rethinking trip to jamaica

Aug 13th, 2003, 03:51 PM
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Thanks again for the responses. I feel much better and think that we will probably go ahead with our plans. I don't think there is anything wrong with AI's, it's just not something we want to do on this trip.
Pete, Costa Rica is definitely somewhere I would like to visit. Maybe next time!
_holly_25_ is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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DEFINITELY CHANGE YOUR PLANS TO SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN JAMAICA!!!!! I spent the worst "vacation" of my life in Jamaica two years ago. I have traveled extensively: Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe and never have I been so disappointed with a country in my entire life. There are so many wonderful places to go that don't have the problems that Jamaica does. If you would like more details please email me personally. Save your honeymoon - don't go to Jamaica!
cmorton is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 01:01 PM
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CMorton, you have got to be kidding. Probably another person who has never been there. I've been there 2x and had a great time. We did the AI thing the first time, non-AI the second. Getting off the resort with a knowledgable guide was great. So very much to see and do. We are bringing out kids next year. The Jamaican people are very, very nice.
TonyHarris is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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We are getting married in early November and had planned to go to Jamaica and stay at the Ritz Carlton resort. Then we met with a honeymoon planner and he suggested that for our honeymoon its not the place to go. Indicated that it can be unsafe at night, you can't really leave your hotel and it is a third world country where they try to sell you trinkets and drugs on the street. He said it would be great for a long weekend but not for a honeymoon.

We are instead going to Anguilla and staying at CuisianArt Resort. Anguilla is a small island (not much in the way of night life or shopping) But the beaches are suppose to be some of the best in the caribbean.

Good luck planning...we are very happy we decided against Jamaica.
concorrell is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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Guess your honeymoon "planner" gets a better commission for CuisinArt....

FYI, except for the beach (which IS fabulous), Anguilla is not a very pretty island. Jamaica, on the other hand, is very lush.

It sounds like holly_25 is interested in seeing the Blue Mountains, and exploring the island. Anguilla is flat as a board, and there is not much there to explore.

Not knocking Anguilla, it is a nice island, and CuisinArt is a great resort. However, everyone is looking for different things in a trip.
babyblue78 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 03:35 PM
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When I had suggested an AI I didn't mean it in terms of never leaving the resort. Holly, you sound like the exploring type of person and what I mean was, you would have a "base" and still be able to explore with all sorts of tours. That way perhaps you would not feel so stressed as traveling yourselves, from place to place. I have heard great things about Swept Away. Just a thought, and also another Island is St. Lucia. It is very lush, tropical and beautiful.
diann is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 06:03 PM
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One cannot manufacture a better honeymoon than we had at Swept Away! People who say you cannot have a great honeymoon in Jamaica need to explain to me what it was we missed on our honeymoon. What was in Anguilla that I didn't have in Jamaica?

I am happy for anyone who goes anywhere and has the Honeymoon of their dreams, but don't make out like I didn't have a fantastic one because I went to Jamaica...that simply isn't the case. Again.....(and this is where the rubber meets the road) I want to hear the explaination of why anyone should avoid Jamaica? Haven't seen, read or heard of a reason, yet, from a credible source. Sure, we read lots of folks post that it isn't the place to go, but very few, if any, details as to why. When details are provided, it turns out to be smoke.

I don't know why I take up for Jamaica so busy as Negril was this summer (their supposed "low season") it could get too crowded for my taste. On second thought...everybody AVOID Jamaica...too many foreign visitors may harm the beauty and turn the friendliest of peoples against us...
atticus is offline  
Aug 14th, 2003, 08:01 PM
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I agree, Atticus. It seems that most people spouting off about Jamaica on this board and others have never been there. If I wanted everything to be like "home" I would save my money and stay there.

I think a lot of people feel that different = unsafe.
babyblue78 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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I have been to Jamaica and liked it in most respects; may someday return after seeing a few other islands.

When you are not within the confines of a "gated resort" (AI or otherwise), the constant solicitations can be tiresome. However, this is an annoyance issue, not a safety issue.

Based on my own observations and research, I would not rent a car and explore the countryside on my own in Jamaica. Which is too bad, because it's a big, beautiful island. However, there are are other ways to explore (escorted tours, private guides with good references, etc.).

cdt is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 06:10 AM
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cdt, We will be exploring the island with a guide: Carolyn Barrett of Barret Adventures.

concorrell, I had two different travel agents recommend Jamaica to us. One had been there 6 times, even got married there. She told me that when people say "anywhere but Jamaica" she always askes why, and then encourages them to see for themselves. The other agent, whom I booked my flight with, said she had been several times and loved it. She said not to worry about safety. I guess everyone's experience is different and everyone's expectations vary.

After hearing so many conflicting views I can't help but want to go. It seems to me that people speak passionately about Jamaica--whether good or bad. Hopefully my experience will be positive, but at the very least it will be real.

_holly_25_ is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 08:05 AM
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We have traveled all over the Caribbean and have been very fortunate to see many places.

Jamaica is the most beautiful island in the Caribbean, the most diverse and has much to offer. We enjoyed the people and the experience of the island.

Your trip sounds fantastic. We stayed in Negril and moved around to the South and Port Antonio - beautiful places.

There are many places in the Caribbean more expensive than Jamaica - but in our opinion - after seeing most of the islands - none with greater beauty and more interesting people.

FYI - we did not feel unsafe for one minute - I have no idea where people on these boards get the idea that Jamaica is unsafe. Caution must be exercised anywhere you go...I don't care where you are in the world....people are people and some want to take advantage of's the same anywhere.

