Boats in a river in Jamaica
Boats in a river in Jamaica

Rivers of Jamaica

Jamaica's major rivers include the Yallahs in the southeast, the Rio Grande in the south-central part of the island, and, in the west, the Black River—Jamaica's longest river and the only one that is navigable for a significant distance (40 kilometers/25 miles).
Photo by Yves Alarie

JAMAICA

Carribean

Jamaica Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Kingston

Location:

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

Currency:

Jamaican dollars (JMD)

Area:

10,991 sq km

Population:

2,816,602 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

English, English patois

Religion:

Protestant 64.8% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 12.0%, Pentecostal 11.0%, Other Church of God 9.2%, New Testament Church of God 7.2%, Baptist 6.7%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.5%, Anglican 2.8%, United Church 2.1%, Methodist 1.6%, Revived 1.4%, Brethren 0.9%, and Moravian 0.7%), Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, none 21.3%, unspecified 2.3% (2011 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC-5

Tel Code:

+1876

Weather

Climate

Jamaica has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The island experiences two rainy seasons, from May to June and from September to October. The rest of the year is relatively dry.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Jamaica depends on your preferences. If you prefer to avoid the rain and don't mind the heat and humidity, the best time to visit is from December to April. This is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and more crowds. If you don't mind the rain and want to avoid the crowds, the best time to visit is from May to June or September to October.

Transportation

Taxis

Taxis are a common and convenient way to get around Jamaica. Taxis can be found at the airports, major tourist areas, and at hotels. Taxis have set rates for different destinations, but it's always good to negotiate the price with the driver before starting the trip.

Buses

Buses are a popular and budget-friendly option for getting around Jamaica. They are widely available and run between major towns and cities. Bus rides can be a bit crowded and not very comfortable, but they are a good option for budget-conscious travelers.

Cars rental

Car rental is also a popular option for visitors, as it offers more flexibility and independence. Most major car rental companies have locations in Jamaica, and visitors can rent a car at the airport or in major towns.

Scooter and motorcycles rentals

Renting a scooter or motorcycle is also an option for visitors, but it is not as common as car rental. Some visitors prefer this option to avoid traffic and to explore the island in a more adventurous way.

Shuttle services

Shuttle services are also available for visitors who want to travel between different destinations in Jamaica. These services are operated by private companies and are a good option for visitors who want to avoid the hassle of public transportation.

Accommodation

Hotels

Jamaica offers a wide variety of hotel options for visitors, including luxury resorts, boutique hotels, and budget-friendly options. Many hotels are located on or near the beach, and some offer all-inclusive packages. Some of the popular hotels in Jamaica include Sandals, Iberostar, and Riu. One that the WhereNext team have been to is the Rockhouse hotel which is highly recommended.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals such as villas and apartments are becoming increasingly popular in Jamaica. These rentals offer more space and privacy than traditional hotel rooms and are a good option for families or groups of friends. Some popular vacation rental websites include Airbnb, VRBO, and TripAdvisor.

Guesthouses

Guesthouses are a budget-friendly option for visitors, offering private rooms or shared facilities at a lower cost than hotels. Many guesthouses are family-run, and some offer a more authentic experience of local culture.

Camping

Camping is not a popular option in Jamaica but some visitors have found some camping sites and RV parks. Some of them are located near the beaches and some others in the mountain.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Jamaica Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Jamaica is a Caribbean island nation known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture. Visitors can experience a diverse range of activities and attractions, from relaxing on the beach to exploring the island's rich history and natural wonders. Here are the top 10 things to do when visiting Jamaica:

      1. Visit Doctor's Cave Beach

      Doctor's Cave Beach is one of Jamaica's most famous beaches, known for its crystal clear waters and soft sand. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling in the bay.

      2. Explore Dunns River Falls

      Dunns River Falls is a popular attraction located in Ocho Rios, featuring a 600-foot waterfall that visitors can climb. Guides are available to lead visitors to the top of the falls.

      3. Visit the Blue Lagoon

      The Blue Lagoon is a natural lagoon located in Portland, known for its crystal clear waters and vibrant underwater life. Visitors can swim, snorkel, and even go scuba diving in the lagoon.

      4. Visit Montego Bay

      Montego Bay is Jamaica's second-largest city and a popular tourist destination, known for its beaches, nightlife, and shopping. Visitors can explore the city's historic sites, such as the Rose Hall Great House and the Montego Bay Marine Park.

      5. Visit the Bob Marley Museum

      The Bob Marley Museum is located in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. Visitors can learn about the life and music of Bob Marley, one of the most famous musicians in the world and a national hero in Jamaica.

      6. Explore the Green Grotto Caves

      The Green Grotto Caves are located in Runaway Bay and offers visitors a chance to explore underground limestone caves. Visitors can learn about the island's geology and history while exploring the caves.

      7. Visit the Negril Cliffs

      The Negril Cliffs are located on the western tip of Jamaica, offering visitors a chance to see spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. Visitors can also take a cliff-diving excursion to jump into the sea from the cliffs.

      8. Visit the Black River Safari

      The Black River Safari is located in the southern part of the island. Visitors can take a boat tour along the Black River, which offers a chance to see crocodiles, manatees, and other wildlife.

      9. Visit the Rose Hall Great House

      The Rose Hall Great House is an 18th-century plantation house located in Montego Bay, which offers visitors a chance to learn about the island's colonial history.

      10. Visit the Blue Mountains

      The Blue Mountains are located in the eastern part of Jamaica and offer visitors a chance to explore the island's natural beauty. Visitors can hike to the top of the Blue Mountains and enjoy spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.

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