Jamaica Luxury Travel

Learn More About Jamaica

Reggae legend Bob Marley, along with such artists as Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Toots and The Maytals and Third World have received global acclaim for decades. A more recent derivate or reggae, Dancehall, has become the driving force for a younger generation, heavily influencing local and international trends in fashion and dance – even street language. Sean Paul, Beenie Man and Shaggy are lighting up the charts across the Caribbean and around the world.

It’s not only our music gaining world recognition. A variety of Jamaican paintings and carvings are on display at Kingston’s National Gallery. Priceless intuitive pieces of Dunkley and Kapo, as well as contemporary pieces, ensure the art scene in Jamaica remains as vibrant as any. Regular exhibitions grace art galleries all around the island.

The National Dance Theatre Company showcases Jamaica’s colorful history and contemporary ideas, while groups like the Jamaica Folk Singers and University Singers perform traditional song and dance that honor the country’s past. Kingston’s lively theatre scene offers a rich variety of locally themed and contemporary plays. A hallmark of Jamaican theatre is the Ward Theatre’s LTM Pantomime – an annual Jamaican folk musical with original song and dance and dramatic costumes. The season opens each year on December 26th and runs for several months.

Jamaica’s Culture

Reggae legend Bob Marley, along with such artists as Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Toots and The Maytals and Third World have received global acclaim for decades. A more recent derivate or reggae, Dancehall, has become the driving force for a younger generation, heavily influencing local and international trends in fashion and dance – even street language. Sean Paul, Beenie Man and Shaggy are lighting up the charts across the Caribbean and around the world.

It’s not only our music gaining world recognition. A variety of Jamaican paintings and carvings are on display at Kingston’s National Gallery. Priceless intuitive pieces of Dunkley and Kapo, as well as contemporary pieces, ensure the art scene in Jamaica remains as vibrant as any. Regular exhibitions grace art galleries all around the island.

The National Dance Theatre Company showcases Jamaica’s colorful history and contemporary ideas, while groups like the Jamaica Folk Singers and University Singers perform traditional song and dance that honor the country’s past. Kingston’s lively theatre scene offers a rich variety of locally themed and contemporary plays. A hallmark of Jamaican theatre is the Ward Theatre’s LTM Pantomime – an annual Jamaican folk musica

Things to know before you go:

Getting here and getting around:

Daily flights arrive from major cities worldwide at out two international airports: the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. If you are in a hurry to get to your favorite beach or resort, a network of domestic air shuttles awaits. Taxis, buses and rental vehicles are also available. Remember, in Jamaica we drive on the left.

Places to stay:

Accommodations in Jamaica are available to suit any budget or taste from luxurious to standard, active to quiet, athletic to restful. Seaside to mountaintop, in the proud tradition of Jamaican hospitality, we have accommodations to cater to your every whim and fancy. Visit our Jamaica hotel or Jamaica villa pages for more details.

The island boasts a colorful assortment of delightful inns and charming small hotels, many located off the beaten track. Enjoy freshly cut flowers on your bedside table and coffee served on the veranda. In a world of refinement, your host remembers your name and your favorite dessert and will remind you to kick back in the shade with a cool planter’s punch, or send you rafting down river, picnic basket in hand.

You may choose from an extraordinary collection of condominiums and apartments. They range from cozy and comfortable to stylish and sophisticated and are particularly alluring for the family vacationer. Then, for activities in abundance, we have carefree all-inclusive resorts. Some are couples-only, designed for lovers, where the sea and the sand are perfect for romance. Others are for families with children, and there are those that cater especially to singles.

For and enticing experience, we have elegant resorts. Here, accommodations are extravagant and dinner is amidst candlelight, white linen and old silver. We also have very private places – a spectacular array of hillside and beachfront villas where the staff is efficient and discreet, and the décor is sumptuous.

Convention hotels with the most modern facilities and amenities are complete with business and computer centers, helpful staff and a range of activities to keep the family happy.

Whatever your fancy – a delightful small hotel or and exquisite elegant resort, a charming country inn or a magnificent convention property, a captivating condominium colony or a sparkling apartment, and award-winning all inclusive or a luxurious villa estate – Jamaica has it all.

