Never again are we going to Jamaica!

These were the words my wife and I said to ourselves after taking a Montego Bay tour. My wife and I enjoy to travel and see new things but if you looked are our house you would rarely see any trinkets that we bought from our travels (we feel we would rather spend our money on experiences than stuff).

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Many of the residents of Jamaica make their money from selling merchandise (usually handmade) and offering services to tourists, such as massage or hair braiding.

While it may seem like a great way to take a little piece of your trip back with you, unfortunately many of these street vendors can get aggressive in their sales pitches.

I have never felt more harassed to buy something from a vendor. The vendors in Montego bay (even the retailers) are so pushy! They make a used car salesman look like Gil from the Simpsons.

I recommend never leaving the cruise ship terminal in Falmouth – the vendors sell the same things as the vendors in town do and are less pushy!

We started at the Shoppes at Rose Hall where you will have an opportunity to purchase that special souvenir to remind you of your visit to Jamaica. The tour continues to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville by the sea, in the heart of Montego Bay’s Hip Strip where we didn’t find it too hip!


We stopped near this beach that looked great but it was too hot for us so we decided to check out the “fabulous Montego Bay” and were disappointed to see how dirty it was. It has tourism cops that are supposed to be helpful but a simple request to a coffee shop to cool off turns into a fight with people just to drink a coffee – I didn’t want any Bob Marley shirts or any tobacco or stuff to buy!

We decided to stay on the shuttle bus to return to the ship for a better time than being pulled into a shop to buy junk. Another couple from Montreal were soaked for $40 buying junk according to them and also stayed on the bus.


So in summary, High murder rate, tourist traps, everyone with their hand out – reasons why we will never return there. So many other beautiful places in the world to visit.


  • Mike
    Posted August 10, 2014 8:48 pm 0Likes

    You can’t judge a country by one city/town. If Montego Bay is used as a cruise destination, there will be lots of stuff like that.
    Also a reason why cruises may not get what you want from countries you’re interesting in visiting.

  • Leon
    Posted August 10, 2014 10:38 pm 0Likes

    I agreed. Once is enough. Too dirty, the beach isn’t all that. The food is ehhhh. Better go else where

  • J
    Posted August 10, 2014 11:20 pm 0Likes

    Montego Bay isn’t nice. My girlfriend and I stayed 5 nights in Negril on a 7 mile beach… it was amazing. You don’t go to Jamaica for the city.. stay away from them!

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 1:33 am 0Likes

      Most people just stay at the resort – good idea.

  • Santastico
    Posted August 10, 2014 11:23 pm 0Likes

    Sorry but you should have done your research before going. You wouldn’t be surprised when you got there.

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 1:31 am 0Likes

      I was just looking for a nice Jamaican coffee! It wasn’t worth the great coffee though.

  • Nicole
    Posted August 11, 2014 1:47 am 0Likes

    It’s unfortunate that you didn’t enjoy Jamaica. Mo’Bay used to be the capital so of course its a city. I’m Jamaican, and avoid Montego Bay because I simply prefer a tranquil vacation. I avoid all-inclusive resorts because the food usually isn’t my cup of tea and I don’t think you can really see a city that way. Better luck in the rest of your travels.

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 2:00 am 0Likes

      Thanks Nicole – I actually do not mind all inclusive resorts and I knew that being on a cruise you just get a taste of the island but it was not my cup of tea. I am a Southern California fan and I love Hawaii. I actually enjoyed visiting Columbia more than Jamaica (I wasn’t the only on the cruise).

  • Nicole
    Posted August 11, 2014 1:50 am 0Likes

    PS, if you ate at Margaritaville, that could be why you didn’t enjoy it. It’s an overpriced tourist trap! I agree with the previous poster, do better research next time.

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 2:01 am 0Likes

      I didn’t eat there – I had a disgusting Jamaican coffee at a local bar (the one I had near our port was amazing though)!

