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Travel to Jamaica: Requirements to Enter the Country
Many people dream of traveling to Jamaica to bask in the sun on its beautiful beaches. Some want to learn more about the popular music (Reggae and dancehall). While others want to indulge in the cuisine, like jerk chicken, curry goat, or oxtail. If you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, here are some facts about Jamaica, how to get there, and the Jamaica travel requirements to enter the country, including any current COVID requirements.
Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean, the first two being Cuba and Hispaniola, comprising of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
What most visitors don’t know is that Jamaica is quite mountainous. Jamaica’s John Crow and the Blue Mountain ranges are UNESCO World Heritage sites and were a place of refuge for the indigenous Tainos who fled slavery. The mountains have high biodiversity from endemic plant species, 136 species of butterflies, and 106 known bird species that are only on the island.
More commonly known facts include Jamaica, the birthplace of Reggae and Dancehall music, and reggae artist Bob Marley. Sugarcane is one of the major crops that Jamaica grows. However, bananas, oranges, and coconuts are also important, as are coffee and cacao.
Travel To Jamaica: Requirements To Enter
Before finalizing your plans to visit Jamaica, check to see if you need a visa to enter the country. You need a visa if you are from some countries such as Andorra, Guatemala, Lebanon, or Thailand. But those from countries like Bangladesh, Ecuador, Kenya, and Israel have visa-free access.
Staying Longer than 90 Days
Unless you’re staying longer than 90 days, United States citizens and citizens from some other countries don’t need a visa to visit Jamaica.
Proof of Departure
All visitors must also show proof of their departure from Jamaica. If the plane or cruise ship is only stopping in Jamaica for a short time, or you intend to go to a different destination, you also need proof of an onward ticket or departure.
For health considerations , it’s recommended that you stay up to date on your routine vaccines, including chickenpox, shingles , diphtheria, tetanus , pertussis, influenza , polio, and Measles-Mumps-Rubella. In addition to the routine vaccines, there are recommended vaccinations for those traveling to Jamaica.
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis B
As of September 2022, Jamaica does not have travel restrictions, and nor require COVID-19 tests to enter. Before planning your next trip, check the website to see if these restrictions change.
COVID Vaccination Requirements
If you do not have a COVID vaccination , travel isn’t recommended as the CDC has determined that Jamaica still has a high level of COVID-19. Those vaccinated against COVID-19 must show proof of this up-to-date vaccination record unless you have further documentation.
How To Travel To Jamaica
As Jamaica is an island, the easiest ways to travel to Jamaica are by plane or by boat.
Travel To Jamaica By Plane
Jamaica has three international airports: Norman Manley International Airport, Sangster International Airport, and Ian Fleming International Airport. There are a few airlines that fly directly to Jamaica. They include:
- American Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Norman Manley International Airport has the nickname “The Gateway To the World” for a good reason. It plays a critical role in Jamaica’s economic development as it caters to more than 1.7 million passengers and handles over 17 million kilograms of the island’s air freight. Norman Manley International Airport is in Kingston, the country’s capital.
Sangster International Airport is located on Jamaica’s northwest coast and is the main tourism center with hotels and resorts. The airport is the largest on the island regarding passenger volume and flights, and 95% of passengers are on international flights. Sangster International Airport is in Montego Bay on the opposite end of the country from Kingston.
Ian Fleming International Airport is named after the author who created James Bond and is located in the Ocho Rios resort area. The Ocho Rios Resorts in Jamaica has many fun activities for everyone, as does the Negril Resort in Jamaica. The Ian Fleming International Airport is not an airport commonly used for international travel as it caters more to private planes. But, on June 22, it did have its first commercial flight.
Travel To Jamaica By Boat
Cruise ships not only have activities for everyone on board but allow you to visit other locations on the way to Jamaica. The main cruises that have Jamaica as a destination on their itinerary include:
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Disney Cruise Line
- MSC Cruises
- Oceania Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Royal Caribbean Cruises
- Viking Ocean Cruises
Jamaica has three main cruise ports: Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Falmouth.
