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Jamaica Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT -5.

Electricity

Electrical current is 110 volts, 50Hz. Flat two- and three-pin plugs are in use.

Language

The official language of Jamaica is English but a local patois is also spoken, a mixture of English, Spanish, and various African languages.

Travel Health

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.

Tipping

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.

Safety Information

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.

Local Customs

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

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.

Communications

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.

Duty Free

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).

Our Travel Expert

Shenita has travelled extensively and has visited more than 40 percent of the Caribbean. Jamaica, particularly Negril, is one of her favourite destinations: her home away from home! She tries to visit at least once a year.

>Read Shenita's tips on Jamaica
>Ask Shenita a question


Become our Jamaica Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Jamaica travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Jamaica or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.