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10 things to know before traveling to Jamaica

Jamaica is a beautiful country, with a lot to offer. From the rich history, to the amazing natural beauty, you'll never be bored while visiting this island paradise. However, there are some things that you should know before traveling there. Here's my list of things that will make your trip go smoothly:


Where and When Can I Go?

From June through August, Jamaica sees its highest temperatures and rainfall. This makes it difficult to travel during these months unless you enjoy being hot and sweaty all day long (which many people do!). If you're planning to visit between September and May, then consider yourself lucky! These warmer months have less rain than the others but still have warm temperatures (85 degrees). If you really want to avoid humidity and heat altogether then plan your trip around January through April when temperatures range from 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit!



The US dollar is accepted everywhere.

You can pay for most things with US dollars in Jamaica. This means that you don’t have to worry about exchanging money before you arrive. However, some places may ask that you pay with Jamaican currency or require a certain amount of change in exchange for a large bill.

You can exchange your US dollars at the airport or at any bank once you arrive in Jamaica. Most banks offer an exchange rate that is more favorable than the one they give travelers who use their ATMs (which often charge fees). If possible, get some Jamaican currency before leaving home so that you don't need to wait until arriving at your destination.

If possible, try not to use credit cards while traveling in Jamaica; many shops do not accept credit cards so it's best to avoid using them as much as possible since this might lead to problems if something goes wrong with your card later on during your trip and leaves little time for sorting out issues such as fraud protection etcetera.


Helmets are not required for scooter rental.

Helmets are not required for scooter rental.

Helmets are recommended, but they're not required by law. This is true of both manual and electric scooters. Scooters with a motor of 50cc or less don't need helmets at all, while larger models require that you wear one if you're under 18 years old. You'll notice that many Jamaicans wear them anyway—they know what's up! If you don't have a helmet, it may be possible to rent one from your scooter company (ask about this in advance).



Jamaica is a great destination for solo travelers.

If you're planning a trip to Jamaica, here are some things to know:

  • The culture is friendly and welcoming.

  • The beaches are beautiful.

  • The food is delicious.

  • There are plenty of things to do in Jamaica, including hiking or exploring the many caves along the coast or learning about Jamaican history at a museum—or all three!

To get around easily while exploring this tropical island paradise by bus or taxi, make sure you have your ID on hand at all times.



Don't drink the tap water!

  • Don't drink the tap water. Bottled water is cheap and readily available, so you should always be drinking it while in Jamaica.

  • Don't brush your teeth with the tap water. Use a small cup instead of the sink faucet, or better yet, use some mouthwash after you've brushed to get rid of any lingering germs from the tap.

  • Don't cook with the tap water. You can boil it if you need to but otherwise, avoid cooking with your hands in this way as well since they'll still have traces of whatever's been rinsed off in that same sink before!

  • Don't wash your hands in the tap water (or at least not for long). We recommend using hand sanitizer when soap isn't nearby—although we wouldn't suggest rinsing under running faucets either!


Avoid traveling to Kingston at night.

  • Avoid traveling to Kingston at night.

  • While there are many great things about Kingston, it is probably best to avoid the city at night. There have been many reports of tourists being targeted by criminals in the city, which can be overwhelming for first-time visitors feeling their way around this big city.


Tipping is customary in Jamaica, but not required.

Tipping is customary in Jamaica, but it's not required. The amount of money you tip depends on the service provided, which varies from country to country. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Amounts vary widely depending on how much you spend at a restaurant or bar. A typical tip is 15% of your total bill if you're eating at an upscale establishment where meals cost more than $20 per person. If the meal costs less than $20, then a 10% tip would be appropriate. Similarly, tipping bartenders 10% of your tab at bars is standard practice—unless they've done something extraordinary!

  • Exceptional service deserves exceptional tips! In some countries like Jamaica and Brazil there are no hard and fast rules regarding tipping; however if someone has gone above and beyond to make your stay special (like getting lost taking us from one place to another), then it would be nice gesture for us as travelers too show our gratitude with a little token gift or gesture of appreciation such as buying them lunch/dinner next time we go back down that way again.



Don't miss the local cuisine.

If you’re going to be in Jamaica for more than a few days, be sure to try some local cuisine. Jamaican cuisine is a fusion of African, American, British and Chinese influences. You’ll find it difficult to miss: there are food vendors on every corner selling jerk chicken (a spicy grilled chicken), fried fish and ackee and saltfish (a dish made with the ackee fruit). Have no fear if you’re not familiar with these items—you can’t go wrong with anything that comes covered in allspice or lime juice. And don't forget your rum punch!


Be prepared to be approached by people trying to sell you things or hustle you into a trip on their boat/jet ski/taxi/restaurant, etc. You aren't expected to accept everything that is offered, but it would be polite to say "No, thank you" instead of just walking away without responding.


You should be prepared for locals to approach you and try to sell you things, as well as ask if you want a ride or tour. You don't have to accept what they are offering, but it would be polite to say "No thanks" instead of just ignoring them and walking away without responding.

It is also important not to be rude while traveling through Jamaica. Everyone who has traveled knows that there are many types of tourists; some people like talking with others and taking pictures with the locals while others prefer doing their own thing without interacting with anyone else at all. If you fall into the latter category then I wouldn't recommend visiting Jamaica because there will likely be many people trying to interact with you on every corner! However, if this isn't an issue for you then go ahead! Just remember: Don't expect everyone in Jamaica (or any other country) not come up and talk about random things such as politics or religion all day long even though neither one matters at all when actually traveling through different places around the world!



Jamaica can be a great vacation spot for people who are prepared for some of the unique challenges it has to offer and want to experience nature and a beautiful culture.

Jamaica can be a great vacation spot for people who are prepared for some of the unique challenges it has to offer and want to experience nature and a beautiful culture. However, you should also be aware of some potential problems that may arise when visiting this island paradise.

The first thing you should know is that there are many people who will try to approach you when you arrive in Jamaica looking for business opportunities, especially if they see that you look like an easy target (i.e., female tourists). They might ask if they can take your picture or offer rides on their boat, jet ski or taxi service (among other things). You aren't expected to accept everything that is offered, but it would be polite to say "No thanks" instead of just walking away without saying anything at all.



If you're looking for information on how to travel to Jamaica and enjoy your time there, then this list of tips is for you! We hope these 10 things will help you plan your trip, or at least make it easier when dealing with some of the challenges that come along with being in an unfamiliar place.

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