I've just returned from a break in Jamaica after a long absence. To get up to date with changes back home I purchased the Lonely Planet guide. It was also a bit of an 'instinct' buy really because this guidebook series has served me relatively well in the past as a decent enough reference source for the many countries I have been lucky enough to visit. The content of this book was in some sections however a little disappointing, and in some cases quite insulting to me as a Jamaican, regarding comments on excessive crime, cleanliness etc. I read the book carefully cover to cover prior to my trip and deliberately kept an open mind until AFTER I had seen things first-hand, whilst traveling over the whole island visiting friends and family. Now, just two days back I can't help but feel the author went perhaps a little too far in his damning of certain aspects of island life - a real pity too, considering the sad fact that perhaps 70-80% of visitors to Jamaica rarely ever make it outside the boundaries of their resort areas to see the REAL country for themsleves, unless it's part of a regimented and 'controlled' organised tour.............but then, when one considers publications like these, it's hardly surprising and I too would feel a little anxious to venture out of the door after reading some of the words in the guide. On the brighter side though the book lives up to SOME of the Lonely Planet promise and offers the reader fairly competent and accurate information on the kind of things you can't mess up much, namely hotels, restaurants, travel tips etc etc, so the guide will be useful to most people, however, I do urge those of you looking for a guidebook prior to your trip to Jamaica to first check out the other books available, such as the Rough Guide. Go flick through a copy in the bookstore, then once your mind is made up come back and order it here.
3 stars - ONLY because the general information was adequate if a little uninspiring
Happy holidays! :)