Complete Jamaica Travel Guide

Verify important information for your vacation to Jamaica with our in-depth travel guide. Listing essential tips, travel information, popular landmarks, and also featuring emergency contact information, your travel planning will be much easier with this Jamaica overview.

About Jamaica: Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean. With over 2.8 million people it is the third most populated English country in the Americas after the USA and Canada. Jamaica is the third largest island and fourth largest country in the Caribbean. Most major cities are located on the coast.

The island is famous for many reasons, such as the Blue Mountains and Blue Mountain coffee, as well as spectacular waterfalls.

The climate is tropical with hot, humid weather the majority of the year. Jamaica is often hit by hurricanes.

Jamaica has a mixed economy and relies heavily on tourism for support. Over 1 million tourists visit Jamaica every year.

Dunns River Falls is just one important tip

Entry/Exit & Customs
Taxes & Fees
Medical
Crime
Getting Around
Culture
Landmarks
Safety

Anthem: Jamaica, Land We Love Royal Anthem: God Save the Queen Capital: Kingston Time Zone: UTC -5 Languages: English, Jamaican Patois Power Outlets: 110V, 50Hz Currency: Jamaica Dollar (JMD) Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted. Traveler Checks: Traveler checks accepted. Side of road to drive on: Left Legal drinking age: 18

: : ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS

-Valid passport
-Return ticket
-Proof of sufficient funds
-Jamaican Immigration entry card
-If traveling with a child you will have to identification/passport as well as notarized letter from the other parent if they are not present that they aware you are traveling.

Always verify with the High Commission for Jamaica for up to date entry requirements.

: : CUSTOMS INFORMATION

Restricted/Prohibited Materials
-Meats/animals
-Ground provision
-Fruits & vegetables, plants & plants products
-Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, herbal teas
-Firearms
-Used tires
-Radios (two-way)
-Coconut derivatives, oil producing seeds, edible oils, detergents (liquid or solid form)
-Motor vehicles, explosives, sugar
-Alcohol in bulk
-Human remains
-Pesticides
-Live animal's

Prohibited items are absolutely forbidden from entering Jamaica, some of which include:

-Pornographic / obscene material, artwork, books, etc.
-Coin-base or counterfeit coin of any currency or country.
-All publications of de Laurence Scott and Company of Chicago and of the Red Star Publishing Company of Chicago in the United States of America relating to divination, magic, cultism or supernatural arts.

Customs Information

-If bringing a firearm you must contact the embassy/consulate to obtain a permit otherwise you could be severely fined or imprisoned.

The Customs Tariff allows for each passenger to receive duty concessions in respect of the following:
-Instruments and tools to be used for the purpose of their profession, trade, occupation or employment, provided that the items have been in the passengers’ possession and bona fide use for a reasonable period;
-Tobacco and some potable articles including wines and spirits in the baggage or on the person which they might reasonably be expected to carry with them for personal use, in such quantities as the Commissioner may from time to time approve;
-Used household effects which have been in the passenger’s use for a reasonable period of time and are not imported for sale;

For further information please contact The Jamaica Customs Department

: : SALES TAX AND FEES

Sales Tax:

Sales Tax/ VAT 16.5% on goods and services purchased, some items are exempt from this tax.

Airport Taxes

An airport tax of J$1,000 is charged upon departure. This tax is now included in airline ticket prices, except for charter flights.

: : MEDICAL INFORMATION

Emergencies:

The emergency numbers in Jamaica are 110 for the ambulance and fire and 119 for police.

Hospitals:

There are only big hospitals in Kingston and Montego Bay, other remote areas only have smaller hospitals and medical transport to a bigger hospital can be very costly. It is very important to have coverage for insurance overseas as medical costs in Jamaica are very high.

Bringing in prescriptions:

Medication must be in a labeled container with the doctor’s name, the name of the pharmacy, and the contents of the container. Always carry prescription medication in your carry-on luggage.

Vaccinations:

The following vaccines are recommended prior to travel to Jamaica; Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Tetanus-Diphtheria.

In addition, anyone coming from country where yellow fever is present will have to present a yellow fever certificate.

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: : CRIME

Violent crime and petty theft occur, particularly in Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay. Although the presence of security and anti-crime troops has intensified in major urban areas, drug and gang-related violence including shootings occur, and can result in death, injury, and destruction of property. The number of murders in Jamaica is substantially high in recent years. Travelers should always be aware of the risk of becoming the victim of crossfire.

