Honestly, most people who come from North America or Europe to Jamaica do so as some sort of a package. They book complete trips that hook them up at all-inclusive resorts around the island. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of the all-inclusive world. It tends to leave tourists boxed in, and stuck in their particular resort. And, yes, if you’re looking for a pure vacation where you don’t really have to think at all, it is a decent option.
Still, I have some other ideas for you. This is my quick guide to accommodation in Jamaica.
I’m a huge fan of the vacation rentals world. I think that rentals like this allow tourists a bit more freedom to explore, and maybe even a sense of living in a destination. Moreover, one can find a wide spectrum of types of accommodation to stay in by using vacations rentals. For example, you can often find fairly cheap apartments, or you can find beautiful luxury houses for rent in Jamaica. So, regardless of what you’re after – or your budget – there’s an option for you.
The boutique hotels are a great option in Jamaica as well. Generally speaking, the boutique hotels you’ll find on the island have so much more character to them in comparison with the massive all-inclusive resorts.
One of my favourite boutique hotels in Jamaica is a place called Rockhouse Hotel in Negril. It’s rooms are cool, and the setting – out on a set of jagged rocks – is beyond incredible. Some of the rooms even have their own private pools, others have ladders down into the calm bits of sea within the rocks. It’s simply stunning here. And, boutique hotels like Rockhouse are scattered all over the country.
Hostels and Guesthouses
If you’re on a bit of a budget, you can also find a bunch of hostels and guesthouses throughout Jamaica. The guesthouses in particular are great value, and give you a nice insight into island life.
The obvious downside to guesthouses is that for the most part they are fairly far from the beach or the tourist attractions. The advantage is you’ll get a bit look at real Jamaican life. It’s as close as you can get to renting a house in Jamaica. Moreover, staying at the guesthouses is a nice way to get some interaction with the locals that you just don’t get at the all-inclusive resorts.
If you’re really on a budget, you can actually find quite a few hostels in Jamaica as well. Especially in bigger centers like Negril and Montego Bay, you’ll find some nice spots to stay. Most have the option of staying in dorms or private rooms. The big benefit to staying in hostels – aside from the price – is that this is a great way to meet other travellers. If you’re exploring Jamaica on your own, that might be a huge plus.
Of course, I couldn’t write an accommodation guide for Jamaica and leave out the all-inclusive properties. As I mentioned in the title, the vast majority of people who stay in Jamaica as tourists do so in all-inclusive hotels.
The obvious benefit to the all-inclusive properties is that there are no surprises or hassles. You know what you’re spending on your trip before leaving home, and you don’t really have to think all too much. So, if you’re after a true vacation, and just want your life put at ease for a couple days, this might be the best option.
The negative to staying at the resort is that you really will lose all opportunities to have an authentic Jamaican experience. Most of the culture is boxed and packaged for tourists and at the end of the day, your hotel really could be on any warm beach under the sun. Also, additional add-ons like tours off the resort come at quite a high, if not premium, price. Also, if you’re a solo traveller, it might be a bit of a challenge at most resorts.
In my opinoin, the best way to go in Jamaica is through a vacation rental. I think that vacation rentals in Jamaica give you a fantastic insight into life in Jamaica, while still affording you the luxuries and comforts of a holiday. Moreover, there is very little stress to having your own spot; no one pressuring you to buy things, no maid service trying to clean when you want to sleep-in, and no other tourists causing noise. It’s a nice way to get away in Jamaica.