Jamaica’s longstanding history makes for an immersive experience of culture, food and the arts. Walk through unique museums and learn about Jamaica’s vivid past. You’ll hear about famous pirates, see the influence of imperialism and share the country’s liberation from slavery at famous historic sites. Jamaica’s breadth of global influence has formed a diverse culture that can be seen on every outing. Reggae rhythms and Jamaican jerk chicken are just the beginning to your experience with the Jamaican culture.
You’ll find a tempting variety of tourist items and domestic products within the villages and coastal towns that span throughout Jamaica. Bite into fresh island produce or peruse the markets for hand-made souvenirs. Locally made rums and famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee are some of the most popular items to shop for. Each town carries its own display of history, shopping and cultural enjoyments for travelers to discover.
The untamed landscape and boisterous cities of Jamaica provide endless adventure for the serious thrill seeker. Trek through blossoming tropical forests or float down the mysterious Black River. Hike up 600 feet of stunning cascades at Dunn’s River Falls, or head to the shoreline for some ocean exploration. Vibrant fish, striking reef systems and underwater caverns are among the underwater sites that await scuba divers. Each resort offers its own assortment of water and land sports for travelers to enjoy.
All travelers between the U.S. and Caribbean must carry passports beginning January 23, 2007 as required by the United States Department of Homeland Security. In agreement with a new immigration law known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, whether traveling by air or sea, must present a passport to enter or re-enter the U.S. for either vacation or business travel. Foreign residents of the United States and other foreigners not holding a US Passport must contact the appropriate government authority to determine entry and visa requirements.
We encourage you to begin the passport application process as early as possible to avoid unexpected delays. Travelers should allow a minimum of ten weeks between their application submission and receipt of passport. Passports can be expedited for an additional fee. Additionally, all visitors are required to travel with a roundtrip airline ticket for entry into Jamaica.
Vaccinations are not required unless, in the past six weeks, you have visited one of the following countries: Central & South America, Africa, Asia, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago. Please direct any health related questions to the Jamaica Tourist Board office nearest you. Health requirements are subject to change and all travelers should visit www.cdc.gov prior to travel.
Lightweight clothing is best for Jamaica’s warm year-round climate. Bring your favorite shorts and swimwear for the beach, and a light sweater for winter traveling. Dress code requirements such as evening wear and jackets are sometimes required at various resorts. Many of the resort’s restaurants require long pants and a collared shirt for men, and island casual for ladies when dining in the evening.
Almost every type of International currency is accepted for exchange at the many banks within the resort areas. Most of Jamaica’s ATMs can be accessed with Visa, Mastercard, Cirus and Plus logo cards, and many vendors accept major credit cards. Local banks are open throughout the day and are ready to give credit card advances, traveler’s checks and other financial services to travelers.
It is most important to remember that Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road. More than 10,000 miles (17,000 km) of roads connect the major towns of Jamaica. Speed limits are set at 30 mph (50 kmph) for developed regions and 50 mph (80 kmph) for highways. Jamaica recognizes International Driver’s Licenses, and visitors from North America may use their license for up to three months per visit. Drivers and front passengers must wear safety belts, and children under 3 must be restrained in infant carriers. Most of Jamaica’s major cities and towns have car rental locations, requiring a minimal age of 25. We suggest that guests use resort transportation and resort certified drivers for any outside excursions. Driving in Jamaica is better left to professionals that reside in the country.
Jamaica’s direct International telephone service operates 24 hours a day in all areas, and operators gladly accommodate third party, collect and credit card calls. Email and Internet access is also provided in most hotels, libraries and Internet Cafes.
All meetings and conventions held in Jamaica are tax-deductible according to a 1981 treaty between Jamaica and the United States.
Car rental agencies are found in the telephone directory and include International companies and local operators. Some rental agencies operate at the airports, while others operate in resort areas. Renters must be at least 25 years of age, have a valid driver's license and post a bond with cash, major credit card or travelers checks. Service stations are open daily and only accept cash. We generally discourage travelers from renting a car in Jamaica. Transportation should be left to the resort or resort certified drivers.
As in the U.S., Jamaica’s electrical supply is 110 volts/50 cycles standard, and uses plugs that are two-pronged and flat.
Jamaica’s extensive water treatment system has allowed all of Jamaica’s water to be purified by modern methods. Anyone still uncomfortable drinking the water in Jamaica can purchase one of the many available Jamaican spring water brands.
There are two international airports in Jamaica: the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Air Jamaica serves Sangster International and other domestic airports including Tinson Pen in Kingston, Negril Aerodrome in Negril, Boscobel in Ocho Rios and Ken Jones in Port Antonio. Guests booking with us should select Montego Bay as their arrival airport because transfers are not available from Kingston.
