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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 western standards.

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.

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