Yes, it's true... You're going to get a lot of facts about Jamaica here. But more importantly, what you'll get is the information you need as a visitor to our beautiful island.
Ready? Come on, let's go!
You will find listed below some helpful visitor information. It is our belief that you will find it useful when you're planning your vacation... and also during your stay on the island of Jamaica. Needless to say, here's our desire for you: "Have a wonderful vacation in Jamaica, Mon!".
Jamaica's legal drinking age is 18 but this law is rarely enforced. There are no restrictions on drinking alcoholic beverages in public places.
Please do not drive while under the influence of alcohol. The Illegal Blood Alcohol Level is .08%. In addition, don't swim after consuming alcohol. If you do, make sure to stay in shallow water and within sight of your friends.
Under Jamaican law, using, selling and possessing drugs such as ganja (marijuana), cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy and any other controlled substance is ILLEGAL.
If you're caught, you will be subject to severe punishments meaning you will be arrested, fined and imprisoned.
Please... please... DO NOT even think about purchasing, using, consuming or transporting ANY drug nationally or internationally.
And if someone tries to sell you drugs, just be firm and say NO!
The currency used in Jamaica is Jamaican Dollar (JMD). You're not required to change our currency back to your local currency when leaving the country. It's entirely up to you to exchange your Jamaican currency at the airport... or keep some for your next trip to Jamaica! ;o)
Banks are located islandwide and will exchange just about any currency. You'll also be able to get credit card advances and change traveller's cheques as well as offer other financial services. Most commercial banks are open Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. and on Fridays 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cambios/Bureaux de Change
There's no need for you to get Jamaican money before getting to the island. You'll find that licensed cambios and bureaux de change are widespread in the country. Often they're more convenient than banks because they open later and offer better exchange rates. Generally, the exchange rates quoted by hotels are somewhat lower than that offered by the banks.
By the way, international bankcards with Visa, Mastercard, Plus and Cirrus logos are accepted by many ATMs in Jamaica. You'll receive Jamaican currency at the ATM at the current exchange rate (for a nominal fee, of course).
Prices may be accepted... and quoted in US Dollars in some resort areas (e.g. Negril and Montego Bay). But here's a tip for you: Pay with US Dollars only if you have the exact change. Why? Because generally you'll get back change in Jamaican currency... and the exchange rate may be lower than that of the bank or cambio.
Although tipping is Jamaica is optional, here are a few guidelines to help you determine how much to tip.
Tipping 10-20% is customary to restaurant staff... if gratuities are not already part of the bill. Check with your server what the final bill includes before deciding if and how much you'll tip.
Some hotels may already include a service charge for your room, food and beverage expenses. When you check-in, get information at the front desk about the hotel's gratuities and/or service charges policy. Here are some rates if you do decide to tip helpful employees: bellhops, 1-2 US Dollars per bag, and maids, 1-2 US Dollars per day. (NOTE: If you'll be staying at an all-inclusive hotel, most of them strictly prohibit tipping.)
Before starting on your trip, check with the driver if you'll be paying a flat rate or a metered rate. If you're paying a flat rate, negotiate the best rate (and agree on the currency you're using). This price may not include tip. With this in mind, a 10-15% tip is customary for taxi drivers. However, for trips taking place between midnight and 5 a.m., 25% tipping is recommended in addition to the metered fee (if applicable).
Because the official exchange rate fluctuates daily, it's a good idea to shop around for a rate that's suitable to you before changing your cash.
You would do well to pack lightweight cottons and linens for Jamaica's tropical climate. Also pack some light woolens for the evenings which tend to be cooler. Synthetics should be avoided because they may be less breathable than linens and woolens.
Sunglasses and hats (especially those with large brims) should also be included in your luggage. You may also want to pack a sweater if you're visiting during the "winter" season (December - April).
In Jamaica, rain showers often seem to come out of nowhere... and then quickly disappear! Be prepared by bringing a waterproof jacket and umbrella just in case you get caught in a downpour.
One more thing, swimsuits are generally acceptable only at the beach and the pool. Outside of these ares, a beach cover up will usually suffice. Men should wear a shirt (T-shirt or button-up shirt) in public. Be aware that the more classy establishments usually require you to be formally attired. (You may want to check the dress code of where you'll be staying before you get here.)
In order to rent a car in Jamaica, you must be at least 25 years of age.
