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When people think of Jamaica, nine times out of ten, they think of white sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts and the need for a lot of money. However, not too many would consider Jamaica to be a backpacker’s destination like Central America or SE Asia. But what if we told you it’s more than possible to enjoy this beautiful Caribbean island without taking out a loan? Would you believe us? True, Jamaica does not have much of a backpacker culture, as it caters mostly to all-inclusive travelers, but that doesn’t mean one can’t backpack Jamaica on a budget. So, in this post we’ll tell you how you can avoid spending your life savings, while still experiencing all Jamaica has to offer.

Average Costs


Local Jamaican food can cost anywhere from $3 – $10+ USD, depending on what you order. Chicken stew is usually the cheapest meal on the menu, while oxtail and seafood dishes are on the more expensive side. We were actually pretty surprised that seafood is so expensive in Jamaica, considering it’s an island. However, after talking to some locals, we found out it’s because there is a huge decrease in fishes in the ocean near Jamaica due to over-fishing. So don’t expect to eat a lot of seafood here, unless you have the big bucks.


For a bed in a hostel dorm, expect to pay around $15 – 20 USD, and for a private room in a local guesthouse about $25 – $40 USD. Accommodation in Jamaica can be very expensive if you only rely on the internet and don’t walk around, as many local places do not advertise on the web. Opt to stay in local guesthouses and hotels. The best way to find cheap places to stay in Jamaica is by walking around and talking to locals. If you rather book online in advance check out this post about where to stay in Jamaica. backpacking,backpacking,backpacking


Route taxis are the cheapest way to get around Jamaica. They go just about everywhere on the island and cost around $1 – 7 USD, depending on your final destination. Another more comfortable, but still affordable option is the bus company Knutsford Express,whose coach buses run fairly frequently between popular towns.

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