Female visiting Jamaica for the first time 18-31Dec
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Feb 8, 2013 8:31 PM Last Post By: nyammy
Dec 16, 2012 11:54 PM
Female visiting Jamaica for the first time 18-31DecHello everyone,
Ive been reading the board but cant seem to find link to some questions i have so i finally decided to post. I will be arriving on the 18th , im an asian female travelling solo from the US, on my 30's and its my first time in Jamaica, my dream destination.
I have few questions:
1. Is there a money changer at Mobay airport and how to get there?
2. I read somewhere that Lime phone network is the cheapest for temporary jamaican phone. Can pls somebody point me to a nearest cellphone shop at the airport.
3. Im visiting for 2weeks approx, which would be a better itinerary as far as public transpo and logistics:
Mobay - Negril - Kingston - Ocho rios - Mobay ( for exit)
or would it be the other way around?
4. Do you know a good backpackers place (accomodation) in Negril and Ocho Rios? Since im travelling solo i kinda want to meet fellow travellers and ofcourse locals too
Finally, im open to meet and buddy up so if anyone is in the area and would like to meet, travel together ( cost effective) etc please hit me up.
Im very excited to spend the holidays in Jamaica
thanks for reading
Dec 17, 2012 9:45 AM
1Yes you can change money at the airport, but like all airports, you get the worst exchange rate. The exchnage counter is right after you clear immigrations.
I am not sure if there is a cellphone shop in the airport, but you can find one in MoBay. The nearset shops from the airport are along Clouster Ave. (along the beach).
For you it would be better for you to arrive MoBay and depart from Kingston, are arrive Kingston and depart from MoBay. This way you will not have to make the long trip between MoBay and Kingston to depart. If not, it would be best for you to go MoBay-Negril-Ochos Rios-Kingston-MoBay.
In Negril try at Jah B's are Roots Bamboo for a cheap place to stay.
Also, in my opinion I would skip Kingston, and go to either Treasure Beach are Port Antonio.
ONE LOVE !!
Dec 17, 2012 10:30 AM
Ocho Rios and Montego Bay are more popular with visitors who are comfortable in resort town environments. Independent travellers and backpackers prefer Blue Mountains, Treasure Beach, Port Antonio and Black River/Treasure Beach (South Coast) and Kingston.
As for skipping Kingston (as Mikey suggested), that's laughable as Kingston is known as 'the heartbeat of Jamaica' if you don't know Kingston you don't know Jamaica.
On our backpacker circuit in jamaica you wil definitely meet people at the more popular hostels/ guesthouses and it is quite common for people to meet here and travel together. You will probably even run into people that you have already met while you are on your travels as people paths intesect throughout the circuit of affordable and socially oriented accommodations.
Travelling in a circular route as you have planned is perfectly acceptable and is a common pattern with the numerous independent travellers that I interact with.
It's also a massive time of year for events and parties most of the biggest ones being in Kingston. The streets will be buzzing late xmas eve in the commercial area of Half Way Tree as people try to get last minute deals or just hang out. The plazas will be jam packed. On Boxing Day 26th of December the streets of Kingston will be filled with children and parents wearing their best clothes and in the night the biggest one night dancehall/ reggae show in Jamaica called 'Sting' will be held in Portmore (next to Kingston).
Hope this info helps!
Have a great trip!
Edited by: scottygeneral
Dec 17, 2012 12:12 PM
Dec 17, 2012 1:24 PM
4A couple of tips:
1. Write down the address of the first hotel you are staying at - immigration will ask for it on the entry form and leaving it blank will cause a big headache. Don't elaborate on moving around, just put one hotel's info down and if they ask about your plans then you can say you may be moving to another place partway.
2. Traveling in JA can be expensive and easy or time consuming/uncomfortable and cheap, one sort of middle option that goes all the places you plan to go is the Knutsford Express bus. The negative there is you need to get TO the bus area (not the same place as public buses go from), and the schedule is very limited. But if you can make it work it's a comfy inexpensive safe option: https://www.knutsfordexpress.com/
Dec 17, 2012 1:28 PM
5PS: There is also a South Coast express which you can take from Negril to Kingston. You can also get off in Santa Cruz which is reasonably close to Treasure Beach.
"is Negril closer to Ocho then Kingston? is it better as far as logistics?
Why not Mobay - Negril - Kingston - Ocho - Mobay"
I'll give approximate travel times for private taxi, can be double if using shared taxis/buses, or not, depends how often you have to change and if you get one before it goes or have to wait, how crazy aggressive a driver you get... :D
MoBay-Negril 1.5 hours.
Negril-Kingston 4 hours
Kingston-Ochi 2 hours
Ochi MoBay 2 hours
Dec 17, 2012 2:13 PM
6Hello Ohliz, thanks fo posting this info and the approx travel time gave me a better idea on how to plan my movement. Also the Knutsford Express sounds like a good idea. Im going to look them up for sure.
