13 Reasons Why Jamaica is a Backpacker’s Paradise

We know what you’re thinking; did we just put backpacking and Jamaica in the same sentence? Yeah we did, because they can be put together, and they SHOULD be put together! Contrary to popular belief, backpacking Jamaica is not only possible, it’s a must.

Most people think of expensive and all-inclusive resorts when you mention Jamaica. But what if we told you that Jamaica is actually a backpacker’s paradise? The real Jamaica is not as expensive as you think and backpackers love it there…trust us, we’ve lived it.

Don’t believe me? Here are 13 reasons why Jamaica is a backpacker’s paradise!

1. Budget Accommodations Everywhere

Many people believe the only types of accommodations available in Jamaica are resorts, which is far from true. There are plenty of cheap places to stay in Jamaica. You can find countless hostels and local guesthouses that have beds for less than $20 USD all over Jamaica, including touristy spots like Negril and Montego Bay.

2. There’s a Lot to Discover Off the Touristy Trail

If you are the type of backpacker that enjoys traveling off the beaten path then you are in for a treat. Most of Jamaica’s gems are off the worn-out tourist trail.

Backpackers can easily discover the real Jamaica in places like Kingston, Treasure Beach, Port Antonio, or Cockpit County. And, when you get offtrack, you’ll find some of the best beaches in Jamaica!

3. Food is Cheap

Okay, I am not going to say that food is as cheap as it is in Mexico or Guatemala, but you can get a delicious and filling Jamaican meal at a local restaurant for $3-5 USD.

There is also a handful of cheap and filling street foods. Make sure to leave time to stuff your face with patties and coco bread, soups, roasted yam, and jerk chicken.

backpacking jamaica jerk chicken
Mmm, jerk chicken!

4. Rum is Everywhere

There is cheap rum everywhere, need I say more? Didn’t think so!

Oh and beer is cheap too. The popular local brands are Red Stripe Beer and Appleton Estate Rum.

5. Friendly locals

Jamaicans love their home and enjoy showing it off to visitors. Not to mention they are super friendly, hospitable, generous and open-minded people.

They always have time for a talk and will help you find the best local spots, or point you in the right direction when you are lost! Jamaicans are the key to an authentic and awesome backpacking experience in Jamaica.

☞ See Also: 7 Must-See Places in Bermuda

backpacking in jamaica
Hanging out with Jamaicans is the best part about Backpacking Jamaica!

6. Jamaica Has Something for Everybody

Jamaica is not only diverse in culture but also in attractions and activities. With a multitude of things to do in Jamaica, it’s no wonder it has something for every type of backpacker.

If you enjoy nature and hiking, you should definitely head inland and hike a few trails in the Blue Mountains, Cockpit County and Jim Crows Mountains. If you are a beach bum, you cannot leave the island without visiting Winnifred Beach or Treasure Beach (these are still free to visit and gorgeous). Regardless of the type of backpacker you are, Jamaica has you covered!

☞ See Also: St. Lucia Beaches – The Top 9 Most Picturesque Stretches of Sand

7. The Relaxing Vibes

I honestly believe that no other country or people know how to relax quite like Jamaicans! “Take it easy”, “Go slow” and “No worries” are just a few of the laid-back mottos Jamaicans live by.

Backpackers will not only appreciate Jamaica’s intoxicating and infectious vibes, they will embrace them.

8. It’s Paradise on Earth

Jamaica is known to be paradise on earth, and it’s not just because of the white sand beaches that line its coast. The crystalline rivers, majestic mountains, exotic wildlife, lush tropical forests, and stunning waterfalls will prove to be sights and sounds you will never forget. Jamaica is truly blessed with pure natural beauty!

backpacking jamaica
There’s something for everyone in Jamaicaa

9. A Serious Nightlife

When the sun goes down, this laid-back island livens up and turns into a party machine. The partying starts earlier in the evenings, heats up later in the night and keeps going well into the next morning. Jamaica’s nightlife is seriously second to none.

10. Transportation is Cheap

One of the things we love about Jamaica is their public transportation system (JUTC buses or route taxis). You can easily get anywhere on the island via route taxis for next to nothing. For example, a four-hour ride to the other side of the island will only set you back $5 USD.

Plus, taking a route taxi is an experience in itself!

If you don’t mind speedy drivers or squeezing in a wee bit with locals, (which you shouldn’t if you’re a backpacker) it’s the perfect and cheapest way to get around Jamaica.

11. There’s an Off-Season

Jamaica is pretty sexy all year around, so most people don’t believe there is an off-season! But there is. During April and November you can travel around Jamaica without the tourist crowds and for half the price than in high season.

12. Because of All the People Telling You How Dangerous Jamaica is

For the rebel backpackers, this is for you! Especially since Jamaica is no more dangerous than the next country. Sure there are some areas that should be avoided but isn’t that the same everywhere?

13. The Language

Traveling is always easier when you speak the local language. The lack of language barrier for English natives makes it incredibly easy to get around, interact with locals, and expand on experiences that would otherwise be missed due to the language barrier.

If you are looking for an amazing backpacking experience, look no further because Jamaica will not disappoint you! What are you waiting for? Pack your backpack and explore a Caribbean island you never knew you could check off your backpacking list!

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Road Affair

Hey, we are Ben & Jazzy, long-term budget travelers and the founders of Road Affair. We want to help you turn your travel dreams into reality, regardless of your budget. Follow us for comprehensive and useful budget guides, money-saving tips and inspiration for your next trip.

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8 thoughts on “13 Reasons Why Jamaica is a Backpacker’s Paradise”

  1. I have been to Jamaica but only to one of the resorts, was a bit concerned about safety but I guess thats not an issue. Next time there will do some exploring!

  2. We had never really thought of Jamaica as an option at all. Thanks so much for opening our eyes to it. It soundseems like a great a place to visit. Cheap, beautiful and lovely friendly people. Ticks all the boxes we look for. How long did they travel around for?

  3. The main question is did you get a surf board or a SP board into the water when you visited? Although the Caribbean island of Jamaica is best known for its calm seas, laid back atmosphere, white sand beaches and all inclusive jamaica resorts, the island of Jamaica is becoming known as one of the premier surfing location in the Caribbean.

  4. Started Backpacking around Jamaica 30 years ago and 10 years ago I established my Judy House Hostels in Negril (touristy) and Brighton (off the beaten track). Despite its bad press Jamaica has one of the lowest scores for Tourist Crime in the world. It’s a wonderful place to backpack with such friendly people and amazing, beauty and so much to see and do. In my day with a mountain bike and a rucksack people helped me everywhere I went and there were only 2 hostels on the whole island. I realised that just asking in any community for a room to rent was so easy. The difficult part then was getting hosts to take money. People loved the English pound then and loved to get £10 note left on the dresser!

    Creating the Judy Houses in locate communities was very important as me as Backpackers put money into the hands of those that most need it, like the local, bars, shops, cooks shops, drivers etc.

    Jamaica is wonderful and you can never do or see everything in one visit. This is why Jamaica has one of the hugest returnees rates in the world.

    Hope to see you soon … One Love

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