Out of Many, One People. Jamaica is one of the most diverse and colourful countries in the Caribbean. Our history, our culture and our people have propelled this small island of just 4,111 sq.miles to the international stage.
‘Wi likkle but wi tallawah’. Jamaica is the home of one of the most popular music forms in the world, Reggae; the home of the fastest man and woman on the track, Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce and the home of some of the best cuisine the world has ever tasted.
While the acclaim for our culture and raw talent is worldwide, Jamaica is also a beacon of democracy.
After the tumultuous years leading up to the abolition of slavery, Jamaica’s transition from a British colony to full sovereignty was marked by rationality and unity. Under the stewardship of the fathers of the nation, our heroes, Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley, Jamaica moved into the 20th century with full adult suffrage, Independence and a strong sense of nationhood and identity.
Jamaica has an area of 4, 411 square miles of 11,424 square kilometers. The island is 146 miles (235km) long with widths varying between 22 (35km) miles. She is the third largest of the Caribbean islands and the largest of the English speaking islands.Jamaica is a very mountainous country. Almost half of the island is above 1,000 feet (305m). Blue mountain Peak, the highest point, is 7,402 feet (2,256m) above sea level. The annual average rainfall is 78 inches (198cm). Because of the effects of the mountains, rainfall is fairly evenly distributed. Some hilly areas get nearly 300 inches (762cm) a year while parts of the western plains get as little as 30 inches (76.2).The annual average temperature is 27ºC. The hottest months are the in the summer and the winter months (December to March) are appreciably cooler. Areas of high altitude are also much cooler. For example, the Blue Mountain Peak, has an average annual temperature of 13ºC. The tides around the coast hardly vary. The difference between high and low tide is never more than 16 inches (41cm).Jamaica has about 120 rivers, most of which flow to coast from the central mountain ranges. Those on the north side tend to be shorter and swifter than those on the south side.Jamaica is blessed with several mineral springs, four of which are developed with facilities for bathing and/or accommodation. Once is attached to the Grand Lido San Souci Hotel and three are Public; Bath in St. Thomas, Milk River in Clarendon and Rockfort in St. Andrew.
HISTORY AND PEOPLE
The first Jamaicans were the aboriginal Taino Indians. Christopher Columbus found them living here when he came. Soon after the Spaniards settled on the island, the Tainos were all killed or died out from overwork and European diseases to which they had no immunity. Africans were imported to work as slaves on the plantations. Cattle and other small animals were the main livestock, while tobacco and staple foods were the main crops. The staple foods provided food for the population as well as supplies for passing ships. The word Jamaica comes from an Awarak word Xaymaca, meaning “Land of wood and water”.Although the Tainos of Jamaica have all died out, they have left several words in the English Language. Among them: hammock, tobacco, potato, hurricane, maize, barbecue, cannibal, and canoe.Christopher Columbus first came to Jamaica on May 4, 1494 while on his second voyage to the “new” world. This great explorer landed at Discovery Bay on the north coast near the resort town of Ocho Rios. Columbus once spent a whole year in St. Ann’s Bay. It was during his fourth voyage in 1503 when he stopped here because his ships were worm-eaten. A full year passed before help arrived and he was able to repair his ships. This is the longest time he ever spent in any one place on any of his voyages.Jamaica’s first town built by the Spanish in 1509 was “Sevilla Nueva”, or New Seville near ST. Ann’s Bay on the islands north coast. In 1534 the Spaniards, having abandoned Seville for health reasons, founded Spanish town on the south coast and made it the island’s capital. Seville Nueva now lies beneath in the earth in St. Ann. Archaeological excavations are being made of this Spanish settlement.Jamaica became a British colony in 1655 when the English captured it from the Spaniards. The English turned the island into one vast sugar plantation which made them rich. In England they used to say as rich as a ‘West Indian planter’ to mean the richest person around.To grow the sugarcane, the English brought many more Africans to work as slaves. Most of the slaves came the West Coast of Africa. The majority were from the Fanti and Ashanti tribes. Others from the Ibo and Yoruba tribes came from what is now present day Nigeria.When the slaves were fully freed in 1838, most of them deserted the plantations and settled down in the hills to cultivate their own small plots of land. They founded a peasantry which is still today regarded as the “backbone” of Jamaica.After slavery was abolished, the English brought in Chinese and later East Indians as indentured labourers to work on the plantations.The Jews are among the oldest residents of Jamaica. Some Jewish families have been here from the time of the earliest Spanish settlements. Although very small in number, the Jewish community has been very influential in government and commerce.When the English took over Jamaica, the Spaniards fled to neighbouring islands and their freed slaves escaped into the mountains and formed their own independent groups called the Maroons.The Maroons were in time joined by the many other slaves who escaped from the English. For a long time, they fought against the English who sought to