Jamaica is a beautiful island rich in culture and activities. The locals are for the most part, very friendly and the many outdoor shops provide inexpensive locales to get a taste of culture to bring home with you. There are so many places to see in Jamaica and so many things to do, especially for the budget minded traveler.
The Jamaican dollar equals just over 1 penny in US dollars, so many things in Jamaica are much cheaper than buying things here. Because of the difference in currency value, you can purchase a bottle of rum for $3, an apple for $.20, or even pay for a tour of whatever city you’re in (leaning more toward Kingston, Negril or Ocho Rios) for the family for just around $70, where in the states the same type of tour would cost over $100.
The city you visit in Jamaica will also determine the price of your vacation. If you stay in Kingston or Montego Bay, your expenses will be a little bit more than if you stay in Ocho Rios or Negril.
On www.cheapcaribbean.com, I saw many vacation packages to Jamaica starting at around $499 per person for 4 nights, including the air fare. This is relatively inexpensive, and if you go this route, you can manage to keep your expenses under $150.00 per day, which is not too bad on a vacation. Also, if you’re traveling with kids, Holiday Inn Sunspree always offers a ‘kids stay & eat free’ promotion, which would ultimately cut costs for you. You could even stay in an all-inclusive resort, which bundles your lodging, food and entertainment together. The Grand Lido Braco also featured on cheapcaribbean.com is running about $699 for 3 nights.
Restaurants in Jamaica come in grand resorts and road side shacks. Depending on the city you go to, there are plenty of budget-minded places to try. If you’re staying in Montego Bay and looking for a super romantic but won’t break the bank type of experience, you have to try Day O Restaurant. Their menu consists mostly of fresh sea food and traditional Jamaican dishes, but the location is lush and beautiful, and only 3 miles outside of Montego Bay. For more information on Day O Restaurant, you can visit their site at www.dayorestaurant.com.
Boasted as the best food in Negril, the Rock House Restaurant is a Jamaican favorite. The food is generally Jamaican fare, but lighter and tastier versions. They’ve managed to put their twist on many old favorites, including seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes. Also, the location is absolutely perfect for watching a sunset, as the restaurant is an outdoor terrace over the bay. Prices range from $20 – $40 USD per person, and you can find out more about the restaurant at www.rockhousehotel.com/hotel/eat.php
Ocho Rios is the hub for awesome restaurants and attractions. Evita’s Italian Restaurant located in Ocho Rios is touristy, but delicious. Their focus at Evita’s is on pasta, as they showcase many different styles, sauces, and final products. Their location is fantastic, as well as their showcased full bar with a number of specialty drinks and classic favorites. The prices are more in the midrange, about $20-$30 per person. You can view their website at www.evitasjamaica.com.
The Pelican Bar is an awesome local favorite. It’s located about 400 yards off shore between Treasure beach and Black River. It’s totally surrounded by water and you’re encouraged to swim there. Generally, Floyd, the owner, suggests that you catch your own fish and he’ll cook it up for you. They have a good selection of beer and local drinks, and are very friendly. For more information, you can check it out at www.tainocove.com/activities/pelicanbar.htm
The attractions are the most important part of your trip. They’re what you’ll be spending most of your time doing, and some things can get pricey.
Thankfully, the beach is free, and Jamaica is notorious for it’s crystal clear waters. Bring some snorkel equipment from home and spend days soaking up sun, swimming and snorkeling. If you’re looking for more adventure, you can try the Dunns River Falls. The Dunns River is generally the only of its kind on the island, and possibly throughout the world. It is a self regenerative river and fall system that is able to be toured by anyone. It’s located right outside Ocho Rios, and it costs about $15 per person. Most taxis will take you there for about $8 each way.
Definitivecaribbean.com offers tours of cities and attractions, from when you first get to the island until you leave. You can view what they have to offer on their website, and tours range from Blue Mountain Bicycle tours, Appleton Estate Rum Tour, Catamaran expeditions and River tubing tours in Ocho Rios.
Jamaica is a beautiful island nation with a lot to offer. Whether you’ll be in town for 1 day or 1 week, you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and attractions to keep you busy.
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