8 Important Things to Know Before Traveling to Jamaica

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8 Important Things to Know Before Traveling to Jamaica

Jamaica is a beautiful country in an idyllic setting in the Caribbean, it's no wonder the country has quickly become one of the most popular destinations in the region. Before you head to this stunning island of paradise to relax on the gorgeous white beaches however, here are a few things you should know before visiting Jamaica.

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8 Important Things to Know Before Traveling to Jamaica

Transportation Can Be Expensive

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Unlike a number of Caribbean and Central American destinations, taxis aren't so cheap, travelling around the island with them will rack up costs quickly. While there are public buses that offer much cheaper rides, it takes some planning to use them and safety can be an issue.

If you're going to be exploring a large portion of the island, consider getting a rental car instead, you'll save money and have a lot more flexibility. Just be careful as you'll often see small animals and cattle walk out on the road and the locals can often drive without much caution.

The Local Food is Delicious

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Most resorts and high-end hotels around Jamaica tend to focus more on international and American food to cater to the tourists that visit the country. However, it would be a huge shame to travel all the way to Jamaica and not sample some of the delicious local fare.

You Can Use US Dollars in Most Places

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While having some of the local currency is helpful for those who want to shop around, most places are happy to accept US currency. If you're mainly staying in tourist-centered areas or resorts, it's more than likely you'll never need to use Jamaican dollars. If you're planning on checking out Kingston and less tourist-focused places though, some vendors will probably only take the local currency. If you're not sure, just take US dollars, it's easy to exchange when you're over there.

There's so Much More Than the Beautiful Beaches

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Jamaica might be famous for its gorgeous Caribbean beaches and crystal clear ocean, but there's so much more to the island outside of the resorts and coastal areas. Inland you'll find scenic mountains, stunning waterfalls and lush jungles to explore along with remote villages that ooze the traditional culture Jamaica is famous for.

The Pace of Life is Much Slower Here

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Jamaican's often have a reputation for being chilled out and ultra-relaxed, which isn't a complete exaggeration. Life on the island is much more laid-back than other places, so do as the locals and relax a little while you're here. Schedules are often just guidelines and you'll find events or public transportation won't always start on time.

Some Places Are Dangerous

While most of the island is quite safe, especially in tourist resorts, Jamaica has a pretty high crime rate and some places are not worth taking the risk to visit. Some areas of Kingston such as Denham Town along with places in Montego Bay are dangerous and should be avoided if possible. Be cautious when out and about and don't wear expensive jewelry.

Jamaica Isn't LGBT Friendly

While many destinations around the world are opening up to LGBT tourists, Jamaica is still far from accepting it. Same sex activity is actually illegal and most Jamaicans will highly disapprove if they see any public displays of affection from same sex couples. If you're not able to conserve behavior while visiting, it's probably best not to visit Jamaica as you could cause confrontations. The culture might seem laid-back and chilled out, but it's also fairly conservative and this is how most people are brought up here.

Aside from this Jamaicans are often extremely friendly and will welcome you with open arms.

There are More Islands Than Just the Main Island

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What most people don't realize, including even some who have been before, is that Jamaica isn't just one island, in fact it's an archipelago of 28 islands. For a luxurious stay, consider staying on Sandals Island, a private island resort just a few minutes by boat from the mainland.


Tourism has long been a large income for Jamaica, being one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. People are super friendly and there are plenty of places that are highly worth visiting. Just make sure to