re-enslave them. So successful were the Maroons, fighting guerilla style from their mountain fortresses, that the English were forced to sign peace treaties with them, granting them self-government and the mountain lands which they inhabited. Today, descendants of the Maroons still live in the hilly Cockpit Country of western Jamaica (Accompong) and Moore Town in the hills of Portland (eastern Jamaica). Another established Maroon settlement exists at Scots Hall in St. Mary. Maroons, however, are fully integrated into the Jamaican society and share the rights and responsibilities of Jamaican citizenship.Over ninety percent of the Jamaican population is of African descent. There has been much inter-marriage among the races over the centuries and this is reflected in the diverse physical appearance of Jamaicans, and in their unique culture. The African heritage is still very strong. It is seen in the foods Jamaicans grow and eat (e.g. yam); in some religious practices; in music and dance; in folk tales, proverbs and aspects of the language.The official language of Jamaica is English. However, the majority of the population speaks a Jamaican creole called patois, which is a mixture of English and African forms, and words adopted from foreign sources. The Jamaican creole has been studied by many scholars. There is even a Dictionary of Jamaican English published by Cambridge University Press.Jamaica has a population of over 2.6 million. Kingston, the capital city is the most densely populated with 750,000 persons. In the Nothern Hemisphere, Kingston is the largest English speaking city south of Miami.The majority of the population is Christian with small Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bahai communities. The other established churches are Anglican (Episcopalian), Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Adventist, Moravian and United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational). The Pentecostals also have a large number of adherents. Many Jamaicans are member of indigenous religious groups e.g. Pocamania, Revivalism and Rastafari. Rastafari is a religious sect which believes in the divinity of Haile Selassie, the late Emperor of Ethuiopia.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became independent country after more than 300 years of British rule. She remains a part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Queen of England is titular head of state, and is represented by the Governor General who is a Jamaican.The Prime Minister is the head of government. Jamaica has a bicameral parliament based on the Westminister model, where there is a lower house (The House of Representatives) whose members are elected under universal adult suffrage; and an upper house (The Senate) whose members are appointed by the Governor General. The majority of senate members are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the others on the recommendation of the leader of Opposition. Parliament is made up of a majority which forms the Government, and minority parties who form the Opposition.Jamaica has two main political parties: The People’s national Party (PNP) and the Jamaica labour Party (JLP). A third political party, the National Democratic Movement (NDM) was launched in 1995. The term governance is five years, but the Prime Minister can call an election at any time within the term. The minimum voting age is 18.The island is divided into 3 counties and 14 parishes. Each parish has a capital town which is the centre of local Government administration.Jamaica has many post–secondary institutions.These Include:
- The University of the West Indies
- University of Technology, Jamaica
- Northern Caribbean University
- College of Agriculture, Science and Education
- Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts
- Several Teacher Training Colleges
- Community Colleges
There are also many specialist educational institutions island-wide. Jamaica has a good public library system with libraries maintained in most towns. Bookmobiles take books to small villages. The National Library of Jamaica is at the institute of Jamaica in Kingston and it is the best repository of West Indian historical documents in the world. The herbarium there has over 55,000 specimens of West Indian plants. The National archives are in Spanish Town.Jamaica has produced many international sportsmen and women especially in cricket, athletics, boxing, football and tennis. Jamaicans are a sport-loving people. The most popular spectator sports are cricket, track and field, football (soccer) and boxing. Also popular are golf, tennis, basketball, netball, polo, swimming and watersports.Every year, an annual islandwide activity is held to celebrate the anniversary of independence. Festival brings together the best in Jamaican art, craft and performing arts. The finals of the events are held islandwide and provide much colour and spectacle. On Independence Day, August 6, there is usually a grand gala in Kingston. There is also a major celebration on August 1, Emancipation Day.The National Dance Theatre Company and the Jamaica Folk Singers are undoubtedly two of the best-known theatrical performing groups.An annual theatrical event is the Jamaican Pantomime. It is a colourful musical and is very popular with Jamaicans. The Pantomime plays for approximately four months at different theatres, after opening in December in Kingston.Jamaica has three daily newspapers: “The Gleaner”, “The Observer”, “The Star”, several weekly newspapers and other publications. There are several radio stations including RJR, Hot 102 FM, KLAS FM, Irie FM, Love FM, Power 106-2 television stations (TVJ CVM). There are also several local cable operators.
