Falmouth, Jamaica has been labeled a "historic" modern port. But don't get caught off guard. Read our 5 family travel & safety tips before visiting Falmouth.
As frequent travelers, cruise enthusiasts, and 3-time visitors to Falmouth, we've learned a few things about this popular port town. For example, did you know that Falmouth, Jamaica had piped water before New York City? Yeah, we didn't know that either, until we started researching the town.
We've had great experiences in our visits to Jamaica, but not by accident. In fact, on our first visit, I very nearly had my professional camera stolen! Learn from a few of our mistakes and ensure your visit to the tropical island destination is safe, secure and enjoyable, too!
What, and where, is Falmouth, Jamaica?
Falmouth, Jamaica is a popular cruise port on both Royal Caribbean and Carnival. We had the opportunity to visit this tropical island port on a recent cruise and wanted to pass along a few tips for visiting this particular port.
The below tips are based on our own personal experience as well as tips from other frequent cruisers that have been to the port many times. Some of the seasoned cruise travelers actually recommended just staying on the ship for this port. That's always an option as well, but if you're more the type to explore on ports of call, then be sure to read our tips below before your next visit to Falmouth.
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Falmouth Tip #1 - Safety First (and Last)
We are not including this tip as number one to scare or intimidate anyone, but we thought this was one of the most important tips to heed. Falmouth, Jamaica is a lovely town with lots of points of interest and a ton of historical charm.
All of that aside, any port stop in Jamaica should be treated with caution - Falmouth is no different than the others. Just like any city, there are good people and there are bad. Those that aren't so good may be looking to relieve you of your possessions or your money.
We recommend that you be aware as you walk around the island. Tourists are prime targets for criminals because we are known to carry expensive camera equipment, cash or other valuables. There's no need to be frightened, but do remain aware as you visit the city.
Falmouth Tip #2 - Don't Forget to Negotiate
One of the most popular activities in Falmouth is the shopping. The port itself has a number of shops and vendors inside stores or in their open-air market place as well. We encourage you to negotiate with these vendors, especially those in the open-air market, as many times their price is just their asking price.
This may vary with the more established storefronts and corporate stores, but there may still be opportunity for discounts or special deals there as well!
Falmouth Tip #3 - Venturing Outside the Port
The Port of Falmouth is protected by security and gates provided by the cruise lines. You are able to venture outside of the cruise terminal area either on foot or via taxi or other tour shuttle services.
The cruise line we were on were very explicit in reminding us that they could only guarantee our safety inside the port area. Once we went outside of that area, we were on our own.
Walking around the port is a possibility, which we did for a while on our visit. We were absolutely inundated with people trying to sell us their goods or take us on an "exclusive" island tour. We couldn't walk 5 steps without another person trying to sell us something.
Our recommendation is that if you do want to see more of the city or the surrounding area, to contract with a reputable tour company for transportation. You may get a better deal from one of the vendors that approaches you outside the port, but safety should be one of your primary concerns as well.
Falmouth Tip #4 - Try the Rum (or Rhum Cake)
The key to rum cake in Jamaica is to pick the right flavor and "enjoy responsibly".
The Falmouth area of Jamaica (and the island in general) is known for its rum and its rum cake. You'll find vendors selling both from numerous distilleries and producers around the island.
Rhum cake is one local treat that I strongly encourage you to try, along with a rum punch (or rhum punch) to help get you into the Jamaica island spirit on your trip!
Falmouth Tip #5 - Going Through Customs Isn't a Joke
Getting into Falmouth, Jamaica is a breeze. Once the ship docks and the doors open, it's a short walk from the ship to the port shopping area. You'll pass through the relatively new and modern customs building as you enter.
Getting back out is a slightly more involved process, because you have to go through customs.
The customs building will have multiple security guards and they even had drug-sniffing dogs searching for illegal contraband when we were there. You do not want to get stopped by one of these agents, because remember, you're in a foreign country.
Purchasing and attempting to smuggle illegal drugs on to the ship just isn't worth getting stuck in a Jamaican jail, so be careful!
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