Is Jamaica Safe?

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Jamaica Travel

While the news loves to cover negative things like murder and pickpocketing in Jamaica and then twist the facts to make some of them look like they are overrun with crime, the truth is Jamaica is a very safe place to visit.

Many first time visitors travel to Jamaica with concerns about being robbed or even worse and after a few days they figure out that it is all media hype!  Statistics prove that Jamaica is less dangerous than many parts of the United States.


Jamaica  Safety Tips

Below are some tips for having a safe vacation in Jamaica but these tips also apply anywhere in the world.

1.  Don’t carry large sums of cash on you.  If you are going out for a $50 dinner you might want to bring $100 not $2000!

2.  USE THE HOTEL SAFE!   Most hotels have safes and they are pretty SAFE, if you google around a little you will find that not many of them are broken into by hotel staff or random people entering the room.  If you have larger items like laptops that will not fit in the safe, put them in your suitcase and lock it when you leave your room.

3.  Leave some of your valuables at home!  There is no need to bring all of your fine china, diamonds, coin collections and electronics when you go on vacation, the less you take, is the less you risk.

4.  Take is easy on flashing fancy jewellery and money in public!  If some shady character is looking for an easy target you will stand out if you are flashing 3 carat diamond ear rings and Mr T gold chains around your neck.

5.  Don’t place all of you money in one pocket.     I generally like to carry about $20,000 Jamaican dollars when I am heading out for a day but I’ll split it up between 4 pockets.  I’ll keep $10,000 in $1000 bills in one pocket, $5,000 in another pocket in $1000 bills, and between the other two pockets I’ll carry some $500 & $100 bills.  If someone is able to get in one of my upper two pockets they will only end up getting maybe $50 USD.  With that said, I have never been robbed in Jamaica and while I know dozens of people that travel there at least once a year I have never heard of one of them getting robbed either.

6.  Use real taxi cabs!  In Jamaica they will have red license plates, and while all sorts of people will offer you a ride just make sure they have a red license plate so you know they are legal.  Another tip is to ask others for recommendations, it seems like everyone has a list of who they have used and liked in the past.

7.  Know where you are staying, where you are going and how you will get back!  As silly as it might sound people venture to Jamaica and have a few too many cocktails and wind up in the middle of the night not remembering where they are or where the heck their hotel is.  While it’s fun to venture off on a long walk in the hills or to a party a few miles out of town, just take along with you the name, address and phone number of your hotel, along with the telephone numbers of a couple taxis.  In order to call a taxi you should know where you are as well so write it down before you over indulge on that sweet tasting rum or ganja.

8.  Be respectful to others and their culture! Don’t try to get up in people’s face if they are doing something that you are not used to where you come from.  If someone is pestering you to buy their goods or hitting you up for some money just be polite (no thank you) and walk away.

9.  Make friends with a few locals and ask them where the safe places are and where you should keep away from.  A few towns have some areas that are not safe for tourists and generally people will be more than happy to point these out to you.  When you think about your town or a town around where you live back home, you might have some areas that you would not send tourists to after dark.

10.  Have safe sex!  Many tourists areas have “sex workers” and like anywhere else in the world they might have STD’s, protect yourself if you seek their company.


22 Comments on "Is Jamaica Safe?"

  1. Jamaica Travel Forum on Sat, 29th Aug 2009 12:16 pm 

    Testing this new comment plugin on Jamaica Travel Blog

  2. UK Jean on Sun, 30th Aug 2009 12:44 pm 

    Excellent advice. I to have been robbed in JA but only once, well twice actually, once of money and another of my cell phone, but that is over 10 years of going twice a year. I go to Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth on my own and feel so safe. Everyone is so friendly and love and look after me, so much so that they keep asking me when I am coming home! If I could move there I would but unfortunately JA can be hell in paradise if you have no money. I cannot believe how expensive it has become when the hourly rate is 80 JA$. Will be back in October cant wait – the weather here in the UK is awful. Just waiting now for my friend, Evelyn, to ring me, I credit her phone as it is cheaper for her to ring me from JA on her international credit, she can talk to me for an hour for 100 JA$!