The most important areas of the economy are tourism, agriculture, bauxite mining and manufacturing. The main agricultural export crops are: sugar, bananas, coffee, citrus, cocoa, coconut, pimento (allspice) and root crops (e.g. yams). Jamaica exports flowers and folia plants. Much has also been achieved in fresh water fishing and shrimp farming, the growing of mushrooms, strawberries and oyster farming. Numerous tropical tubers, vegetables, flowers and exotic are cultivated in accordance with tradition. Blue Mountain Coffee is the most priced and expensive in the world and is used chiefly for blending with less aromatic beans worldwide. It is grown only in a small area on the slopes of the Blue Mountains. Jamaica also produces excellent mid-mountain and lowland coffee.Jamaica is one of the world’s major producers of bauxite and alumina, from which aluminium is made. Aluminium is not actually made in Jamaica, as the ore is shipped to smelters in the USA, Canada, Norway and other countries. Of all the minerals in Jamaica, Bauxite is the one most mined. Others are gypsum, marble, alabaster and limestone. There are also significant deposits of agate.Tourism is Jamaica’s largest earner of foreign exchange and there are over 1 million visitors per year. Jamaica offers year round tourism but the major resort centers are Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Port Antonio and the Central and South Coast.There are a number of hotels, large and small, varying from high rises to hotels in elegant old world style and small modern hotels marketed under the umbrella title of “Inns of Jamaica”. There are also guest houses and different villas and apartments. All offer modern conveniences and excellent service. They are inspected regularly before recommendations are issued or are renewed. Approved properties offer good value for money.Jamaica has many fine restaurants which offer a variety of dinning styles in Jamaican, American, continental, East Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisines, among others.There is a wide variety of attractions and entertainment events year round and Jamaica abounds in fine beaches and scenic beauty.There are numerous recreational opportunities. Facilities for tennis, golf, equestrian, sports and water sports of all sorts are excellent.The Jamaica Tourist Board Headquartered in Kingston and maintains offices both locally and overseas.Cruise shipping plays a major part in the tourist industry and Jamaica is a popular port of call. There are cruise ship ports in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Port Antonio, Falmouth and Kingston. Jamaica also offers excellent shopping opportunities ranging from art and craft goods, duty free items, leisure and evening wear.
