The information is solely based on my experience at the time I visited Jamaica in April & July 2014. Some changes might have been made at some of the establishments. Make sure you confirm.
Visa: Not needed for US Citizens.
Cost and Money
Currency: Jamaican dollars USD$1= J$108. Advisable to change your money when you get into town, the rate at the airport is very bad. Most places in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios will accept US dollars. See Oanda or XE for currency exchange
Cost: This will vary depending on your budget. Jamaica is not cheap. For travelers with a tight budget, USD$45-50/day for a dorm bed, street or budget food and bus/taxi fare will do.
How to carry your money: it is best to have minimum cash. ATM exists everywhere.
Language: English is widely spoken but if you speak Patois, you have street cred
Getting to & from the Airport: (Montego Bay)
Taxi: US$15 to the Hip Strip (budget travelers/backpackers can walk, it is only a 10-15 mins walk)
Route Taxi: these are what shared taxis are called. If you know your way around, this will be the most cost effective way to go.
Private Taxi: Depending on your negotiation skills, this might not be of reasonable price.
Walking: Free – if you love walking, you will love Ocho Rios
Bus: Knutsford Express will transport you from city to city with ease, very neat and comfortable. Cost US$16 from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios and Ocho Rios to Kingston, USD$22 from Kingston to Montego Bay. [www.knutsfordexpress.com]
- Rasta Village
- Several water sports/adventures: ask your hotel/hostel/guesthouse
- Dolphin Cove
- Dunns Falls
- Coyaba Gardens
- Mystic Forest
- 9 Miles: Bob Marley’s birth and final resting place
- Rick’s Cafe
- 7 miles beach
- Just Natural Restaurant: the best place to eat in Negril. Surrounded by nature, the cook everything they grow. Decent price. (876) 957-0235 or (876) 354-4287
Places to Stay
- Caribic House: I stayed here for a night. I got the cheapest room for USD$60/night. Bathroom ensuite, room has a balcony, fridge, AC & TV. It was clean. The staffs were very nice and helpful and the hotel is conveniently located on the Hip stripe. Address: 69 Gloucester Ave, Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Bird’s Nest: I stayed here for a night in July 2014. Located in the Ironshore area – residential area of Mobay. It is not close to the Hip Strip (you will have to take a route taxi for 150 Jamaican dollars) but 10mins drive to the airport. It is however quite and surrounded by nature. There’s a swimming pool and hang out area by the pool. Dorm deb goes for USD$23/person/night.
- HotBox Jamaica: Quiet place 15-20minutes from Ocho Rios. I stayed in the dorm, it is okay. You will be better off in a private room because it has a fan (you will need it) and ensuite bathroom.
- Reggae Hostel: located on the Main Street, close to the beach and the port. Cool place, several of private rooms available, roof top bar. It is a really cool place.
- Pegasus Hotel: Not a budget place but located in a safe area.
- Judy’s House: Located in the west end side of Negril, not a short walking distance to 7 miles beach but rather a very short taxi ride – about USD$3. I stayed for three nights in July 2014 and I loved it. Dorm goes for USD$20/person/night and single for USD$25/person/night. Shared bath. Completely surrounded by nature – very green. Free and fast wi-fi. Owner is great and wealth of information.
Enjoy the photos!