How to Enjoy a Jamaica Family Vacation on Any Budget

Avatar By Ayngelina Brogan / 16 October 2016

How to Enjoy a Jamaica Family Vacation on Any Budget

Avatar By Ayngelina Brogan

Sure, you could splurge on luxury villas, pricey excursions, and posh dining on your next family vacation to Jamaica, but it’s also easy to enjoy the best of Jamaica on a budget. With its vibrant mix of culture, legendary beaches, and a new crop of family-friendly hotels, Jamaica’s wealth of budget-friendly pleasures is proof that the best things in life might cost less than you think.

Free Eco-Adventures

A day spent exploring Montego Bay Marine Park is one of the best bets for enjoying 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 such as brilliant angelfish, sea urchins, and parrot fish. The ecosystem of mangroves and white sand beaches offers an all-ages natural playground perfect for snorkelling or spotting heron, egrets, and pelicans.

Go Underground

green grotto cave
Photo Credit: Callie Reed under Creative Commons CC2.0

Kids can connect with nature without breaking the bank at the Green Grotto Caves, a series of underground caverns that also serves as a journey through the island’s history. These caves on Jamaica’s north coast once provided shelter for the Tainos, Jamaica’s first peoples, as well as Spanish troops during the war of 1665. But today, families will enjoy exploring interconnected passageways and chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites leading to a deep cavern featuring an awe-inspiring grotto filled with translucent water.

Eat Local  

You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the true taste of Jamaica. Just head to Scotchie’s, a no-frills eatery with three locations, beloved by locals and visitors alike. In Ocho Rios, grab a picnic table set beneath a colourful cabana and groove to reggae music while you dive into succulent jerk chicken or pork. Be sure to order plenty of the kid-pleasing sides like fried cassava chips, corn-on-the cob, and mac ‘n cheese. Your order comes wrapped in aluminum foil so no worries about making a mess.

eat jamaican foodPhoto Credit: Calgary Reviews under Creative Commons CC2.0

Family-friendly Dining

Another popular spot where dinner for the whole gang will set you back much less than you might think is the Pelican Grill on Montego Bay’s Hip Strip. This family-run restaurant has been serving up 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 sure to be a hit with kids of all ages.

Sunscape Splash Resort & Spa

Sleep, eat, and play for less at Sunscape Splash Montego Bay, one of the newest additions to Jamaica’s inventory of family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts. Located directly on Montego Bay Marine Park, you’ll save on excursions as non-motorized water sports are included as part of your package. There are even complimentary guided tours of the marine park departing from the beach each morning at 10:00 a.m. Bonus? The onsite Pirate’s Paradise water park features 2 waterslides, a meandering lazy river, and four outdoor pools. If you feel the need to splurge, an upgrade to the Sun Club category scores you complimentary room service, upgraded room amenities, and extra privileges.  

Outdoor Fun

Doctors Cave Beach
Photo Credit: Public Domain CC0

Skip the overpriced excursions and soak up some history along with some fun at 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 water remains. Today’s savvy families can purchase a day membership and soak up the curative powers of sun and sea (Adult admission is $6; kids under 12 half-price).


Get your culture fix for less at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre. This impressive facility houses an art gallery as well as a museum featuring informative displays of ancient artifacts. Admission is free for children under the age of 12. If you have some extra time, the centre itself is located at the historic Sam Sharpe Square. This square was named for the national hero who was executed in the Montego Bay Market Place in 1832 for his role in the Emancipation War. Sharpe can be proudly seen on the back of the Jamaican $50 bill.

Whether you’re planning a Jamaica family vacation for few, or a holiday for the extended family, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Jamaica on a budget.

Book a flight or an all-inclusive package for a fun-filled family vacation in Jamaica

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

You might also like

Food and Drink

5 Best Places for Pancakes in Toronto

By Ayngelina Brogan

Like most big urban areas, brunch is a big deal in Toronto. Groups of friends and families get together to end the week together in...

#Canada, #FoodAndDrink, #NorthAmerica

Activities Discoveries Tips and tricks

Top 5 under $50: Affordable Activities in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Article by Chadner Navarro originally published in the November 2019-April 2020 edition of the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here. Lush nature, sugary...

#Activities, #Atmosphere, #Discoveries, #PuertoRico, #South, #TipsandTricks

Activities Discoveries Food and Drink Tips and tricks

Our guide for a perfect vacation in Jamaica

Nadia, a marketing specialist at Transat, loves Jamaica so much that she’s been there ten times in just a few years. “The country holds...

#Activities, #Discoveries, #FoodAndDrink, #Jamaica, #South, #TipsandTricks

Family Tips and tricks

Wedding in the South: Fun for the whole family

By Transat Invisible

Five ingenious tips for helping kids and parents have a rollicking good time at your destination wedding.  Article by Kate Yorga, Weddingbells When it comes...

#Family, #South, #TipsandTricks, #Weddings

Where to wed in the South: Our top 5

Article by Kate Yorga, Weddingbells Whatever your celebration style, these five tropical hot spots provide stunning locales and unique customs to make your destination wedding...

#CostaRica, #Cuba, #DominicanRepublic, #Jamaica, #Mexico, #South, #Weddings

Discoveries On board

Plane vs Animal: How our Airbus A321neoLR’s Characteristics Compare to Nature’s Boldest Creatures

Article originally published in the November-April 2019-2020 edition of the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here. Our new plane, the Airbus A321neoLR...

#Atmosphere, #Discoveries, #Onboard

Get inspiration for your next #ExperienceTransat