Montego Bay has activities such as river tubing, zip lines, a snail sail, snorkel adventure, a Rose Hall Great House tour, and more. Port Antonio is suited for yachts, megayachts, and boutique cruise ships. Montego Bay is also known as the best place for snorkeling. Doctor’s Cave Beach is a healing mineral springs and is known for having extremely gentle waves. One popular activity is riding down the Martha Brae River on a handmade raft made from bamboo.
Ocho Rios is a port town that was a former fishing village. Even though “ocho rios” translates into English as ‘eight rivers,’ there are only four rivers. Another interpretation is that it’s a variation of “las chorreas” or “the spouts .”The spouts refer to the nearby waterfalls.
Falmouth is in the Trelawny Parish, of which it is the capital. People know Falmouth for its Georgian architecture, bioluminescent lagoons, and white beaches.
As with any travel destination, it’s important to research everything beforehand so you can adequately prepare yourself for contingencies. Once you take care of everything else, you can enjoy your time in Jamaica, swimming in the luminescent sea in Falmouth, trying all the fruits Jamaica offers, or everything under the sun
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Jamaica Travel Advisory
Travel advisory may 10, 2023, jamaica - level 3: reconsider travel.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to crime information
Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime . U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to many areas due to increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.
Country Summary: Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.
Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards.
The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the areas listed below, from using public buses, and from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Jamaica.
If you decide to travel to Jamaica:
- Do not attempt to bring firearms or ammunition. This includes stray rounds, shells or empty casings . The penalties for carrying firearms and/or ammunition, even inadvertently, are severe, and can include lengthy prison sentences.
- Avoid walking or driving at night.
- Avoid public buses.
- Avoid secluded places or situations.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
- Review the Country Security Report for Jamaica.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
Violence and shootings occur regularly in many neighborhoods, communities, and parishes in Jamaica. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the following areas of Jamaica due to crime:
St. Ann’s Parish—Do Not Travel - Steer Town and the Buckfield neighborhood near Ocho Rios
St. Catherine’s Parish—Do Not Travel
- Spanish Town
- Central Village
- Areas within Portmore, including: Naggo Head, New Land, Old Braeton, Portmore Lane, Gregory Park, and Waterford
All of Clarendon Parish—Do Not Travel
All of Clarendon Parish, except passing through Clarendon Parish using the T1 and A2 highways.
St Elizabeth’s Parish—Do Not Travel
Vineyard neighborhood near Alligator Pond
Hanover Parish—Do Not Travel
Logwood and Orange Bay
St. James Parish/Montego Bay—Do Not Travel
All of Montego Bay on the inland side of the A1 highway and The Queen’s Drive from San San to Harmony Beach Park
Kingston and St. Andrew Parish—Do Not Travel
- Cassava Piece
- Downtown Kingston, defined as between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road, and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads. Downtown Kingston includes Arnett Gardens, Cockburn Gardens, Denham Town, Olympic Gardens, Seaview Gardens, Trench Town, and Tivoli Gardens.
- Duhaney Park
- Elleston Flats
- August Town
Manchester Parish—Do Not Travel
Green Vale, Gray Ground, Red Ground, and Vineyard neighborhoods of Mandeville
St. Thomas Parish—Do Not Travel
- Black Lane neighborhood in Seaforth
- Grands Penn
- Church Corner neighborhood near Yallahs
- Town of Yallahs, except when driving through on the main highway
Trelawny Parish—Do Not Travel
Westmoreland Parish—Do Not Travel
- Russia community in Savanna-la-Mar (The Southeastern quadrant of Savannah la Mar east of Darling Street and south of the A2 highway/Barracks Road)
- Kings Valley
- The Whitehall, Bethel Town, and Red Ground neighborhoods of Negril
If you do decide to travel to the above-listed Do Not Travel areas, please visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas .
