Tourism is booming in Jamaica. Indeed, almost 3 million tourists visited this paradisiacal Caribbean island in the first 8 months of last year. That’s more than Jamaica’s actual population!
Clearly, this is a popular holiday and travel destination. You can understand why. After all, with its rich culture, friendly locals, lush rainforest, white sands, warm azure-blue waters, an abundance of activities, and a tropical climate, it’s hard not to like.
Jamaica is something of a paradise. There really is something for everyone there. Are you going to Jamaica soon, or planning a trip for the future? You’re sure to have a great time.
However, prior preparation never hurt anyone. There are certain things to know before you go that will help you enjoy it even more.
Keep reading to find out what they are.
8 Essential Things to Know Before Going to Jamaica
Jamaica is a popular place. It’s a paradise that’s hard not to enjoy. However, there are certain things to know to help you make the most of your time there.
Here are 8 of them.
1. They Drive on the Left
Jamaica was once part of the British Empire.
And, like many previous British colonies, they’re continued to drive like the British. That is, on the left-hand side of the road. Be prepared for doing everything the other way round if you plan to drive in Jamaica.
However, many people choose to hire a driver for their stay. This is undeniably easier and more convenient than taking local buses (the budget option) or hiring a car (the difficult option). That said, it isn’t necessarily the cheapest way to get around.
2. You Can Use Your Dollars
Technically speaking, the currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar.
Don’t be deceived. Its value doesn’t relate to that of the US or Canadian dollar. In fact, at the time of writing, 1 United States dollar is approximately 135 Jamaican dollars.
However, in some ways, this doesn’t have to impact you. Local food stalls and so on may still prefer their own currency. But it’s now increasingly common for US dollars to be accepted in Jamaica.
If you’re sticking to the tourist trail, then there’s now no real need to exchange currency before entering the country.
3. You Can Drink the Tap Water
You’ve heard all the horror stories of drinking from the tap in foreign countries.
However, there’s nothing to worry about in Jamaica. Unlike places like Mexico, the tap water is clean and totally safe to drink. This saves on the need to buy bottled water and means you can safely brush your teeth and eat raw vegetables without fear of getting sick.
4. The Local Food is to Die for
Many people holiday in all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.
It’s no surprise. Resorts offer a luxury experience of this paradise island. Everything is catered for, and you’re looked after every step of the way.
By all means, spend your days by the pool, enjoying the facilities, and sun-bathing on your private beach. However, it often pays to step outside of the resort restaurant every now and again. These cater to American tastes, and may not serve the local cuisine as frequently.
But Jamaican food is well worth trying. Rich, filling and full of flavor, you’ll love every mouthful.
5. Safety Shouldn’t Be a Problem (But Remain Cautious)
Jamaica is a well-traveled place.
It’s an altogether safe to explore. You can swim in the seas, explore the towns, and enjoy the nightlife without fear. That said, the US government has given it a level 2 safety rating, which suggests you exercise increased caution.
It’s true that there are certain places with higher levels of crime. They recommend that you avoid downtown Kingston, certain parts of Montego, as well as Spanish Town.
However, rest-assured that incidents are rare. You’d be extremely unlucky to experience any level of harm in Jamaica.
6. Different Areas for Different Vibes
Jamaica caters for all tastes.
From quiet, secluded beaches, to loud, buzzing reggae bars, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Fancy a break from your resort to party the night away? Negril is the place to go. The West End Cliffs are of particular note.
After something more family-oriented? The Montego Bay may be more up your street. The resorts here are ideal for the whole family, with adventurous activities on your doorstep. Beaches and lagoons offer great hideaway spots for the parents too!
7. You’re Never Far from the Beach
Jamaica is a paradise for beach-lovers.
Picture your ideal beach. You’re likely to bring to mind images of the exact beaches you’ll find everywhere on the island. It’s a quintessential tropical paradise. Endless miles of white sand extends to crystal-clear waters. Palm trees line the sand. The sun shines bright and warm overhead.
Anywhere you go you’ll find a pristine beach awaiting.
8. Expect Mosquitos
Mosquitos are prevalent in the evenings.
That said, the resorts are more than aware of them and do their best to stay on top of the issue. Insect spray is used in the evenings at dusk, which is when mosquitos are most active. However, this isn’t always enough to keep them at bay.
Be sure to carry some decent mosquito repellent as well. Wearing long sleeves and pants can also make a difference.
Time to Get Travelling
There you have it: 8 things to know before going to Jamaica.
Jamaica welcomes millions of tourists to its glorious shores every year. Indeed, you’ll find more tourists than locals enjoying the sun, sea, and sand. This piece of paradise tucked away in the Caribbean casts a spell on anyone who visits it.
Head to Jamaica and expect to be blown away by all it has to offer.
You’re guaranteed a good time. But it always pays to be prepared. Hopefully, the information above has helped you know what to expect of your trip.
Did you like this piece? Are you thinking of visiting Jamaica soon? Click here to find out the best places to stay on the island.