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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    19

    Default I want to see the non-resort country

    I'm hoping that some of the veterans can chime in to give a newbie some tips.
    I'm 27 and have never been out of the country (USA) and I have a very poorly constructed idea about what other countries are really like. I know that the resort will not give me any accurate picture of what Jamaica is really like, but I'm wondering if there is a safe and simple way to get out for a day and really see what the country is like. I want to see what daily life is like, and how the residents really live. I've considered the off-site tours, but still feel like this will be a misconception of real life.
    I love to learn and experience new things, but my fiance and I are some-what reclusive and prefer to enjoy each others company rather than mingle with others (I know... Lame
    Thanks for any advice!!

  2. #2

    Default

    You can hire a driver for a day and then you would experience Jamaica like a local. If you are on the Ocho Rios side of the island there is gentleman over there that a friend of ours has used several times and she really trusts him. If you are over there respond back and I can get you his contact information.
    You will LOVE your time in Jamaica and don't feel bad that you only want to be with your fiance. That is so sweet.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

    Default

    That's not "lame" at all! Makes more sense than sitting around drinking all week and then saying you've "been to Jamaica"

    We have taken lots of day trips around Jamaica, with an experienced Driver. We've finally found one that we stick with now - and he takes us anywhere we want to go, and suggests places too. When a Jamaican takes you home to meet his family, you will experience GENUINE HOSPITALITY. These are the moments we remember and cherish from our trips.

    You might start with a visit to a School ( set this up in advance ) - a great chance to see how Jamaicans live and the children are always excited to meet Americans.
    Stop at a local marketplace to shop, visit a Church, Orphanage...there are many options.

    If you look on TripAdvisor/Jamaica for the area you're visitng, you can find many referrals for GOOD drivers. Rates are always negotiable and it's customary to buy them lunch/cold drinks if you stop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2,000

    Default

    Likewise, if you are on the Negril side, there are a we know of a person who so enjoys sharing Jamaica with visitors... and yes, he is a businessman who provides a tour service... but he does include the true Jamaican experience as part of the tour.
    Chris

    "In an abundance of water, the fool is thirsty..." - Bob Marley - "Rat Race"


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default

    weluvjamaica is 100% right and if you are at one of the Negril properties I can give you the name, email,& cell of a driver there. you can also ask your travel agent to set up a "meet the people" where local families will have you at their home for a few hours usually to a BBQ ot something/the families are pre-approved by the tourist board. I personally like hiring the driver who will tailor the excursion as you go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Best of both worlds....book a tour when you arrive at Couples, there are several depending at which resort you stay.

    While we were at Couples Negril we chose to go to the Pelican Bar, Dolphin Cove, & ended up at Appleton Estates Distillery...this was a 12 hour day...some would say we "wasted" a day of our paradise, but I would not have traded that day for anything.

    We saw the true Jamaica at her finest...met many people along the way and got to know the folks we shared the tour with.

    We were amazed with all the scenery, buildings, seeing all the children lined up waiting for their school rides in their perfectly pressed uniforms, and Jerk shacks along the way.

    BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL JAMAICA!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    334

    Default

    We went on a bike tour through the blue mountains. Unforgettable experience and you meet many locals along the way. Not sure they still have it though. It takes all day, but they bus you to the top and you coast down.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    408

    Default

    If you are at CTI, go on the horseback riding excursion. It willget youinto the countryside and up into the mountains. It is really very beautiful.
    Peace, Love, and Respect
    Billy
    CN 2002, COR 2007, CTI 2009, 2010, 2011
    CTI June 4-15, 2012

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    23

    Default meet the people

    The Jamaica Tourist Board has a program called "Meet the People". With this program you tell the Jamaica Tourist Board your area of interest and they will arrange for you to visit a Jamaican that is involved with that interest. We did this several years ago and really enjoyed the experience. It is free of charge and they will pick you up at your resort and take you to meet the person or family. You can arrange this ahead of time by contacting the Jamaica Tourist Board via their web site www.visitjamaica.com. In the search box type meet the people.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    190

    Default

    I have been to Jamaica 10 times. We always hire our own driver and have one in Negril and one in Mobay depending where we are staying. You will see some "real life" Jamaica living on your way to the resort if you take the shuttle. Wont see much if you go Tim Air! Couples resort is so great, but you have the right idea to take a day and see the real Jamaica!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,953

    Default

    Get to know the staff. They are some of the friendliest people you will meet. If you are CTI, they offer a power walk. While we didn't stop and talk to the residents, we did walk up the hillside and saw some of the "real" Jamaica.
    Vicky

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    156

    Default

    Also take advantage of what the resort has to offer you as an off site experience. Horseback riding, dunns river falls, shopping, etc gets you off the resort. And you do not have to hire a driver although many people I know have an they also have enjoyed that experience. All the resorts have someone that will arrange what ever you are interested in doing while you are there.