Currency:

The official rate of exchange fluctuates daily depending on foreign exchange markets. Foreign currency may be exchanged for Jamaican dollars at banks or licensed exchange bureaus in airports and hotels. Purchases may be made in any currency recognized by the Jamaican government. Jamaican dollars may be reconverted to foreign currency at the airport upon departure by presenting a foreign exchange receipt. Foreign currency or Jamaican dollars may be taken into or out of Jamaica. However, amounts exceeding us $10,000 (or its equivalent in any other foreign currency) or JA $150,000 must be declared to Jamaican customs.

Banking:

Banking hours island-wide are 9:00am to 2:00pm, Mondays to Thursdays, and 9:00am to 4:00pm Fridays. Very few business offices are open on Saturdays.

Credit Cards:

All major credit cards are accepted at established businesses, resorts, airlines and car rental agencies.

Language:

The official language of Jamaica is English, but Jamaican patois, a combination of several languages, is spoken throughout the island.

Children:

Most hotels welcome children and there are some that have kiddies’ centers with all-day play and classroom activities. There are playgrounds island-wide, a zoo in Kingston and petting zoos elsewhere on the island. Most hotels and villas also provide baby-sitting services. Ask your travel agent for details.

Clothing:

Lightweight, tropical clothing is best throughout the year. A light sweater is suggested for evening, especially in winter months. Some hotels require casual eveningwear for women, and a jacket for men when dining. Laundering and dry cleaning facilities, hair salons and barbers are available throughout the island.

Getting married in Jamaica:

If love and romance are a part of your Jamaican adventure, getting married on the island is as easy as ever. Your Jamaican wedding can be as extravagant or as simple as you want it to be. You can get married by the spray of a waterfall or at the altar of a church.

You need to be on island for at least 24 hours to exchange vows, and many hotels will make all the arrangements for your nuptials in you alert them in advance. A few hotels offer the wedding free if you book for a week. Jamaica has dozens of marriage officers island-wide who will preside over your wedding for a small fee.

Even the paperwork is easy. If you are an adult and have not been previously married, all you need is a proof of citizenship – a certified copy of your birth certificate which includes your father’s name. If you are under 18, a written consent from parents is required. If you are divorced, you will also need to provide an original certificate of divorce. A widow or a widower will require a certified death certificate of deceased spouse.

Italian nationals getting married in Jamaica must notify their embassy and a certified copy of the marriage certificate must be forwarded to the embassy to be translated and legalized. French Canadians celebrating their marriage in Jamaica need a notarized, translated English copy of all documents and a photocopy of original documents in French. No blood tests are required.

For more information, please contact us at 1-888-963-8986 or 1-559-207-0545.

Communications:

International cables and e-mail can be sent from most hotels. Post offices are located throughout the island. Direct international telephone service operates 24 hours a day.

Electrical systems:

110 volts/50 cycles is standard, 220 volts is used in some hotels. Adapters are available where applicable for clothes and irons and blow dryers.

Cruise Shipping:

About 10 cruise lines call on the Jamaican ports of Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and to a lesser extent, Port Antonio. Most cruise lines sail from Miami and passengers may choose from a number of tours and attractions while in port.

Gaming:

While there are no casinos, a number of resorts have game rooms with slot machines. Horse racing is available at the Caymanas Race Track just outside of Kingston and the national lotto can be played island-wide.

Medical Facilities:

There are regional hospitals and clinics in all major resorts. Doctors are on call at all hotels and some hotels have resident nurses.

Pets:

No pets can be brought into Jamaica.

Departure Tax:

JA $1,000 (approximately $27 U.S. Dollars) or its equivalent in foreign currency is included in the cost of airline tickets. US $15.00 per person is payable for cruise ship passengers, subject to change without notice.

Customs:

An adult 18 years or older is allowed to bring in the following duty-free items: up to 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one and a half pounds of tobacco, one quart or one liter of spirits, cordials or wine, 6 fluid ounces of perfumed spirits and 12 fluid ounces of toilet water. For more information, contact Customs House at (876) 922-5140/9. Incoming restricted items include fresh flowers, plants, honey, fruits, meats and vegetables (except canned). Coffee (in any form), firearms and explosives are restricted as well as dangerous drugs, including marijuana and cocaine. Kosher foods require special documentation. Outgoing U.S. visitors returning from Jamaica may take back US $800 in purchases after each 48-hour visit. U.K. visitors may carry 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, one liter of spirits, plus goods valued at under €45. Canadian and Japanese visitors should call the Jamaica Tourist Board office, Embassy or Consulate for details.