Travel Advisory Levels
Assistance for u.s. citizens, jamaica map, search for travel advisories, external link.
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Exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to the high rates of violent crime.
Jamaica (PDF 673.25 KB)
Americas (PDF 350.74 KB)
Local emergency contacts
Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.
Call 119, or go to the hospital.
- Violent crime is a serious problem. Crimes include gang-related armed robbery and murder. Be alert. Don't carry valuables. Avoid walking alone or on beaches at night.
- If you're attacked or robbed, don't resist. Criminals are often armed. You could be killed or seriously injured.
- Avoid Mountain View Avenue when going to and from Norman Manley International Airport.
- Food and drink spiking happens. This can lead to sexual assault, robbery and other crimes. Don't leave your food or drink unattended.
- Crime often occurs on public transport and in unofficial taxis. Use only established tour operators and registered taxis.
Full travel advice: Safety
- HIV/AIDS is widespread in Jamaica. Take precautions if you're engaging in high-risk activities.
- Insect-borne illnesses, especially dengue, are common. Check your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
- Cases of zika virus have been reported. If you're pregnant, discuss travel plans with your doctor before you leave.
- Foodborne and waterborne diseases can occur. Drink only bottled water. Get your vaccinations up to date before you travel.
Full travel advice: Health
- Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Penalties for drug offences are severe. You can be jailed for having illegal drugs. You'll be screened for drugs when leaving Jamaica.
- Jamaica has decriminalised the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana. You will be fined, but it won't result in a criminal record. Smoking marijuana in public places is still prohibited. Any attempt to take marijuana in or out of the country may lead to a serious charge of drug trafficking.
- Jamaican law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face sentences of up to 10 years in prison, though authorities rarely enforce the law. However, there are continued reports of serious discrimination and abuse against LGBTI individuals.
- Public nudity and swearing are illegal. It's also illegal to buy, sell or wear camouflage-style clothing.
- The law requires you to wear an appropriate helmet on a moped, motor scooter or motorbike.
- Jamaica has the death penalty for serious crimes, such as murder.
Full travel advice: Local laws
- You don't need a visa to enter Jamaica if your visit is for tourism and you're staying for less than 6 months. You don't need a visa for business purposes if you're going to stay for less than 30 days.
- You need to complete the Immigration/Customs C5 Form online before arriving in Jamaica. See 'Travel'.
- Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Jamaica for the latest details.
- You need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Jamaica if you arrive from or transit through a country where yellow fever is widespread. Carry your yellow fever vaccination certificate.
- Travellers using unofficial taxis have been robbed and assaulted. Use taxis authorised by the Jamaican United Travellers' Association (JUTA).
Full travel advice: Travel
- The Consular Services Charter tells you what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help when you're overseas.
- Australia has a consulate in Kingston, headed by an honorary consul. It provides limited consular services and conducts passport interviews.
- You can get full consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago .
- To stay up to date with local information, follow the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago's Facebook account .
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Violent gang and drug-related crimes are common, including against tourists and expats. This includes:
- armed robbery
- sexual assault
- home invasions
Hotspots for violent crime include:
- Kingston – August Town, Arnett Gardens, Balmagie, Cassava Piece, Delacree Park, Denham Town, Drewsland, Felstead Pen, Four Miles, Glendale, Grant's Pen, Greenwich Town, Hannah Town, Harbour View, Hunts Bay, Jones Town, Lower Cockburn Gardens, Maverly, Mountain View, Nanse Pen, Olympic Gardens, Payneland, Portmore, Rennock Lodge, Riverton City, Salmagie, Seaview Gardens, Tavares Gardens, Tivoli Gardens, Tower Hill, Trench Town, Waltham Gardens, West Kingston, Whitfield Town.
- St Catherine – Central Village, Ellerslie, Homestead, Ravensworth, Spanish Town, Tawes Pen.
