Jamaica - Do they all smoke all day long?

The flight from the Bahamas to Kingston, Jamaica took 1.5 hours but arrived quite late, reducing my short stay in this country accordingly. I will have three days in Jamaica. Not much time, but still enough to see a small part of the country.

Before coming here I wondered if it was somehow true, that Jamaica is a country in which everybody is smoking all day long?

My expectation of Jamaica was that it would be full of half-zombie people smoking cannabis. Not sure why there is this common stereotype associated with Jamaica. While there is certainly a prevalent Rastafarian culture on the island, this stereotype is not really true. Stereotype debunked.

In fact, as I have been told, the majority of Jamaicans do not smoke at all. Also, there were relatively few Rastafari people, and there was not much more annoying cannabis smell than in Europe. Also contrary to my expectations, Jamaican locals were not loud, rude or trying to sell things at every street corner. The people I spoke to took their time to try and help. That's how misconceptions and prejudices are changing - always (or mostly) a great result of traveling.

Arriving in Kingston

The passport control process took an extremely long time, with 10 counters available for locals and only 3 for visitors.

By the time the 150 locals had all cleared, the visitor queue still had about two dozen people waiting. I was the last person to leave the airport and it already turned evening.

There was no shop selling SIM cards at the airport, but there was someone outside the taxi stand selling them for 7 dollars, which included 2GB of data. This was a good deal as it allowed me to use Uber (the airport itself had no WIFI).

So I took an Uber for 15 dollars to my accommodation, which was 30 minutes away. The regular taxi would have cost 35 dollars. There was a bus available, but I did not have any Jamaican dollars to pay for it, and it runs only very infrequently.

Blue Mountain visit to drink coffee

On the second day, I took an Uber to Blue Mountain, which is one of the popular tourist spots in Jamaica. The area is known for its stunning scenery, including several hiking trails that lead to waterfalls and breathtaking viewpoints.

One of the most famous things about Blue Mountain is its coffee. There is an official Blue Mountain Coffee restaurant where I stopped for a cup of coffee while enjoying the stunning views. The coffee was delicious, indeed. 

Walked around the area for a while, taking in the natural beauty of the region.

Many hiking trails around but I didn't wander too far into the bushes.

I then took a shared taxi for 1 USD per ride and stopped at the Papine bus station.

The ride from the mountain and the curves made the journey feel long and tedious. The winding roads make the driver cautious of oncoming traffic, but they're doing this all day long.

The scenery around with lush greenery and stunning views of the valley below.

From Papine I took another taxi for 1 USD towards Half Way Tree. 

This area is the commercial center with most restaurants and shops. I walked around the area and stumbled upon Kingston for a few photos. 

I did not have any specific destinations in mind. Kingston seemed quite peaceful to me, but apparently, there are several areas in Kingston that I should avoid as a foreigner.

Day 3 - Bye Kingston, I'm going to Antigua

Walked around the town to see the streets down here. As the trip back to the airport today might take some time, I prepared to leave early.

I took an Uber for 30 minutes back to the airport, which is located on a peninsula and is relatively far away. There were many people and long queues at the various check-ins and security checkpoints, no idea if this slow process is normal in Kingston.

However, at least the flight to Antigua & Barbuda departed on time, and the airplane was only about three-quarters full, which promised a quick arrival in Antigua.

Surely other Caribbean countries have something similar to offer

In conclusion, Jamaica exceeded my expectations for this short-stay visit.

People were friendly and accommodating. Blue Mountain was a great place to explore. Although there are areas in Kingston that I should avoid, I felt safe throughout my trip. Overall, it was a good experience, and I would consider returning to Jamaica in the future to see another area of Jamaica.

But for now, I need to continue to Antigua & Barbuda.

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