Tourist Traps in Jamaica: What to Avoid

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Tourist Traps in Jamaica: What to Avoid

Posted on February 17. 2014

Jamaica is one of the most popular islands with tourists in the entire Caribbean. While this is generally a good thing, it does mean that there are a few tourist traps to be aware of and to possibly even avoid on the island.


Arriving in Jamaica is a fairly straightforward experience as most North American and European residents do not require a visa for entry, and can stay up to 6 months. Avoid losing the immigration card that you will receive upon arrival though, as you will be required to turn it in when you depart Jamaica.

Something else to avoid at the airport is forgetting the fact that upon departure from Jamaica, it will be necessary to pay a departure tax. The tax must be paid in person and only cash is accepted. Some airlines include this tax in the price of their fare, so be sure to check with your travel agent before you set off for the island.

Dunns River Falls - Tourist Traps Jamaica

Tourist Traps

Jamaicans are generally an extremely helpful, fun-loving, and jovial people, but there are some people out there who sadly make a living preying off tourists and guiding them to tourist traps.

One thing to be aware of is people on the beach coming up to you and striking up a conversation about where you are staying, what you are doing on your holiday, etc. These people will most likely not have your best interest in mind, as they will attempt to guide you to a friend’s business or to sell you something or another. Avoid them all together and if you can’t, purposely give polite but very vague answers about where you are staying and what you are doing on your holiday.

Even when you are out and about in Jamaica, keep your guard up, especially if you take a wrong turn and find yourself lost. Often, people on scooters will “magically” appear to offer assistance, but once again, they will only be offering help because they are going to guide you to a tourist trap they receive a commission on.

As far as the actual tourist traps themselves go, there is definitely some debate in Jamaica on what is a tourist trap and what is an actual natural wonder that you can’t miss on your trip.

Nothing symbolizes this dichotomy quite like Dunn’s River Falls. Famed throughout the world and probably the single most popular tourist attraction on the island, for every person that loves it, it seems another screams “tourist trap!” While we agree that some visitors may find it to be a bit of a tourist trap due to the tips for a guide, the trinkets being sold, and the “cattle call” type atmosphere, the beauty of the falls cannot be denied.

There is also a bit of this atmosphere at the river rafting sights in Jamaica as sometimes the compulsory tipping can be a bit overwhelming. We should point out though that for every tourist that sees these as a tourist trap, there is another who counts it as the highlight of their trip.


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