Proof of Citizenship:

The United States has issued new requirements for travelers going to and from Jamaica. Effective January 23, 200 under the new immigration low known as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all persons including U.S. citizens, will be required to present a passport as mandated by the United States Department of Homeland Security for entry and re-entry to the United States. Foreign nationals entering or transiting to Jamaica through the United States must present a passport. For more information on the Initiative and how it will affect your travel, please visit the U.S. State Department’s consular website at www.travel.state.gov. Canadian born citizens (not in possession of a passport) may travel on their original birth certificate and two government-issued photo identification documents. Nationalized citizens may travel on their citizenship card plus one government-issued photo identification document.

Citizens of the United States and Canada do not require a visa to visit Jamaica as tourists, and are permitted to visit the island for a period not exceeding six months. Commonwealth citizens need a valid passport but require no visas.

In addition, all visitors are required to travel with a round-trip or onward airline ticket for entry to Jamaica.

Tax-Free Status:

a 1981 treaty between the U.S. and Jamaica makes expenses for a meeting or convention held in Jamaica tax-deductible.

Time Zone:

Eastern Standard Time. Jamaica does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Tipping:

Most hotels have a service charge from 10 to 15%. The same amount is generally accepted at restaurants.

Meet The People Program, a Unique Jamaica Travel Experience

What better way to experience the culture of a nation than through its people? For travelers seeking insight into the Jamaican experience and the warm welcome of a Jamaican friend, the island’s Meet-the-People program provides an ideal option. Launched in 1968 by The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), the Meet-The-People program reaches out to visitors curious to explore the culture of this vibrant Caribbean island, taking them beyond the traditional resort and beach setting into the colorful realm of Jamaica’s lifestyle, tradition and customs.

Enriching Experience of Hospitality
Visitors wishing to take part in the Meet-the-People program are teamed up with Jamaican hosts or volunteers who share a common profession, hobby or interest, free of cost. In true Jamaican fashion, these volunteers offer a hand of friendship and hospitality to visitors who genuinely want to know Jamaicans and the Jamaican way of life.

Meet the People allows the visitor to meet a Jamaican who can enhance their enjoyment of the real Jamaica. Guests may get to meet a family or know a fellow musician, doctor, photographer, nurse, teacher or artist, or participate in a wide range of activities, such as hiking, shopping at a local craft or food market, visit a church, tour a facility or have a chat over Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain coffee.

Whatever the focus, these activities are uniquely Jamaican, providing an island experience that only locals can create, and a pathway to the unique aspects of Jamaica’s rich endearing heritage in people, culture, music, cuisine and natural landscape. The Jamaica Tourist Board will make all arrangements for you to participate in the Meet the People program! Once you have confirmed your accommodations and your travel dates, simply sign up online. We are waiting to welcome you!

Unforgettable experiences of Jamaica continue to linger through Meet-the-People encounters. In March 1976, the Jamaica Tourist Board adopted the Forget-Me-Not flower as the symbol for the program. The flower grows wild all over Jamaica, especially in the cooler areas, producing white, pink, or blue blossoms. It was selected to reinforce the significance of the people-to-people contact, after which each person can truly say to the other, “It was a wonderful time of togetherness. Forget me not.”

Jamaica - Do's and Don'ts

General Information Guideline – What to Do & What Not to Do in Jamaica

Do’s and Don’ts in Jamaica:

Tourism is, without a doubt, the number one industry in Jamaica today. Jamaicans are extremely proud of their marvelous tradition of guest hospitality. They regard every single visitor to Jamaica as their special guest. We want your visit to be special, and we want you to leave Jamaica with fond memories, with an eagerness to come back again and again.

Remember, when you are away from home, no matter where you go, it makes good sense to take extra care to ensure that your journey is safe and pleasant. We’ve prepared suggestions to help make your stay in Jamaica as enjoyable as possible.

At the airport:

Do:

Use authorized pick-up points for rented cars, taxis and buses

Use authorized transportation services and representative

Don’t:

Pack valuables (cash, jewelry, etc.)