A little bird called Jamaican Tody makes its nest, not in a tree, but in the hole in the ground. The Tody is also known as the robin redbreast (not to be confused with the Robin Redbreast of England). This particular Tody is found only in Jamaica and is one of the many endemic species found here.Jamaica has a few harmless snakes found mostly in remote areas such as the Cockpit country.The breadfruit was brought to Jamaica by the Tahiti in 1793 by Captain Bligh. The first time he attempted to bring the plants to the island, his crew took over the ship and put him off on a deserted island. The Film “Muting on the Bounty” was based on this event.The mongoose was introduced to the island from India to kill snakes in the canefields. Drivers will sometime see them running across the road.Jamaica is famous for its woods – mahogany, blue mahoe (the national tree), satinwood, cottonwood, cedar, Spanish elm and others. These woods are used in the manufacturing of beautiful furniture and fine craft items.The national flower is the Lignum Vitae which means “Tree of Life”. In the old days, Lignum Vitae was used widely as a medicine. The wood is extremely heavy and hard and has been used to make ships’ propellers and policemen’s batons. Today it is prized by furniture manufacturers and sculptors.Jamaica has many native species of orchids and hundreds of imported varieties and hybrids. As a result there are orchid shows especially in the spring and fall.Ackee and salt fish is the “national dish”. The ackee was first brought from Africa on a slave ship. Ackee, though cooked and used as a vegetable, is a fruit. It is Jamaica’s national fruit.Jamaica has many exotic fruits – many types of mangoes, star apple, sweet sop, soursop, custard apple, rose apple, sweet-cup, otaheiti apple, jack fruit, guinep, tamarind and naseberry, among others. When in season, all are available at roadside stalls. The pineapple was introduced to Hawaii from Jamaica.The coconut is the world’s most useful tree. Every part of the tree, as well as its fruit, is used by man. The trees can be seen along Jamaica’s coastline and on working plantations, some of which offer regular sightseeing tours.The Giant Swallow Tail butterfly is found only in Jamaica. It has a wingspan of up to six inches (0.2). It is believed to be the largest butterfly in the western hemisphere. A Jamaican butterfly called the ‘Zebra’ has an interesting habit. Every evening, large swarms roost on the same tree or branch. This is a most unusual habit in the butterfly world. The ‘Zebra’ is striped black and yellow.Jamaica has over 500 species of true ferns. Some are enormous tree ferns while others are so small they can hardly be seen with the naked eye.Pimento (also called Allspice) is indigenous to Jamaica. We therefore supply most of this spice on the world market. The spice comes from the dry berry. Pimento oil is extracted from leaves. A delicious liqueur is made from the ripe berries.Over 252 species of birds are found here. Of these, 27 are found nowhere else. These include the national bird, the streamer tailed humming bird or doctor Bird. Four varieties are now found in Jamaica. Bamboo Avenue is an attraction close to the island’s southwest coast where the feathery tops from a canopy over than three miles of road.Bats (locally called ‘rat bats’) live in vast colonies in caves. Some feed insects, some on fish, and some on fruit. Twenty-three species are found in Jamaica. The island’s lizards are all harmless. Many can change colour to suit their surroundings – a protective strategy. Jamaica’s largest lizard is the iguana which can grow to over 6 feet long. Though now rare in Jamaica, iguanas can be seen at the Hope Zoo in Kingston. A group of whistling frogs found in Jamaica does not go through the tadpole stage as do most frogs. Their eggs are laid under stones and hatch out into little frogs.Jamaica has about 50 species of coral, in addition to a wide variety of beautiful sponges and seaweed. Some of Jamaica’s corals are found nowhere else.When Jamaican fireflies flash their lights, it means they are courting each other. Each specie has a different flash and the females have a different have a different signal from the males. They are known locally as blinkies or peenie-wallies.
Kingston is built around the 7th largest natural harbor in the world and the completely rebuilt waterfront has splendid modern buildings which house offices, shops and apartments. The imposing Bank of Jamaica building houses the Central bank as well as the coin museum. Across the road is the unique Jamaican Conference Centre, which is open for tours. Other interesting places in the area are the National Gallery, home of Jamaica’s priceless art collection and one of the best displays in the Caribbean, Kingston Crafts Market and the spectacular St. William Grant Park. Other points of interest downtown are: The Institute of Jamaica (east Street) which was established in 1879; Ward Theatre, which is one of the oldest theatres in the Americas; Kingston Parish Church which has existed from at least 1699 (as the date on the oldest theatres in the Americans; Kingston Parish Church which has existed from at least 1699 (as the date on the oldest tombstone attests); Coke Chapel, built in 1840 on the site of the first Methodist chapel in Jamaica; Gordon