Jamaica is surely one of the Caribbean’s most iconic vacation destinations. The scenery offers everything from fish-filled coral reefs and white-sand beaches to breathtaking waterfalls and cloud-shrouded rainforests.


The Arawak Indians, early residents who arrived from South America around 650 AD, named the island Xaymaca or “land of wood and water.” The Spanish lost the island in 1655 to the English. Jamaica is an independent country, completely self-governed since 1962 when the island ceased to be a British colony. After independence, Jamaica chose to be a part of the British Commonwealth, and to keep the Queen of the United Kingdom as the constitutional monarch, the titular head of the country. In Jamaica, the Governor General, who is appointed by Her Majesty upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, represents the Queen.


The Jamaican people represent one of the most diverse populations in the Caribbean, drawing from African, Chinese, Indian, British and German heritage. Nearly every race is represented here. They came  to conquer, colonise, unwillingly or in search of a better life, settling over time to call this island home. They've jumbled and fused, creating the most extraordinary racial and cultural medley, the Jamaican people.


To See

Jamaica is the Caribbean’s third largest island with six main tourist regions – Montego Bay, Negril, Mandeville and The South Coast, Kingston, Port Antonio and Ocho Rios. Ocho Rios is a prime port for cruise ships but also boasts a succession of bays and beaches.  Most notable are Runaway Bay, and Discovery Bay. Just inland lies Dunn’s River Falls – a much photographed attraction. Montego Bay is a vacation mecca in Jamaica for water sports lovers including sailing, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing, sport fishing and glass-bottom boat excursions. For shoppers, Gloucester Avenue (dubbed the "Hip Strip") is lined with duty-free shops, souvenir arcades, restaurants and bars. Negril became known in the 1960’s and 1970’s as an idyllic escape for the backpack crowd, and still enjoys a low-key demeanor. Perched on limestone bluffs, Negril’s West End is home to numerous small resorts snuggled into the craggy cliffs.  Visit the many plantation great houses such as Rose Hall and Greenwood Great House. Tour the rum distillery at Hampden Great House. Like many Caribbean islands with a sugar plantation heritage, Jamaica showcases numerous fine rums, including Appleton, which offers a top-shelf label of aged rums.

Usefull Information

Airports: Norman Manley International Airport (KIN), 20 kilometers from Kingston, 2 hours from Port Antonio and  South Coast. Sangster International Airport (MBJ), 3 kilometers from downtown Montego Bay, 1.5 hours from Ocho Rios and  Negril.

Area: 10,991 sq. km.

Business: Jamaica's business culture is based on respect and polite formalities. A suit, jacket and tie should be worn to meetings. Punctuality is valued and appointments and business cards are expected.

Capital: Kingston.

Climate: Consistently warm tropical weather. On the coast, temperatures range from 22°C and 31°C with chilly mornings and evenings denoting winter. Peak season runs roughly from mid December to mid April when crowds swell and prices rise. The wettest months are May and October, but showers may occur at any time. Between June and November, Jamaica is prone to hurricanes.

Clothing: Lightweight cottons and casual linens. Light woollens are advised for evenings when mosquitoes can make long sleeves more appealing than skimpy beachwear. Sunhats and waterproofs are handy all year round. Although nudity or topless bathing is permitted on some beaches, it is typically not practiced by locals.

Currency: Jamaican Dollar (JMD; symbol J$).

Customs: The following goods may be imported into Jamaica without incurring customs duty: Up to 2l of alcohol and 200 cigarettes (or 50 cigars or 225g of tobacco).

Economy: The two most important economic sectors are tourism and mining, with agriculture and manufacturing also contributing to the economy.

Electricity: No standard: 110 volts (some 220), 50 cycles, 60 Hz..Some 2 pins (American) or 3 pins (English plugs).

Entry & Departure requirements: Please refer to the official tourist office website link below or contact us.

Health: Medical care standards vary dramatically across the country's 16 public and six private hospitals. Away from major cities, medical centres are often poorly funded and under-resourced. Health insurance is strongly recommended, since medical treatment can be expensive. Major hotels often keep a doctor and dentist on 24-hour call.

Holidays: New Year’s Day (01JAN), Ash Wednesday(FEB), Good Friday, and Easter Monday (MAR-APR), Labour day (MAY), Emancipation Day (AUG), Independence Day (AUG), Heroes Day (OCT), Christmas (25-26DEC).

Language: English; Patois, a mix of English and African, is also spoken.

Political status: Independent nation, member of the Commonwealth.

Population: 2.8 million.

Religion: Religion is omnipresent in Jamaica. They are a predominantly Christian country, with large groups of Baptists, Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Other religions, such as Islam and Judaism are also represented on a small scale, adding to the diversity of our nation's heritage. Across the island, there are communities of Rastafarians (Originating in Ethiopia).

Security: Travellers should be aware that there are high levels of crime and violence, particularly in the Kingston area and tourists should avoid certain routes.

Shopping: Duty-free shops feature crystal, leather goods, perfumes and gold pieces.. The best Jamaican products are carved wood and batik fabric. Lowest prices on Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffee and rum are in the supermarkets.

Taxes & Service charges: Tipping is usually between 10 and 15%. Departure tax from Montego Bay and Kingston airports (not for intra-island flights) is US $25. The tax is payable only in cash.

Telecommunications: The international dialling code for Jamaica is +1 876 followed by seven digits.

Time: Eastern Time Zone: GMT – 5 hrs. Jamaica Island Time does not operate Daylight-Saving Time.

Transportation: Driving is on the left hand side of the road. Rentals require a valid International Driver’s Licence.

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.visitjamaica.com


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