Yes Jamaica is known for reggae music, jerk seasoning and delicious rum among other things, but we’ll give you some tips to experience Jamaica like a local. Jamaica looks a lot different through a local’s eyes versus being a tourist. You can really get to know the culture of the island by knowing how to act, what transportation to take and where to visit. For a truly memorable experience in Jamaica, try to see the country through a local’s eyes by trying some of the following tips.
The first step to acting like a local is knowing what to wear. Many of the clothing influences come from the British colony. Much of the clothes they wear are vibrant and comfortable and include button up shirts and long shorts. Lightweight clothing that is breathable, like cotton, is best to try to keep cool in the Jamaican heat. Don’t forget to pair it all with sunglasses and a large brim hat.
Surprisingly there are quite a few ways to get around in Jamaica. While busses are popular for tourists, locals tend to use taxis. Don’t be surprised as they often will stop to pick up other travelers along the way. Riding in one of these taxis can feel chaotic and you might feel as if you’re risking your life. Don’t worry though as it’s fairly safe. One thing to keep in mind is the ride can be loud as Jamaican taxi drivers tend to use their horns a lot!
Talking To Others
The official language in Jamaica is English but many Jamaican also speak patois. Many local do have a heavy accent and can be difficult to understand at first. Take note that they often drop the r at the end of a word, so dollar would be pronounced dolla. After being around it for a bit you should be able to pick it up. To talk like a local, learn a basic phrase or two like “Wha gwann?” which means “What’s going on?”. Irie is used to say “everything is good.” Likkle more means “see you later”
What To Eat
The food in Jamaica can be very diverse. It gets it’s influences from a variety of places such as India and Africa. You can eat like a local by going to a locally owned restaurant rather than a chain. Make sure you have a local favorite like a Jamaican patty, curried goat, guava glazed pork or jerk chicken. Scotchies is famous for jerk chicken – you can find them in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Skip the soda have a Red Stripe Beer or coconut water to quench your thirst.
Where To Shop
You can really see Jamaica through a local’s eyes by shopping at one of the markets. In particular, Coronation Market is very popular and has a wide variety of items. You can find everything from food to leather goods. Now, Jamaicans like to bargain so make sure you do a bit of haggling rather than paying the sticker price.