- Montego Bay – Bottom Pen, Canterbury, Flankers, Hart Street, Mount Salem, Norwood Gardens, Rose Heights, St Clavers Avenue.
- South Coast – May Pen.
Criminals have targeted travellers after accepting spiked food or drink, including in tourist resorts.
Travellers have reported assaults carried out by resort staff and other travellers.
Most hotels and resorts are well-guarded but always lock your doors and windows.
To protect yourself from crime:
- always be alert to your surroundings
- stay somewhere safe with good security
- only use ATMs in hotels, shopping centres or other controlled areas during the day
- be aware of who's around you when using ATMs
- arrange transport to/from the airport in advance
- avoid travelling alone, especially at night
- avoid beaches at night
- don't leave your food or drink unattended
- never accept food, drink, gum or cigarettes from strangers or people you've just met
If you're attacked or robbed, don't resist. Criminals are often armed, and you can be seriously injured or killed.
Travelling by Road
You're more likely to be robbed when travelling to and from Norman Manley International Airport at night.
Gang violence along Mountain View Avenue has led to motorists being shot in the crossfire.
You can be robbed and assaulted after accepting rides from strangers or using unofficial taxis.
To protect yourself while on the road:
- use established tour operators or taxis authorised by the Jamaican United Travellers' Association.
- don't share taxis or use public transport
- don't accept rides from strangers
- be wary of approaches from 'friendly' strangers
- avoid using Mountain View Avenue when travelling to and from Norman Manley International Airport
See Travel .
Petty crime, including bag snatching, pickpocketing and theft, is common. Old Kingston and overcrowded public transport are hotspots for pickpockets and bag snatchers.
Thefts from hotel room safes by hotel staff can occur in large resorts.
To protect yourself from petty crime:
- always lock hotel doors and windows
- use the hotel safe to lock away your valuables
- check your accommodation has a high level of security, especially in villa-style hotels
- don't put valuables in your checked luggage. Carry them with you
- keep doors locked, windows up, and valuables out of sight, even when moving.
Scams and fraud
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Jamaica. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Never send money to someone who calls to say you have won the lottery in Jamaica. Do not travel to Jamaica to collect a "prize."
You may experience credit card or ATM fraud. To protect yourself from fraud:
- only use ATMs during daylight hours in hotels, shopping centres or other controlled areas
- always keep an eye on your credit card when shopping, including at supermarkets
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
Cyber security when travelling overseas
Civil unrest and political tension
Authorities may impose a State of Emergency or other measures in an area affected by security problems with little warning. Such measures allow the military to support the police in joint security operations. Avoid affected areas and follow the advice of local authorities. Security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest when a state of emergency is in effect. Authorities can set curfews with little or no notice. Expect road closures and travel delays.
Demonstrations and protests
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Kingston is a hotspot for this activity. Firearms may be used.
Demonstrations can happen without notice along the roads leading to Norman Manley International Airport. Roadblocks are often set up.
Authorities can close roads and impose curfews at short notice.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
- avoid large gatherings and protests
- monitor the media for reports of road closures, curfews and possible unrest
- be ready to change travel plans in case of road closures or curfews
- follow advice from local authorities
- Demonstrations and civil unrest
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Tours and adventure activities
Transport and tour operators may not meet Australian safety standards or may not maintain safety equipment, including for scuba diving.
Operators may not take recommended safety precautions or meet maintenance standards.
If you plan to do a tour or adventure activity :
- check if your travel insurance policy covers it
- use only well-known, registered tour operators
- ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
- always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Climate and natural disasters
Jamaica experiences natural disasters and severe weather , such as:
- tropical storms
To protect yourself in case of a natural disaster:
- monitor local media and other sources
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof place
- follow the advice of local authorities
- keep in contact with your friends and family
- contact your tour operator, hotel or airline
- get local advice before entering affected areas
- Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency
Hurricanes and severe weather
The Caribbean hurricane season is from June to November. Tropical storms and hurricanes can occur in other months. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change suddenly.
