Jamaica – the land of rum, reggae & chilling

The stunning blue waters of Montego Bay.
Image courtesy: Nitin Gairola

When you think Jamaica you think of music – Reggae in particular – which came into being in this very island country in the late 1960’s. You also think of Bob Marley, the Reggae singer/songwriter, the Rasta-God of the Jamaicans. This legend wrote all-time classics such as One Love, Buffalo Soldier, No Woman No Cry among many others.

While thinking of Jamaica, you also can’t forget the miles and miles of pristine white sands, the blue waters of the Caribbean sea, their famous jerk chicken and of course, their love for cricket.

Jamaica is a ‘once in a lifetime’ destination for millions of Indians, but it does seem extremely far off – both geographically and financially.

Here’s how you can visit this Caribbean paradise and not burn a massive hole in your pocket:

Flights & Connections: While a flight via London or Europe (logical straight route) may seem convenient it is also extremely expensive. A better – or let’s just say cheaper – way is to land in New York (around Rs 60,000–65,000 for a return ticket), and from NYC take a budget airline connection to Montego Bay, Jamaica. The return ticket from NYC would be another Rs 20,000 and the total for one person would come to be Rs 80,000 from either Mumbai or Delhi. This can seem more reasonable provided you already have a US visa and can club both the State’s East Coast and the Caribbean in one holiday. The US visa is, of course, for 10 years with multiple entries.

Jamaican visa: Good news, no visas are required for this beach paradise. One of the few nations that don’t require a visa from Indian citizens.

Beachside food joints ooze character.
Image courtesy: Nitin Gairola

Where to go: The beach capital of the Caribbean and of Jamaica is Negril which is only an hours’ drive from Montego Bay’s coast side airport. Vans will take you from the airport to the doorstep of your beach side resort for $20 a piece (approximately Rs. 1200 per head).

Beach resorts like this dot the coastline.
Image courtesy: Nitin Gairola

Where to stay: From expensive 5 star properties to budget resorts, you will find them all in the ‘7 mile beach’ of Negril. You just can’t go wrong here with most of the properties right on the beach. Suggest checking their locations on Google maps to make sure they are not away from the coast.

Don't forget to pick up some fantastic souvenirs.
Image courtesy: Nitin Gairola

Must do’s:

  • Watch a live Reggae concert on the beach while downing favorite local beer – Red Stripe.
  • Buying Reggae albums and Bob Marley merchandise.
  • Drinking the famous Jamaican rums.
  • Trying out the local cuisine especially their jerk chicken.
  • Party aboard a cruise.
  • Snorkelling.
  • Watching marine life from a glass bottom boat.
  • Water sports such as jet skiing and speed boating.
  • Watching the sunset.
  • Sun basking and indulging in some serious chilling.

Now Jamaica doesn’t seem so far away, does it? Go ahead and book your dream vacation.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Nitin Gairola is a globe-trotting photographer, a back-packing trekker, travel writer and a keen student of earth science, history & world cultures besides having a proclivity towards philanthropy and human rights issues. He has travelled to many parts of the world in his quest for knowledge about the planet and its inhabitants. More on: @www.facebook.com/NitinGairolaPhotography