Jamaican Currency

Most tourists that come to Jamaica have quite a few questions about Jamaican currency.

They wonder what currency is used in Jamaica, should they travel with US or Jamaican currency, should they carry cash or use only their credit cards, they wonder where they should exchange Jamaican dollars?

Hopefully we can answer all the questions about Jamaican money here.

What is the currency in Jamaica

The currency used in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar.  The currency comes in the following denominations: $50, $100, $500, $1000, $5000.

Jamaican coins come in 1 dollar, 10 dollar, 20 dollar, 25 cents and 10 cents coins.  The newest denomination is the $5000 dollar bill; sometimes businesses might not want to accept it because they don’t have the change.

When using Jamaican money make sure you don’t accidentally give someone a $1,000 bill instead of a $100.  If you are in dim light and you have had a few drinks it is possible to mix them up.

 Jamaican dollar to USD exchange rate

The Jamaican currency exchange rate is one US dollar is the equivalent of $128.95 Jamaican dollars.  Please note that the exchange rate in Jamaica fluctuates quite a bit.  You can get an up-to-date exchange rate here.

What currency is accepted in Jamaica

The US dollar is readily accepted in Jamaica especially in the tourist areas of Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril.  You will also find that the majority of businesses in other parts of the island will accept US dollars.

Keep in mind that when you use the US dollar especially when purchasing goods priced in Jamaican dollars the business operator usually has their own set exchange rate.

These exchange rates usually favour the business operator and are usually quite a bit lower than the official exchange rate.  Your best bet in this situation is to use your credit card.

The exchange rate on credit card transactions is usually very high.  If you are going to be in Jamaica for awhile and you don’t want to use your credit card you can always use your bank card to withdraw Jamaican funds.

Best Places to exchange currency

The best places to exchange US dollars for Jamaican dollars is at the bank or at a cambio.  Two of the largest banks in Jamaica are Scotiabank and National Commercial bank.

Both banks have branches islandwide.  If you are exchanging money at a bank or cambio bring a photo id.  If you exchange large amounts of money they will ask you for the source of the funds.  This is a mere formality so don’t be alarmed.

You  can also withdraw Jamaican currency by using your bank card.  Some ATM machines  also allow you to withdraw US dollars.

If you plan to withdraw currency its best to do so in the US.  Most ATM machines have hign bank charges for withdraws for overseas cards.

The charges are usually US $6 – US $7.  The exact fee will depend on the bank you are affiliated with. Most ATM machines in Jamaica are on the Cirrus and PLUS networks.

Both international airports in Jamaica have ATM machines.  Additionally, some hotels have ATM machines.  The best ATM machines to use are those affiliated with Scotiabank or National Commercial Bank.  This is especially true if you are using a US card.

What is the best currency to take to Jamaica

The best currency to take to Jamaica depends on where you are staying.

If you are staying at an all inclusive

You will find that everything is priced in US dollars.  If you want to order a  spa treatment or tour you will find that everything is priced in US dollars.

Your best bet in this situation is to bring only US dollars or use your credit card.  It would also be a good idea to bring some small denominations US bills for tips, especially if you plan to leave the hotel.

Keep in mind most all inclusives don’t allow tipping on premises and operate on a cashless system where everything is charged to your room.

If you are staying at a non all inclusive

If you are staying at a non-all inclusive you will need funds to pay for restaurants and other incidentals.  If you are going to eat in the restaurants at the hotel the prices are usually in US dollars.

If you plan to leave the property, most of the Jamaican restaurants have their pricing in Jamaican dollars. It would be best to have funds in Jamaican dollars.

If you pay in US and the prices are in Jamaican dollars, the owners’ exchange rate will prevail.  In this case you will not get a good exchange rate.  The exchange rate will be in favour of the business owner.

 If you are staying at a villa or a small hotel

Most small hotels and villas in Jamaica accept both US and Jamaican dollars.  If you plan to leave the property often it will make sense to get some Jamaican currency.

Otherwise you will be at the mercy of the business owners exchange rate which is usually lower than the official exchange rate.

If you plan to tour the island

If you plan to tour the island and eat and travel as a local your best bet is to use Jamaican dollars.  Most local public transportation operators will only accept Jamaican dollars.

This also applies to local restaurants and supermarkets.  For purchases in formal stores you can use your credit card; however, some small business places don’t accept US currency.

Receiving Change

If you plan to use US currency make sure you carry small bills such as 1, 5, and 10 dollar denominations.  Most stores will not give you your change in US dollars.  When you do this the exchange rate will be in favour of the merchant.

Currencies that are highly convertible to US dollars

Some of the currencies that are highly convertible in Jamaica are the US dollar, The Euro, Pounds, The Cayman Dollar and the Canadian dollar.

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