Many people know that Jamaica is one of the cheapest Caribbean islands for resort holidays, but most people also know that there are parts of Jamaica that aren’t really safe. Sadly, there are many stories of tourists getting mugged or even worse in Kingston or other parts of the island that don’t have good security.
If you mainly just want to enjoy the sunshine and beaches in Jamaica without having to worry about safety, you are in luck, as long as you follow some simple advice. Basically, you should fly into the main tourist airport rather than Kingston Airport, and stay within the main tourist zones, if not at your resort the whole time anyway.
The main tourist airport is Montego Bay, and it’s where you fly into to reach the three main resort areas below, and also a very safe airport that has a steady stream of international tourists. Jamaica is a fascinating island with a rich history, but it’s better not to rent a car and explore yourself, so stick to these resort areas and you’ll be fine.
1 – Ocho Rios
Just a bit east of Montego Bay itself, Ocho Rios is more of a mid-range destination for Jamaica, but it’s also home to the island’s cheapest all-inclusive resorts. There are close to 20 hotels here that operate primarily in an all-inclusive basis, and prices during the low season are as cheap as US$150 per night for two people.
During high season you’ll be spending at least US$200 per night in Ocho Rios, but keep in mind our standard calculation that if you were staying at a hotel in a resort area like Miami Beach that you’d be spending at least US$100 per day per person for 3 meals and some drinks and a bit of nightlife, so US$200 per night for a couple is like getting a free hotel room, and anything less is amazing.
2 – Negril
Negril is along the western coast of Jamaica, about 80 miles from Montego Bay Airport, and it’s known as the least expensive resort area in Jamaica in general, but prices for all inclusives don’t go quite as low as they do in Ocho Rios. There are about a dozen all-inclusive hotels and they start at around US$200 per night per couple in the low season, and about US$250 per night for two in the high season.
Overall Negril might still be a better value than Ocho Rios because obviously not all hotels are the same, and there is plenty to do outside the resorts here as well.
3 – Montego Bay
Montego Bay is obviously closest to the airport you’ll fly into, and it’s the most expensive of the three main destinations in Jamaica. There are about 15 all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, and even in low season the prices start at around US$285 per night per couple.
So if you are looking for the lowest prices you’ll want to get a shuttle out of the airport to one of the two areas above, but if you want to avoid people looking for the lowest prices then you are best off in Montego Bay. There’s nothing wrong with those of us who prefer a cheap vacation, but there’s also nothing wrong with choosing a place that cheapskates won’t go. For many people, it’s worth paying a bit more to not be surrounded by people looking for the cheapest of everything.