Update On Jamaican Farewell: Why I Cancelled My Jamaican Vacation & Why I Won't Be Going Back Anytime Soon

My post I made about a week back titled "Jamaica Farewell: Why I Cancelled My Jamaican Vacation & Why I Won't Be Going Back Anytime Soon", started quite a bit of controversey. If you havn't read it you can read the entire post by clicking the link above.

If you checkout the comments section it stirred up quite a bit of discussion, I think to date we have over 160 comments off this single blog post, only posted a few days ago. While some people agreed with me that Negril is starting to go downhill and the overall vibe is changing as well as the safety and security of travelers. I also had a lot of people very unhappy with my post and calling me a hater.
negril jamaica safety
Is Negril Jamaica Still A Safe Destination To Visit?

I don't hate Jamaica, far from it, I absolutely love Jamaica. I've traveled there numerous times, have friends on the island and overall it's probably my favorite vacation destination in the world.

That said even in years past, I've found myself in a few sketchy situations but still returned to the island. If you read my post you'll know that recently I booked a trip to Jamaica on 7 Mile Beach. I didn't even bother doing any research before booking as I've been to Jamaica 8 or 10 times and didn't feel the need to research the destination. A day after I booked however I started doing some reading and realized there's a fair number of reports and reviews online about travelers complaining about aggressive begging. Now this wouldn't deter me from going, but I've also been hearing a lot of complaints about violence and thefts while on the property of hotels, as well as on the beach.

Now if I go into town or go into the hills I realize I'm taking my own safety and security in my hands and I should have my wits about me. On the beach and even more so on my hotel property and in my hotel room I feel I should feel safe and not have to watch my back. Recently however there's been reports of people waking up to a man in their room robbing them. In one report a man was in the room with a knife. There's other reports of things being stolen out of rooms by people fishing things out of the room through the window, when valuables are left near the window. Granted travelers shouldn't leave valuables out in plain  sight or near the window but you'd think you should be safe in your hotel room.

Then again today, I read a story on Facebook which was also posted on TripAdvisor about a couple who was robbed by a man with a machete, conveniently while security was changing shifts. I personally know a lot of the security guys at hotels and there's some great guys who protect guests and make sure they have a wonderful time, but not everyone is great and honestly it seems to be like some of these are inside jobs with security conveniently being absent while thefts are happening.

I'll post this review I mentioned below, but just wanted to do a follow up to my past post saying that I deeply regret cancelling my Jamaica trip. Not only did I want to go but I really wanted to show my girlfriend the island and really wanted her to meet my friends in Jamaica. That said due to all the recent negative things going on I decided to cancel my trip.

Was I being overly cautious? Probably so, but I get one vacation a year and I spend good money to take a vacation and I don't want to have to worry about my safety every minute of every day and even while in my room.

It's a sad state of affairs and honestly the goal of my first post was not to hate on Jamaica or detour anyone from going there. I was simply trying to start a conversation about the worsening problems in Jamaica as well as overall vibe of the town changing.

I mentioned in my first post that one thing which was very troubling to me is that longtime visitors who've been to the island 30, 40 and even 50 times are now saying they will not be going back. Typically Jamaica lovers are very defensive of the island and it's reputation, in large part due to the untrue stereotypes it has gotten in past years, however today it seems that those stereotypes are seemingly justified. Go to a nice or all inclusive resort and don't leave. It's sad to say, and I even used to laugh when people said things like that because I've travled all over the island by myself and never was overly worried, however if I were to go back I'd probably spend most of my time on the beach and not venture off much.

In two days I'm going to be sitting on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean but it's not going to be Jamaica and that saddens me. Lets turn things around and start a discussion which will improve Negril and the island as a whole not only for other tourists like us but for the locals as well.

