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Home » Travel Inspiration

Island Paradise on a Budget: Jamaica

Submitted by on 17/02/2012 – 3:12 pmOne Comment
jamaica, island paradise on the beach

photo from Flickr by: David G...

Most travelers, even the most adventurous and impatient ones, have a secret yearning for a sandy island surrounded by clear, blue sea. There’s something so iconic about an island paradise that we just can’t resist the thought of getting back to nature in such a luxurious way. It looks like a big budget kind of holiday, and sometimes it is, but you can enjoy five-star scenery without the price tag, especially if you take a trip to Jamaica.

Getting there

Another cost you won’t be able to avoid completely is your travel, but with some pre-planning and a little help from the net, you’re sure to find an affordable option. Flights to Jamaica can be particularly reasonable, just be sure to book in advance, research your airport options and always get a little help from a flight comparison tool. By doing all of those things, you’re sure to snag cheap flights.

Travel during low season

For the cheapest transport and hotel prices, you’re best traveling during the low season – which is from May to mid-December. This can save you about 30% on your accommodation and transport, but does mean you’ll be holidaying in humidity and here will be an increased chance of bad weather and hurricanes. However, hardy travelers might find the risk worth taking, for the chance of quieter beaches and lower costs.

This can save you about 30% on your accommodation and transport, but does mean you’ll be holidaying in humidity and here will be an increased chance of bad weather and hurricanes. However, hardy travelers might find the risk worth taking, for the chance of quieter beaches and the chance to stay in nicer accommodations for lower costs. Finding an off-season timeshare week for rent can have you staying in a suite that includes a living room, kitchen, and balcony for less than a hotel room.

Eating right

To enjoy Jamaica cheaply, you need to embrace its amazing local dishes and diners. Avoid eating in those all-inclusive hotels and expensive restaurants that are trying to cater to your tastes, and dive into some more authentic fare. Get along to Scotchies, to the east of Montego Bay, for no-frills presentation but delicious jerk dishes coming in at under $5.

Vegetarians must get along to Negril for a meal at the Hungry Lion, which is a little pricier (between $10-30) but more than makes up for it in good, hearty, healthy food. You should also be sure to pay for your food, and everything else, with the local Jamaican dollars whenever you can and avoid extra rates.

Beyond the resorts

It’s true that you’ll find a paradise in the gorgeous resorts of Jamaica, but it tends to come at a cost. To experience the true beauty of the island, you need to explore the mountains, waterfalls and rich plantations it boasts. However, you need to do this with a guide if you want to do it safely.

Pick escorted tours with drivers or guides and, unless you’re planning on staying for a while and venturing far field, this will be cheaper and more sensible than hiring a car, which can be pretty expensive. Jet off to Jamaica for less and you can lounge in luxury without the big budget.



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Aaron Bradford has written 662 articles. +Aaron Bradford is the leader, mentor and chief geek of HappyTimeblog. He put together the crack team of writers known by codename “The Firm“. He's a permanent traveller and a lifestyle hacker. Wanna know more? Check out my Bucket List or my About page... I'm here to show you how to live a Life Less Ordinary

One Comment »

  • Some good points made in the post. There are SOOOOO many ways to experience Jamaica on a budget. Guest houses are a much cheaper alternative than hotels and resorts too.

    You did mention hiring a guide as a way to see less touristy spots. I agree to a certain extent. Just make sure the guide isn’t overcharging you too because in general, hired rides aren’t cheap in Jamaica.

    I guess cheap travel in Jamaica comes with experience….I travel solo and would never pay tourist prices to get to most of the places I’ve been. Public transport is soooooooooo much cheaper and still safe – AND you get to meet so many interesting locals in the process.

    As for food, roadside vendors have amazing food at a fraction of the cost of touristy places like Scotchies, and most times it tastes better too.

    Lots to discover in Jamaica for sure!

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