  3. UK Jean on Sun, 30th Aug 2009 12:54 pm 

    Meant to put photos on, here they are!

  4. Jamaica Travel Forum on Sun, 30th Aug 2009 2:17 pm 

    Uk Jean, thanks for the comments and sharing your pictures! Looking back at the two times you had stuff missing is there anything you can suggest to others so it will not happen to them?

  5. Transfer Smart on Tue, 22nd Dec 2009 8:52 pm 

    We are so thankful reading your post, this is very very helpful tips. Nothing in this world is safe, the best thing we can do is to beware and be alert most of the time to prevent fraud, but then again we are very thankful for this because by the month of February next year we are planning to have a vacation in Jamaica.

  6. Autumn Lacy on Tue, 22nd Dec 2009 10:51 pm 

    The comment about “safes” is not actually true. We just returned from a nightmare wedding/vacation in Jamaica. We were staying at Rio Bueno (use to be Grand Lido Braco). My mother & my sister’s room was entered (no forced entry) and a whole was cut into the safe & EVERYTHING they had of value was stolen. Putting valuables in a safe is not neccessarily “safe”.

  7. Timeshare Relief on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 3:05 am 

    Thanks for the list of your tips, this is very helpful to us as a traveler even we can not along to Jamaica but your tips are very applicable to different places, thanks for the great list of your tips.

  8. allangering on Sat, 16th Jan 2010 5:39 am 

    Its very safe to go to Jamaica. There is no wars or anything going on and you just have to watch your back. Dont worry no one will hurt you.

  9. Timeshare Relief on Wed, 27th Jan 2010 1:13 am 

    There is no place in this world that is safe, the best thing we should do is to aware everything that may happen. Keep on vigilant most of the time when we do travel, keep our things safe all the time.

  10. markus on Wed, 22nd Sep 2010 3:59 am 

    WOW… how come I had such a good time there in Jamaica? I had no problem at all staying there. Maybe I planned the trip well and had such good friends there. They were taking really good care of me and I was even thinking of going there again sometimes. But not now as Im actually in Thailand at the moment doing my second stops. Why do people actually complain so much when they are traveling and they can’t really expect nothing much from the trip cause its actually called ” ADVENTURE ” you know? Just relax and accept the fact that it’s part of the world, SAFE and UNSAFE and just have fun~!!!

  11. markus on Tue, 28th Sep 2010 1:51 am 

    and guess what i flew with and it was saving me heaps of money flying from the States throguh out Europe then down there to Jamaica

  12. Jessica on Wed, 9th Mar 2011 6:43 pm 

    Jamaica is NOT SAFE. I was robbed of all my belongings, if anything happens to you on Jamaican soil no one cares the government won’t help you or get involved.

    I was promised clothes and shoes and compensation, but nothing happen. they just care about getting there tourism up and it’s all about numbers. The robbery was reported to the police, jamaican tourist board and the ministry of tourism.

    NO one HELP NO one cares!!! Please be careful if you go to Jamaica. Tourist are targeted and followed from the airports and then robbed. I am just thankful I have my life.

    Jamaica no problem….yeah right there is a lot of problems and thieves there.

    Once you go, you know NEVER TO RETURN

  13. Linda on Sun, 13th Mar 2011 5:51 pm 

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have a good time Jessica. We’re leaving next week and we’ll be extra careful. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  14. Linda Heart on Tue, 7th Jun 2011 11:13 am 

    WOW….you were robbed in Jamaica so were my friends I also heard that a lot of people get food poisoning and they had a case were someone actually died. Jamaica is really bad my friends went there, and told me that there hotel room was broken into, all their belongings were taken. It seems to be an ongoing problem. If someone gave me a trip to Jamaica for free I would never go!!

  15. Walt on Fri, 24th Jun 2011 6:17 am 

    wow, really Linda Heart? someone in the entire Island of Jamaica died of food poisoning? I’m from NYC and i hear stranger things happen everyday just down my block.
    People really need to get out and experience the world a little more.

