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Threatened by locals?


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A friend of mine trqveled to OR 2 years ago and said he and his wife felt "threatened" by the locals in the local market area. Anyone else experience this? I am going with my wife and two children in 2 weeks and dont know what to expect. Can anyone help?



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That thread mentioned is full of good information.


We never felt threatened, however, we wouldn't wander around on our own (except to Island Village/Margaritaville). If you want to get out and see the area, I'd book a tour with a guide. Your guide will be with you and keep a close eye on things (Lewis went with us when we walked through the local market). With children, I'd either go with a guide, or visit the Island Village complex...it's located right next to the docks and I believe the area is fenced off.


If you don't feel comfortable doing a tour, I'd at least get off the ship and wander around Island Village for a bit.


We used Ionie and Lewis McBeam, and had a wonderful time. Here's their website if you're interested...




Have a good time! :)

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We have cruised to Jamaica a couple of times and we just spent a week there last May. The local people can be a little aggressive in wanting you to buy from them (whatever it may be;)) but a nice smile and a "No Thank You" and they will leave you alone. All they are trying to do is sell you their wares. Jamaica is a very friendly island in general, but as on any island, there will be some low lifes (same as the US in general). Just go out with your wits about you and have a good time. Do not ignore someone trying to get you to come into their shop or sell you something, that's when they will follow you until you cave. All you have to do is say "No Thank You" and keep walking and they will go onto someone else. It's kind of fun if you ask me. If you are kind to them, they will be the same back to you. DO NOT treat the locals as if they are criminals or freaks. They live in a different culture and have a very talkative, happy way about them. Explain to your kids that this is their way of life. I love the market and have struck up a few wonderful converstions with some of the locals. Just talk to them and treat them like humans and they will do the same back to you.

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I am going to OR in March. What am I supposed to be afraid of, and why? :confused: Do independant tour guides make SURE you return to the ship on time. I have seen people miss the ship on every cruise I have taken.:(



There are rough places everywhere, however, as much as I love Jamaica, I'd not wander around on my own. During the ship talk they will do everything in their power to scare you into doing one of their tours. Had I not found this place prior to sailing, I probably wouldn't have gotten off the ship. But I did find CC, and with everything you do in life, knowledge is king.


What we saw of the living standards was enough to make you sad. So you can understand why these people are so aggressive when a couple of ships pull in and off comes a couple of thousand people. We bought all kinds of things. We had one guy come up to the van (our guide asked us if we wanted to see what he was selling). We bought several of his hand-made necklaces, and he was thrilled to death. Then he went back to the area where he was living...which was a cardboard box flattened out, under a tree.


A "no thanks" was all was mostly needed to say when we were asked about buying things. At one point, while we were at the shopping area (I think it was Sony or the Taj Mahal) we found ourselves completely surrounded by people asking to buy things. It was a bit overwhelming, but our guide swooped in and navigated us through that.


We did a morning tour (the falls, shopping, sightseeing, etc), and then got back to the port area around noon. We then had lunch at Margaritaville, and wandered across the parking lot and back to the ship.


We had a wonderful time there...and we'd do it again. Not every culture is going to be the same...and who would want that. Don't be afraid, but instead read what everyone has to say, and then make a decision on what works for you.


Have a great time! :)

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Thanks so much for the advice. I travel with my Sister and was concerned about 2 women running around town without a "big strong man" to protect us. I travel because I love to see new places, but even more new cultures. So I will enjoy Jamaica. Of course I will not wonder onto dark alley's, or anything like that. But I will enjoy the culture.

Now I am wondering if like in Mexico, if I should bring little candies for the children, or will that cause a stampede? Thanks again for the advice.

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First off, I'm a Jamaica defender and have visited shore based as well as by cruise ship... And I like travel to more exotic places...


But, Jamaica - especially out of the cruise terminals - shows a tougher (yes potentially uglier face) than most places, even an unrepresentatively tough face for the island itself.


History: Slaves never had it easy and pirates weren't nice Jack Sparrow types... Jamaica had more of both than just about anywhere. Their descendants await you.


Jamaica Mon is poor... And not just poor but it's suffered more than its fair share of oppression the source of which was Bob Marley's inspiration as well as band mate Peter Tosh's. The tourist bureau and islanders may love Marley's memory today but that didn't keep him from being the near victim of a drive by shooting during his life. Tosh was later killed by burglers in his home.


So, the cruise ships unload flocks of pidgeons at scheduled hours and places... Do you think the nicest of the poor await you? Or the most desperate...


Arrange for a guide in advance and get away from the cruise terminal. If travelling on one's own - ONLY LICENSED (JUTA) CABS.


Yep, this is potentially one of those gender vulnerable ports too.


It is a beautiful island and the people there did produce the likes of Marley. With a well planned visit and the right demeanor you too might bump fist knuckles with a local and say "Respect" (and mean it! You better, this tends to be a REAL place) and in the end...




