Is Jamaica Safe? - contributed in part by Marsha Smith
I am pretty sure that this is a question that has been running in your head while considering your vacation to Jamaica.
C'mon, be honest :-)
But that is a very valid question too!
After all, safety is still the most fundamental need in life.
It is a fact that Jamaica is perhaps the most beautiful and exotic island in the Caribbean, richly prized with warm people, sunshine, heritage, sumptuous cuisine, sweet reggae music, the best coffee, and the most pristine beaches – everything you need for that get away, to unwind!
However, it is also a fact that we have a high homicide rate per capita.
But hold on… that does not mean that you will be hurt when you get here.
If that was so, we would have been long banned, certainly by the USA, as a destination not to even consider.
And while violence is unwelcome, you’ll be comforted knowing that over 85% of the violence that takes place in island is usually among gangs or gang affiliated members, scammers, or of a domestic nature - and the reports shows that they are confined to the inner city areas - also known as ‘garrisons’.
Garrisons are usually the most deprived areas where, in most cases, there is abject poverty and political victimization. And tourist doesn't go there.
I was speaking to a friend recently and joked that a Jamaican tourist is probably safer than someone in the garrison!
And that is probably true!
By the way, the island recently celebrated a historical milestone when we welcomed our 2,000,000 (yes, that’s two million) stop over visitor in a single year recently! (Read More)
And bear in mind that a significant number of those visitors are actually repeat guests.
Doesn’t that say something? You be the judge.
During my recent stay at a lovely resort in the second city (Montego Bay), I met some wonderful visitors from Canada and the USA. They all gave glowing remarks about their visits to the island.
They hasten to mention how the staff at the hotel made them feel welcome, their guide that not only entertained but provided them with a wealth of information, and the locals that they encountered while walking the streets and enjoying the attractions.
One defined our people as friendly and warm as the Caribbean sun!
The truth is, like everywhere in the world, cultures are changing somewhat, and if criminals get a chance to take what you have - without been seen or captured, they will try.
So here are my suggestions to you
(in Jamaica or anywhere in the world you vacation):
1. Prepare your trip properly
2. Don't wander off by yourself, travel with friends.
Again, this is true regardless of where in the world you are.
3. Take some local (Jamaican) currency with you.
4. Don’t wear expensive jewelry on trips or excursions
5. Do not disclose where you are staying to persons you meet on the beaches and at other attractions. This serves both for your own safety and prevents persistent "sellers" phoning the hotel or coming to the hotel to corner you to go with them or buy their products.
6. Don’t take large sums of cash around. At the least of it, you become uncomfortable and it will show - turning you into an easy target.
7.Do carry smaller bills instead of large bills…and finally,
8. Get a competent, trustworthy and knowledgeable tour guide to take you around.
And finally, be sure to listen to some of these reviews by people who have been here before – some over 30 times!
For the complete guide to Jamaica, be sure to read my book ‘The Jamaica Insider Guide’.
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