Country guides Caribbean
Electrical current is 110 volts, 50Hz. Flat two- and three-pin plugs are in use.
The official language of Jamaica is English but a local patois is also spoken, a mixture of English, Spanish, and various African languages.
The Jamaican Dollar (JMD) is divided into 100 cents. The island is well supplied with ATMs, banks and bureaux de change. Banking hours are usually Monday to Thursday from 9am to 2pm, and Friday from 9am to 4pm. Cambio exchange offices are found throughout the country, open later than banks and often offering better exchange rates. Retain receipts as proof of legal currency exchange. Exchange bureaux at the airports and hotels also offer better rates than banks. Major credit cards are widely accepted. Cash is best taken in US Dollars.
Outside the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica where tips are part of the package, visitors should tip 10 to 15 percent for taxis, personal services, room service and restaurants where a service charge is not already included in the bill. Parking attendants, bellboys and porters also expect a small tip.
While generally safe, the tap water can cause stomach upsets and visitors are advised to drink bottled water if on short trips. Private medical facilities are of a reasonable standard but can vary throughout the island, with facilities limited outside Kingston and Montego Bay. Medical treatment can be expensive so travel insurance is advised. If you require prescription medication, it's best to take it with you with a signed and dated letter from your doctor naming the medication and explaining why you need it.
There are incidents of petty crime such as robbery, particularly in the capital city of Kingston and in Montego Bay. Tourists are advised to be cautious and take care of their belongings. It's best to avoid using buses at night and also to avoid any public demonstrations that may occur.
Jamaica is classified as having a risk of Zika virus transmission, so it may be wise to seek the advice of health professionals if travelling to hotspot regions. Hurricane season runs from June to November. While it is rare for tropical storms to make landfall in Jamaica, visitors travelling at this time should monitor local and international weather updates for peace of mind.
Contrary to popular belief, smoking marijuana is illegal in Jamaica. Homosexuality is also prohibited by law and the country is notorious for its intolerance towards it.
Business in Jamaica is surprisingly formal, with proper titles used and suits and ties the norm despite the tropical climate. Introductions are usually made with a handshake and an exchange of business cards. Punctuality is key, and socialising is an important aspect of the business meeting. Business hours are usually from 8:30am to 4:30pm or 5pm on weekdays.
Travellers to Jamaica over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 230g of other tobacco products; 1L alcoholic beverages and wine; and perfume up to 170ml. Prohibited items include products made from goatskin (e.g. drums, handbags and rugs).
The international access code for Jamaica is +1, in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 876. Wifi is available in the main towns, restaurants and resorts, and internet access is also available from most hotels and parish libraries.
Passport & Visa
All foreign visitors to Jamaica must hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country, return/onward tickets to their country of permanent residence, and the necessary travel documentation for this next destination. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Jamaica, if arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an infected area. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport to enter Jamaica that has to be valid upon their return to the USA. A visa is required for stays longer than 6 months.
British citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required for British passport holders, except for holders of passports endorsed 'British Overseas Territory Citizen' issued to residents of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, who may obtain a tourist visa on arrival for a fee.
Canadian citizens require a passport valid for period of intended stay. No visa is required.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.
www.visitjamaica.com119 (Police); 110 (Ambulance, Fire)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Jamaican Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 452 0660.
Jamaica High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7823 9911.
Jamaican High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 233 9311.
Jamaican Embassy, Sydney +61 04 0220 5266.
Jamaican High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 362 6667
Jamaican Embassy, Brussels, Belgium (also responsible for Ireland): +32 2 230 1170.
Embassies / consulates in Jamaica
United States Embassy, Kingston: +1 876 702 6000.
British High Commission, Kingston: +1 876 936 0700
Canadian High Commission, Kingston: +1 876 926 1500.
Australian High Commission, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for Jamaica): +1 868 822 5450.
South African High Commission, Kingston: + 1 876 620 4840.
Irish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada (also responsible for Jamaica): +1 613 233 6281.
New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada (also responsible for Jamaica): +1 613 238 5991.