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Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

Pennsylvania
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Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

The countdown is on!!!!! 14 days until I travel to Jamaica for the first time. I am VERY excited. My fiance is taking me to Club Ambiance for 6 nights. I was wondering if anyone has tips, advice, comments, suggestions, or anything to offer about this trip.

I'm not sure what to do for money...credit card and some small US bills???

I will definitely need to call home a few times, so I am also wondering about the best way to make calls back to the U.S.??

Any necessities we should bring in addition to lots of sunscreen??

Then I was also looking for ideas for excursions. I hear the beach at Club Ambiance is not the greatest...any suggestions for a nice beach to travel to. Are the excursions offered by the resort worth the money, if so which ones do you suggest?

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks!

IA
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873 posts
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1. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

1. Dont pack to much you dont need it

2. Insulated Mug for drinks (resort glasses small and they get warm fast)

3. Let Credit/debit card company know you are leaving US

4. Small bills for tipping.

5. Slow your usual pace down you are on vacation. JA moves slower than US.

6. Depending on your cell service you may be able to us it in JA. If not you can purchase a Digicell phone and call back to US cheaply.

7. Read 1 again

Matt

toronto, canada
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2. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

when purchasing souviniers whatever the price they quote you-cut it in half and work from there. You should get it for 60% of the asking price. This also holds true in most tourist stores.

In Jamaica they have V.A.T. (Value added tax) which is like our sales tax, however in Jamaica it is built into the price, so if anyone tries to charge you 'tax' refuse to pay it-don't worry mon-they change their prices quickly if you are walking away from the sale.

Apart from that have an awesome time!!! Jamaica is amazing!!!!

england
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3. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

Club ambience is a great place to be at. Staff are brillant there. We loved it there.

Although the beach is not the greatest. We loved it just to laze about on the sunbeds and then swim in the sea to cool off. It was fine for what we wanted.

We when to negril for the day which was great and saw the cliff divers and the sunset. Well worth doing. 7 mile beach to lay on or walk along. We went with a private driver/guide we know called moodie.

Negril is about a 2 and half hr drive. Closer beaches are reggaie beahc which is supposed to be good not been there yet. A public beach is in walking distance from club ambience ask one of the staff.

The resort will offer lots of excursions to do, your rep will try and get you to book with her. I would advice to go with a private driver. We have done both. With a private driver you will have more time where you go and not be rushed. Worth the money with private driver.

Places i suggest. Dunns river falls, swim with dolphins if you like them. Nine mile, fern gulley, luminou lagoon although we have not been there yet going next month.

Take vit b before you go and when you are there if you are prone to mozzie bites. Or some repellent.

Sunscreen use even if its cloudy.

Calling home we bought an international calling card last time from the gift shop. Never used up all the money. Not sure what i will do this time though, may buy a phone there or use my unlocked phone and buy a sim card. Will wait and see when i get there to find out cheapest way to do it.

Hampton, Minnesota
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4. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

Well..we'll miss you by a week. We go from March 1-March 5. It will be my fifth trip..hubbys fourth. It's a great place. You'll love it. The staff is phenomenal! You won't find better service. Just be sure you are going KNOWING it's not Beaches, Breezes, Gran Lido etc. It's a simple, small, intimate resort. There is only one pool, one hot tub, three bars, a couple of smaller but nice beaches. Food is fantastic, but keep in mind it buffet style for all meals, with the choice of ala carte in the evenings by reservation. I have never been hungry there. Club Ambiance is our Home away from Home! We love it there. Please feel free to email directly with any questions. All advice given above is great advice. One thing I'd like to add. If anyone approaches you wanting to sell you something you don't want or have no interest in. Simply say "no thanks man, I'm good" in a firm but nice voice. If you show interest they'll try to sell it to you and depending on who it is..could really become annoying. They're awesome people in jamaica..you won't find any friendlier in other countries, but they are out to make money too. Kind of like a highschool boyfriend..don't lead them on. If you aren't interested..say the phrase and they'll reply with "respect, mon" or whatever..and go their separate way. Jamaica is a beautiful country with beautiful people who only ask for respect. I think it's the least I can do while visiting! Have a safe trip!

Angel

angellorland@aol.com

East Haddam...
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5. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

Just got back last night. Let me see what I can add to the confusion... I mean information.

