5 Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists

What are the safest areas to stay in Jamaica? Are there areas to avoid in Jamaica? In this post, I will help you to find the Safest areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists and the best places to stay in  Jamaica for all budgets.

Jamaica is an island country located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba. It is the third-largest island in the Caribbean and is known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and rich history.

Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica. It is located on the southeastern coast of the island. English is the official language of Jamaica. But, Jamaican Patois, a creole language, is widely spoken among the local population.

Jamaica is famous for its reggae music, with Bob Marley being one of the most iconic figures in the genre. Additionally, Jamaican cuisine, which includes dishes like jerk chicken and ackee and saltfish, is celebrated globally.

Jamaica is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and warm climate. Tourists flock to the island to enjoy activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and experiencing the vibrant local culture.

Jamaica’s history is marked by colonialism and the slave trade. It was initially inhabited by the indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taino people before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494. 

The island was subsequently colonized by the Spanish and later the British. Slavery played a significant role in Jamaica’s history until emancipation in 1834. It gained independence from British rule in 1962.

Jamaica is home to various historical landmarks and natural attractions, including Dunn’s River Falls, Blue Mountains, Bob Marley Museum, Port Royal, and the historic town of Falmouth.

Is Jamaica safe for tourists?

Jamaica is overall a safe tourist destination, but like any other travel destination, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and take precautions to ensure your safety. 

Here are some tips for a safe trip to Jamaica:

Stay in Tourist Areas: 

Stick to well-known tourist areas like Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, and Kingston. These areas tend to have a higher level of security and a more significant police presence.

Avoid Certain Areas: 

Some inner-city neighborhoods in Kingston, like Trench Town, can be dangerous, and it’s best to avoid them. Ask your hotel or locals for guidance on which areas to avoid.

Exercise Caution at Night: 

Be cautious when walking around at night, especially in less touristy areas. It’s a good idea to take a taxi or use other forms of transportation after dark.

Secure Your Belongings: 

Petty theft can occur in tourist areas, so be mindful of your belongings. Use hotel safes for important documents and valuables, and don’t leave items unattended on the beach.

Don’t Flash Valuables: 

Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, electronics, or large amounts of cash in public.

Use Licensed Transportation: 

When using taxis or transportation services, make sure they are licensed and reputable. You can ask your hotel for recommendations.

Public transportation: 

Exercise caution when using public transportation, especially at night. Opt for reputable taxi services, and if possible, arrange transportation through your accommodations or tour operators.

Be Cautious with Strangers:

While most Jamaicans are friendly and welcoming, exercise caution when interacting with strangers. Be wary of unsolicited offers and approaches.

Respect Local Laws and Customs: 

Familiarize yourself with Jamaican laws and customs, including drug laws, and make sure to follow them.

Stay Informed: 

Keep an eye on local news and stay informed about any potential safety concerns or advisories for tourists.

Travel Insurance: 

Consider buying travel insurance for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and unexpected events.

What are the safest areas to stay in Jamaica?

The safest areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists are Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio/ Portland, Runaway Bay, and Treasure Beach. While these are safe and welcoming areas for tourists, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings no matter where you stay. 

Additionally, consider hiring a local guide or tour operator for a more secure and enjoyable experience.

Map of the safest areas to stay in Jamaica:

Map of Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica
Map of Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica

What areas to avoid staying in Jamaica?

Here are some areas to be cautious about when staying in Jamaica:


While Kingston is the capital city of Jamaica and has many attractions and cultural sites, it also has some high-crime neighborhoods. 

Areas such as Trench Town, Denham Town, and parts of Downtown Kingston can be risky. Stick to well-traveled and tourist-friendly areas when in Kingston.

Spanish Town: 

Spanish Town, located near Kingston, has experienced high levels of crime in the past. It’s best to avoid certain areas, especially at night.

Montego Bay: 

Montego Bay is a popular tourist destination, but it has its share of crime, particularly in some inner-city neighborhoods. Stick to well-established resort areas and exercise caution when venturing into less touristy parts of the city.

Certain rural areas: 

While Jamaica’s rural areas are generally safe, it’s a good idea to stay in well-established tourist destinations and avoid remote, less-traveled areas, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the surroundings.

Nightlife areas: 

Many tourists visit Jamaica for its vibrant nightlife. While enjoying the nightlife is a part of the experience, be cautious in crowded or dimly lit areas after dark. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and keep an eye on your belongings.

