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I'm White, will I get shot in Jamaica?

by Sarah Smith

tourists_at the former cornwall_beach

Sarah didn't beat around the bush, the asked a question that I am getting the feeling is on the lips of many others, but hesitate to ask. It comes in many forms, but the question is really, 'Is Jamaica Dangerous For Tourists'?

Here is her question, with my response.

I am white, will I get shot in Jamaica?

ANSWER: by Wellesley

Hi Sarah,
Very interesting, but a very welcome question, thanks for asking.

The reality is that, like you, many potential visitors are worried about getting hurt based on the news reports they hear.

Unfortunately, we tend to hear all the bad news.

Truth be told, tourists in Jamaica are probably as safe here as anywhere else in the world!

As I indicated in another response, most of the violence you hear about are gang-related and are centralized in the garrison (ghetto areas) of the island.

Of course, visitors don't go there, nor do they have any reason to go to those places - there are a lot more exciting stuff to do and places to see in Jamaica!

There are lots of good reason why we get hundreds of thousands over 4 million visitors per year my friend (most whites) - the overwhelming majority of who eventually falls in love with the island and keep returning!

In fact, we have been capturing real life experiences of visitors to Jamaica and the majority have reported nothing but amazement! it is nothing compared to the scare they get in other media.

Here is a page with these Jamaica travel stories, please take a quick look!

And may I also invite you to speak with my facebook fans? Many of them are 'frequent flyers' to Jamaica!

My humble suggestions:

  1. Have an open mind
  2. Observe the personal safety guidelines, like anywhere else you visit. The Jamaica travel guide has some great tips.
  3. Get a trusted local or tour guide, and explore the beauty, culture and wonders of beautiful Jamaica.

Try it, you'll love it!

If you need a recommendation, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

As usual, I welcome your comments here. Stay in touch.


P.S. We've answered HUNDREDS of questions, click here and here to get even more answers.

Updated Sept 11 19

Comments for I'm White, will I get shot in Jamaica?

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 09, 2021
Why single out Jamaica?
by: Anonymous

Is it because you're afraid of a predominantly Black country?

I happen to be a White female and have never had any trouble in Jamaica. I've never stayed at a resort (but guest houses) and have used route taxis and busses to get everywhere - no issues.

I'm from NYC so maybe my attitude has something to do with it.

Jamaica has its problems but nothing a tourist needs to worry about. It's a beautiful country and its people have always been gracious in my experience. I wouldn't recommend walking around downtown Kingston at night, but every country has "dangerous" areas.

I just returned from 3 amazing weeks in Jamaica (Portland Parish & Kingston) and in my absence two students were murdered a couple of blocks from my Manhattan apartment.

I realize tourists in all inclusive Jamaican resorts are told if they leave the compound bad things will happen to them. So the myth continues and those tourists never get to see Jamaica.

I've been blessed to experience the country warts and all (by warts I don't mean violence but things common in the Caribbean, such as inefficient beurocracy) but at least people aren't killing each other over masks like in the US. No militias are showing up in Kingston over public health issues like masks. I've seen tensions over class issues but not race.
I've never felt threatened. If anyone tries to sell me something a polite "no thanks" works every time.

Unlike say, Morocco, where you'll be viewed as a walking ATM machine and treated like it (constant harassment).

If you can fit a few supplies for school children (box of pens, whatever) in yr suitcase, that would be thoughtful. The Jamaican spirit is so positive and loving - coming back to hate filled US media, hhate based on Red vs Blue - violence, mass shootings... that's the culture shock.

Sep 12, 2019
I'm White, will I get shot in Jamaica?
by: Anonymous

What an ignorant question? Canada, especially Toronto of late has had an increase in shootings as well. Would "Becky have asked the same question if she were travelling to a predominantly white or brown country like Mexico, who also has it's share of shootings.

Sep 11, 2019
Getting shot in Jamaica
by: Anonymous

No worries, the odds are on your side. You are less likely to be shot in Jamaica than a black person is in most majority-white countries.

May 04, 2017
I'm white, will I get shot in Jamaica
by: Marcia S.

Legitimate question. Thanks for answering in a friendly, truthful and positive way.

Nov 16, 2014
I'm White,will I get shot in Jamaica
by: Delores

Ignorance and rude is just the start.
There are more white people killing each other
In other countries including the U.S. than somebody
In jamaica killing a white person.

Jan 25, 2014
Stay on the resort, or keep your head up
by: Phil

To the previous respondant, it is your answer you gave to Sarah's question which shows your ignorance and lack of courtesy. In Dec-Jan there was 1 white Canadian woman murdered (albeit not with a bullet) and a Danish woman murdered. Thus it is your ignorance of a legitimate safety concern which I find rude. The question for a white woman, especially if she is not on a resort and travelling as a regular person in Jamaica (not everybody wants to stay in resorts), is legitimate, if poorly worded. Whereas it is true it is not a racially divided country, that has nothing to do the question. A white person is Jamaica off the resort stands out, and you can quote all the variety of Jamaicans there are, nothing will change that fact in the near future.

