PLACES TO STAY
Below are general guidelines and strategies for finding affordable places to stay anywhere on the island. For concrete information on guesthouses we refer you to travel guides, booking websites and a couple of great websites on Jamaica. No use in listing places here if others are doing it way better.
Finding affordable places to stay
You can find affordable places to stay in anywhere in Jamaica. 'Affordable' can mean different things to different people. Based on our travel experience and even more so on our budget, we define affordable as JMD 6000 or less for a double room with a bathroom. This can be anything from a small room or cabin without electricity to a big room with airconditioning and access to a pool.
The trick is to find these places. Jamaica's tourism product is geared towards the more upscale hotel and villa market so it's easy to find information on hotels that charge USD 100 or more. But if we had to pay USD 100 a night, we could never stay in Jamaica for a month or longer.
Here's some of the proven strategies to find a place if you haven't booked ahead.
- arrive early in the area you want to stay
- go to a bar or a car park and ask for an affordable place to stay
- define affordable, as in ‘I’m looking for a 5000 dollar place and I don't mean US dollars'
The most important tip is to ask around and talk to people. You'll be surprised at the results. In smaller communities, guesthouses are not really 'marketed' and you probably wouldn't even notice one if you're standing right in front of it. Taxi drivers will also show you around to check out several places. Negotiate a price with the driver for your little guesthouse-site-seeing excursion.
A traditional paper travel guide is a useful travel companion. It has maps of the island and several cities and good information on budget accommodations which comes in handy when you're not online. An added benefit is that it’s full of information on places to visit and fun or interesting things to do. We always bring The Rough Guide to Jamaica and The Lonely Planet Jamaica. Both are regularly updated and they are a good read while relaxing in a bar.
There are several websites out there with concrete information on affordable accommodation in Jamaica. I will be listing some of them soon. I am contacting them now to see if they wish to be listed here. More info soon.
Airbnb and booking sites
- you can fin rooms and appartments anywhere in Jamaica
- prices are good
- because of the review and rating system you can see what other people think about the place you're looking at
Golden rule - get to know the neighborhood
When you have found a place to stay it's time to get to know your neighborhood. Go out and get acquainted with the vendors on the street and with people you meet in corner shops or bars. Spend an afternoon doing this. Grab a cold jelly or a beer, eat something, check out where the stores are and where the taxis gather. Do not ignore anyone who hails you. You will be meeting these people again when going to your guesthouse, so get to know them.