Where you stay there will set your mood for the trip. We were in Room 91, which is a converted ground floor room (Personally I think it was some kind of storage) It was close to the jacuzzi, shuffleboard, chess set, bar, stage area, and the C/O beach area. Ask for something near the pool area. Although it being right near the beach we wanted to use, ther was a septic smell outside, poor flushing of the comodes, the jacuzzi was inoperative for 3 days.

Try an assortment of drinks when you are there. Life is to be lived once, and there ain't another chance to live it over.

Entertainment is good, but don't expect a Broadway show. Usually ends about 11pm when the Disco opens for all of ONE BIG HOUR! Sometime shortly after midnight, the sidewalks roll up and... well.... enjoy your evening.

Tell Sharon in the resturant that Joanne and Peter said Hi.

As far as money goes, what do you buy? We went with $ 200 cash in ones and 5's, and had plenty to take home. Purchased a few items, but that was all we needed.

Shopping in Ocho Rios should be a good 1/2 day event. Find the grocery supermarket right down the street from the Burger King and get what you can there. You will find the prices very reasonable, and no haggling. As far as other things, look at plenty of stored before finding your best prices. TThe further you get away from the cruise ship docks, the lower the price will be. Use credit cards because usually the conversion rate is in your favor.

If yo need to all home just a few times, a phone card or cell phone from home is just fine.

In addition to suntan spray, some bug spray for nights, expecially if you like to get out on the beach.

Whatever you pack to take, it will be too much. I think this past trip would have been done in. Remember, anything you have to buy there is more expensive. Period. Sunburn lotion and hydrocortizone cream, along with a very basic travel aid kit is a must.

Dun's River falls is wonderful.Ocho for shopping. Some people went to the horseback rides and some other trips and said they were OK. The Martha Bray and Caves we did not enjoy when we went ourselves 2 years ago. Negril and 7 mile beach is beautiful, but it is an entire day away. For why????

The only other thing is usually the transfers from Sanger to CA are not included in any package. If you want, I can provide you the name of a local driver who will make the trip for $ 40 per person round trip, $ 10 more than the Tropical Tours package provided by CA.

Peter

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

i would suggest the following items:

- sun screen & after sun lotion

- chap stick

- bug spray

- water shoes (if you're planning on doing dunns river falls, they make you rent them, and if you bring your own you'll use them at the beach at your hotel also as there's a fair amount of rock and coral in the water)

- an insulated travel mug

- small bills for tipping

and as previous poster suggested, pack less than you think you'll need. you'll wear your bathing suit and a coverup most days... so, no need to bring too many wardrobe changes :P

have fun!

Edmonton, Canada
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792 posts
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7. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

I've never been to the Riu so I can't give you advice on that subject BUT....

1. If you shop at the Soni Center, or Island Village, be prepared to be hassled. Some may be hassled less than others, but we were hassled to the point that my boyfriend go so fed up that he wanted to leave, and he vows never to go back. Jamaica is a very poor country and they want you to spend your money with them. This didn't bother me because I knew ahead of time this was common in Jamaica...so just be prepared. A simple no thank you and just keep walking.

2. We were asked COUNTLESS numbers of times if we wanted to buy weed, and when we said no, some of the locals got snarky and said, "Well, why did you bother coming to Jamaica then?" - again, didn't really bother me, but I expected it.

3. Overall, the locals are VERY friendly - pushy, but friendly - if they bug you, just remember they're trying to make money and they see all of us on expensive trips. Try not to be rude.

4. Only go in taxis with red license plates. I don't remember the exact reason, but something to do with how they're certified or something like that....

5. Visit Margaritaville in Ocho Rios - has a decent beach, and GREAT food/drinks. Plus they pour shots into your mouth, what's not to like about that?!

6. Bring American money, in smaller bills. Lots of sunscreen if you burn easy. Be careful where you eat. Remember Jamaica has a lot of crime, but more so in Kingston...but still, exercise caution, carry purses close to you, etc.

You'll love Jamaica....it's gorgeous, so lush and tropical....I'd love to go back for a week, it's just a matter of getting my boyfriend to get over the pushy shop managers....

East Haddam...
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8. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

I would tell them that I was a cop in the US, and would they like to take a ride with me.

Lost a few pretty quick.

Peter

9. Re: Tips for 1st trip to Jamaica

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