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THE CARIBBEAN — One of the largest islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica offers beautiful beaches, rich culture and delicious food. As with other modern tourist destinations, it also boasts plenty of adventure-type activities including ziplining, rafting and off-roading.
While there are stormier times of the year, the temperature is usually delightful and ranges from an average low of 76 degrees Fahrenheit in January to an average high of 83 degrees Fahrenheit in July.
If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, here are five tips to consider:
Meet the people
Although there are dangerous neighborhoods, the island is safe if you plan ahead and heed the advisories. To help encourage people to leave their resorts and experience the culture, the Jamaica Tourist Board uses its Meet the People Program to match visitors with local ambassadors who can help you experience the things you’re most interested in. Be sure to sign up prior to your trip so you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience with a local.
Sure, there are fast-food restaurants on the island like Burger King and KFC, but the local food is amazing. You can get your jerk fix at the legendary Scotchies, but it’s the street food that really shines. Most of the street food in Jamaica is safe to eat, and the corn and pepper shrimp are unbelievably delicious.
Drive with caution
Many resorts provide free airport transfers, while paid excursions often come with transportation included. If you rent a car, just know that the roads can be hazardous. There are ample potholes, some deep enough to cause damage. Also, be on the lookout for animals such as cows or goats ambling across the road.
Visit the Luminous Lagoon
Similar to the famed bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico, the Luminescent Lagoon is full of microorganisms that glow when disturbed. Dip a paddle in the water and you’ll see an eerie light trailing the motion. Swim in the water, as you can do in the Luminous Lagoon, and it’s an other-worldly experience.
Prepare for purchases
Just about anywhere you go on the island, you can expect businesses to accept U.S. currency. In the most touristy areas, prices are always listed in USD. If you’ll be venturing off the beaten path it’s wise to have some local currency. Take care of this ahead of time at your local bank, because you’ll get a better value on the exchange. Plus, the banks are closed on the weekends in Jamaica, which can cause problems if you need money in a hurry.
Do you have recommendations for visitors to Jamaica? Comment them below!