Four Things to Know Before Travelling to Jamaica

     When in Rome, do as the Romans do! The ideal thing to do when somewhere new is follow their customs, rules, ways of life and so on. Whether heading to Jamaica to be a beach bum or adventurous and cliff dive; it is important to know the dos and don'ts of Jamaica. Knowing these things help you to prepare and ensure you have a safe and amazing vacation. There is nothing worse than travelling somewhere and something horrible happens that could have been avoided. Whatever your reason is for visiting one of the best countries in the Caribbean, here are a few things you should know. 

     1. USD is accepted 

American money

  Image by Bloomberg

     If you are visiting from America, there is no need to change your money. USD currency is widely accepted in Jamaica. Most tourist destinations and accommodations will provide prices in USD. Excursions, restaurants, transportation and so on also accept USD. We would recommend only changing a small amount of money to Jamaican currency if you plan on buying small items from local gift shops or staying in less touristy areas. If more cash is required on your trip, money can easily be exchanged at banks or exchange bureaus. The rate will vary based on the daily exchange rate hence it is best to shop around for the best rate before changing money. Also be sure to let your bank know that you will be travelling to avoid your money being put on hold.

     2. The tap water is okay to drink

A glass being filled with water on a dark blue background 

  Image by Kobu Agency

     Unlike some places in the world, tap water in Jamaica is safe to drink as it is purified and filtered to standard with extensive water treatments.  Brushing your teeth with tap water is generally safe. No need to fret about brushing your teeth with water from the tap or only buying bottled water at restaurants. We wouldn’t advise drinking the water if in a very remote area or if the filtration system is questionable. If you prefer to be on the safe side, you can drink bottled water. There are plenty of brands of bottled spring water that meet the international standards.

     3. Local food is good

A plate of delicious Jamaican food - ackee and sailfish, fried plantain, fried dumpling, callaloo and a few pieces of avocado

  Image by That Nurse Can Cook

     When you stay on resorts the guests are usually given international dishes such as burgers, pizzas, pastas, fries, etc. However, unlike some destinations (no names mentioned :) ) the local food in Jamaica is delicious! Indulge in a plate of rice and peas served with your choice of meat such as oxtail, curry goat, or the infamous jerk chicken/pork. If rice doesn’t interest you there are plenty of other sides such as callaloo, bammy, fried plantain, festival, and so on. Wash your meal down with a cold red stripe beer or fresh natural juice. Be sure to also try ackee and saltfish, the national dish of Jamaica. The fresh and fluffy patties served with cocoa bread are also a must try.

     4. Driving in Jamaica

A highway in Jamaica with a few cars on it. There is a green and yellow sign that says 'Hanover'

   Image by Jamaica Global Online

     As a passenger in America we usually just hop in the seat on the right side of the car. However, in Jamaica going in the right seat is going into the driver seat! After getting into a car a few times in Jamaica you will get used to this but in Jamaica they drive on the left side of the road. Jamaica was once under British rule and adopted their style of driving on the left side. The roads may be a challenge to some drivers who are used to the American way and are not used to the area. Thus, it is advisable to hire a driver as they are accustomed to driving there. Not only will it save you the headache but make your vacation more enjoyable as you sit back and get driven around and enjoy the scenery. 

     Bonus: Only get into cabs with a red license plate. This indicates that they are licensed and authorized to operate. It is okay to say no to people who you don’t think are safe. Be smart and plan ahead how you will get to and from your destinations to avoid any unforeseen situations. 

     You are now much closer to an amazing island escape in Jamaica with these travel tips. Use your USD to indulge in some local food that will have you craving more! You can wash down your meal with basic H20 but we wouldn't recommend that when thirst quenching natural juice is available. Avoid the challenge of driving in Jamaica and hire a driver who can take you to your excursions while you relax and enjoy the view. Your vacation in Jamaica will be great and worth every penny especially if you book an accommodation like Orchids & Palms Luxury Villa. They ensure your stay in Jamaica is fantastic and every need is met. 

     Disclaimer: The information provided by I Heart Travel Jamaica (“we,” “us” or “our”) on www.iheartja.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstance shall we have any liability to you for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the site or reliance on any information provided on the site.  Your use of the site and your reliance on any information on the site is solely at your own risk. 

I Heart Travel Jamaica