House, the house of Parliament and Headquarters House, which in the 1760s, was the townhouse of a wealthy planter. It was built on a wager. National Heroes Park has monuments of Jamaica’s national Heroes as well as the tomb of a former Prime Minister. Mico Teacher Training College nearby, was founded in the 1830s and Wolmer’s school was founded in the early 18th century.Principal points to interest uptown are the national Stadium and Arena; the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; Devon House (built in the 1880s as a millionaire’s residence and now open to tours with a popular shopping and restaurant complex); Vale Royal, the official residence of the Prime Minister which was built in the early 1770s; Hope Botanical gardens and the University of the West Indies, Mona, (the UWI Chapel was reassembled stone by stone from an old sugar warehouse in Trelawny). King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General and the Bob Marley Museum are also major points of interest in the area.Half Way Tree (the capital of the parish of St. Andrew) was named in olden days after an old cotton tree which served as a landmark. The St. Andrew Parish Church dates from the 1680s.Port Royal arguably the most famous place in the Caribbean, was, in the 1600s, the headquarters of English Buccaneers who preyed on Spanish ships. Fort Charles, built in 1656 by the British a year after their capture of the island, was used to command the entrance to the harbour (now Kingston Harbour). Port Royal grew enormously wealthy on plunder. Its most famous pirate was Henry Morgan who was later Knighted and appointed Lieutenant Governor. The city became known as “the wickedest city in Christendon”. In 1692, an Earthquake and tidal wave toppled over two-thirds of Port Royal into the sea. The sunken city, lying in shallow water, is the world’s most priceless underwater archaeological site. Reminders of old Port Royal brought up from the sea can be seen at the Museum of Historical Archaeology. Other places of interest are St. Peter’s Church with its 18th century organ loft and chandelier; the Communion plate donated by Sir Henry Morgan and the tomb of Louis Galdy who was swallowed up by the earth during the earthquake and was miraculously thrown up alive. He lived to a ripe old age. Fort Charles is a reminder of the time when the town was a British naval stronghold. The flagstaff there is the point from which Jamaica’s latitude and longitude are measured and Nelson’s Quarterdeck has a plaque which honours the British naval hero of Trafalgar who served there.
Spanish Town, Jamaica’s capital for over three hundred years, is 13 miles from Kingston and was founded in 1534. The old town square has a Spanish design and contains places of historical interest. On the north side is the stately monument of Admiral George Rodney, by John Bacon, Britain’s most eminent artist of the late 18th century. The red brick House of assembly is on the east and faces Old Kings House – the old governor’s residence which was destroyed by fire in 1925. The façade has been rebuilt and now houses the Museum of Craft and technology. The Cathedral Church of St. James dates to 1714.
Mandeville is Jamaica’s mountain resort, the island’s largest hill town and the fifth largest urban centre. The town was laid out in 1816 and was named for Lord Mandeville, the eldest son of the Duke of Manchester, the governor after whom the parish was named. The original building of that period can still be seen.
Montego Bay is Jamaica’s second largest city. It is the capital of St. James. The population is over 70,000.The word ‘Montego’ comes from the Spanish “Manteca”, meaning land. In the old days, the Spaniards use to butcher wild hogs in the mountains and ship the lard from this port. Montego Bay has been a tourist resort since the turn of the century. People first came to bathe a Doctor’s Cove for health reasons. Montego Bay has the largest number of hotel rooms in Jamaica, as well as five championship golf courses, many tennis courts, numerous attractions, restaurants and entertainment spots.It has an international airport, named for former Prime Minister Sir Donald Sangster (Sangster International Airport), a modern cruise ship pier and a growing industrial freezone area. There is also a craft market.Sam Sharpe Square is named for a slave leader and deacon who fought for freedom and was hanged there. He led the Christmas Rebellion of 1831. Sam Sharpe is now a National hero of Jamaica.Fort Montego dates from the days when all the coastal towns had to be defended. The fort was hardly ever used. A battery with three cannons and the powder magazine are that remain.The Dome was built in 1837 over the creek which was used to supply Montego Bay with water. The Keeper of the creek had his office there.The cage was built in 1806 as an overnight lockup for runaway slaves, disorderly seamen and other vagrants.The Parish Church of St, James is dedicated to St. James the Great. It was built in 1778. The church was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake on March 1, 1957, but it has been faithfully restored. Burchell Memorial Church was established in 1824 by Rev. Thomas Burchell, a Baptist missionary and abolishionist. The early congregation was mostly slaves. Sam Sharpe, the great slave leader, was deacon there.