Recent Incident In Negril

Check out this bad TA review on Xtabi:
“Terrifying Experience!! will never return.”
1 of 5 starsReviewed 2 weeks ago
Me and my Partner stayed at Xtabi for one week in January, I am so late writing this review as I wanted to give the owner a chance to explain himself with regards to the nature of the events which were to unfold during our stay.
On our 3rd last morning I got up early as I always had, and was sitting on the porch, apparently this was around the time security was due to change as well, and instead of one waiting for the other to arrive, he left the entrance unattended. A man approached me on the balcony with cleaning equipment (as very few xtabi staff wear uniforms it is impossible to tell who is working there and who is not), I spoke with him for a few minutes, seemed genuine enough. Once he left my boyfriend shouted down that we had been robbed (a samsung s5 and $200), I think out of sheer adrenalin, I ran after the man, he caught me on the path and dragged me back to the villa, (all the while i was shouting get your hands off me), he then produced a machete, with the words 'Well Im packing', terrified we barely moved and he left.
Although this is an awful experience, it was the brush under the carpet treatment that really distressed us further. We met with the police that day and were told we had to be given compensation as the low level of security and lack of uniforms was dangerous for clients. we were due to meet the 'tourist' police at 3pm. of course our day was ruined and we hung around waiting for this man to arrive, but of course he didn't. we were told 'o its actually tomorrrow', so last day is ruined as well. At 3 pm again the next after hanging around again no show, the manager rung him again he said 5pm. i asked to speak with the original police woman and were told the 'tourist' police were on their way. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist but to be honest I think this was a scam. the man arrived (obviously not wanting me to contact the first police woman) couldn't give me her name, contact info or our original statement. In fact he didn't even want to give us another statement so we could try to claim insurance, he also told us the first police officer lied when she told us we should get compensation (she at least looked professional, had a badge and arrived in a police car, unlike him) he also got mad when I said I had been in contact with the embassy (I kept my mouth shut after that). I was told by management that they could not make any decisions as the owner was away (how convenient), he would be back in a week. so I left it two weeks and emailed to confirm there would be no further correspondence from him, he replied with a very altered version of the events to which I cleared up for him and he never contacted me again. I was never asked if me or my partner were ok, would we like to change rooms or did we need anything. Absolutely appalling. in relation to the rooms, very outdated, over priced. beautiful views, Ant infestation in our room which we were handed a can of spray for (thanks). Our steps down to the sea was rusty and hanging in there by wedged rocks (probably safer to dive in). Food is average, Office staff not very helpful when I wanted to organise trips. Rented over priced snorkling gear that broke twice, in the end we just rented off another hotel which was half the price for better gear.
Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
1 of 5 stars Rooms
1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
1 of 5 stars Service


  1. If you don't want to come back to Jamaica don't. Find another place where you "feel" more safe. Me...30 years and counting, I spend winters there and nothing is stopping me from returning.

    1. You have to at least acknowledge Negril is changing no? You have to acknowledge it isn't the same place it was 10 years ago? Back in the 80's things were bad, guys with Machine guns in jeeps patrolling the beach. That really cleaned things up and here we are heading back to that crazyness. I'm actually looking at potentially purchasing one of the many hotels for sale there.

      Still just an idea havn't done anything to move forward but many properties and resorts are for sale Xtabi, Banana Shout, Firefly among many others. I'd like to take customer service to the next level. Acutally maintain a property well. Good security, etc.

      I got about half the money would have to raise another million for purchase plus probably another 500k for repairs and renovations, staff, training, etc.

  2. I was robbed at knife point deep in a dark cane field in Sav La Mar. THe "driver" who was taking us back to Negril did it. Our mistake for taking a white plate rather than a red plate. but still.......one week later another friend was robbed by her driver and about two weeks after that another girlfriend woke up at 4am in own bed with a knife to her throat. That is all I have to say

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. If it was just problems off the resort I could deal with it. I realize when I go up into the hills or out into the fields like you I take my safety into my own hands. I've been hearing WAY too many incidents of people waking up to a guy with a knife or machete in their room or incidents happening on property. It almost seems as if hotel security is in on it in many cases.

    I know and am friends with several guys who work as hotel security at various resorts so I don't mean to cast a broad net as some are great guys but as with anything you have bad apples.

    I have always known Negril had issues but two things made me cancel my recent trip. First was hearing so many longtime visitors who in the past would have been defensive of Negrils reputation saying they won't go back. The second thing is that your not even safe in your own hotel room anymore.

    You may want to check out Playa Del Carmen. I just did a writeup comparing the two destinations


  4. Hi Billy,

    You commented on my Blog "A Fab Life in Jamaica" and I just replied - I understand where you are coming from and your fears...so many changes all around, and yes Negril is no longer the little Bohemian Town where you could feel 110% safe - however, I lived there for four years and never once did I ever feel unsafe. The only thing that would bother me, admittedly as a Jamaican, was the harassment on the seven mile beach at times to buy things - to which a firm NO thank you, always did the trick.

    I think the entire world has changed. Recently I was in Florida and had a shopping bag stolen right in the Mall. Things happen everywhere but I completely agree that you MUST feel 100% safe on your vacation and if you even have a smidgeon of fear or trepidation about the place, you should not go.

    I also have to say that I lived in Bermuda for 17 years, and I can tell you each year I became more and more worried about visiting my home country - from reports here and there..some years I skipped going! Cut to 13 years after living in Jamaica, and I have never once felt fear or felt unsafe - especially not in Negril.

    Again you have to do what you feel comfortable with! Safe travels...