Jamaica - Beyond the Tourist Attractions
Jamaica is a tourist country. In fact, the biggest part of the countries economy is tourist based. However, if you want to truly experience Jamaica, after you have hit all the tourist hot spots; take it off the beaten path.
For a real look at Jamaica, head towards the interior. It is, however, a bad idea to take off on your own. Ideally, you should hire a car and driver through your hotel. This way, you will be safer, as the driver won’t take you to any dangerous locations – and the hotel will ensure that you get a good driver because your safety is important to them.
You can be sure that the driver will have numerous suggestions of places to go and see. You should note that he has probably set up some deals with various vendors – he gets a small fee from the vendor when he brings them customers. This is okay, and many of the places will be interesting. Note, however, that you can also ask him to take you to specific places as well.
To truly experience Jamaica, ask your driver to take you to various villages, where you can really get a sense of how people live in this beautiful country. This will give you the opportunity to see Jamaica in action, away from the tourism. You might want to start with the free villages, where you will find descendants of the Maroons.
The Maroons were African slaves that ran away from the farms and plantations that they were brought to. They were of course chased, but capture was difficult as it seemed that they had advanced warfare tactics. In fact, they were so good at avoiding capture and exacting revenge when they were attacked, that they were declared a free people in 1739 and given 1500 acres of land to call their own – long before slavery was abolished.
The free villages are Sligoville, Sturge Town, Clarksonville, Buxton, Goodwill, Granville, Kettering, Maidstone, Salem, and Time and Patience. But the original Maroon villages are Nanny Town, Moore Town, Accompang, and Seaford Town. If you can’t see them all, try to visit one or all of these four.
In all villages of Jamaica, you will find very close-knit families. Unlike other countries, where children grow up and move on with their lives, Jamaican children still heed their parent’s advice and wishes. They are expected to get an education, and to marry for life.
Also, don’t allow the term ‘village’ to fool you. Don’t expect to see women fetching water and carrying it in bowls on their heads. Most villages in Jamaica are now modernized, but still manage to hold their past rustic charm.
You may also be interested in hitting some of the tourist type spots that are not overrun with crowds, such as plantations, lighthouses, archeological digs, caves, cemeteries, churches, clock towers, forts, schools, mineral spas, parks, statues and memorials. Really think about all that there is to see, and talk with your hotels concierge. Let him know that you are interested in seeing other parts of Jamaica, aside from the usual tourist attractions. The chances are very good that he can help you design an itinerary for this.