Everything in Jamaica moves at a different pace than the rest of the world. “Jamaica mon, no problem” is what any Jamaican will tell you if you start to revert back to your impatient ways. It’s pretty hard to get into this state of mind when you come into the country, and it’s pretty hard to get out of this state of mind when you leave.
First, let me give you fair warning if you ever decide to fly Air Jamaica. The whole airline has the “no problem” attitude. A five-hour delay? No problem, mon. No gate assignment? No problem, mon. Our flight to Jamaica was delayed because the plan arrived late the night before, and the pilots needed their mandatory rest period. (Delay not due to weather.) Our flight home was delayed because our plane was delayed leaving Nassau, Bahamas due to “customs” reasons. Flights leaving Montego Bay were delayed due to final, final, final, final boarding calls (apparently, they’ve adopted a “no man left behind” policy). Just expect your flight to be delayed. I will try to avoid them in the future, because we lost a good day in delays.
Next, there’s customs. Talk about needing patience. We stood in line for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Please, a note to all: you’re handed your customs forms on the plane at the beginning of your flight for a reason. Fill them out before you get in line! Even so, the customs officers were in absolutely no hurry to move the lines along. The airport even has musicians come and play to entertain passengers because it takes so long.
If Montego Bay airport isn’t your final destination in Jamaica, you’ll need even more of that patience to both get to your transfer, to get your transfer to leave, and to get to your destination in a timely manner. It’s a 50-or-so-mile trip from Montego Bay to Negril. While the roads are modern in that they’re paved, there are only two lanes, and at times, even one (a one-lane bridge.) These roads take you right through the center of several smaller towns, and these roads are quite busy.
Our final destination was Negril–-a much less urban area than Montego Bay. I just felt that Negril’s atmosphere was much more private and less urban than Montego Bay. However, I’ve also outgrown my “spring breaker” stage. So if you’re wondering about where to stay in Jamaica, here’s my two cents. Negril is more private, has nicer beaches, and is less “developed”. Montego Bay is more of your party town, with lots of shops along the “Hip Strip” and very close to the airport.
If you follow this advice, you’ll have “no problem, mon” in Jamaica.