Landslides, mudslides and flooding can also occur. Essential services, such as water and electricity, might be affected.
If you're travelling to Jamaica during hurricane season, check if severe weather has affected tourist services.
If there's a hurricane or severe storm:
- you may get stuck in the area
- flights could be delayed or suspended
- available flights may fill quickly
- adequate shelter may not be available
Severe weather may also affect:
- access to ports
- road travel
- essential services, such as water, electricity and communication systems
To protect yourself if a hurricane is approaching:
- know the evacuation plan for your hotel or cruise ship
- identify your local shelter
- monitor local media and advice from the US National Hurricane Center
- keep in touch with your friends and family
Jamaica is in an active earthquake zone.
Get to know the earthquake safety measures for each place you stay and visit.
Tsunamis may occur in Jamaica. A tsunami can arrive within minutes of a tremor or earthquake. Be alert to warnings.
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive tsunami alerts.
If you're near the coast, move to high ground straight away if advised by local authorities, or if you:
- feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
- feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
- see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
- hear loud and unusual noises from the sea
Don't wait for official warnings such as alarms or sirens. Once on high ground, monitor local media.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
- what activities and care your policy covers
- that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
- have a basic health check-up
- ask if your travel plans may affect your health
- plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
- General health advice
- Healthy holiday tips (HealthDirect Australia)
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Jamaica. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
- what the medication is
- your required dosage
- that it's for personal use
HIV/AIDS is common in Jamaica. Take appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to the risk of infection.
Zika virus is found in Jamaica, but it's not widespread. If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends that you:
- discuss your travel plans with your doctor
- reschedule non-essential travel to affected areas
The risk of contracting insect-borne illnesses increases in the wet season from June to December. These include:
To reduce your risk of diseases spread by insects:
- make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
- use insect repellent
- wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or bad headache.
Other health risks
Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases can occur. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
- drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
- avoid ice cubes
- avoid raw or undercooked food
- get vaccinated before you travel
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Standards in public hospitals in tourist areas and in Kingston are reasonable. Medical care is limited in smaller towns and rural areas.
Emergency medical services are provided by the Jamaica Fire Brigade.
Costs for treatment can be high. You'll have to pay cash or give a credit card imprint at hospitals and private medical facilities before a doctor will treat you.
Public hospitals may only need a deposit if you're covered by health insurance.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to Miami or another place with suitable facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
There's a hyperbaric chamber in the Discovery Bay Marine Lab near Ocho Rios.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Same-sex relationships are illegal and aren't widely accepted.
Verbal and physical aggression can happen towards people in a same-sex relationship.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. You can be sent to prison for carrying illegal drugs, including marijuana.
In April 2015, legislation came into force to decriminalise possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, possession of up to 2 ounces will still be punishable by a fine of JMD500, payable within 30 days.
You'll be screened for drugs when you leave Jamaica.
Carrying or using drugs
Serious crimes, such as murder, can attract the death penalty.
In Jamaica, it's illegal to:
- be nude in public
- buy, sell or wear camouflage-style clothing
- ride a moped, motor scooter or motorcycle without a helmet
- travel in a car or taxi without wearing a seatbelt
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Staying within the law and respecting customs
Jamaica recognises dual citizenship.
Advice for LGBTI travellers
Visas and border measures
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
Visa-free travel for short stays
You won't need a visa to enter Jamaica if your visit is for either:
- tourism, if you're staying for less than 6 months, or
- business, if you're staying for less than 30 days
In other situations, apply for a visa through a Jamaican Embassy or Consulate .
From 1 September 2023, all travellers to Jamaica are required to complete the Immigration / Customs C5 Form online before arrival in Jamaica. The C5 online form is free of charge and can be completed before your journey via the Government of Jamaica Passport Immigration Citizenship Agency (PICA) website .
