I’m not in the resort section of Montego Bay. I am staying at a $25/night hostel on the main road that leads to downtown. Living like a local, unlike resorts, there are no concierge service, no pre-planned tours, no breakfast served and no Internet connection too. I prefer to travel like this as this forces me to figure things out on my own, and mingle with locals easily.
Flip-flops, $10 sun-glasses, shorts/t-shirt, sunscreen, no map but handful of camera equipments – I start in no specific direction. Within the first hour, my fear of potentially getting mugged or teased, shatters into bits and pieces. Every soul I come across is just beautiful, helpful and caring.
Jamaica, being a common-wealth nation that plays cricket, almost everyone wants to talk about Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. One of my new Jamaican brothers says that Sachin should retire and coach the younger generation. ” You heard that Sachin ?! ”
Montego Bay downtown is worth a stroll especially if you are interested in knowing how Jamaican’s pass time at the squares selling/buying things, hanging out with friends, and sometimes just people watching, reminds me so much of India. Growing up in India, I am used to seeing people just chill the whole day, pretty much doing nothing. After moving to US, I feel guilty to waste time, but it is fascinating to just space out and stare into the distances at times.
I visited the evening market, bought local mangoes, June plums, sugar cane to chew, and pineapples. That’s my dinner….
While in the square area, nobody bothers to approach or disturb my casual stroll. However, while walking back to the hostel, every few steps someone offers drugs. As long as you say no to them, they don’t bother you. I am impressed by their etiquette.
Falmouth and Reading are easy to access by car within an hour drive from Mo Bay and offer some awesome cultural immersion and take my word for it, it is safe.
To summarize, don’t hesitate to step out of the resorts and mingle with locals, they are just curious to learn about you, irrespective of your skin color….
Stay: Caribic House,69 Gloucester Avenue. (Right opposite to Doctor’s Cave Beach)
- Walking in Montego Bay following Frommer’s walking guide.
- Day trip to Negril (By Taxi)
- Day trip to Falmouth and Reading. Boat ride into the ocean with local fishermen from Falmouth. (By Taxi)
- Chilling at Doctor’s Cave Beach
Jamaica visa for Indians:
Jamaica doesn’t require visa for citizens of common wealth nations. I got an on arrival 90-day permit to stay in the country.