mac5155 wrote:Also Jamaica. Is it safe to go here?
To put it plainly: If you go to all-inclusive, then you will most likely NOT be in Jamaica. Instead, you'll find yourself in the X*Y feet of a gated - very safe - compound with a distorted image of the country you will be visiting (everybody, I can't hear you: Ya Man!!
). We stayed in "Couples", which is a step above Sandals, but I think there is a very high chance that even Sandals will have a shuttle that will take you directly from the airport to the resort. And, if you are like 90+% people I stayed with in Couples, the same shuttle will take you the opposite way from the gated compound back to the airport. With possibly a few organized trips outside for "shopping" or "drinking" (Margaritaville... ).
Now, if you pay enough, there is a chance that inside you will have a very good time - premium liquors will be flowing without any restrictions, very good food (but also not much of a local cuisine), there will be activities left and right, and the staff will be super nice (more about the place we stayed here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=54042&p=1753370&hilit=tower+isle#p1753370
But beware - people we met on a guided tour were quite pissed off when we exchanged our experiences - their included various wristbands allowing them to eat at certain places, limits on drinks, extra charges for equipment/activities, no places for good snorkeling, etc...
Now, if you want to experience a little bit of outside:
The Blue Mountain tour I discussed in the above link - or any other guided tour would be very safe IMO.
My attitude toward traveling on your own in Jamaica would be: possible, but be definitely cautious. When alone, there are all those issues the previous posters already mentioned - weed, drugs, shady stuff in more places than one usually accepts. And the salespeople can really bug you. Now, it's mostly just a nuisance and NOT the reason you should avoid exploring. Definitely do, but be aware of your surroundings, and keep your wallet close. I definitely would NOT drive in Jamaica. We actually hired a private driver for a day trip to take us from the north (Ocho Rios) to the south (via Appleton Rum Estate, Y.S. Falls, and some crocodile safari), and it was a really good idea. First, the roads are terrible outside of the main Montego Bay to Ocho Rios to KIngston highway. Second, at two places we were stopped by some strange "workers" who were collecting "contributions for road repair." It was not *that* dangerous (yes, tiny bit scary), but it always resulted in a shouting match between them and our driver, and our driver storming off angrily ...
Ultimately - it's a very interesting country with some beautiful nature (Blue Mountains, Y.S. Falls...). But as I already posted above, for me Costa Rica >>>> Jamaica. Probably even more versatile nature, easy to get by with just English (similarly to Jamaica), but without all the hassles.