Isolated beaches: 

While Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, some remote or isolated ones may not have the same level of security. Stick to popular, well-patrolled beaches and avoid deserted areas.

Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists
Safest Areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists

The safest areas to stay in Jamaica for tourists are:

1. Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios is a popular tourist destination  on the north coast of Jamaica, known for its beautiful beaches, waterfalls, and various resorts. It is generally considered safe for tourists, but like any other tourist destination, you should take precautions against petty theft and be aware of your surroundings.

Dunn’s River Falls is one of the most famous attractions in Ocho Rios. It’s a natural waterfall that cascades over terraced rocks, and visitors can climb up the falls with the help of a guide. It’s a fun and exhilarating experience.

Mystic Mountain is an eco-adventure park that offers a range of activities, including zip-lining through the jungle canopy, bobsledding, and a chairlift ride with panoramic views of the area.

You can interact with dolphins and other marine life at the Dolphin Cove marine park through various programs like swimming with dolphins, shark encounters, and stingray encounters.

You can go river tubing on the White River, which is a relaxing and scenic experience as you float down the gentle rapids.

Also known as the “Secret Falls,” the Blue Hole is a natural pool surrounded by lush vegetation and cliffs. It’s a beautiful spot for swimming and cliff jumping.

Visit James Bond Beach, which is named after the famous fictional spy, James Bond, as it was featured in the movie “Dr. No.” It offers a relaxing beach experience with clear waters and a bar and restaurant.

Fern Gully winding road is lined with tall fern-covered trees, creating a lush and tropical tunnel that’s a unique and scenic drive.

You can shop for local crafts, artwork, and souvenirs at the Ocho Rios Craft Market, where you can also practice your bargaining skills.

Explore these limestone Green Grotto Caves, which have a rich history and unique geological formations.

Also take a canopy tour through the rainforest at Rainforest Adventures, giving you a chance to see the jungle from a different perspective.

Ocho Rios is a fantastic destination for both relaxation and adventure, and it’s a popular cruise ship port, so it offers a range of activities and experiences for tourists of all interests. Additionally, you can enjoy traditional Jamaican cuisine, music, and the warm hospitality of the local people during your visit.

Best places to stay in Jamaica in Ocho Rios:


2. Negril

Negril is a popular tourist destination located on the western coast of Jamaica, famous for its stunning Seven Mile Beach and vibrant nightlife

Negril is generally considered safe for tourists, and the local community is welcoming. But, exercise caution, especially in less touristy areas, and avoid walking alone at night.

Seven Mile Beach is a long stretch of coastline that offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, and enjoying the breathtaking sunsets.

Rick’s Café is an iconic spot in Negril, known for its cliff diving and live reggae music. Visitors can watch daring cliff divers leap from various heights into the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Negril offers various water sports and activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, jet-skiing, parasailing, and catamaran cruises. The coral reefs in the area are home to a diverse range of marine life.

Negril has a vibrant local culture, and visitors can experience authentic Jamaican cuisine, music, and art. The town often hosts live music events and cultural festivals that showcase the rich heritage of Jamaica.

The Negril Lighthouse is a historic landmark and a great spot for panoramic views of the coastline. It was built in 1894 and is still in operation today.

In addition to the beaches, Negril is also known for its dramatic cliffs along the West End. Visitors can explore the cliffs, go cliff jumping, or simply enjoy the stunning views.

Negril has a vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants that come alive in the evenings. You can enjoy live reggae music, dance to the rhythm of Jamaican beats, or simply relax with a tropical drink.

For those interested in nature and ecotourism, Negril offers opportunities to explore the nearby wetlands, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries.

Negril boasts a range of accommodations, from all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels and guesthouses. Many of these hotels are located right on the beach or offer stunning ocean views.

Many resorts in Negril offer wellness and spa services, making it a great place to relax and rejuvenate. Yoga retreats and holistic healing practices are also popular in the area.

Negril is a destination that appeals to a wide range of travelers, from those seeking adventure and water sports to those looking for a tranquil beach getaway. It’s known for its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, making it a memorable destination in Jamaica.

Best places to stay in Jamaica in Negril:


3. Port Antonio/ Portland

Port Antonio, located in the parish of Portland, is known for its lush greenery and natural beauty. It is generally considered safe, but it’s less touristy compared to other parts of Jamaica. As with any less touristy area, it’s essential to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings.

