Jamaica Travel Tips (Traveling to Jamaica)

There are quite a few things to know when traveling to Jamaica.  The following Jamaica travel tips will help you in navigating Jamaica and make your trip more enjoyable:

Weather

The wettest months in Jamaica are May and June and October and early November.  If you want to take advantage of cheap vacation rates during the summer here is a Jamaica travel tip for you: visit in late July or early August.

There is usually little rain during this time period and the prices are low.  Fortunately, when it does rain in Jamaica it doesn’t rain for very long periods.

Please note if you are staying in Portland (Port Antonio) expect it to rain almost every day.  In Portland it is usually sunny in the morning and rains in the afternoon.

The best time to visit Jamaica is from November to March.  The height of the hurricane season is late August and early September; if you are traveling during this period check with your hotel regarding their hurricane policy. 

Geography

Most tourists are surprised to discover that Jamaica is mostly mountainous.  If you are staying or traveling in the mountainous area take a sweater.

If you are going to go sightseeing keep in mind that once you leave the main highways the roads are narrow and you will be traveling along hill routes on narrow roads.

Additionally, some of the interior roads are not very good so if you get car sickness come prepared.

Where to Go and When to Go

Jamaica has so many places to go that sometimes it’s hard to decide what region to visit.  Our post on the best place to stay in Jamaica will give you some good Jamaica vacation tips.

If you are trying to decide when is the best time to visit Jamaica  you can have a look at our post here.

 Money

The currency used in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar.  US currency is readily accepted in the tourist regions.  If you want to get Jamaican currency the best place to exchange currency is at a cambio or an commercial bank.

Please note that most Jamaican ATM machines accept US credit cards with the Visa cirrus and Plus logos.  Please note that if you are traveling with more than US $10,000 or foreign equivalent it must be declared with Jamaican customs.

Banking and Credit Cards

The banks in Jamaica are usually open from 8:30am to 2:00 pm from Monday to Thursday.  On Fridays the banks are open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

The banks are closed on Saturdays.  Credit cards are accepted at most business places island wide.

Language

The official language in Jamaica is English; however, Patois is commonly spoken.

Tipping in Jamaica

Most restaurants have a service charge of 10% to 15%.  Additionally, Jamaica also has a general consumption tax rate of 16.5%.  It would also be a good idea to bring a few one, five and ten dollar bills with you for tipping.

Clothing

Lightweight, tropical clothing is best in Jamaica.  If you are traveling are staying in the mountains bring a light sweater.  Some hotels require you to dress up for dining so you might have to bring casual evening wear.

 Safety

Remember to give friends and family your contact information and itinerary in case of an emergency.  It will also be best to register with your country’s embassy or consulate before you travel.  In case of an emergency at least someone will be aware of your whereabouts.

Food and Drink

Clean tap water can be found throughout the country.  Also visitors will find they are free to eat local food without any repercussions.

Jamaica Electrical Outlets

110-120 volts is standard in Jamaica.  If you are coming from Europe you will need an adapter.

Driving in Jamaica

Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road.  Jamaica has a well-developed highway system on the coast.  The new north south highway from Ocho Rios to Kingston has reduced the travel time.

If you are traveling on the interior roads you will find the roads are very narrow.  You can get a more in depth view of Driving in Jamaica here.  You can get more travel tips for Jamaica on driving in Jamaica here.

Travel Documents

All US citizens are required to present a passport.  Citizens of the US and Canada do not require a visa.  It would also be best to bring another form of ID and photocopy both ID’s in case of loss or theft.

How much do things cost

If you are going via the all-inclusive route most of your expenses will be paid for.  For a more in-depth review of how much things cost in Jamaica you can review our post here.

Communications

Jamaica has a very well developed communication system. Most hotels have free Wi-Fi and the telecommunications service is very reliable.

Post offices are located island wide.  You can also get free Wi-Fi at most coffee cafes, hotels and local libraries.

Health

There are regional hospitals and clinics throughout the island.  Some hotels have doctors on call and some hotels have resident nurses.

Jamaica has been experiencing an outbreak of Chikungunya and the Zika virus which are spread via mosquitos.  Remember to bring mosquito repellent.

Shopping

When shopping expect to bargain for a better price, don’t settle for the first price given.  Vendors can be a bit aggressive, but don’t be intimidated.

If you find you have forgotten to bring something from home, you can find it in Jamaica.  The majority of the brands that you are familiar with in your home country are available in Jamaica.

 Customs

An adult 18 years or older is allowed to bring in the following items duty free: up to 50 cigars,  up to 200 cigarettes, one quart or one litre of spirits, cordials or wine, 6 fluid ounces of perfume spirits and 12 fluid ounces of toilet water.

Travel to Jamaica – Excursions

One of our last tips for traveling to Jamaica is to consider the location of your hotel.  This is especially important if you plan to take a lot of tours.  Transportation is one of the most expensive segments of your trip and the costs can add up.

 

 

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