Located in the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica is a large island that offers beautiful sandy beaches, clear blue waters, a relaxed atmosphere, delicious food, toe tapping music and historical places of interest.
Jamaica can be accessed by air or sea and visitors are required to hold a return ticket and passport which is valid for six months from the date of entry into the country. No visa is needed but entry is only granted for fourteen to ninety days. Visitors are allowed to take two litres of alcohol and two cartons of cigarettes into the country and any prescribed medication must be confirmed by a doctor’s prescription. Inoculations are not officially required when travelling to Jamaica but visitors are advised to check with a doctor, or health centre, before leaving their home country, particularly in respect to Hepatitis A and B, tetanus/diphtheria, yellow fever and cholera. Taking out travel insurance before leaving the home country is advisable particularly to cover any unexpected medical expenses.
The currency used in the country is the Jamaican dollar and money can be exchanged at the airport, cambios, banks and hotels. Banking opening hours are Monday to Thursday 9am to 14.00 and Friday 14.30 to 17.00.
As when visiting any country, sensible precautions need to be taken with all valuables and, for example, it is not advisable to wear expensive jewellery, particularly when visiting poorer areas.
Whilst hotels and resorts are considered to be relatively safe, visitors to Jamaica may feel threatened and overwhelmed by touts in tourist areas selling ganga (cannabis), massages, hair braiding and crafts. However, if problems do occur, the emergency number for the Jamaican police is 119.
Normal practice for visitors is to give a ten percent tip in hotels and restaurants but remember to check bills as a service charge may be included. Parking attendants, bellboys and porters expect to receive a tip and although taxi drivers may ask tips are not necessary.
The atmosphere in Jamaica is generally very laid back and Jamaicans have a reputation for keeping their own time and therefore do not be surprised if people are at least ten minutes late for meetings or events.
Drug possession and use is illegal in Jamaica and will result in severe penalties including imprisonment in a Jamaican gaol.
In addition homosexuality is frowned upon and certain sexual acts are still considered to be illegal.
The official language in Jamaica is English but it is not uncommon to hear or see signs printed in Patois which is a Jamaican dialect.
Jamaica is a beautiful island that has much to offer its visitors and providing sensible precautions’ are taken then any holiday should be enjoyable and trouble free.