Is Jamaica Safe for Tourists?

If you’ve never visited a country before, one of the first things that generally come to mind is how safe is that country? Jamaica has been know for its: rich cultural heritage, food, athletics, music and much more. Equally, there is the widespread understanding that Jamaica can be a violent place. The big question then becomes – how safe is Jamaica for tourists?

Tourist Safety in Jamica?

Jamaica has without a doubt earned many badges that indicate they are the prime caribbean destination for sun, sea, sand and food! This is not a feat that could be attained without an excellent system that ensures the safe arrival, stay and departure of visitors from around the world. Therefore, the short answer is yes – Jamaica ia a safe place for business, tourism and vacations.

How do I know Jamaica is Tourist Safe?

I speak on the authority of being born in Jamica and having spent more than 30 years on the island – most of this time in and around the north coast. The north, east and west coasts form the primary hub arounnd which the tourism industry is built. Speaking from experience, like any place else in the world (and I’ve been to the United Kingdom and Canada on more than one occasions) if you are not cautious about who you choose to connect with, it is highly likely you will catch some toruble. Compared to the rest of the world, Jamaica may have a super high crime rate per 100,000 population. However, this is primarily associated with gang related conflicts among the locals. Without a doubt, it can’t be denied, this has repercussions for visitors who may wish to enter the country for business, vacation etc. Over years the government has been investing significantly in the industry to ensure Jamaica remains the destination of choice for everyone.

Wardens and Transportation

The country has a huge transportation network of highly regulated bus owner operators who are literally standing at the exits of the cruise port and airports waiting for their ships and flights with peviously booked guests to arrive. These are highly trained and certified individuals who have the responsibility to ensure guests who choose to use their services are move around their chosen destination with ease, confort and in a safe manner. They understand and know the culture, networks and where to take guests for a great time. To compliment the designated guest transportation services, there are wardens who are on foot throughout the major destinattions such as: Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril and elsewhere. These wardens wear a unique uniform and are closely stationed to each other along the roadways, ready to answer any questions a guset may have. They play the role of both security and a point of information or assistance as the needs arise.

Should I Visit Jamaica Alone?

Most certainly! If you stick to the basic rules of safety you use in your home country, the only regret you may have is – ”I’m sorry my friends and relatives aren’t here to enjoy this with me” so in that case, I’d say take someone for a shared experience. As mentioned earlier I visited the United Kingdom and Canada and found that people with a deviant mindset in these countries bare the same basic traits as those in Jamaica. Therefore, use the same basic safety measures you would use in your homeland and all will be well. Rest assured, the locals can spot a first time visitor a mile away and if you get lost for example – someone will ensure you are taken care of and placed back on track.

Should I Use Public Transportion in Jamaica as a Visitor?

Absolutely! You are more than welcome to visit this most beautiful island in the sun at you own leasure. You also don’t need to use the private transportation services as there is a public transportation network accross the island. A word of caution, however, the regular public passenger vehicle (PPV ) could be a shocker for a first time visitor especially if you are from a country where the transit system is solely owned and operated by the municipality. Expect some music, smaller vehicles, more tighly packed vehicles, and the ‘loader mand’ yelling the destination of the bus while trying to usher potential customers in. It may appear violent – but it not meant as violence – most people know each other and they share customers and so there is always a tug-of-war as to who gets to take a customer on a given day. When you understand it in that context, it will not appear vulgar or violent but rather a spectacle to behold. They all joke about it at the end of the day. Personally, I think the laoder men go overboard – sometimes.

Travel Advisory about Visiting Jamaica

While some countries make it their duty to issue travel advisories about visiting Jamaica – which they have a right to do – Jamaica needs to take steps to ensure it issues travel advisories about visiting some of those countries and others. Interestingly, some of the countries that post travel avdisories about traveling to Jamaica have the record for the most brutal crimes against innocent people: shoppers in big box stores, people going about their personal business, kids in at school, worshippers in their Churches, resident asleep in their communities and so on. These random acts of violence by single individuals simply don’t happen in Jamaica! I stand corrected if I missed one such event! Criminal activities and violence in Jamaica is organised and targeted! Guests and visitors are generally respected and welcome by everyone on the island.

Don’t be fooled by the headlines, Jamaica is a safe place to visit and have a memorable time solo or with your family and friends!

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