  • Andy
    Posted August 11, 2014 4:06 am 0Likes

    Waste of time this post really. Surely you must know it? Every country and destination has it’s pros and cons. Telling us what you hated is narrow minded, and of little value to anyone. I don’t know much about Jamaica but do know people who adore the natural beauty and warm people outside of the tourist hell holes. This is travel blogging to you? I didn’t particularly get Toronto at all, or enjoy much of it, but if I was a blogger, I would never consider writing a post about never going back to Canada.

    Maybe (shock horror)…. I had no idea where to go to see the real Toronto, not the overpriced tourist traps. Ps I’m not Jamaican or care about the justification you are bound to come back with.

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 4:20 am 0Likes

      Thanks Andy for your comment – I just give my opinion of this stop. I wouldn’t go back (end of story). Like you said every destination has pros and cons (I mentioned the delicious coffee at the terminal). Most people on our tour were disappointed with the stop in MOntego Bay.

  • Michael
    Posted August 11, 2014 5:02 am 0Likes

    As an American I can’t believe I’m saying this but this kind of small minded, ignorant blathering is expected of us Americans but from a Canadian??? Unfathomable.

    So to continue with the unbelievable, let’s go to an American blogger to show you why fear led, ignorant thinking based on a single event, such as seeing a black person rob someone once on TV must mean they all do it, is the foundation of the stupid that is normally reserved for us ‘Mericans.

    And now, behold.
    An American showing a Canadian why narrow mindedness and stereotypical judgement are not good tools for deciding where and where not to go, ever again.

    • szussino
      Posted August 11, 2014 5:13 am 0Likes


      Thanks for your comment. I would not say I am being fearful but I just stated that I did not enjoy my time there – why go back to a place I didn’t enjoy as much?

      Feel free to travel and spend your travel budget the way you please – but I choose to spend mine a different way.

  • Alan
    Posted August 11, 2014 5:35 am 0Likes

    why dont u stay home?

    • szussino
      Posted August 12, 2014 12:18 am 0Likes

      Why look for trouble when you travel?

  • will b
    Posted August 11, 2014 6:27 am 0Likes

    Jamaica is a sh!thole. I’m with you, there are so many nicer places in the Caribbean. I also wont go back!

  • William Dougeneck
    Posted August 11, 2014 11:27 am 0Likes

    I been to Jamaica about 70 times. First time I stayed in MoBay. It was an all inclusive resort. Within hours I was off the resort, meeting friendly people, going to their homes in the hills, eating home cooked meals and seeing the real Jamaica. Since that first trip I have explored the entire coast of Jamaica and much of its interior. Kingston is a fun city too! It seems you like the most touristed routes. That’s not the best wat to see any country unless you’re a girly man. Real men don’t rely on tours to learn about a country. They meet real folks and do real things. Some people should just stay out of third world countries if they need mommy to hold their hands. Or just accept your role as a tourist.

  • AlohaDaveKennedy
    Posted August 11, 2014 11:39 am 0Likes

    With a kiddo in tow you would be better off in more peaceful Grand Cayman.

  • Phil
    Posted August 11, 2014 12:01 pm 0Likes

    You are taking a lot of flak for providing your opinion on a day in Jamaica, but I can appreciate your perspective and can relate. As a frequent cruiser, I now avoid itineraries that include Jamaica. I have visited just about every cruise port in the Caribbean and I would rank those in Jamaica dead last. I cannot think of any port where the locals are pushier and downright rude when it comes to selling the tourist garbage.
    I am sure there is a different side to Jamaica, but my multiple cruise stop experiences on this island have left a bad taste in my mouth.
    Keep sharing your opinion. Most of your readers read your blog (and other travel blogs) for entertainment and to get a different perspective. Anyone who wants a neutral guidebook perspective should go to a book store.

    • szussino
      Posted August 12, 2014 12:17 am 0Likes

      Thanks Phil!