The region is characterized by lush rainforests, pristine beaches, hidden waterfalls, and the majestic Blue Mountains. One of the most famous attractions is the Blue Hole, a deep cenote-like pool surrounded by lush vegetation.

Port Antonio boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica, including Frenchman’s Cove Beach, San San Beach, and Winnifred Beach. These beaches are known for their crystal-clear waters, soft white sands, and tranquil settings.

Named after the famous actor who frequented Port Antonio, the Errol Flynn Marina is a hub for yachting and boating activities. Visitors can charter boats for fishing, snorkeling, and exploring the coastline.

The Rio Grande River, which flows through Port Antonio, offers a unique adventure: bamboo rafting. Visitors can take a leisurely ride down the river on traditional bamboo rafts, enjoying the serene surroundings.

Located just outside of Port Antonio, Reach Falls is another natural gem. This waterfall cascades down into a series of pools, and visitors can take guided tours to explore the area.

Portland is known for its spicy and flavorful jerk cuisine. The Boston Jerk Centre is a popular spot to savor authentic Jamaican jerk dishes, including jerk chicken and pork.

Port Antonio and Portland have a rich cultural heritage, with influences from the Maroons, who were escaped African slaves. Visitors can explore the history and culture of the region through museums and cultural events.

Port Antonio is often considered a more tranquil and secluded destination compared to the bustling tourist hubs on the island. It’s an ideal spot for travelers seeking a quieter, more intimate Jamaican experience.

Best places to stay in Jamaica in Port Antonio:


4. Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay is a beautiful destination on the northern coast of Jamaica, known for its all-inclusive resorts and golf courses. It is generally considered safe for tourists, but always exercise common-sense safety measures like securing your belongings.

Runaway Bay is surrounded by lush greenery, including tropical forests and gardens, and it boasts some of Jamaica’s most pristine beaches. The crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea offer excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and water sports.

The name “Runaway Bay” has historical significance. It is said to have been named after the escape of Spanish runaway slaves who sought refuge in the area during the colonial period.

One of the main attractions in Runaway Bay is the Green Grotto Caves. These caves are a natural wonder with underground passages and chambers. They have been used for various purposes throughout history, including as a hideout for pirates.

Runaway Bay is known for its golf courses, making it a popular destination for golf enthusiasts. The Runaway Bay Golf Club offers a scenic and challenging course for players of all skill levels.

Runaway Bay is home to a variety of resorts and hotels, often featuring all-inclusive packages with access to dining, water sports, and entertainment.

In addition to the beach and water activities, you can explore the nearby Ocho Rios, visit Bob Marley’s birthplace in Nine Mile, or go horseback riding in the scenic countryside.

Overall, Runaway Bay offers a relaxing and picturesque getaway for travelers looking to experience Jamaica’s natural beauty, culture, and outdoor activities.  

Best places to stay in Jamaica in Runaway Bay:


5. Treasure Beach

Treasure Beach is a beautiful and tranquil area located on the southern coast of Jamaica. It is generally considered safe, and the local community is known for its hospitality. Still, it’s wise to be cautious, especially at night.

Treasure Beach is situated in the parish of St. Elizabeth, which is often referred to as the “Breadbasket of Jamaica” due to its fertile agricultural lands.

Fishing is a significant part of the local economy, and you can often see colorful fishing boats along the shoreline. You can even go on fishing excursions with local fishermen to experience their way of life and perhaps catch your own dinner.

While Treasure Beach is mostly about relaxation and soaking in the natural beauty, there are a few attractions worth visiting nearby. These include the Lovers’ Leap, a dramatic seaside cliff with a romantic legend associated with it, and YS Falls, a beautiful cascading waterfall and nature park.

Treasure Beach is off the beaten path compared to more touristy areas like Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. This appeals to travelers looking for a quieter and more authentic Jamaican experience.

If you’re seeking a peaceful and relaxing getaway, Treasure Beach is an ideal destination. You can spend your days lounging on the beach, exploring the local communities, or taking leisurely walks along the coast.

Remember that Treasure Beach is not as developed in terms of resort infrastructure as some other Jamaican destinations, so accommodations tend to be smaller and more intimate. It’s a place to unwind, connect with the local culture, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Jamaican coast.

Best places to stay in Jamaica in Treasure Beach:


See more: Where to Stay in Jamaica First Time

In conclusion, Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio/ Portland, Runaway Bay, and Treasure Beach are the best and safest places to stay in Jamaica for tourists. It’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings wherever you stay. 

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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