Do I think that being white one is a target, is what I believe Sarah's question is? No. Jamaicans are civilized, but there is always the criminal element, and there is poverty. Thus: beware of most who approach you, but usually the people you approach are good. (isn't that the same wherever you travel outside your own culture?) I travelled 7 times to JA, drive everywhere and stay in lil places, and will return, and the rule is: don't make yourself a target. Don't flash. Don't feel you have to friendly to everybody - you wouldn't back home. Don't get drunk in company you're not sure of. Enjoy yourself and keep your head up. It's a great country!

PS. How does such a laid-back country produce Bolt & Fraser? amazing! ;)

Jan 14, 2014
I am white, will I be shot in jamaica
by: Anonymous

When you ask the. Quesgion "I am white will I get shot in jamaica it is one of pure ignorance. There is nothing legitimate about this question. Jamaica is not, and I repeat,not a racialy divided country. We don't care about skin color. Our citizens are not all BLACK. We have jews, gentiles, palestinians, syrians, lebonese7n chinese and I can go on and on who walk hand in hand. Learn about ones culture before posting an ignorant question.

Apr 26, 2011
I was warmly welcomed in jamaica
by: SistrenJen

I just come back from a 2 week stasy in Jamaica, I actually stayed in the ghetto in spanish town with my fiancee who lives there, I am light skinned I dont like the word white or any other to describe a person it is insignificant, anyway I stayed with my fiancee for 2 weeks in which time we got married, I have never felt so welcome, everybody in the community greeted me and were very pleasant towards me, I felt warm and safe where I was staying, never saw or heard any violence, we went out shopping in Spanish town together in the markets and shops, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a great experience, I went to visit my sister in law in Jones town in Kingston, everyone wanted to look at me and ask questions about England and what I think of Jamaica, walking on into trench town was an experience too, spiritually, as I have always loved Bob Marley and always wanted to visit Jamaica and of course trench town where he lived for part of his life, well that meant a lot to me to be there and feel the vibes around me.

I will be going back to live there permanently one day, It felt like home there, beautiful country, beautiful people, best experience of my life so far especially marrying my King :)

Mar 12, 2011
One Love
by: realjamrock

Jamaica as one of the best record as tourist safe heaven among tourist destination. if you dont want to believe what I say go to your local travel agent and let them put you on to visitors who have come to Jamaica many times and keeps coming back. for the best in Jamaican products.

Feb 13, 2011
you only need a prayer and be careful as always
by: Anonymous

White people get shot in America and England not that much in Jamaica

Jan 06, 2011
Facebook Comments
by: Admin

Comments from our Fans at

Keith Redmon:

One can only guess this question was asked out of ignorance and stories trumped up by the media. Of course, there are places in Jamaica that you just don't go....just like there are places in The US you just don't go. My wife and I went o...ff the resort and into town...Ocho Rios. We went shopping and ate at a local restaurant.

We were the only "white people" in the restaurant. The locals paid no attention to us and we were perfectly at ease. I echo what Kim Alverez said and will add that Americans should take lessons from Jamaicans on how to treat people. Go to Jamaica because....."Once you go, you know."

Mignon Seratt:

Don't be worried about that. My husband and I have been all over Jamaica with our friend/driver! He has taken us places we had to keep the windows up! Don't let what you hear about going off the resorts scare you!

If you stay in the resort,... they get all your money! If you go out of the resort, you get to meet and see things you will not on the resort. We love the food on the sie of the roads! We love hanging with our new friends in the mountains!

We are not people who go for the resorts. We love hanging with the people and learning so much more no matter where we are! It is a great place to go! Just find someone you trust. I am so glad we did our first time there! Never would have known how nice Jamaica really is! Peace, Love, and Respect!

Margaret A E Kidd:

Try reading a little about the racial mixes that exist in our island Jamaica. Out of many , One people. If u truly have this awful phobia then maybe you should try vacationing in Norway. Jamaicans are not racist and skin colour is not really what we look for in people. We tend to judge you more by the actions you exhibit and the purity of your heart.We would not be one of the world's top tourist destinations if we were shooting "white" people.

Kim Austin Alvarez:

I go to JA to experience the people and the culture. I couldnt bare the thought of staying at a resort and having the 'locals pay no mind to me'. Whats the point in international travel if this is how u do it?

Anderia Rena Eze:

Sarah, it's a legitimate question and I completely understand your concern. Treat people as you wish to be treated. Take the normal safety precautions that you do in your home environment. Yes, do travel with a 'trusted' local and you will be just fine. You'll be better than fine, you won't want to leave Jamaica!

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