Jamaica is a popular Caribbean destination. It is affordable. It has a large English speaking population. It opens its arms to tourists. However, there are plenty of pitfalls that travelers make when taking a trip to this island. Here are the worst mistakes people make when traveling to Jamaica and how to avoid making them yourself.

Trying to Stick to a Strict Schedule

Unless you’ve bought a vacation package where every aspect of the trip is handled by pros who keep a strict schedule, don’t expect anyone around you to do so. The relaxed lifestyle of the islands (outside of the airport) means that schedules are incredibly relaxed. Your fishing charter or scuba lessons may start around two in the afternoon, but it will be plus or minus half an hour, not start at 2 on the dot. You’ll experience this in the restaurants, too, as they’re slow to serve food unless you hit a roadside shack where the food is already hot and ready on the grill

Trying to Explore by Cab

It is a mistake to try to explore Jamaica by cab. It is expensive. Taking a long cab ride with an unknown driver too often leads to robbery or worse. The solution is to go on a guided tour with a vetted travel guide. Buses are cheaper than a private cab ride, too.

Staying in Montego Bay

You should visit Montego Bay when in Jamaica. Jamaica vacation packages often center on this spot because it is close to the airport and beaches. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to Montego Bay. For example, you should try to hit the Bob Marley Museum located in Kingston. You could visit Port Antonio, a less developed and more natural area on the northeastern coast of Jamaica. If you want to see what the local beaches looked like before the island developed, you may want to visit Treasure Beach

Ignoring Safety and Security

If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, odds are that you’re as safe as if you were at home. However, you can’t assume that everywhere else on the island is safe. This includes areas that you were able to visit with a tour guide during the day. For example, the National Gallery of Jamaica and Bob Marley Museum in Kingston are safe when you’re there in the day and in a group. However, you should not try to walk past these same spots at night. The odds you’ll be robbed or threatened are too high. You can hit nightclubs and venues that the tour guides say are safe for tourists but stay out of the more run-down parts of Kingston, especially at

Don’t get so drunk that you’ve become a mark for thieves. Don’t leave these areas in a random cab. Instead, stay with a group and return to the hotel with a bus or a driver you previously hired. This also gives you a level of protection against corrupt cops threatening to arrest you unless you pay a bribe. And don’t experiment with cannabis and other drugs — it is too dangerous. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll almost certainly be able to enjoy your Jamaican vacation.