I wrote on a tiny notebook all the info ive been getting here and some. I will get a local phone as soon as i arrive as i dont think it will be easy for me to get internet access while on the road so calling the guesthouse and transpo service will be the easiest way.
Ackeepod, thanks for posting the map, very informative.
I will also try to write a travel report after this trip to be an information to others.
Leaving in 7hours, very excited!
Dec 17, 2012 4:51 PM
7Last week exchange rate at the airport was about 75 J to $1 US. Rate in Nigril at the cambio, 89J to $1 US.
Purchased a phone 2 wweeks ago at the LIME store at the roundabout in Negril for 2650 J (less than $30 US) and that in cluded 600 international minutes.
Dec 18, 2012 7:25 AM
8IRIE Scotty !
I mean no disrepect man.
I would aslo skip MoBay, but I have friends to visit there.
In Jamaica, I just prefer the laid-back small towns, and the countryside over the big cities.
MoBay is only good for a base which to take day trips to places along the North Coast, because it is centrally located on the North Coast. Other then that it is also a place to skip.
Yes, Kingston maybe the "heartbeat" of Jamaica, but the "pulse rate" is to fast for me :>)
ONE LOVE !!
Dec 19, 2012 10:50 AM
9Hello Koistenin, thanks for sending the volunteer website link. I would like to volunteer my time infact ive been asking around for a child care center or orphanage here in Negril where im at right now but I dont beleive in paying a fee to be a volunteer which most of the organization requires. Ive checked the link and saw that they charge 500usd for a 1 week volunteer visit and 100usd to register and though that might include accomodations and some meal and with all respect to the organization, im sure they have designed an awesome volunteer program but personally, paying to volunteer is not my alley since im also not a student, intern or someone who is doing it for credits other than out of goodwill and passion to serve.
I am an active community volunteer leader in my country and in the USA but the kind of services we do are free for volunteers.
Anyway have fun at the Childrens Village. I plan to go up to the country side and just visit a child care center and bring some goodies since schools are close for christmas.
By the way, Negril is nice and people are warm but the commercialism is huge and people pushing to sell you their stuff, ive encountered 2-3 sellers who takes offense when you dont check their items even if you politely say "no thanks". Ive been to other equally beautiful 3rd world beach in the world like Bali in Indonesia. Boracay Philipines or Phuket in Thailand but i have to comment base on my experience of being in Negril for 2days that the vendors here are definitely aggressive and so are the rasta mans who thinks you are lonely bec you are alone and wants some company, they throw themselves at you so its the biggest turn off. So the motto stands true " one you go, you know" Other than that, I love the music and general vibe. Im staying for another night to watch international artist John Holt perform then im off to either Kingston or Ochi depending on where postive vibes takes me.
Dec 19, 2012 10:55 AM
Dec 19, 2012 3:01 PM
11Koestenin, im sorry to hear im sure it will be better for you. This morning ive heared some 6kids playing outside my room mostly between 4-10years old, their parents works here in roots bamboo so i went out talked to them, bought them snacks and drinks , took pics and chitchat for 3hours . So far its my best experience, they really are very sweet, enjoys conversation and they even braide my hair haha so this afternoon i bought some colorings books, crayons, cookies, chocolates and i plan to hang out with them for few hrs tomorrow again :)
Dec 19, 2012 5:23 PM
12Having lived in Port Antonio, I agree with Mke. Mo Bay is not my favorite. Negril is cool. Good vibes.
Not sure who psoted it, but Treasure Beach is a real cool place.
Great sights in Portland. Unfortunately, it's not "handy" and the roads suck.
You'll meet some great, laid back people in Jamaica.
Dec 20, 2012 3:36 PM
13If you find Negril commercialized and the hustlers annoying, skip Montego Bay and Ocho Rios too. Substitute Treasure Beach, Portland, Robins Bay/Strawberry Fields. Lots of good budget places to stay in all of those and very little of the commercialization and hassle of the big tourist towns.
The other three spots...pure beauty and in the case of Strawberry Fields, very undeveloped, raw, natural beauty...few roads, even.
I enjoy Kingston. Not for more than a couple of days because I really like to swim every day (river, sea, whatever), but I am not bothered or hassled there at all. At least where I stay, which is more or less uptown.
Dec 21, 2012 1:21 PM
14Wow, I didn't know it could be that cheap to get set up with a phone.
To me, the hustle is part of the vibe in Negril. Can't really have one without the other.
I have yet to see or hear about truly useful volunteer work in the caribbean. After all, it's not like there's a shortage of local labor, and having extra help can often be a sort of a burden. I think it's more fruitful to offer help or time or what-have-you on a personal basis. Honestly, though, sometimes a little money and a different point of view are the only things I have to offer people that they can't easily procure on their own.
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