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6 Ways to Enjoy a Jamaica Family Vacation on a Budget

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Sure, you could splurge on luxury villas, expensive excursions and fancy restaurants on your next family holiday to Jamaica. It’s also easy to enjoy the best Jamaica has to offer on a budget. With a vibrant mix of culture, legendary beaches and a new crop of family-friendly hotels, Jamaica’s wealth of budget-friendly delights proves that the best things in life can cost less than you think.

Free eco-adventures

A day spent exploring the Montego Bay Marine Park is one of the best ways to enjoy Jamaica on a budget. Established in 1991, this vast area of protected coral reef and crystal clear waters is home to an abundance of marine life including brilliant angelfish, sea urchins and parrot fish. The ecosystem of mangroves and white sand beaches provides a natural playground for all ages, perfect for snorkelling or spotting herons, egrets and pelicans.

Go underground

Children can connect with nature without breaking the bank at the Green Grotto Caves, a series of underground caves that double as a journey through the island’s history. Located on Jamaica’s north coast, these caves once sheltered the Taino, Jamaica’s first inhabitants, as well as Spanish troops during the war of 1665. Today, families will enjoy exploring interconnected passages and chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites, leading to a deep cavern with an awe-inspiring grotto filled with translucent water.

Eat local  

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a true taste of Jamaica. Just head to Scotchie’s, a no-frills restaurant with three locations that is popular with locals and visitors alike. In Ocho Rios, grab a picnic table under a colourful gazebo and groove to reggae music as you dive into juicy jerk chicken or pork. Be sure to order plenty of the kid-friendly sides like fried cassava chips, corn on the cob and mac ‘n’ cheese. Your order will be wrapped in tinfoil, so don’t worry about making a mess.

Family-friendly dining

Another popular spot where dinner for the gang will set you back a lot less than you think is the Pelican Grill on Montego Bay’s Hip Strip. This family-run restaurant has been serving Jamaican comfort food for more than 50 years and is the place to go to sample home-style dishes such as ackee and saltfish, West Indian curries and, of course, jerk chicken with rice and peas. The old-fashioned soda fountain with its creamy malted milkshakes is a hit with kids of all ages.

Outdoor fun

Skip the overpriced excursions and soak up some history while having fun at the Doctors Cave Bathing Club. Established in 1910, the Doctors Cave Bathing Club was founded by a doctor and his friends who accessed a secret cave opening to enjoy a morning swim in the buoyant waters of Montego Bay. The cave itself is long gone, but the soothing nature of the clear waters remains. Today’s savvy families can purchase a day membership and soak up the healing powers of the sun and sea (adult admission $6; children under 12 half-price).

Jamaican culture

Get your cultural fix for less at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. This impressive facility houses an art gallery as well as a museum with informative displays of ancient artefacts. Admission is free for children under 12. If you have more time, the centre itself is located in the historic Sam Sharpe Square. This square is named after the national hero who was executed in the Montego Bay Market Square in 1832 for his role in the Emancipation War. Sharpe is proudly featured on the back of the Jamaican $50 note.

The best budget family resort in Jamaica

Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica is the premier, budget-friendly resort for families looking to experience the best of Jamaica without breaking the bank. Nestled on a beautiful beachfront in Runaway Bay, this all-inclusive resort offers an array of amenities designed to delight both parents and children. Families can enjoy spacious, comfortable rooms, multiple dining options serving a variety of cuisines, and a plethora of activities from water sports to kids’ clubs. The resort’s expansive pools, water park and direct access to the beach provide endless entertainment for children, while parents can relax knowing that all their needs will be met with exceptional service and hospitality. With its blend of affordability, luxury and family-oriented amenities, Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica ensures a memorable and enjoyable holiday for the whole family.

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