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Jamaica On A Budget: Local Restaurants, Clubs, & Must-Visit Shops
Written by Diana O’Gilvie
Jamaica is chock full of vacation experiences to fit every budget. From all-inclusive resorts that pamper and cater to guests’ every whim to hostels and privately owned AirBnB rentals for the most intrepid travelers, the island has a laundry list of accommodations.
Travel during the off-season of September to November to snag a cheaper flight. Most hotels offer discount prices during this time because room bookings are low. Know the local exchange rate to your foreign currency so you can get a handle on how much things and services cost. Jamaica is budget-friendly. If you plan on traveling and experiencing the island as the locals do, then you’ll have no problem.
Where To Eat
Triple Tz Eatery
Located on the residential side of Waterloo Road, Triple Tz is a neighborhood favorite for hearty, traditional Jamaican food. The rustic interior with inverted, painted aluminum wash pans hanging from the ceiling and other quirky touches feels like a playground. Triple Tz always has many options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast offerings include ackee and saltfish, kidney, liver, callaloo, mackerel served with ground provisions like yam, sweet potato and boiled green bananas. The portions are huge, and the average cost of a meal is $9.00.
1 Annette Crescent. Tel: 876-969-1345
Red Hills Pan Chicken
Locals flock to their favorite pan chicken vendor on Red Hills Road for a quick fix of spicy chicken served with two slices of pillowy hard dough bread. While each vendor keeps their recipe a secret, the meat is liberally seasoned with garlic, scallions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, and pimento seeds. There is an option to further douse pepper sauce and sweet ketchup on top of the serving. Wrapped in a foil paper, the meaty parcels cost $4.50 for quarter chicken (leg and thigh) and $10.00 for a half chicken.
111 Red Hills Road
Chateau 7 Gourmet Jerk Centre
Don’t let the gourmet in the name fool you. Chateau 7 is very budget friendly. Nestled in serene Stony Hill in St. Andrew, this jerk shack serves more than jerk. Known for their succulent pork, chicken and wild boar sausages smoked for hours over sweet wood, this is traditional Jamaican jerk at its best. Formerly a gas station, the restaurant is an ideal pit stop along the way to exploring eastern Jamaican parishes like St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary. The sidewalk dining café allows diners to enjoy the cool mountain air al fresco while eating fiery jerk and flavorful soups. The average price range is $15.00 for a meal.
Red Gal Ring, 34179 Hermitage Dam Rd, Kingston (876) 648-4327
Experience The Nightlife
Jamaica has a party for almost every night of the week. Kingston is the place to be for vibrant nightlife and dancing that works up a sweat. UNESCO officially designated Kingston as a Creative City. Before this culturally prestigious declaration, the city saw a groundswell in the rise of the reggae revival movement. Old school reggae and dub music mixed with dancehall beats caught on like wildfire. Here is a weekly bashment list in the capital city
All roads lead to Dubclub. Dubclub is for real reggae and roots music lovers. Located in an enclave in Jack’s Hills, large sound systems pipe out classic, soulful tunes. The view of Kingston below sparkles under the night sky. Admission is JMD $700 (USD $5.46)
7b Skyline Drive, Jack’s Hill
Mojito Mondays is the place to hear the latest hard-hitting dancehall tunes and learn the steps to match. The party starts late, so don’t think of showing up before 11 pm. Hardcore dancehall fans head here to keep up on the ever-changing dancehall scene.
Susie’s Café parking lot , Central Avenue, Southdale Plaza.
Crowds at Weddy Weddy Wednesday at Stonelove HQ proves the dominance of Jamaica’s most popular sound system. The venerable sound has been around for decades and has the dubplates to prove it.
41 Burlington Avenue.
Ladies drink as much as they want for $1,500 Jamaican dollars (about USD $12.00) at the Regency Bar on a Thursday night. Located inside the Terra Nova Hotel, the strong drinks and the club headbangers is the ideal combination for a girls night out. Dress code is strictly enforced, so don’t go looking too casual.
17 Waterloo Road. Telephone: 926-2211
Saddle to the east to East Next Door for a retro-inspired night. 90’s dancehall and lovers rock music are on heavy rotation here. Drinks are cheap, about $3.00 for a rum and Coke and the good vibes are plenty. Admission is free.
Marketplace, 67 Constant Spring Road.
Where To Shop
A touch of Nigeria in Jamaica, Etal’s vibrant African prints, art, and jewelry are imported from the Motherland. On Mondays, they have a 60% sale off which feels like you just robbed the bank. There’s much to choose from like pantsuits, the latest trends in maxi dresses, mini-skirts, rompers and shorts.
9-11 Phoenix Avenue
For one of a kind Jamaican swag and crafts, Carby’s is the budget-friendly choice. Taking it a step beyond T-shirts, shoppers have a selection of sweat suits, dresses, shirts. Clothing is also available for babies and toddlers.
Shop #4, Twin Gates Plaza, 25 Constant Spring Road. Telephone: 876 926 4065
Located on the historic grounds of Devon House, this proud Jamaican line of handcrafted jewelry has a loyal international line of followers, including Tyra Banks and Kelly Rowland. Reve is an award-winning line with bold designs.
Shop #13, Devon House, 26 Hope Road. Telephone: 876 908 2498