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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT -5.

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

Money: 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.

Currency Exchange Rates

JMD 100.00 = AUD 1.08 CAD 1.03 EUR 0.68 NZD 1.15 GBP 0.59 USD 0.76 ZAR 10.96
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

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

Entry requirements:

Entry requirements for Americans: 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.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: 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.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens require a passport valid for period of intended stay. No visa is required.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for the period of intended stay in Jamaica. No visa is required.

Passport/Visa Note: 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.

Travel Health: Dengue fever is a risk in Jamaica so visitors should take measures to protect against insect bites. No vaccination certificates are needed for entry into Jamaica, but yellow fever certificates are required for travellers coming from an infected area. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are recommended for travel to Jamaica. Although 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, and facilities are limited outside Kingston and Montego Bay. Medical treatment can be expensive so insurance is advised. If you require prescription medication it is 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: Over 200,000 British tourists visited Jamaica last year, with the majority of visits being trouble free. However, there have been some issues recently with incidents of petty crime such as robbery, particularly in the capital city of Kingston and in Montego Bay. Tourists are advised to be cautions and take care of their belongings. It is best to avoid using buses at night. It is also best to avoid any public demonstrations that may occur.

Jamaica is classified as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. It may be wise to seek the advice of health professionals before travel.

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 ganja (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. Direct international telephone services are available, and operators can also facilitate calls. Wifi is available in the main towns 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).