Accused of a crime in Jamaica:

You can be arrested for underage drinking, disorderly conduct, reckless behavior, and drunk driving in Jamaica. You are also subject to being arrested for public intoxication in some areas. Jamaica has strict laws concerning the use, possession, and sale of illegal drugs. If you are caught with drugs, you will be arrested, charged, and tried as an international drug trafficker. This can carry a prison term of up to twenty years.Jamaican law contains specific prohibitions on certain sexual activities. These prohibitions have been used to target homosexuals and trans-gendered individuals. Violations can result in lengthy imprisonment.

Prison conditions differ greatly than prisons in North America or Western Europe. Prisoners are provided only the most basic meals and must rely upon personal funds, family and friends to supplement their diets, provide clothing, and supply personal care items such as toothpaste and shampoo. Packages shipped from the United States to prisoners are subject to Jamaican import taxes and are undeliverable when the recipient lacks the funds to pay the duties.

Victims of Crime:

If you are the victim of a crime in Jamaica you should contact the local police and your embassy and or consulate for help. This includes the loss or theft of a passport. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local Jamaican authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Travelling to Jamaica with a Criminal Record:

There are currently no restrictions on travelers with a criminal record to travel to Jamaica. We do recommend however to verify with your embassy/consulate prior to traveling to verify that these requirements have not changed.

: : TRANSPORTATION

Car Rental:

Renting is car is very simple in Jamaica and there are many car rental agencies. Keep in mind you must be 21 to drive in Jamaica. Remember to look out for livestock crossing the road and Jamaicans often stop their cars to speak to bystanders, honking will be often heard as well as this is a customary hello.

Taxi:

There are many taxis in Jamaica, always agree to the fare prior to departing. You will know you are entering a licensed taxi because they will be part of the Jamaican Union of Travelers Association. Their license plates will read PP or PPV and will be red.

Public Transportation:

There are many public buses in Jamaica and they are very economical about $1USD for a 50 mile (80km) bus ride. However if timeliness or climate are important to you this is not a good option. Jamaican buses do not operate on a strict schedule and therefore you can find yourself waiting for the bus.

Drivers License Info:

If you are from the United-States or a country under the Commonwealth your drivers license is valid but you must be 21 to drive in Jamaica.

: : CULTURAL INFORMATION

Motto:

Out of Many, One People

Wardrobe:

You will find locals easy to get along with in Jamaic. Out of resect for their culture (unless on your resort) you should dress according to your outing. Short skirts are considered inappropriate for women in Jamaica. Casual attire is fine for shopping but if you are going to dine out it is best to wear formal attire. A polo shirt and pants is fine for a man, and a knee-length skirt and blouse is acceptable for a woman.

Etiquette:

The most common greeting in Jamaica is a firm handshake with direct eye contact and a warm smile. Jamaicans also use the time of day for greeting for example; good morning. Formal greetings are always used with a title (Mr., Mrs.) unless a friendship has already been established.

Jamaica is very religious with the highest number of churches per capita, they often make biblical references, it is considered extremely disrespectful to criticize the Christian religion.

Tipping:

In Jamaica it is wise to verify any bill prior to tipping to see if there is a service charge as many establishments will include it.

In restaurants it is customary to tip 10-20%. In hotels you can tip bellhops 1 to 2$ USD per bag and maids 1 to 2$USD per day. Taxis expect 10-15% of the metered fare this rate goes up to 25% between midnight and 5am.

: : POPULAR LANDMARKS

Bob Marley Museum

Visit the Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum is on Hope Road in Kingston. The museum is housed in Bob Marley's former home, it also housed his Tuff Gong recording studio. This is an iconic tour, which will help you deeper understand why Bob Marley is treasured by the world.

Devon House

Tour of Devon House
Devon House is one of numerous preserved historic mansions in Jamaica that depict the glory of days gone by. This house was built in 1881 by George Stiebel, a wealthy Jamaican who became one of the first black millionaires in the Caribbean on the strength of his mining interests in South America.

Fort Charles

Inside Port Royal in Jamaica
This fort was used by the British in 1655 to ward off the Spanish when they took over the island. The fort was built in the shape of a ship, almost all surrounded by water.

St. Peters Church

St Peters Church
This historic church was destroyed twice within a decade and finally rebuilt in 1726. It was originally built in 1671 and is one the island's oldest churches. It is on Caldonia Avenue in Kingston.

: : TRAVEL AND SAFETY TIPS

-Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.

-Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while traveling to avoid being a target of crime.

-Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.

-If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.

-Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage.

-Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.

-Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourist's.

-Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.

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