Found in the West Indies, Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea. It also makes a great vacation spot.
With its natural wonders like beaches, waterfalls, and caves, year-round high temperatures, great music and food, and friendly culture, it makes a perfect place to explore or relax.
There are many things to do and see in Jamaica.
This Jamaica travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
- Power voltage is 110V at 50 Hz.
- The official currency is the Jamaican Dollar and 1 Jamaican Dollar is equal to 0.0074 USD.
- The best way to get around is by taxi.
- To enter, you will need a U.S. passport and sometimes a return ticket. If your stay is under 90 days, you do not need a visa.
- Flow and Digicel are the most popular mobile providers. A prepaid SIM card can be purchased through either of them.
- The sales tax rate is 16.5%.
Budget – You can find a number of backpacker hostels in the range of 2,000 to 3,300 Jamaican Dollars per night. Enjoy dorm-styled or private rooms, shared kitchens, lounge areas, storage lockers, free Wi-Fi, and great locations.
Mid Range – For mid-range hotels and resorts, expect to pay 9,000 to 30,000 Jamaican Dollars per night. Enjoy private rooms and suites, a hotel restaurant and bar, indoor and outdoor pools, spa services, free breakfast and Wi-Fi, and a fitness center.
High End – Upscale hotels will range from 32,500 to 65,000 Jamaican Dollars, with the top places going up to 150,000 Jamaican Dollars per night. Take in the best of Jamaica with top-of-the-line hospitality, polished suites with balconies and flat screen TVs, multiple fine dining options, infinity pools and hot tubs, room and butler service, beach access, a live DJ, and more.
Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and Air B&B for the best deals on accommodation.
Food: The national dish is Ackee and saltfish, made from ackee (a Caribbean fruit) and saltfish and usually mixed with spices, vegetables, and plantains, bread, or fried dumplings.
It can be eaten anytime but is usually eaten during breakfast.
Jerk chicken is a very popular dish. Jamaican jerk is a staple on the island.
Curried goat is also popular.
When out and about, look for street venders or food stalls and sample a patty (turnover pastry, usually filled with beef or vegetables) or coco bread (sweet and buttery bread).
There are many cafes and restaurants where you can sample authentic Jamaican cuisine. In total, expect to pay around 3,000 Jamaican Dollars per day for food.
Getting to Jamaica: The Donald Sangster International Airport is one of the main airports and is just 2 miles from Montego Bay.
The other airport is the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.
Flights: You can check for the best flights to Jamacia on Skyscanner.
Compare Flight Deals Below
Trains: No trains for passengers
Buses: Buses are the cheapest way to get around but are not recommended by the U.S. Department due to safety conditions. However, if you insist, you can find a number of buses with fares of 100 Jamaican Dollars.
Taxis: Taxis are an alternative way to get around. Look for the PPV red license plate, which means the taxi is licensed. Many taxis will not have a meter, so make sure to agree on a price before you get in. It is custom to tip 10-15%. You can ride from the Sangster International Airport to Montego Bay, for example, for about 2,700 Jamaican Dollars.
Car Rental: To rent a car, you need to be 25 years old and have a U.S. driver’s license. Prices start at 5,000 Jamaican Dollars.
You can also compare prices here
Places to Stay
Rose Hall: Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is a great adults-only luxury resort. When booking here you have access to the amenities of the family side as well, the Hyatt Ziva. There are several restaurants and pools, located directly on the beach with SUP and sailing included in the stay
Treasure Beach: Jakes Hotel: Located in South Jamaica this luxury resort has a laid back vibe that truly makes you feel like you are in the islands. Rent a villa and enjoy the local life.
Montego Bay: Rui Palace is a four-star resort that is an adults-only all-inclusive resort
Half Moon: Located on 3km of private beach with spa, several restaurants, golf course and 5 different bars.
Jamaica is a tropical climate, so expect balmy to hot temperatures.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the beautiful sun with some sunscreen.
- Bathing Suit: With so many beaches to explore, don’t forget to bring a swimsuit.
- Water Shoes: Protect your feet from rocks with a sturdy pair of water shoes.
- Sarong: Great for wrapping up to have a bit at the beach after swimming
- Flip-flops: good for walking to the pool
See our packing tips: packing tips
When to Go
The best time to visit is between November and December. As January to March is the peak tourism, going before then will ensure better hotel deals and fewer crowds, while also getting to enjoy the beautiful weather that time of year (mid 70s to high 80s degrees Fahrenheit).
Stay through the end of December and you also can enjoy the popular Junkanoo street parade that happens every December 26th and again on January 1st.
Things to Do
- Black River Safari: Yes, jamaica has crocodiles and you can take a river cruise in the south to see them up close and personal.
- Swim with Horses: This is a unique adventure that takes you out to the Caribbean Sea while riding a horse at it swims in the surf.
- Bob Marley Museum: Located in Bob Marley’s former residence, come learn more about thishistorical Jamaican musician. See his recording studio, personal artifacts from the musician, take a tour of his home, and more. Afterwards, get something from the gift shop or café.
- Emancipation Park: Opened in 2002 to celebrate the end of slavery, this popular public park in Kingston has many things to do and see, including the Redemption Song sculpture, which stands at 11 feet tall and was taken from a Bob Marley song. Other things to find in the park are the West African Adinkras (spiritual symbols) found throughout the park, as well as fountains and trees.
What not to Miss
- Green Grotto Caves: Head to the northern coast of Jamaica to see these popular show caves. Take a guided tour to learn more about these caves and see these natural wonders up-close.
- Jamaican Bobsled: Spend a day learning of Jamaican Olympians at the museum above the bobsled track, before sliding down through the rainforest. There’s ziplining, hiking, and pools in the area too.
Tour Company Suggestions
- Chukka Tours, Get Your Guide, TreasureBeachExcursions
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies.
We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It is usually the has the cheapest prices, not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation.
Air BnB: Airbnb is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs. I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
World Nomads Insurance: When traveling you should always have travel insurance. We do.