Just keep it real and keep your wits about you...


(My 10 year old loved Dunns River Falls)

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What many American interpret as agression, Jamaicans interpret as being effective salesmen


The straw markets in Jamaica can get very intense. Not for those uncomfortable with other cultures. I have bought many outstanding wooden carvings which i have over my fireplace at home. Bought them for pennies on the dolllar and the work is outstanding. I did feel very pressured to visit every stall in the market and they were very insistant on buying. A friendly no and a shake of the head and walking on is very effective. They won't be insulted. Americans are always worried of insulting someone.





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Americans (Euros too I suppose) are so used to highly deferential sales style that many get insecure when the sales style is REALLY assertive.


CB's suggestion is well taken. I'd also recommend being quiet and decisive in your buying style. The chatty browsing style so common stateside often amps up the expectations of the seller and the attendant atmosphere.


If you do like something and are willing to buy, BARGAIN - drive a hard - I mean HARD - bargain. When you genuinely get the seller to the point he/she REALLY doesn't want to sell, that's when things will get pleasantly quite and a decent purchase can be made. This is a process, be willing to walk away... ;) then come back. And don't flash wads... keep some bills separated so you can avoid that...

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JandJfun...go and enjoy. If you have experience with som other cultures and want to see some more, have at it. I love Jamaica and it's people and do not have any qualms about wandering around to the local markets and eating the local cuisine. It's great fun to us. As far as the candy, sure, you can take some, the kids will enjoy immensly. You may get swarmed, so just have enough to go around.

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I agree with what some of the other posters have suggested - what we interpret as aggression is often just a different sales style than we are used to here in the US. I do disagree with the poster who says drive a "really hard" bargain - remember these people are trying to make a living. I say make a fair offer - a bit lower than you are willing to pay and then you can go back up a bit to what you are comfortable with and they will usually agree.


I spent a week in Ochi a couple of years ago with a friend (2 females in our mid 40's). We walked the streets and felt perfectly safe, even in the early evening. A firm "no thank you" usually does the trick if you are not interested in what is being sold. During daylight hours you should be fine - as others said, just be aware as you would in any strange place.


Have a great time!

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I do disagree with the poster who says drive a "really hard" bargain - remember these people are trying to make a living. I say make a fair offer - a bit lower than you are willing to pay and then you can go back up a bit to what you are comfortable with and they will usually agree.


I agree. I ended up paying what several of the vendors were asking, simply because they had what I wanted, and at full price it seemed like a fair price. One guy was selling necklaces for $1 each. He was living under a tree. There was no way I was going to try and get him to come down. Some may disagree with this, but that's how we felt.

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I was just in Ocho Rios on Tuesday. We were offered pot by some locals but a firm "no thanks" from us was sufficient. They are pushy but I never felt threatened by anyone.

Go with a tour guide and you will feel better.

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we have traveled to Jamaica several times, and yes, the "locals" can been seen as "pushy or aggressive"... but I NEVER sensed any threat from them...


as has been said, it is a very poor country, which relies almost exclusively on the Tourism industry... therefore, I think it would be very unusual for a citizen to actually harm a tourist... that is how they earn their living. There are enough "guides" around that will also keep an eye out for you... they REALLY don't want to spoil their source of income....


The only time I felt uneasy was the FIRST time I had to go to an ATM to withdraw cash... and that was only becasue of the "added" security of having to use your card to get into the ATM "annex"... I had never seen that before, and was so concerned that I was in a "dangerous" area.... however the concierge back at the hotel assured me that I was completely safe, it's rare for crime to be committed against a tourist ....


I love Jamaica! Truly the friendliest country I've visited!

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We have been to Jamaica several times Mo Bay, OR and around the country as far as Mandaville and Black River. As my husband points out, this is a real country, not an atoll. It's big, quite political, and poor. Keeping all of that in mind might help get an idea of what Jamaica is really like. All of the previous posts offer good insights of what it's like to be there. As far as shopping (and I love to shop and am generally not afraid...) goes, I did not care for OR. Even with my husband, we had folks trailing us even after a pleasant, "lovely, but no thank you". Often it wasn't to buy trinkets...it was to buy pot. I didn't find that so much in Mo Bay. Would I not go to Jamaica because of pushy vendors? No, of course I would go. Most and I do mean most, people are wonderfuly friendly, there is ALOT to see and it has some of best food in the carribean, IMHO.

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As catalexander said, it's very rare for crime to be committed against tourists there. Just Google "Jamaica Tourist Crime" and see what comes up, it's almost always about someone trying to smuggle illegal drugs out of the country.


When you go to Jamaica you are on vacation, expect to buy something, bring back some souvenirs. But if you choose not to buy, then the best advice I've heard is to treat them with respect, smile and politely say no thank you...and keep moving, when you stop it is a signal to the seller you are interested. Be nice, keep moving.

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