A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Jamaica

Let’s clear the air by saying I’m not much of a solo traveler. I usually travel with family, my partner or a small group of friends for safety and convenience, even if you won’t see photos of them on my blog or social media for privacy. This causes people to falsely assume I travel alone, so I often get DMs on Instagram from would-be and experienced travelers who express awe at my “solo travel” or from people looking for tips on how to do it. While it may not be my usual modus operandi, I have done solo trips and am aware of how to accomplish them safely. Read on for my solo traveler’s guide to Jamaica for every kind of traveler.

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Benefits of Solo Travel

Have you ever wanted to go somewhere but ended up not going because you didn’t have anyone to accompany you? After high school and college, your friends may move all across the country and have different work schedules and family obligations which make them less accessible. Your friends or even your partner may have different interests and aren’t as keen on visiting the places that you want to go. Or, they may be interested in going but don’t have the funds to go gallivanting for the weekend. That’s where travelling solo comes in. If they aren’t available to go out when you can, go alone!

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Travelling solo boosts your confidence, self-sufficiency and will allow you to experience and appreciate a place more than you would’ve done with the distraction of company. You’ll also travel more and experience more out of life than you would if you just sit around moping and waiting for someone to go out with. This is advice I myself am guilty of not always taking.

Is Jamaica Safe for Solo Travel?

Yes, yes it is! Jamaica has a high murder rate per capita and is often touted as a dangerous place but the reality is that a lot of murder in Jamaica is targeted at individuals and families who get involved in corrupt or criminal activities. There is also the unfortunate side of things where one may be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or cases of mistaken identity, but for the most part crime doesn’t befall foreigners in Jamaica once they keep their wits about them.

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  • I don’t recommend solo travel at night, but if you must, make sure to attend public events and establishments, store cash in different places (e.g. bra, purse, pockets) and have a secure ride to and from.
  • In the corporate area, you can save the number of taxi companies to your phone and verify that you have the right driver when he or she arrives. Text the licence plate number to a friend.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged or carry a power bank.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry especially if you have to walk from point A to point B.
  • Don’t advertise expensive possessions such as your phone, tablet or laptop while walking. Keep these possessions in your bag, and try not to answer your phone or send texts while standing at bus stops alone or walking as this distracts you from your surroundings and may attract thieves.
  • Locals, this isn’t the best time to speak the Queen’s English. Chat Patois if you can! If you can’t, don’t force it though.
  • Bargain prices if they sound unfair, and try to always have an idea how much something costs before you go so that you don’t get ripped off.

For foreigners, try not to look too foreign. This principle applies everywhere in the world. Looking like a foreigner screams tourist, which for countries like Jamaica which rely on tourism means that someone is looking forward to overcharge you to score some extra bucks. There’s no need to walk with your camera around your neck, and try to be discreet in taking photos. Also, that Hawaiian shirt and shorts set can be worn on the beach at your hotel– NOT in the city which will scream tourist. Try not to stick out too much although that’s easier said than done for my Caucasian readers. Jamaica is 91% black so minority groups and races may attract attention. For Black foreigners in Jamaica, the accent will give you away when you speak so try to find out what things cost before coming to avoid getting ripped off. You can always send me a DM or email about the cost of things in Jamaica, or perhaps I’ll turn that into an article too when I get the free time.

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There are truly many neighbourhoods to be avoided. I’ll refrain from listing names to avoid offending anyone, but communities on the poorer end of the city often consist of shacks, zinc fences, incomplete or abandoned houses and narrow lanes. Lastly, being polite and non-judgmental goes a far way! Politely decline buying weed or tell the souvenir vendors “no thanks” if you’re not interested. Don’t be surprised if someone takes a liking to you once they pick up that you’re not from that district, parish or country. Sometimes they’re just curious; other times they have ulterior motives. Only share as much information as you’re willing to give. For women, give a fake name or quickly mention a boyfriend and make it clear that you’re not interested. This deters most harassers.


Anyway, time for my top THREE tips in sightseeing Jamaica solo:

1. Visit the Commercialized Spots

Elle at Konoko Falls

Commercialized attractions in Jamaica mean tour guides, security guards, lifeguards, proper changing rooms, restrooms and a carpark– all in exchange for an admission cost. These places will be crowded but when travelling alone, the presence of other persons is welcome and helps to keep you safe. Since you’re technically not alone at these places, you can make friends with the staff or even other patrons. For example, in 2019 I went ziplining alone at YS Falls because none of my family was up for the challenge, but I was set on going ziplining. I felt a bit lonely at first until I met another woman who was ziplining alone too and we chatted for the whole way and shared travel experiences. We didn’t even exchange names but in that moment she became my ziplining companion and made the experience more enjoyable (and less nerve-wracking) for me.

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Examples of spots I’d feel safe to visit alone or have visited alone include:

A JCDT ranger helped me find here!

Just because you’re travelling alone doesn’t mean you can’t employ the services of a trusted guide. Look up the places you want to visit and find out if a reputable organization such as the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) has tour guides and rangers who can accompany you on your trip. Another option is to follow blogs such as Adventures from Elle which often shares contact details for locals who acted as a guide on my travels, and who may be able to accompany you or suggest someone else trustworthy. There are also walking community tours such as in Treasure Beach and Trench Town in Kingston which will allow you to safely explore a corner of Jamaica as a solo traveler.

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3. Splurge on Tour Trips

Lastly, as more Jamaicans express interest in exploring closer to home, there has been a surge in local travel tour companies. These companies will arrange for pickup at a central location, often in Kingston or Montego Bay, then cover transport, admission, a tour guide and even light refreshments. They are often very pricey but save you the hassle of planning the trip yourself. Since they’re trying to fill a 15 or 30 seater bus with passengers to ensure profit, you’ll have the comfort of safety in numbers and may even be able to make friends with other solo travelers and like-minded individuals. Examples include Amanda’s 876 Adventures and Portland 876 Tours. There are also trip curators such as Best of Jamaica (BOJ) Adventure Tours Ltd. which cater for a foreign audience.

