1st time in Montego Bay w/ Family

What’s up everyone. Really hoping some locals/residents can provide some insight for me. After looking through many of the Caribbean/Central America destinations, I decided that Jamaica made most sense for my family to visit for one of our final vacations before we begin to start our own careers/families. The mixture of the energetic/lively culture and breathtaking views make it seem like the perfect destination. I’m a male in my early 20’s who’s very social and active, and has a general knowledge of Jamaican culture as my great friend of the past 10 years is Jamaican and has introduced me to a lot. I listen to the classics like Vybez Kartel, Popcaan, Buju Banton, etc, have had home made beef patties, jerk chicken, and oxtail, and jokingly speak Patois with my bro. Even the scenes of TopBoy shot in Jamaica had me hyped. I lay that out just as some context, and to differentiate myself from the majority of honey-moon or suburban family oriented groups who come to Jamaica to enjoy commercialized food on the beach from the comfort of their resort (which is completely justified in certain circumstances). I have the following **questions**: * What area do you recommend? It seems Montego Bay, Kingston, and Negril are most frequented by foreigners. I’ve chosen Montego Bay based on the following – let me know if it is accurate * *Montego Bay* – great balance of resorts/vacation and culture (if you decide to pursue the culture, and venture outside of your resort). Unlike Negril where the beaches are isolated, instead you have access to a large city as well as many tourist activities such as Bamboo rafting, horse riding, and even local food spots * *Kingston* – although the history runs deep and rich, and it is a major city – the lack of beaches, views, and rumours of crime are something that have eliminated the option * *Negril* – amazing beaches, but seems far too isolated to be able to experience even a taste of true Jamaican culture. The “hotspots” just seem to be Rick’s café – how much culture can you truly experience from an established venue frequented mainly by tourists? * What will the weather be like in late August? Also what tourist “season” is late August generally referred to as - Is it a rush, empty, moderate? And lastly, is there anything special or unique going on in Montego Bay during late August? * What would you recommend we do? We plan on staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, but my family has huge a interest in other cultures. We are well travelled, and have also lived in grimy third-world countries riddled with poverty and crime for multiple years in the past. I provide all that information to say; we can handle ourselves in high-pressure situations, and are not immediately scared off at the claims of crime in Jamaica – although a better, more authentic explanation on what to expect would be highly appreciated. Also, I would love to immerse ourselves with the locals and party/dine with them at their functions * What genuine experiences would you recommend for a family with a high tolerance and able to navigate certain situations (we’ll also have a Jamaican driver/companion to help us) – I’m personally tryna go out at night to the block parties/functions and catch a gyal wine on me n teach me summ LOL. Any thoughts? * Where would you recommend to eat? Honestly, I kinda want to avoid an all-inclusive resort just so we have an excuse to eat in the city every day and have some real, authentic Jamaican food. Whether its hidden gems, or classic street vendors. We love it all (Side note: 1 family member is vegetarian, will their be options for them? Everyone raves about the fruits and veggies in Jamaica) * What are some “classic tourist” activities that would be recommended, but actually are fulfilling/enjoyable? I definitely want to visit the Bamboo rafting, possibly the Usain Bolt museum, and horse riding on the beach. Anything else you’d recommend? * What is the best way to meet up with locals? Again, we love immersing ourselves in the culture, and we generally find trips turn out much better when a local takes a liking to you, and would like you to join them in their activities. I would genuinely appreciate any information to any of these questions. I understand I’ve asked a lot, but this is how I show respect to the country and area as I want to experience everything it has to offer in its entirety. I’d really appreciate those individuals who’ve lived there for a while, have grown up there, or have had vacations in a similar structure. If your vacation to Montego Bay consisted solely of getting drunk and eating hamburgers on the beach then I’m afraid your advice/suggestions would most likely not align with what I’m seeking.

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Advice

Just came back from mobay and you are definitely correct. We visited negril did a tour outside the main city of mobay and visited 9 mile. You definitely see the differences between authentic jamaican culture and the commercial version. Don’t get me wrong we did goto kfc which is a must compared to what we get out here. We had a private driver that took us around. As for OP always be careful our driver showed us places that he would not even get out of his car for.

Advice

I’m gonna sum it up pretty easily, your experience will be mostly dependent on who you choose as a driver/tour operator. Some tour operators stick together the usual, I know a who are not the usual. They will take you to the corner food stalls, sometimes they have a house party and cook for their guests. In terms of attractions. Appleton rum tour, Ys falls, black river safari, Floyd’s pelican bar, rafting on the Martha brae..etc

Advice

Thank you for the summary. Couldn’t agree more - hopefully I can find a hidden gem, you have any company recommendations for drivers? I generally find those who go above and beyond however are independent or part of smaller/family companies so imma do my research forsure. Tourist attractions sound proper however. any recommendations for events/day-to-day life of the general pop?

Advice

You can check our morelife_tours, downtoearthtours, mikes_transportation_ja, or travelwithdavidricketts on Instagram, these are tour operators that I know personally. They will make sure you have a memorable vacation.. dad to day life if we not going to work we are chilling by a river or at the beach, for others it going out for food..

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