Negril, the resort at the western tip of the island, extends from half moon bay in Hanover to Negril Lighthouse in Westmoreland, enclosing seven miles of white sand beach one of the best in the world. Negril has a carefree ambience and a wide range of accommodation, of which no building is higher than the tallest palm tree – by law.Calico Jack, a notorious pirate in Jamaica’s history, was captured on this beach. At his trial, it was discovered that two of his crew were women. Bobby Cay, the island at the northern end of the beach, was used in filming the south sea scenes in Walt Disney’s “Twenty Leagues Under the Sea”. Bobby Cay in Negril was so named during the whaling days, centuries ago.
Ocho Rios is in the middle of the island’s long north coast. Like Montego Bay, it boasts a wide range of visitor accommodation. It is particulary noted for spectacular waterfalls, working plantations beaches, busy modern cruise ship piers and beautiful tropical gardens.Ocho Rios is the resort from which the following attractions are mostly reached: Fern Gully, Dunn’s River Falls, Chukka Cove Equestrian Centre, New Seville (the archaeological site of Jamaica’s first town built by Diego Columbus); Noel Cowards house, “Firefly” and Ian Flemming’s house “Golden Eye”, (home of James Bond). There are regular tours of “Firefly” which is now a museum. “Golden Eye” is a private residence. The Old Fort beside the Reynolds installation was built in the late 17th century.
Port Antonio owes its early prosperity to the banana trade with the USA and England which officially began in 1870. Among the houses built at the height of the ‘banana boom’ was Demontivin Lodge Guest House which resembles an old New England mansion. Titchfield School was founded in 1785 and is housed in the barracks of Fort George, the remains of which can still be seen.Titchfield is in fact the old name of the town, and was the name of the English estate of lord Portland, the governor for whom the parish was named. Christ Church (Anglican) was built around 1840. The legendary Folly was built in 1905 by a wealthy American. The mansion began to crumble around 1936 because sea water was used to mix the concrete and this caused the steal to decay. Some of the town’s attractions are the Blue Lagoon; Sommerset Falls; the Twin Harbours, described by the American poet, Ella Willa Wilcox, as the Rio Grande Valley. Fishing tournaments are held from the Port Antonio Marina and there are historical tours of the town from the sea. Navy Island an offshore isle was once owned by Errol Flynn. There is 24-hour ferry service from the mainland at nominal cost.
Requirements For Travel to Jamaica
Requirements For Entry Into Jamaica
All visitors are required to be in possession of a national passport or other acceptable travel document establishing nationality and identity, and bearing a photograph. The passport or other travel document must be valid for the period of intended stay in the island. Visitors are also required to show evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay and be in possession of a return or round trip ticket to another country to which they are admissible.
Nationals of certain countries require, in addition to travel documents, an entry visa. This is normally issued, on application, by a Jamaican Consular office. .
The decision in respect of admission and length of stay in the country rests with the Immigration Officer at the port of entry in Jamaica. This applies whether or not a visa is a prerequisite for entry.
General Conditions for Admission
A person desirous of visiting Jamaica:
- Should be in possession of a valid visa unless exempted from this requirement under any of the prescribed regulations.
- Must be in a position to support himself/herself and accompanying dependents for the duration of stay;
- Should not be of unsound mind;
- Should not be the subject of a certificate submitted to the Immigration Officer by a health officer indicating that for medical reasons, permission to land is not desirable;
- Should not have been sentenced in a foreign country for any extraditable crime within the meaning of the Extradition Acts 1870 and 1906;
- Should not be the subject of a deportation order in force under the Aliens Law, Chapter 9;
- Should not be the subject of a landing prohibition order from the Minister of National Security
Everyone travelling to Jamaica must present a valid and approved travel document as evidence of their identity and nationality. The most common and preferred travel document is a passport, but other types of travel documents may also be accepted.
Other acceptable travel documents
A small number of travellers may have other types of travel documents which are also acceptable for travel to Jamaica.
