Photo Story

Jamaican Tourism vs. Tradition

ID # 1296

Caribbean, Jamaica

The resort experience is often the only experience of the island that visitors get. While beautiful, this is not what life in the Jamaica is like. This Caribbean nation is dynamic in both geography and traditions. Thankfully, my experience was much more true to the experience of life on the island and instead I am able to experience the diversity of the island in a ways more similar to my parent’s upbringing.

As a strong remnant of links to Great Britain, Jamaicans still drive on the left side of the road! Every time we set out on the road I had to remind myself that the driver was on the correct side of the street. This particular morning we were stopped on the highway because traffic was slowed due to construction. Meanwhile, a man showed off his catch for the day.

What other traditions remain due to the colonial history?

Afternoon Snack: Jamaican Patty

During their childhoods, my parents would devour this piping hot turnover as an after school snack. The patty shown on the right is filled with a puree of curry chicken, but the other options are shown to the left. It is interesting to consider that curry is a spice prevalent in South Asian dishes and made its way to the Caribbean through the Indian diaspora. Now they are easily acquired from establishments akin to fast food chains.

(Try and  think of any other Caribbean foods or foods from your own dietary traditions whose true “origins” are elsewhere)

The Secret Spot: Away from the tourists and troubles of the world, a group of young adults shared their favorite lounging spot to us. Imagine having this for a backyard! How do you think the tourist vs. “locals” dynamic affects the social environment in Jamaica?

Jamaican Mangroves: Filled with beauty… and crocodiles! Did you know this type of vegetation and wildlife existed in the Caribbean?

Fern Gully: This rainforest reserve exists between the mountains and is filled with various types of trees, ferns, and several types of flowers and serves as another example of the diverse vegetation on the island.

Climbing up

This was taken not too far from the low-lying Fern Gully. While not the highest peak, this photograph gives you a sense of differences in elevation. In fact, it is this variance that makes growth of coffee possible, as the crop requires a less dry and warm environment than that beaches at the perimeter of the island.

Can you spot Kingston in this picture?

Oxtail, Plantain & Rice


Family Dinner: An incredibly common staple throughout the island is this beef dish, which is served with the rice shown here, or more commonly with rice and peas. The way in which this particular meat dish is prepared is directly traceable to West African cooking traditions. Plantain (lower right) is a banana-like fruit which is eaten after being sliced and fried (shown here), baked, or in a host of other ways depending on the region you chose to dine in. What do you think accounts for these regional differences?


All of the photographs used in post are owned by the author.