Jamaica has plenty to keep you amused for ear-shattering 'stage shows' for the masses to ballet for the social elite. Most of the high culture, including theatre, and the best discos and upscale bars are to be found in Kingston. Elsewhere the key word is reggae, although Jazz is growing in popularity. The various elements of Jamaican society each has its won genre, including rum shops, and ubiquitous go-go clubs, the staples of island life for the male masses.
In most of the resort towns there are places perfect for anyone looking for exciting entertainment, a lively atmosphere and great drinks. By day, patrons can take in local and international sporting events on the big screen TVs that surround the open-air seaside bar or enjoy the latest reggae tunes from a CD Jukebox. Most places are family and kid-friendly.
Discos and Nightclubs
Kingston has ore than a dozen discos ranging from earthy dancehall discos frequented mostly by the urban poor to upscale discos playing mostly US and European chart-toppers plus soca for tourists and the local middle classes. The leading resort towns each have a choice of two or three discos. Many hotels also have their own discos open to everybody.
The better discos usually have theme nights.Thursday is traditionally 'ladies nite', offering either free entry or free drinks to women. Sunday is traditionally oldies night with a selection of R&B, old time reggae and ska.
The best of the bunch are heaps of fun and usually quite safe. Cover charge rarely exceeds US$5 and is often free mid-week.
Many clubs for the poor are jammed packed and are sweaty, horribly smoky affairs with the music cranked up full-bore, beer bottles strewn on the floors and in the resort towns the omnipresent gigolos and salacious females ever-ready to hit up on foreign tourists.
Concerts - 'stageshows' - are as integral a feature of Jamaica as the national dish of ackee and salfish. Usually held at open-air venues, they draw big crowds, catered to with itinerant vendors selling beer and rum. The distinct smell of ganja drifts through the air, amidst the deafening noise from banks of speakers the size of double-decker buses. The larger, better organized concerts are a marvellous slice of Jamaican life. The billing often includes several top-name reggae, dancehall performers, such as Beenie Man, Ninja man and Elephant Man , Lady Saw and the likes,
Jamaicans really get into their concerts and often throw fireworks to show appreciations.
'Sound systems parties' or 'jump-ups' are smaller impromptu concerts ubiquitous on weekends throughout the island on weekends throughout Jamaica, often at improvised 'lawns' and often in remote locations where the music can be cranked up until the earth trembles (literally!!) and noise restrictions are not likely to be enforced. Music is supplied by DJs -'selectors' - who often 'dub' or improvise lyrics over pre-recorded sound tracks. Often, rival DJs vie against each other at 'clashes' DJ-based shows are nowhere near as appealing as those where live bands play. Sound-system parties are popular with a young, often unruly male crowd and violence is always a possibility. Security guards normally frisk for weapons, but often someone will sneak in a gun to let off as a bravado demonstrations of appreciation. Inner-city based clashes are best avoided.
Go-go clubs are another staple of Jamaican nightlife, often as an adjunct to the village rum shop. Almost every village has at least one; sometimes several cluster together. Usually it's simply bar, often quite rustic, with a mirrored stage where young women dance in lingerie, string bikinis or topless (even naked) dance and perform - often quite raunchy - contortions. None are upscale in the style of US 'gentleman's clubs'. Most have private rooms for one-on-one 'private dances' (the dancers are paid an average of J$600 a night - about $18 - plus whatever they can gain for privatelap-dances or for other services rendered)........Learn more about Sex and Prostitution in Jamaica
Although the clientele is mostly young male, it is not un-usual to see Jamaican couples in the crowd. They are generally non-threatening places Click here to learn about sex and travel
There are no gambling casinos in Jamaica. Although hoteliers are currently lobbying for gambling. Several larger hotels have video slot machines (one-arm bandits), which are legal. By far the largest is the recently opened Coral Cliffs Gaming Room in Montego Bay Jamaica with 100 gaming machines and all the flashing bulbs and neon glitz of Vegas.
Betting on horses at Caymanas Park is permitted.
Jamaicans are not big movie-goers given the big cable industry here where the latest movie is shown if you wait a month or so. Jamaicans also tend to rent videos). Nonetheless, most large resort towns have at least one cinema showing top-run Hollywood movies, usually only a month or two after their release in the USA. Most movie houses are smoke free and are on par with movie theatres in the USA and Europe in the way they are managed. Anticipate enthusiastic audience reactions to specific scenes. Entrancegenerally costs US$5.
For local attractions for example rafting down the Marthae Brae River cost $45.00 per raft (each seats two persons). For visiting the Rosehall Great House $15.00 per person. Contact me for prices on local attractions.
Outside of the large hotels and resort, prices quoted for hotel accommodation and meals already include tax. Just so as not be surprised, ask if you will need to pay tax.