Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/jamaica) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

Jamaica National Heritage Trust (www.jnht.com) Excellent guide to Jamaica’s history and heritage buildings.

Jamaica Gleaner (www.jamaica-gleaner.com) The island’s most reliable newspaper.

Visit Jamaica (www.visitjamaica.com) The tourist board’s version of Jamaica. Listing information may be outdated.

Jamaicans (www.jamaicans.com) Jamaican lifestyle and culture website.

Top Tips

  • Most hotels take payment in US dollars. It's always useful to carry some extra in cash, though some ATMs in cities also dispense them.
  • Jamaica is small and easy to get around. Consider hiring a car.
  • Most Jamaicans dress smartly when they can. Beachwear is for the beach only.
  • Ganja (marijuana) has been decriminalized in Jamaica but not legalized: you can't buy it legally, but possession now attracts a fine rather than a criminal record.
  • Don't plan on getting much done on a Sunday: many sights and restaurants shut for the day.
  • Hustlers are master of the 'Don't you remember me from yesterday?' line. Don't just ignore them – politely declining while keeping moving is the simplest way to deal with the attention.

What to Take

  • US electrical plug adapter
  • Back-up US dollars
  • Swimming costume, because you'll be spending a lot of time in the water
  • Sunscreen and hat for the strong Caribbean sun
  • Stamina, for the nightlife that doesn't get going until midnight

What to Wear

Jamaica is a laid-back place for sure, but people like to dress smartly. What's fine for the beach isn't fine when you're off it, so cover up your swimming costume away from the sand, even if it's just with a T-shirt and shorts. Some restaurants and many places like government offices have dress codes, requiring long trousers for men and no strapless tops for women.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away, and pick up some US dollars
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Have an unlocked phone if you want to use a local SIM card