Enjoy your adventure!!!!
JohnPH is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 09:16 AM
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I have also travelled to many Caribbean islands - Anguilla included - and Jamaica is my favorite. I took my teenage daughter to Negril this spring and she loved it. We walked everywhere and never felt threatened. I felt much safer than I would have walking around most big U.S. cities - including my own. I find the people to be very friendly, the food is great (and cheap) the beaches are beautiful and I love the lush foliage.
cartera45 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 09:29 AM
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CDT-you worded my thoughts and what I was trying to convey exactly. I would find that burdensome, moving around on the go and with the feeling Holly all ready had expressed that would be my choice. I have never been to Jamaica but I would love to experience this island for no other reasons then all of the varied opinions I have read. You have fun Holly and be sure to give us your thoughts when you return. Happy Honeymoon to you and your intended.
diann is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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I am so glad you have decided to go on your trip.
A couple of weeks ago, after reading about your plans for your honeymoon and how great it sounded, we decided to go to Jamaica in April. (We were going to go in Oct.-Nov., but it's rainy season, so we're going to the BVI's/USVI's instead.)
I frequently encounter the same thing with "well-meaning" friends and relatives when they find out we're going to Mexico.
They say, "oh, Mexico," in a voice like we said we plan to eat earthworms, "aren't you afraid you'll get sick?"
We've been to Mexico every year for 10 years - all over the Yucatan - eating at everything from local places/street vendors and 5 star resorts, and have eaten close to 500 meals there. I got sick once for one day.
Whenever I ask who they heard that from they ALL say, "uh, hmm, my coworker's uncle, I think" or some other such nonsense.
In some cases, I think people are jealous and are passive/aggressive about going about trying to sabotage your fun and excitement.
I'm sure some people DO get sick in Mexico (probably from drinking too much cheap tequila and eating off the picked-over buffets at their AI's) and I'm sure there HAVE been a few cases of crime against tourists in Jamaica (but there are NO islands where that is not the case), but I'd certainly not allow that to worry you or enjoy your trip any less.
Congratulations, have a wonderful time, and be sure to post a trip report when you return!
Diana is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Thanks, I will definitely post a trip report when we return. Won't be until the middle of January though
_holly_25_ is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 11:49 AM
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Holly, I too am very pleased to learn that you are not deterred from the negative comments and that you are going after all. I applaud you! Trust me, you will not regret it, especially as you are willing to step out of the box a bit and really go in and explore the place -Port Antonio (one of my favourite parts of JA with its lushness), the Blue Mountains with a tour guide etc. Good for you! I look forward to reading your report in due course.
Enya is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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You know how I feel holly, having done almost the same around-the-island trip as you're planning just a couple of months ago (seems like yesterday but also seems like too long ago!).

A couple of thoughts.

Carolyn Barrett knows her way around Jamaica and will not place you in a dangerous situation. No good Jamaican guide would either.

The aggressive salespeople mentioned by other posters are a feature of the tourist areas. You will very rarely come across them in Port Antonio, Treasure Beach, the Blue Mountains (Heck you might not come across anyone at all on that outing!)...mainly this will be a minor annoyance in Negril, Ocho Rios and MoBay. Some intrepid travelers will turn even that minor annoyance into a chance to buy a piece of jewelry, have a beer and sit down for a chat with said vendor who will almost certainly have interesting stories to tell

I've been 10+ times to Jamaica, over about 15 years, my husband has gone since he was a child (lucky him, his grandmother rented a villa there for the family each summer). The island is not crime-free, noplace is, but it is the kind of place that you can be safe if you avoid doing things like getting drunk and stumbling around by yourself in lonely areas at night, going off with a stranger to buy whatever, flashing lots of cash and expensive jewelry, not taking cabs when it's very late, and of course locking your hotel room at night etc.

Jamaica does have soul, and is very different from those islands that are generally considered "safe" (which to me seems to often mean "Americanized"). I traveled to several islands and then got stuck on Jamaica, still so much to see that we haven't gotten to yet, and now friends to visit also.

I agree that a nice vacation can be had in an AI but if you don't go anywhere else, you miss the best parts (if you're like me and most interested in finding away-from-it-all spots, talking to real people).

Some photos, hopefully I'm a good enough photographer to capture SOME of the beauty of that island:

....but if not this woman certainly is:

(don't miss the ones on page 2, some really nice ones of the east coast there)
liza is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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I want to thank everyone for their comments too. My husband and I have been considering a trip to Jamaica in the next couple years and it's great to hear people's personal accounts. Neither of us has been to the Caribbean, but always wanted to go. If anybody has any thoughts about the southern side of the island, I would love to read them. I've read that this side of the island is less developed and doesn't have the AI that the north side of the island does.

My husband and I chose New Orleans for our honeymoon and got a lot of the same comments about safety as Holly is getting for Jamaica - crime, safety, drugs, poverty. We went anyway and had a blast - did not feel unsafe anywhere, just used a little common sense and had a great time.
J_Correa is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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I think the best online resouce for the south coast (if you mean Treasure Beach, there are other spots) is

You might also enjoy this article about a family renting a villa in that area, it gets the vibe of the area across pretty well I think:
liza is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 02:27 PM
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liza, I was wondering where you were! I'm very happy that you travel there so often, and that you trecked all over for 2 weeks without any problems. In addition to all the other comments I don't feel worried anymore.
_holly_25_ is offline  

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