The travel documents must be issued by a recognised authority, MUST HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE BEAREAR and provide the holder with a re-entry authority to the country of issue, or an entry authority to another country. Holders of these documents GENERALLY REQUIRE a visa
Other TYPES OF DOCUMENTS WHICH ARE acceptable TO JAMAICA include:
- Document of Identity (if holder is not an Jamaican citizen then a visa might be required); see list of visa countries
- Certificate of Identity
- Laissez Passer
- Documents issued to refugees
- ‘Kinderausweis’ issued to German minors
- Military documents for military personnel travelling by air; whether Military passport on I.D
- Seamans certificate if travelling by sea
VISA REQUIREMENTS for Foreigners and Commonwealth Nationals Entering Jamaica
|COUNTRY||ENTRY VISA REQUIREMENTS (Foreigners arriving in Jamaica)|
|ALBANIA||NO Visa required for 30 days or less as tourists
(Effective September 22, 2014) providing travellers have a USA, Canada, UK or Schengen Visa & possess proof of vaccination against Measles, Rubella & Polio)
visa may be obtained at the port of entry
|ANGUILLA (commonwealth)||NO Visa required|
|ANTIGUA & BARBUDA (commonwealth)||NO Visa required|
|ARGENTINA||NO Visa required for 30 days
NO visa required for DIP & official PP HOLDERS
visa may be obtained at the port of entry
|AUSTRALIA (commonwealth)||NO Visa required|
|AUSTRIA||NO visa required for 90 days|
visa may be obtained at the port of entry
|BAHAMAS (commonwealth)||NO Visa required|
|BANGLADESH (commonwealth)||NO visa required|
|BARBADOS (commonwealth)||NO visa required|
|BELARUS||NO visa required for 30 days or less as tourists
(Effective September 22, 2014) providing they have a USA, Canada, UK or Schengen Visa & possess proof of vaccination against Measles, Rubella & Polio)
|BELGIUM||NO visa required for 90 days|
|BELIZE (commonwealth)||NO visa required|
|BERMUDA (commonwealth)||NO visa required|
|BOLIVIA||NO visa required for 30 days or less as tourists
Proof of Vaccination against Yellow Fever.
(Effective May 17, 2016)
|BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA||NO visa required for 30 days or less as tourists
(Effective September 22, 2014) providing they have a USA, Canada, UK or Schengen Visa & possess proof of vaccination against Measles, Rubella & Polio
|BOTSWANA (commonwealth)||NO visa required|
Please click the below link for information on your specific territory:
Travel documents required for all other travellers
All travellers need to present the following documents to officers for Immigration clearance:
- a valid passport or other acceptable travel document
- a valid visa or authority to enter Jamaica (including work permit, student permit, temporary permit)
- a completed and signed Immigration Landing Card
- Anyone who arrives without a valid travel document, visa or authority to enter Jamaica, may be refused entry to Jamaica or delayed until their identity and claims to enter Jamaica have been confirmed.
No matter where in the world you’re traveling, it’s important to read the news, stay safe, travel in groups when you are unsure of where you’re going, and keep an eye on your property at all times. Here are some tips to make your Jamaican vacation safe and fun.
- Make sure you travel with a valid passport or visa (if required). Also, bring another valid form of photo I.D., and photocopies of both I.D.s. in case of loss or theft.
- Read up on local laws and practices before you get here.
- Give friends and family your contact information and itineraries in case of emergency.
- Register with your country’s embassy or consulate before you travel. That way your country is aware of your whereabouts in case of emergency.
- Keep luggage, handbags or backpacks in view at all times.
- Keep possessions close to your body.
- Don’t take around large amounts of cash.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry on road trips or excursions.
- JAMAICA CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Jamaica’s climate is tropical with constant warm to hot temperatures all year round, though cooler in the higher, central areas. On the coast temperatures range from 72°F (22°C) and 88°F (31°C). Mornings and evenings are slightly chillier in the winter months but Jamaica is hot year-round. There are variations in climate according to region; for instance, the east coast receives substantially more rain than the rest of the country, and the south coast far less.
The wettest months are between May and November, when short sharp showers can be expected. The heaviest rains occur in September and October and the hurricane season runs from June to November. Even though the powerful Hurricane Ivan made landfall in September 2004, relatively few hurricanes touch Jamaica. The country is also in the earthquake zone.
Due to its tropical climate Jamaica is a popular destination all year, but the best time to visit is between mid-December and mid-April, which is the peak tourist season. If you are travelling on a budget or want to avoid the crowds consider visiting in the rainy season which has its own charms.
Top JMD Exchange Rates
2017-10-23 15:08 UTC
All figures are based on livemid-market rates. These rates are not available to consumer clients.