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Blue Lagoon in Portland, Jamaica

Wrap Up

I hope you feel more empowered to take a solo trip in Jamaica! Share your Jamaican solo travel experiences in the comments. Also, some updates: Adventures from Elle got featured in the Jamaica Gleaner last week, and on Television Jamaica’s morning-time show Smile Jamaica yesterday! How cool is that! I’ll add links below so you can check out those features. Until next time!


Find Elle on FacebookPinterestInstagram and now on YouTube.

Published by

Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle

Adventures from Elle is a blog for locals & visitors who want to experience the best of Jamaica, one adventure at a time. Also a budget travel blog, Adventures from Elle is written by Rochelle Knight, a junior internal medicine resident who began this blog as a medical student & wants to see the world, starting with her own country. She frequents off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, beaches and places with interesting history. Join her in Jamaica!

28 thoughts on “A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Jamaica

  1. I would love to visit Jamaica. At least once in a lifetime.

    Looks like Jamaica is still pretty much the same as the rest of the area. Traveling solo seems interesting. As long as I and the traveler really remember the points you explained in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lots of warnings. I realize there are Jamaicans of Asian descent. However I suspect they are still a minority. Not matter what I wear, my presence would still mark me as a “foreigner”, which I am …as a Canadian-born.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Asians are still a minority but not an uncommon face at all. Jamaicans still refer to the Asian community collectively though as Miss or Mr. Chin, or ‘Chiney’ (Chinese) but we have a growing Burmese and South Korean community here along with the Chinese, many of whom are descendants from the indentured labourers of the 1800s.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Very interesting about the other Asians. The Chinese there would view themselves as Jamaicans, Rochelle, especially if they have been there for decades or born there. They are part of Jamaica. They are Jamaican-Chinese, just I’m Chinese-Canadian, born in CAnada. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Chinese in Canada if they vote, pay taxes and live/work for decades, they are..Chinese-Canadians and wouldn’t want any other “term” used on them. The North American derogatory is Chink / Chinamen which is offensive and racist. So I have to say those terms which sound affectionate..is like using 1 term across a whole group of people. Maybe if you lived in the U.S. or Canada for several years as a visible minority, then it will all make sense. Or maybe you have lived outside of the Carribbean.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. CONGRATULATIONS on your features! That’s amazing! This post has me wanting to travel again so badly. I’ve only been to Jamaica once on a cruise stop so I didn’t get to see alot (Dunn’s Falls which was amazing) and a cave, but I can’t remember the name. I would love to go back and stay for a week to take in some of the culture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not from Jamaica….I am from a smaller island but I am kind of sick of hearing negative things about Caribbean islands not being safe for solo travel. New York isn’t safe for solo travel but people still visit….By the way, I am excited to go to Iceland next month with my Jamaican friend. All the island people who travel and live in Europe always hang together. I can’t wait for your XMAS blogs they were awesome last year

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, that’s amazing! Iceland is on my bucket list and recently I’ve considered migrating to Europe.. I just need to figure out how to go about writing the relevant medical board exams. It’d be cool to find a group of like-minded Caribbean people who enjoy travel so I could have a companion or two.

      Anyway you’re right! It annoys me too. No where is truly 100% safe, but once you apply common sense wherever you go you should be ok.

      I’m currently doing my residency which means I’m back in school so unfortunately there won’t be as many Christmas blogs this year because I’m super busy, but I’ll do my best. Warms my heart that you remembered those blogs. ๐Ÿค—Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Where in Europe are you considering. Congrats on returning to school. Last year I was accepted into a Master program in Italy but I ended up not going because of COVID. I took a job instead. I looked for almost a year before I found a school that fits me only to have COVID mess it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great information…I’m taking notes! I may not be a solo traveler, but it definitely will not be a group – most likely a party of two. But I’m definitely calling you before and when I get there! This information is exactly what I tell people visiting Trinidad as well – different islands but the same rules apply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that! Interestingly enough when I visited Trinidad in 2019, I applied some of these tips to sightsee as well. At the time I was dating a Trini so he took me around but no way he would’ve taken me hiking. Thankfully I had a link to a Trini hiking group from a blogger friend I’ve made on here and got to visit Turure Falls with her help. ๐Ÿ™‚ Was also great meeting her in person.

      That aside, be sure to let me know when you’re coming. We’ll exchange numbers and hopefully get to do an activity or two together. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for stopping by. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh most definitely you have to apply the exact principles to visiting Trinidad – blend in, act normal! I will let you know when and where I’ll be, so you can provide the all the good deets – I can’t wait to soak up all that good water – I’m not into the sun, just take me to the falls and the beaches!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I don’t know what’s with the sun over Tobago, but it seems as though the sun is closer to earth there or something, so you instantly get 4 shades toasted darker, in zero point two seconds there…lol!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Note to selfโ€ฆpack umbrella ๐ŸŒ‚ for Montego Bay!! I get โ€œcrispโ€ very quickly, with blisters and peeling skin by the next day – it burns and itโ€™s not cute either.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m actually the opposite of you, as I am more of a solo traveler than a group one (although in recent years I’ve been doing more trips with my dad…). Jamaica has interested me for some time, especially since following your blog; I think if I were to visit, I’d either book a group tour or need a local to take me around. Hopefully one day, I can come and explore the beauty of your home country!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a super informative post! I certainly love feeling empowered by solo travel. Of course, I am under no illusions. I like what you said about using photos of yourself to respect others’ privacy. I do that too

    Liked by 1 person

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