All foreigners visiting Jamaica are encouraged to travel with a valid passport to gain entry to the island.
Jamaica enjoys a tropical climate and temperature ranges from 20 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius. The northeast trade winds and mountain breezes keep the temperature in Jamaica pleasant year-round. At 18 degrees north of the equator, Jamaica falls within the tropics, and as such, does not experience drastic seasonal changes.
Though Jamaica is known for its warmth and sunshine, Jamaica sees two rainy seasons from May to June and September to November. Will it rain during your holidays in Jamaica? If it does, don’t worry. Most times, the short tropical showers provide a welcome break from the afternoon heat. Jamaicans like to look at it as liquid sunshine instead of rain!
Jamaica falls within the Easter Time Zone (UTC/GMT -5 Hours) and Jamaica does NOT observe Daylight Savings Time. Year-round, the island averages between 11.5 and 12.5 hours of sunlight a year.
Jamaica has hundreds of springs and rivers, both below and underground. Jamaica has a well-developed and extensive water-treatment and supply system island-wide. This means that all drinking water in Jamaica is purified and filtered by modern methods, making it safe to drink, wash your teeth and bath in. There are also many brands of Jamaican spring water available in hotels, shops and restaurants that meet or exceed the International standards.
Getting There and Getting Around
Daily flights arrive from major cities world-wide at any one of Jamaica’s two international airports: the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. If you are in a hurry to get to your favorite beach or resort, a network of domestic air shuttles is available. Taxis, buses and rental vehicles are also available. Taxis in Jamaica are not metered so be sure to agree/negotiate a set fare before starting your journey. Most hotels have set fares posted in their lobby areas.
Licensed cambio centers and commercial banks are accessible in all resort areas. Official currency exchange rates vary daily, so it’s advisable to shop around for the best rate before converting your cash. Most Jamaican ATMs accept international bank cards with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Plus logos. Banks also give credit card advances, change traveler’s checks and offer other financial services
Jamaica is well-connected to the rest of the world. Direct international telephone services operate in all 24-hours of the day, with telephone operators available to facilitate collect, third-party or credit card calls. International faxes, cables and telegrams can be sent from most hotels and post offices. E-mail and Internet access is available too, usually at hotels or local Internet cafes. Jamaica has three daily national newspapers, all available island-wide. Some hotels and gift shops receive the international editions of The New York Times, TIME, London Times and The Economist.
The official language of Jamaica is English, although most Jamaicans use ‘Patois’ , a colorful dialect used by many Jamaicans.
In Jamaica, driving is on the left. The speed limit is 50 KMPH (30 MPH) in built-up areas and 80 KMPH (50 MPH) on highways. All drivers are required to carry a valid drivers license. Jamaica recognizes valid International passports and drivers licenses from certain countries are valid for up to three months per visit. Car rental is available in most major towns and cities, and usually, clients must be at least 25 years old to rent a vehicle.
When driving in Jamaica, you will also have to pay special attention to avoid collisions with pedestrians, cows, goats, chickens and other domestic animals.
Safety & Security
There are 8 visitor information booths on the island, conveniently located in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Each one has a radio contact with the police and with the Jamaica Tourist Board offices. Security personnel and front desk managers at hotels are also able to offer assistance in an emergency. The Jamaica Tourist Board offices has personnel on hand to offer assistance when needed. They have offices in Montego Bay and Kingston.
The electrical supply in Jamaica is 110 volts/50 cycles standard, and electrical appliances use plugs that are two-pronged and flat (such as those used in the United States and Canada). You should bring the required adapters with you if your appliances do not use 110 volts or flat two-pronged pugs.