
Mar 2nd, 2013 11:45 AM
KeeganMJ
Caribbean Islands
10
Apr 4th, 2010 07:36 PM
JerseyJulie
Caribbean Islands
10
Feb 4th, 2010 01:46 PM
kooer
Caribbean Islands
4
Nov 12th, 2002 03:09 PM
M
Caribbean Islands
7
Aug 26th, 2002 07:13 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:10 AM.