In keeping with international standards, the entry of all live animals into Jamaica requires an import permit from the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture PRIOR to arrival. Animals must be rabies-free, and must never have been rabies vaccinated. For more information, contact the Veterinary Services Division: tel. (876) 977 2489 or (876) 977 2492. To secure a permit, fax a letter of request to (876) 977 0885.
Jamaica features 4,244 square miles of nature’s most exotic geographical terrain. Jamaica is characterized by a series of mountain ranges that span across the middle of the island. Towering peaks, winding rivers and verdant tropical valleys are all part of the backdrop at this magnificent island. The southern coast is made up of rich black sand beaches, while the northern end is famous for white sands and reef-protected waters.
Jamaica’s climate is tropical at sea level and temperate towards the mountainous regions of the interior. Each year the island goes through two rainy seasons, from May to June and September to November, and the average temperature ranges from 66 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricane season officially starts June 1 and ends on November 30. While Jamaica is rarely hit by direct hurricanes, there is a possibility of a storm during this period.
The official language of Jamaica is English, although many Jamaicans speak a local dialect of several different languages.
Jamaica won its independence from Britain in 1962 and has since chosen to be included in the British Commonwealth. The Government of Jamaica is founded on the Westminster model, being composed of the Queen and a bicameral Parliament.
Jamaica boasts the character of some of the world’s most distinct and influential nations. Visit the infamous pirate capital of the Caribbean, Port Royal. Walk through the forts that protected soldiers as they battled for the island. See the plantations that once bound Jamaica in slavery. Meander through stately museums, where Jamaica’s vivid landscape has affected world-renowned artwork.
Jamaica falls within the Eastern Time Zone (UTC/GMT -5 Hours) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Year round the island averages between 11.5 and 12.5 hours of sunlight per day, so there is always enough time to do everything or nothing.
Jamaica’s exotic terrain is bordered by more than 600 miles of spectacular shoreline. Shimmering black sands, towering seascapes and numerous fisherman’s ports are found on the southern end of the island. Head to the famous north end for a dazzling display of soft white sands, verdant palms and clear blue water. Lavish resorts rest gracefully on the oceanfront and offer a range of exciting water sports. Snorkel along the shallow bottom or wait until sunset for a romantic walk on crimson white sands.
Both casual and elegant cuisine is found in the numerous restaurants located in the towns and resorts throughout Jamaica. Savor delicious jerk chicken or feast on beachside barbecue. Quaint cafes serve world-renowned Blue Mountain Coffee, and al fresco restaurants provide an impressive selection of fine wines. Bite into a juicy grilled burger or sip Jamaica’s signature Red Stripe beer. The diverse options for culinary enjoyment will satisfy the most varied appetites.
Trek to the 7,402 ft. summit of Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain Peak. Your 7-mile ascent is mingled with vivid displays of tropical flora and a diverse wildlife. True thrill seekers can drift down the dangerous streams of Black River. This expansive wetland is teeming with over 300 crocodiles and numerous other jungle inhabitants. Dunn’s River Falls lets explorers hike up a 600-foot cascade of refreshing spring water. Large boulders, natural whirlpools and blissful massage jets are sprinkled along the trail up Dunn’s River Falls. Other adventures such as cliff diving, caving and hiking offer non-stop excitement for the willing traveler.
(We recommend the use of your resort’s tour desk when planning any off-property excursions. Never accept a ride with strangers claiming to “show you the island.” Make sure a resort-certified professional is conducting the tour.
Activities for every age and aptitude are found in the numerous sports and recreations in the resort areas. Golfers will find solace on any of Jamaica’s 12 challenging courses. Scenic fairways and emerald mountains merge on these PGA-style courses that feature the handiwork of world-famous course designers. Scuba divers will also be delighted with multiple PADI dive centers that rest on Jamaica’s shore. Many resorts offer snorkeling, kayaking and sunfish sailing on a complimentary basis. So whether you’re looking for picturesque golf courses or deep sea exploring, Jamaica’s has the resources to suffice.
Rhythmic reggae and Red Stripe Beer are part of the nighttime jubilee in Jamaica’s boisterous all inclusive resorts. Sip your favorite tropical concoction at a lounge or dance the night away at an in-house nightclub. Each resort boasts its own array of nightly adventures for travelers to enjoy.
Jamaica’s vivid terrain and surreal shoreline make the ideal backdrop for your wedding ceremony or honeymoon escape. Sparkling waterfalls, blossoming mountainsides and diamond white sands form some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Caribbean. Complimentary wedding and honeymoon packages are often included at the all inclusive resorts, and expert wedding specialists can help plan every detail of your ceremony. Check out some All Inclusive Vacation's most prized resorts in the Caribbean.