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, which is a mixture of English, Spanish, and various African languages.
The Jamaican dollar (JMD) is the local currency and is divided into 100 cents. The island is well supplied with ATMs, banks and bureaux de change, with banking hours usually running Monday to Thursday from 9am to 2pm, and Friday from 9am to 4pm. Cambio exchange offices are found throughout the country and often offer better exchange rates than banks, as do exchange bureaux at the airports and hotels. Travellers should retain receipts as proof of legal currency exchange. 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. Mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya have been confirmed. 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 visitors require prescription medication, it's best to bring it with them, along with a signed and dated letter from their doctor naming the medication and explaining why they 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 steer clear of any public demonstrations that may occur. 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; travellers can purchase local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones.
Passport & Visa
All foreign visitors to Jamaica must hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country, return or onward tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Jamaica if visitors are arriving from or have transited through an infected area. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their 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 of over 90 days.
UK citizens must have a passport to enter Jamaica that has to be valid for the duration of their stay. A visa is required for stays of over 90 days.
Canadian citizens require a passport valid for period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of fewer than 90 days.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required for stays of fewer than 90 days.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. A 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 for stays of fewer than 90 days.
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.