  • Brian
    Posted August 11, 2014 1:12 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing. Great travel advice.

  • NotYoCheese
    Posted August 11, 2014 4:43 pm 0Likes

    I read the story and thought it was ridiculous. Then the pictures loaded and I saw who was authoring this “story” and now realize that I shouldn’t expect anything else from what looks to be your typical North American tourist family.

    “Jon! Honey! This man just asked if I wanted to buy some of that marijuana! Can you believe this place?! Well I never!…”

  • William Charles
    Posted August 13, 2014 7:52 am 0Likes

    I think this is a problem with almost all major cruise destinations when you go off the boat. Jamaica is a beautiful country and it’s a shamed that one negative experience is enough to put you off the country completely (especially it’s well known as a tourist trap).

    • szussino
      Posted August 13, 2014 1:25 pm 0Likes

      I actually enjoyed many other cruise ports (been on 5 cruises so far). This one I didn’t enjoy though.

  • Private
    Posted August 13, 2014 9:01 pm 0Likes

    Jamaica is the most homophobic island in the Caribbean. I don’t even have the option to go there, unless I pretend to be straight and be very very “careful” (whatever that means). How convenient for you who enjoy the place, that you are compatible with the culture of hatred they’re famous for.

    Just Google “homophobia in Jamaica”. If you don’t care at all that Jamaicans are crueller and more violent against minorities than their neighbours 9or if you endorse the bigotry) then choosing Jamaica makes perfect sense.

    Enjoy your vacation.
    See you in Curacao or St. Maarten where people are civilized

  • Sriki
    Posted August 14, 2014 7:02 am 0Likes

    Reading all these comments, I felt a need to say something I observed.

    A few of the people that are critical of this post are making personal attacks. Not liking a place doesn’t mean bigotry or racism is involved. Attacking a person, his family and passively suggesting women are inferior to men by calling someone a girly man shows your true colors. The author did not like a place and blogged about it. That’s the purpose of this space. You think he could have picked a better place, then you could suggest it if you care for his travels or care for the place he went to with restarting to attacking his opinion. If not, move on.

    • szussino
      Posted August 14, 2014 1:22 pm 0Likes

      Thanks for your support and understanding!

  • Juan
    Posted August 14, 2014 10:02 am 0Likes

    There are so many reasons NOT to go to Jamaica. I made the mistake of going a second time because I didn’t think it could be as bad as the first time. It was worse, and from fellow travelers I hear it just keeps declining.
    There are so many beautiful Caribbean islands that there is no reason at all to pick Jamaica.

  • Dale
    Posted August 21, 2014 3:14 pm 0Likes

    I do agree with you about the pushy sales people in Jamaica. I took a cruise tour of the island and found Jamaica a beautiful place but the tour drop us off at a park and the only way out was to go through the sale stalls. My son and friend got separated from us and ending up buying two wood carvings for $30ea and a man on our cruise bought the same ones for $4ea from the same stall. This was my son first cruise.
    I don’t know if we will go back again but thank you for sharing your thought, for I now know we are not the only ones that get taking in by the sale pitch.

    • szussino
      Posted August 23, 2014 9:11 pm 0Likes

      Thanks for your comment Dale. We are not alone.

  • Kathy Webb
    Posted August 28, 2014 10:13 pm 0Likes

    I’ve been to Jamaica twice, mainly because I used to love reggae music. Even married a Jamaican (that ended quickly once he administered “the rod of correction” by punching me in the face). Sure, there are some nice people there, but you have to look hard to find them. Most people have a pervasive bitterness that colors their world view; they assume all foreigners are wealthy capitalist exploiters, so that justifies anything they can do to rip them off. There are so many other Caribbean countries where you can experience the beauty of the Caribbean without putting up with huge daily doses of hostility and attempts to con and bully you into buying sonething. Jamaica is not “nice,” and I’d never return when there are so many better countries to visit.

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