To all (American) First time Visitors to Jamaica:

Jamaica is HOME to many and only your vacation spot. Just because you are there, Jamaicans in general may think you are rich.  Rich is a very relative term. To someone living in a small house with no glass in window, zinc roof and maybe a concrete floor, you are rich.  However, there are many Jamaicans that could buy and sell, just about all the tourists combined!  So tread easy when most folks in the tourist areas see you as a "meal ticket". You may be!  As with human interaction everywhere, be kind, honest (OK somewhat honest - don't own up to the $500.00 in your pocket), and treat the locals as you would want for yourself.

Those arriving by way of a cruise ship: This may be the absolute WORST way to arrive and "see" Jamaica.  Ocho Rios is nice and has much physical beauty, but coming off the boat and running a gauntlet of Jamaican "Hucksters" stinks. Your best bet would be to work on an excursion to one of the plantations or see Dunn's River Falls. The most adventurous should get into town (completely ignoring the "hanger's -on" from the wharf) and get to the desk of a big hotel. From here rent a car and driver. Negotiate! Offer to buy gas and food, then offer a reasonable amount for the driver's time and auto. $60.00 USD for two hours (don't forget to buy food and drink). 

Those arriving for trips to all-inclusives:  Get on the hotel's bus and enjoy! Depending where you end up (Negril, Mo Bay, Ocho Rios, or Falmouth) try getting out of the compound and seeing more locals. Again, all these tourist spots have their "sharks"---Jamaicans who prey on tourists. The sharks are few but vicious. The farther from any tourist spot the better the people and their attitude! Same thing about drivers and their cars...go with a Jamaican and discover the counrty side. If you're in Montego Bay, take a ride to Clark's Town, see Hyde Hall (abandoned Great House) along the way. If you're in Negril, go to Black River, and YS Falls, or maybe try the local beach at Bluefields. 

Remember, driving in Jamaica takes three times as long as the same distance trip in the U.S. Even with some very good highways, Jamaican road trips are always an adventure. Drivers: DO NOT take your eyes off the road. The surfaces can be full of: goats, people, pot-holes, and very big trucks coming your way. The biggest has the road!  Don't forget the other driving duties.

If you've reached Jamaica with time in your hands, Great!  GO everywhere...South Coast-Treasure Beach, Alligator Pond, Gut River, Alligator Hole. Blue MTs- Hollywell, Newcastle, Section, Mavis Bank, Whitfield Hall, climb the Peak. Central Island: hills of Trelawny, Manchester and Clarendon. REALLY ADVENTUROUS, try southern Clarendon...can be spooky. Suggestion: if you have no friends or business in Kingston-stay the hell out!

 Lastly, GANJA. It is everywhere and everywhere it is illegal...BE CAREFUL.