General Information And Tips For Enjoying A Happy and Healthy Jamaica Vacation

Pssst... Are you ready for your Jamaica vacation?

Even when visiting an exotic location such as Jamaica, you still have to know the rules and stick to them. Now this doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun. Sometimes though, being forewarned is good and so is being just a little bit careful.

According to some Jamaicans, there are many evil spirits in Jamaica. The only one you may meet personally... is found in a bottle of rum. The hot sun and a few rum punches could just end up being NOT one for the memory book!

With the very relaxed atmosphere in Jamaica, some people conveniently forget that ganja (marijuana, weed) is strictly illegal. Even though you may see people in Jamaica smoking it, you could get in serious trouble if, in a moment of wild abandon, you take someone up on his/her offer and actually buy a baggy of weed and "build a spliff". The bottom line is, the law doesn't care whether you're using it for medicinal or recreational purposes - you'll still have to pay the penalty.

So, if you want to enjoy your Jamaica vacation and prevent a stint in a Jamaican prison, DON'T yield to temptation.

Travellers' Diarrhea

Another evil that could put a severe damper on your holiday is travellers' diarrhea.

An infection of the intestines can result from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Although it's usually caused by bacteria, it can also be caused by viruses or parasites.

Like with most illnesses, prevention is better than cure so taking preventative measures should be top of your list. For example:

  • Be careful of ice or water in mixed drinks. It might be contaminated and alcohol won't sterilize it.

  • Avoid glasses that may have been washed with contaminated water.

  • Be careful when eating fruits and vegetables.

  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked meat (especially chicken and pork) and fish.

  • Before eating, wash your hands and use alcohol wipes to disinfect them.

Although inconvenient and a big party pooper, travellers' diarrhea is most of the time not serious and will go away within five days, even without treatment.

However, if diarrhea occurs often... you might dehydrate. Dehydration can be very serious. If you suspect that you might be dehydrated or you are running a fever, it's best to seek medical advice pronto. Don't let travellers' diarrhea ruin your Jamaica vacation.

Dehydration

Our average temperature ranges from 27°C (80°F) to 30°C (86°F) all year. During the day, as much as possible, try to stay in the shade... drink lots (and lots and lots) of water... cool off in the sea (if you can)... and also try not to over-exert yourself in physical activities. By doing so you will be helping to prevent dehydration.

If you develop...

  • extreme thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • dry skin
  • flushing
  • dark coloured urine
  • chills
  • head rushes

...be careful, these are some of the symptoms of dehydration.

Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can make dehydration worse. And if the symptoms progress to include...

  • vomiting
  • muscle spasms
  • racing pulse
  • dim vision
  • shriveled skin
  • painful urination
  • and difficulty breathing

...emergency help should be found... IMMEDIATELY!

Please remember: prevention is the best form of treatment for dehydration.

Skin Care on your Jamaica Vacation

Please, please, please... take sun protection with you when coming on your Jamaica vacation. It's almost always hot and your skin may very well pay a high price. There's no need to spend your vacation nursing sunburns in your room or having to pay the doctor a visit. In short, don't let exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays ruin your vacation.

The following practices will help minimize your chance of getting sunburned while still allowing you to have fun outdoors:

  • As much as possible, stay in the shade especially during the hours 10 a.m – 2 p.m. These are the hours when UV rays are most prone to cause severe damage to your skin.

  • Be sure to protect exposed skin with clothing.

  • Wear a wide brimmed hat to cover your head and shade your face, ears, and neck.

  • Do you know the shades that wrap around your face? Well get yourself one of those because it will block almost 100% of both UVA and UVB rays which will do you harm.

  • And of course you need sunscreen. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher... and be sure it offers both UVA and UVB protection.

It's always a good idea to use a combination of the above for maximum protection of your skin from the sun's damaging UV rays.

Bear in mind that UV rays will affect you on cloudy days... hazy days... bright days... sunny days... in other words everyday! UV rays are also reflected by surfaces such as water, cement, and sand so be prepared.

And lastly, if you do get a little sunburned during your Jamaica vacation you could use Aloe Vera as a great home-remedy. (It's a plant that is commonly found throughout the island.) You could get the sticky leaves of the plant to rub onto your skin directly... or you may purchase manufactured lotions containing aloe.

Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirement

You're not at risk of getting yellow fever on your Jamaica vacation. However, our government requires all visitors 1 year of age and over to present proof of yellow fever vaccination... if you're arriving from a country where yellow fever is present. (Here's a list of countries where yellow fever is present.) Please take into consideration that if you'll be visiting one of these countries before arriving in Jamaica... then you'll also need to be vaccinated.

Water in Jamaica

The first Jamaicans, the Tainos gave the name 'Xamayca' to Jamaica. This means 'Land of Wood and Water', and is an accurate description or our country. Jamaica literally has hundreds of rivers and springs... both above and underground.

All drinking water in Jamaica is purified and filtered by modern methods. You can safely drink, clean your teeth, bathe and wash your clothing in our water.

However, you have a choice if you don't want to drink the tap water available here. We have many brands of Jamaican spring water for you to choose from. These all meet or exceed the highest international standards... and are available islandwide. You'll also be able to obtain international brands of spring water at select stores and supermarkets.

Prescription Medication

If you're taking prescription meducation, it is highly likely that you will need to take it with you. However, bear in mind that some prescription drugs that are legal in your country may be illegal in Jamaica. In this case, the best course of action for you is to get accurate information BEFORE embarking on your trip to Jamaica.

The following information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA is good advice for all visitors to Jamaica on prescription medication:

Note: Some drugs available by prescription in the US are illegal in other countries. Check the US Department of State Consular Information Sheets for the country(s) you intend to visit or the embassy or consulate for that country(s). If your medication is not allowed in the country you will be visiting, ask your health-care provider to write a letter on office stationery stating the medication has been prescribed for you.

Additional Resources




Having been warned against evil spirits and other hidden dangers, let's encourage you to venture out... and have the time of your life on your Jamaica Dream Vacation!

Click here for a basic list of items to include in a first aid kit when traveling to Jamaica.