- Languages Spoken in Jamaica
Jamaica Language is a reflection of the diversity of the people of Jamaica. The wonderful blend of various races and cultures has affected the languages spoken in Jamaica.
The most unique of the languages of Jamaica is a dialect formed by the amalgamation of words from many languages with English. It is known as Jamaican Creole or Patois. It is the most widely spoken language of Jamaica. Patois is popular because of the musical lilt and rhythm in the words of the language. It is also used in the lyrics of Reggae, the famous music of Jamaica.English is the official language of Jamaica.
The immigrants from outside Jamaica have brought with them their language as well and languages like Spanish, Irish, Scottish are also spoken. The other two significant languages of Jamaica are Taino (mixed with Spanish) and Arawak, specific to particular regions.
The Jamaican Creole having elements of English is however not easy to understand for outsiders because of the way it is spoken by the Jamaicans.
For more information on Jamaican Languages check out the following:
- What to Wear
Casual and Formal
Many Jamaican vacations include casual poolside activities or adventure excursions during the day. At night, dining or entertainment may require a more formal dress code. For sightseeing tours pack T-shirts, tanks, shorts or capri pants as well as comfortable walking shoes such as tennis shoes. If you plan to take some adventure tours, such as hiking or biking, consider taking moisture-wicking athletic clothing and perhaps pants if you will be in forested areas. If your hotel offers formal dining, women should pack a variety of sundresses, cocktail dresses or lightweight pantsuits. Men should wear collared shirts and dress shorts or pants. Check with your hotel or resort for specific restaurant dress codes.
When vacationing in Jamaica, it is likely you will encounter sand fleas or mosquitoes. Always take bug spray with you and remember to use it before going out, especially at night. Bugs tend to be the worst at dawn and dusk or right after a tropical shower, so stay protected. Also take along hydrocortisone itch cream for relief from bites you are not successful at preventing.
Variety of Footwear
Flip-flops are ideal for daywear around the island. If you plan to engage in fitness activities, however, tennis shoes, sport sandals or water shoes are necessary. For the evening, women should consider packing flat dress sandals or wedges with a non-slip sole. Sand, cobblestone or wet pavement after a tropical rain shower can make walking in spiked or exceptionally high heels difficult and sometimes dangerous. Some resorts require that men wear close-toed dress shoes to dinner. Otherwise, leather dress sandals or dock shoes are ideal for men in the evenings.
Sun Safety and Bug Bites
Protect yourself from damaging rays and prevent the chance of sunburn ruining the rest of your vacation. Take your sunscreen with you, as resort shops can charge two to three times the price you would pay at home. Consider packing an SPF higher than what you normally wear at home, as the sun may be stronger on the island than what you are used to. Don’t forget a lip balm with SPF, and take sunglasses and a hat for further protection. When vacationing in Jamaica, it is likely you will encounter sand fleas or mosquitoes. Always take bug spray with you and remember to use it before going out, especially at night. Bugs tend to be the worst at dawn and dusk or right after a tropical shower, so stay protected. Also take along hydrocortisone itch cream for relief from bites you are not successful at preventing.
What voltage and frequency in Jamaica?
In Jamaica the standard voltage is 110 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Jamaica, if the standard voltage in your country is in between 110 – 127 V (as is in the US, Canada and most South American countries). Manufacturers take small deviations (plus or minus 5%) into account.
If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia), you need a voltage converter in Jamaica. Some say you can carefully try to use your appliances in Jamaica without a converter. Most likely they won’t be damaged, but may not function optimally. If you don’t want to take any chances, use a converter. You can find voltage converters at Amazon. You can also consider a combined power plug adapter/voltage converter.
If the frequency in Jamaica (50 Hz) differs from the one in your country, it is not advised to use your appliances. But if there is no voltage difference, you could (at your own risk) try to use the appliance for a short time. Be especially careful with moving, rotating and time related appliances like clocks, shavers and electric fan heaters.
To be sure, check the label on the appliance. Some appliances never need a converter. If the label states ‘INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz’ the appliance can be used in all countries in the world. This is common for chargers of tablets/laptops, photo cameras, cell phones, toothbrushes, etc.