Stay in the Real Jamaica
If you are seeking to escape from worries and work, a caribbean
vacation to the Island of Jamaica may be just the thing to pick
up your spirits. Jamaica is still a developing country, and is
therefore about as different from the day to day life you may
be used to in the highly developed western culture in which we
live. However, for what Jamaica may lack in technological and
social development, it holds a treasure trove of cultural and
social flavor and wonder.
It was only in the 1960's that the island of Jamaica gained
it's independence from Great Britain. For centuries prior to that
time, Jamaica remained a British Colony. During these years Jamaica
was the largest sugar exporter in the world, a feat which was
acomplished by the toil of slave laborers. This history of subjugation
still resonates today through the resulting social unstability
that is symptomatic of this period.
Most of the population of Jamaica is of African descent, but
it was not only africans that were subject to the harsh reality
of slavery in the previous centuries. Many east indians, and asians
were also sold into slavery and shipped to Jamaica in order to
work on the burgeoning sugar plantations that were fast making
the British Empire one of the most economically powerful in the
world at that time.
There are two major international airports in Jamaica. Norman
Manley International Airport which is located in Kingston, and
Sangster International Airport located in Montego Bay. There are
a number small airports throughout the island, most of which are
located in Negril on the western coast and Ocho Rios in the north.Kingston
is also home to a number of smaller municipal airports.
Driving on many Jamaican roads can be a harrowing experince for
the unconditioned traveler. Many Jamaican roads are very overcongested,
and poorly maintained.In fact, Jamaica has one of the highest
traffic fatality rates in the region, and roadside signs reminding
drivers of the high fatality rate are a common site. Not to say
that driving in Jamaica is overly dangerous, but that caution
and care should be taken very seriously when traveling throughout
the island, wether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian.
Most major roads in Jamaica stretch from east to west, so traveling
from north to south can often involve moving through networks
of small, unmaintained mountain roads. Many of these roads can
be high and very narrow, and may not be for the weak of heart.
Due to it's history as a British colony, Jamaicans drive on the
left side of the road, as they do in Great Britain.
Taxis are a great way to get around in Jamaica, and can be procured
for a cheap price. A seventy to eighty minute ride from Sangster
International Airport in Montego Bay to Negril on Jamaica's western
edge costs only around $60 to $100 american dollars, a steal by
American currency is accepted throughout Jamaica, but it may
be advisable to exchange at least a small amount of money for
the local currency, the JA, since many Jamaicans may find it difficult
to make change for larger american bills.