Poverty and drug use have contributed to the violence that has dogged Jamaica since the 1970’s, when the economy took a downturn. Tourists are sometimes targeted for theft, and women subjected to sexual harassment. Gigolos prey on female travelers. Thus tourism here requires intrepid determination and street savvy. Tourists should educate themselves as to what areas to avoid, but many resort and rural areas are relatively safe.
Those who heed the warnings and exercise a degree of traveler’s prudence can still experience the colorful exuberance of Jamaica. Natural attractions such as the Green Grotto Caves – former hiding place for runaway slaves - or the waterfalls near the resort town of Ochos Rios, provide a jolt of sensory stimulation. Ochos Rios is located on the northern coast of Jamaica. Its crescent shaped cove is home to a fishing port and a host of colonial period buildings. Across Jamaica, outdoor enthusiasts can choose from activities such as horseback riding, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Banana plantations at Prospect Estates provide tours of this unique form of agriculture. The home of Jamaica’s favorite son, Bob Marley, is in the peaceful village of Nine Mile, and is owned and operated by the Marley family.