    This is your vacation. Spend it doing whatever you enjoy. Not everyone that goes to couples goes to socialize.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

    Default

    This is our first trip to Couples but our 15th trip to Jamaica. Some friends of ours that have gone with us in the past wanted to do something like you are asking about on a trip with us in the past, the resort we used to stay at arranged a driver for them for a day. If you do this through the resort you can be assured the person is safe and trustworthy and won't take you into places you shouldn't be. Jamaica is safe but just like in the USA there are places you should not go so you want to be with a person that will use good judgement. When you get to the resort check in with the concierge and tell them of your wish and they should help you arrange something.

  14. #14

    Default

    You can sign up with 'Meet the People' , and be paired with a Jamaican who will meet you at your hotel and take you to the places you'd like to see, potentially to their homes and will make sure you have the experience you'd like.
    To learn more about this program, here is the link:

    http://visitjamaica.com/about-jamaic...*+the*+people*
    FONT="Verdana"]David and Jeanette, Nova Scotia[/FONT][/FONT]

  15. #15

    Default

    My soon to be husband and i have a trip planned to CTI in June & I just read below headline on msnbc...

    Jamaicans battle over alleged drug lord
    State of emergency after attacks by supporters of man sought by U.S.
    A police station in West Kingston


    IF you do decide to venture out of the resort, be very careful. This type of headline makes me very nervous about my up coming trip.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Kingston is 35km from CTI

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rleo View Post
    I'm hoping that some of the veterans can chime in to give a newbie some tips.
    I'm 27 and have never been out of the country (USA) and I have a very poorly constructed idea about what other countries are really like. I know that the resort will not give me any accurate picture of what Jamaica is really like, but I'm wondering if there is a safe and simple way to get out for a day and really see what the country is like. I want to see what daily life is like, and how the residents really live. I've considered the off-site tours, but still feel like this will be a misconception of real life.
    I love to learn and experience new things, but my fiance and I are some-what reclusive and prefer to enjoy each others company rather than mingle with others (I know... Lame
    Thanks for any advice!!
    We completely understand what you mean by wanting to go off resort. We were at Couples Negril back in April and were lucky enough to know someone from our hometown who has family from the area of Negril.. It was arranged for us to have him as our cab driver. We saw parts of Jamaica that no other tourists I am sure have ever seen.. Places suchas Bamboo Ave. The who street on both sides were lined with Bamboo in large clumps it was a sight. We stopped at a school house in the midle of no where to drop off supplies. They were so greatfull. If you are interested in the phone number of the cab driver reply back to us. paulnstacey@hotmail.com The cost was $100 for the day we left at 10 am and returned at 7pm. If there is a place in Jamaica you want to go Earl the cabbie will take you..Want to try eating what they do, he knows all the stops.. We tried Chicken foot soup and rice and fish, it as odd as it sounds was amazing the soup I have to admit I had her take the feet out...He stopped anytime you asked to take pictures, buy items and just to look. He actually tok us to St. Elizabeth Parish to meet with our friends family, that is an eye opener, when there is no running water and barely the things to get you by...but they do it...

    any questions just ask us...have fun

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Thanks to all of you who have contributed some really great ideas. We will prob be doing several off site events, which may be enough to really get out there and see the country. If we want to see more I will definately give the driver idea a shot.
    Our trip/wedding is not until June/2011, so I'm not too worried about this whole drug thing, but the advice on safety is a great point. Many reviews I've read mention that travelers should use caution and make sensible decisions when leaving the resort grounds. I'm sure this is true just about anywhere though

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    206

    Default

    Please remember that the resort does everything they can to make you feel safe and things going on in Kingston will not be an issue. We have been to Jamaica twice now and I would venture off property again regardless. The resort has always provided us with a wonderful and knowledgeable drivers. We have gone to Appleton Estates and this past February we actually went to Kingston to the Bob Marley Museum. Our driver knew Kingston well and I never felt uncomfortable. Our driver to Appleton was also amazing and when we asked to stop at a real Jamaican place for lunch he took us to the coolest roadside place with just big pots lined up with all kinds ofamazing things in them. He even helped us with the exchange rate and suggested some good food to try. Oh and then another couple that was with us wanted to stop at a fruit stand. Again our driver was awesome and it was amazing to have this wonderful woman cut a coconut for us and let us try the milk. We can't wait to return next year and we already decided to do some off site excursions. Again, let Couples get the driver for you or sometimes on Trip Advisor you can find some referrals.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jamieblambert76 View Post
    IF you do decide to venture out of the resort, be very careful. This type of headline makes me very nervous about my up coming trip.
    Last edited by WandA; May 28th, 2010 at 06:41 PM.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WandA View Post
    That's not "lame" at all! Makes more sense than sitting around drinking all week and then saying you've "been to Jamaica"