Jamaican law requires you to carry a valid drivers licence while operating a motor vehicle. If you have a valid International Drivers Licence, you may use it in Jamaica.
North Americans are permitted to use their licence for as much as 3 months for each visit. Our guests from the United Kingdom can use their licence for a period of 12 months. However, Japanese visitors can only use their licence for 1 month.
Police: 119, Fire: 110, Ambulance: 110
Listed below are the phone numbers for Police and Fire Stations in some Jamaican resort areas. (If you're calling from overseas, Jamaica's area code is 876.)
|Resort Area||Phone Number||Montego Bay||952-2333, 952-3781
|Negril||957-4148, 957-4268, 957-4857
|Ocho Rios||974-2533, 974-4588||Port Antonio||993-2546||Mandeville||961-5538, 962-2250|
|Resort Area||Phone Number||Montego Bay||952-2311, 952-2145||Negril||957-4242||Ocho Rios||974-2317||Port Antonio||993-2525, 993-3041||Mandeville||962-2588, 962-5935, 961-3706|
In the event you get sick or injured, Jamaica has 24 hospitals located around the country. In all there are 309 health facilities in the island plus pharmacies and doctors' offices in all major towns. If the need ever arises, you'll be able to get help.
|PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN JAMAICA, 2012|
|Name of Holiday||Date & Day|
|New Year's Day||Jan 1 - Sunday
(observed Jan 2 - Monday)
|Ash Wednesday||Feb 22|
|Good Friday||Apr 6|
|Easter Monday||Apr 9|
|Labour Day||May 23 - Monday|
|Emancipation Day||Aug 1 - Wedesday|
|Independence Day||Aug 6 - Monday|
|National Heroes Day||Oct 15 - Monday|
|Christmas Day||Dec 25 - Tuesday|
|Boxing Day||Dec 26 - Wednesday|
|PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN JAMAICA, 2013|
|Name of Holiday||Date & Day|
|New Year's Day||Jan 1 - Tuesday|
|Ash Wednesday||Feb 13|
|Good Friday||Mar 29|
|Easter Monday||Apr 1|
|Labour Day||May 23 - Thursday|
|Emancipation Day||Aug 1 - Thursday|
|Independence Day||Aug 6 - Tuesday|
|National Heroes Day||Oct 21 - Monday|
|Christmas Day||Dec 25 - Wednesday|
|Boxing Day||Dec 26 - Thursday|
Internet service usually available at most hotels and parish libraries. You will also be able to browse the web at a number of local internet cafes.
Internet country code: .jm
Country code: 876
Direct international service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need to place collect, third party or credit card calls, telephone operators will quickly put you through. (Also, most hotels and post offices will send international faxes and cables for you.)
If you prefer to use calling cards, you can purchase "World Talk" or "Chat Nuff" calling cards from stores and other distributors islandwide.
GSM 900 and 1800 networks cover practically the whole country. Network operators include:
Digicel - website: www.digiceljamaica.com
Cable & Wireless - website: www.cwjamaica.com
Claro - website: www.claro.com.jm
You should consider buying a Prepaid Jamaica SIM Card for your GSM phone when you get here to reduce your roaming charges. (The cost should be about 500 JMD.) Telephone cards for prepaid mobile phones can be obtained almost anywhere... just ask or look for the respective company's logo.
There are post offices in the commercial centre of all towns, open Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) operates information booths within the arrival halls of both major international airports. The contact number for the booth at Sir Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is (876) 952-2462... while you may contact the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston booth at (876) 924-8024.
|Montego Bay||Kingston||Port Antonio|
P.O. Box 67
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: (876) 952-4425
Fax: (876) 952-3587
64 Knutsford Boulevard
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: (876) 929-9200/19
Fax: (876) 929-9375
City Centre Plaza
P.O. Box 151
Jamaica, West Indies
Tel: (876) 993-3051
Fax: (876) 993-2117
If you're not a Jamaican citizen, you'll need a work permit to work in Jamaica.
If you're a Commonwealth citizen, you may wait until after arrival in Jamaica to apply for a work permit. If you hold a work permit and have relatives over 18 years of age, they are also eligible to apply for work permits. (This is providing they have special skills.)
On the other hand, you must apply for a work permit before arriving in Jamaica if you're a non-Commonwealth citizen.
Note: If you're the spouse of a Jamaican national, you may not need a work permit if you provide proper documentation.
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