  16. Jessica on Wed, 16th Nov 2011 6:34 pm 

    When you spend money to go on a vacation, the last thing you want is problems such as food poisoning or getting robbed. The point is that you might not have the resources to get around and to help yourself because your not from Jamaica. People know how to get help in their country, but when your a visitor in someones country, things are different. It was a tourist who was there to get married that died of food poisoning…therefore more tourist can be effected. it’s something called awareness, information and other people experiences can help others to be a victim!!!

  17. Eco on Wed, 16th Nov 2011 8:37 pm 

    “information and other people experiences can help others to be a victim!!!” Do you mean the info can help others so they ARE NOT A VICTIM?

    I’ve never once had food poisoning in Jamaica but got it from my neighbor’s cooking and from a fast food place 5 miles from my house….just saying there is nothing wrong with food prep in Jamaica. Also, reading a half dozen or so Jamaica forums for the past few years I can’t recall it being talked about ONCE.

  18. Jessica on Tue, 13th Mar 2012 3:19 pm 

    Don’t try to be smart @ ECO you properly are Jamaican, and you don’t want to face reality. Tourist being robbed and food poisoned and dying from it are serious problems!!!

    This is generally for tourist not for locals, in Jamaica someone being robbed is a normal thing cause there is a thief on every corner. Also nobody said there was anything wrong with Jamaican cooking, I simply said someone died of food poisoning in Jamaica.

    So if you can’t recall it being talked about ONCE then tune into TV J once in a while and educate yourself about your surroundings and your country.

  19. Jessica on Tue, 13th Mar 2012 3:29 pm 

    While in Jamaica, I was watching TV J ( a local news station) when the showed a segment where people attended a funeral, and while all the people were in the church, attending this funeral their cars were being broken into and they belongings were taken. Only then you might feel sorry or say what a sad story cause their locals. Al recently, a childcare’s school in Maypen, Clarendon was robbed by thugs and money was taken which was going to be used to pay teachers. Like I said if your from Jamaica these things won’t phase you. It’s a normal thing, and police take forever to attend or assist, police are lazy and cant be trusted.

  20. Jessica on Tue, 13th Mar 2012 3:34 pm 

    All Ed Bartlett cares about is money, he’s a money hungry pig that’s why he’s so fat. All he cares about is how much Jamaica make off tourism…that’s all not the safety of the Tourist. How many cruise ship dock and how much money he gets from it.


  21. Chris on Fri, 11th Jan 2013 11:57 am 

    I’m a seasoned world traveler who visited Jamaica for two weeks in 2012. I’ve traveled alone to many dangerous areas, always alone. I’m a tall, muscular man. While out one evening in Negril, my female counterpart hailed a taxi. It was a certified route taxi. Two men sat in the front seat. Not unusual for underdeveloped countries. On the way to our destination, the taxi pulled onto a dirt road. The two men, one wielding a gun, the other a knife, beat us up and robbed us. One of the guys slugged me and broke a tooth.

    Be suspicious of taxi drivers. According to locals, much of the crime perpetrated in Jamaica is by taxi drivers. Be on your guard and be safe.

  22. Christopher on Tue, 19th Mar 2013 2:56 pm 

    I went with a group of 6 to Jamaica in October of 2012 and it was an uneventful trip. The beaches are beautiful. I felt safe on and around the resort. I did not however feel comfortable enough walking thru or around in the city without a guide. The vendors will approach you when youre off the resort just kindly say no thank you and walk away and you’ll be fine. The vendors items are way over priced- you can actually get souvenirs at the Jamaican airport a lot cheaper. Also remember that anything you buy has to go thru customs- a woman in a group in front of us was told that she would have to pay 300 plus dollars to have some wooden art fumigated before she could bring it into the us. We were never harassed at any of the restaurants we ate at. We were always safe even on the excursions. So if your planning to a trip to Jamaica, go and have fun cause it’s beautiful

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