    We have taken lots of day trips around Jamaica, with an experienced Driver. We've finally found one that we stick with now - and he takes us anywhere we want to go, and suggests places too. When a Jamaican takes you home to meet his family, you will experience GENUINE HOSPITALITY. These are the moments we remember and cherish from our trips.

    You might start with a visit to a School ( set this up in advance ) - a great chance to see how Jamaicans live and the children are always excited to meet Americans.
    Stop at a local marketplace to shop, visit a Church, Orphanage...there are many options.

    If you look on TripAdvisor/Jamaica for the area you're visitng, you can find many referrals for GOOD drivers. Rates are always negotiable and it's customary to buy them lunch/cold drinks if you stop.
    We also want to see the schools, I am bringing down some supplies to give to the schools, what is the name of the guy you used, I would love to look him up? We are staying at CSS 6/14-6/19.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    426

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WandA View Post
    This type of comment makes me very nervous about people spreading irrational fear without any knowledge of the area or circumstances...If you think it's that dangerous throughout the country, then don't go at all.

    Kingston is HOURS away from Ochi, Mo Bay and Negril, the resort areas. Even within Kingston, there are areas that most Jamaicans won't venture into. You can leave the resort and feel safe - NO tour driver is going to take American tourists into a dangerous area.

    Besides,this is nothing new...Kingston has had a very high crime rate for years..and there is always a concern when going to a country like Jamaica that suffers from Poverty and Political conflict- this current series of incidents doesn't change that. Try Hawaii if you're scared
    I will preface my comment by saying, my intent is to be delicate and polite as I can be with my comment here so as to not be the object of any anger for speaking my mind. But, I feel you should know your comments on many occasions throughout these message boards come across as very abraisive.

    If I happened to be a first time visitor to these boards or a prospective new client for Couples, I would have second thoughts about visiting, based solely on these "don't go at all" and "Try Hawaii if you're scared" type comments for fear I might meet with that kind of attitude at the resort.

    ONE LOVE

    ~Peace, Love, Respect~

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    789

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WandA View Post
    Besides,this is nothing new...
    really??? Well, fortunately it is not necessarily a common situation either.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WandA View Post
    This type of comment makes me very nervous about people spreading irrational fear without any knowledge of the area or circumstances...


    I am not sure this conern is irrational, Wanda. Every other time I have been to Jamaica I have not hesitated to do excursions off property. We are going on Saturday and
    and plan to stay very close to "home".

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    665

    Default

    "I feel you should know your comments on many occasions throughout these message boards come across as very abraisive."

    That's possible, beacuse unlike a lot of posters, I don't sugarcoat things with cliches like " everyting Irie" and "no problem". That is not my perspective of Jamaica. At all.

    I don't represent Couples, or their guests, just myself -and there are several other posters here who speak their mind as well - it's a Message Board, for Info and Opinions, isn't it ? If the Moderators think I'm being rude they would not post it.

    My experience at Couples, and in Jamaica reaches outside of the resorts - we have been going long enough to know some things that a first-time visitor wouldn't - and lots of people have thanked me over the years for answering a question or two. In all the times we've been to the 4 Couples, we've never sat at a Bar, been to the A/N beach, or stayed in a Atrium - so I don't address those questions. I don't even know what's in a " Bob Marley shot" but I DO know that as a Rastafarian, he probably wouldn't have drank one!!

    The current situation is in a part of Kingston that most tourists would never go near. Even my Jamaican friends won't go there, ever. My friends in Hanover and Westmoreland said yesterday that they're not affected at all..they see it on the news just like we do.

    If you read all the new "scared to go" posts, it's clear that this incident is creating a panic - and that's the last thing Jamaica ( or Couples ) needs. To cancel a whole vacation or not visit a waterfall because of something going on hours away?? That scares me... and that's my reaction.


    Saw Junior Gong last night -
    Last edited by WandA; May 27th, 2010 at 10:11 AM.

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