Leave baggage unattended
If you rent a car:

Do:

Use car rental companies licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board

Ask for a map with directions to your destination before leaving the airport

Lock your car doors

Go to a service station or other well-lit public place if, while driving at night, you become lost or require assistance

Check your vehicle before heading out on the road each day. If problems develop, stop at the nearest service station and call to advise your car rental company. They will be happy to assist you.

Don’t:

Leave your car engine running unattended

Leave valuables in your car

Store valuables, luggage and packages in your trunk.
On the road:

Do:

Remember to drive on the left

Observe posted speed limits and traffic signs

Use your seat belts

Always beep your horn when approaching a blind corner on our narrow and winding country roads

Try to travel with a group at night.

Don’t:

Stop on dark roads or in secluded areas

Pick up hitch-hikers
While Shopping:

Do:

Carry your wallet discreetly

Use credit cards or traveler’s cheques for major purchases, if possible.

Don’t:

Carry your wallet, cash or other valuables in a rear pocket.

Display large amounts of cash when making simple purchases
In your hotel:

Do:

Store valuables in a safety deposit box

Report suspicious-looking persons or activity to hotel security or the front desk

Lock doors securely whenever you are in your room

Don’t:

Open your door without verifying your caller

Draw attention to yourself by displaying cash, jewelry or other valuables

Invite strangers into your room

Leave purses, wallets or keys unattended or our of sight when at the pool or on the beach

Police:

Please bear in mind that local police and resort patrol officers are easily identified by their uniforms. Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force wear blue-striped shirts and black pants with red stripes down the side. The Island Special Constabulary Force officers wear the same uniform with blue stripes on their pants or a plain blue uniform. They wear badges and carry identification.

Drugs:

The use, sale or possession of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, crack or any other controlled substance is illegal in Jamaica, and violators are subject to arrest, fines and imprisonment. If approached by someone trying to sell you drugs, firmly but politely say no.
Emergency Assistance:

Emergency Assistance
Call toll free …………… 0991-9999
Police ………………….. 119
Ambulance …………….. 119, 110
Fire …………………….. 110

There are eight visitor information booths on the island, conveniently located in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Each one has radio contact with the police and with the Jamaica Tourist Board offices.

Security personnel and front desk managers at hotels are also able to offer assistance in an emergency.

Jamaica Tourist Board offices have personnel on hand to offer assistance when needed. Their offices are located in Montego Bay, Kingston and Port Antonio.

Shopping in Jamaica

Jamaica is truly a shopper’s paradise where nobody leaves empty-handed. The national motto, “Out of Many, One People” is mirrored in the exceptional quality and variety of arts and crafts available at crafts markets in every resort area. Bargaining is a sport, and sales come with smiles!

Jamaica Shopping Tours:

Dunn’s River Falls and Ocho Rios Shopping Tour
Ocho Rios Highlights Tour

Hand-crafter mahogany sculptures, influences by African tribal traditions, are found everywhere. Self-taught or “intuitive” artists produce paintings and pottery, while wood furnishings can be found alongside leather goods and fabulous tropical fashions. Sun-dresses and sarongs of beautiful batiks are characteristic of the Indian influence. And the truly exotic plethora of bangles and baubles, hand-sewn embroidery and straw accessories is simply smashing.

Jamaica is the birthplace of the spicy Pickapeppa sauce. Endless varieties of local exotic spices are also available for sale, island-wide. So, too, is Tia Maria liqueur, Red Stripe Beer and fine blends of premium Jamaican rums. And there is always an abundance of our world-famous Blue Mountain coffee, either pre-ground for your convenience or as packaged, hand-picked beans.

Discerning travelers have always known of the values to be found in our duty-free shops. Jamaica’s in-bond shops carry an extensive array of goods and the selections are just as satisfying as the prices. Shop for cameras and electronic equipment from Japan, designer fashions and fragrances from France, English china and porcelain, Irish linens and woolens, Scandinavian crystal, Italian figurines and lustrous gold and shiny silver. It’s all here. So shop shamelessly.

Gift and duty-free shops, as well as craft markets, are located in the most resort areas. And, in case you forget to purchase a gift for that special person, you may easily pick one up at the airport or cruise port just before departure.

Also See:

 

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Best Season:Year-Round
Popular Location: Jamaica, Kingston, Montego Bay, Spanish Town, Negril, Ocho Rios, Dunns River Falls, Port Antonio, Runaway Bay

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