- Jamaican Embassies, High-Commissions and Consulates
Visa and other entry and exit conditions, such as customs and quarantine regulations, can change at short notice. Contact a Jamaican embassy for details.
Jamaica doesn't have an Embassy or Consulate in Australia. Its nearest mission is the Embassy of Jamaica in Tokyo .
Travel via the United States
If you're travelling through the US, you must also meet US entry and transit requirements. This includes transit through Hawaii or another US point of entry.
Check your visa requirements with a US Embassy or Consulate before travelling.
- Travel advice for the US
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .
Lost or stolen passport
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
- In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
- If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate .
Passport with ‘X’ gender identifier
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
- LGBTI travellers
The local currency is the Jamaican Dollar (JMD).
Declare all currency when you arrive. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
Only change money at commercial banks and exchange bureaus.
Tourist spots in major towns accept international credit cards. Before you travel, ask your bank if your cards will work in Jamaica.
ATMs aren't widely available outside Kingston and Montego Bay.
Only use ATMs in safe places, such as hotels. Criminals target people using ATMs on the street.
To drive in Jamaica, you need both:
- a valid Australian driver's licence
- an International Driving Permit (IDP)
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.
Road safety and driving
You're more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Jamaica than in Australia.
Night-time driving is especially dangerous.
Driving hazards include:
- poorly maintained roads
- pedestrians and people selling things on roads
Weather conditions can make some roads impassable.
Authorities can close roads at short notice, including for security reasons. See Safety
Breakdown assistance is limited in urban areas and unavailable in rural areas.
By law, you must wear a seat belt in cars and taxis.
If you plan to drive in Jamaica:
- check you have the right travel insurance cover
- check local traffic laws and practices
- avoid driving at night, especially outside of Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril
- take the South Camp Road (the 'hummingbird route') when driving between Norman Manley International Airport and Kingston
- avoid Mountain View Avenue
Get up-to-date advice on road closures and curfews. See Safety
Driving or riding
Always wear a helmet. It's a legal requirement, and applies to mopeds, motor scooters and motorbikes.
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you for riding a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. Travellers using unofficial taxis have been robbed and assaulted.
Use taxis authorised by the Jamaican United Travellers' Association (JUTA). You can order JUTA taxis at hotels or via a uniformed attendant at the airport.
To protect yourself from scams and overcharging:
- use registered taxis
- avoid unlicensed private taxis
- agree on the fare in advance
Avoid public transport. It's not safe due to high levels of crime and overcrowding.
Cruise ships dock in Jamaica.
Travelling by boat
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Jamaica's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
- family and friends
- travel agent
- insurance provider
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Check the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
Australia has a consulate in Kingston. It provides limited consular services and conducts passport interviews.
You can get full consular assistance from the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago.
Australian Consulate, Kingston
80-82 Second Street, Port Bustamante
Kingston 13, Jamaica
Phone: +1 876 361 1332
Email: [email protected]
Australian High Commission, Port of Spain
18 Herbert Street, St Clair
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Phone: +1 868 235 7950
Facebook: Australian High Commission, Trinidad and Tobago
Email: [email protected]
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
24-hour Consular Emergency Centre
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
- +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
- 1300 555 135 in Australia
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- Passports, travel and living abroad
- Travel abroad
- Foreign travel advice
This page has information on travelling to Jamaica.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Jamaica set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Jamaica’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate .
Restrictions in response to coronavirus
Testing and screening on arrival.
The requirement for travellers to present a negative COVID test prior to travel ended on 15 April. All travellers arriving in Jamaica may still be tested for COVID-19 if assessed as high-risk as a result of exhibiting symptoms, exposure to people who have tested positive, belonging to a high-risk group or other risk factors. Travellers may be screened for symptoms at the airport.
Regular entry requirements
Since 1 September 2023, all travellers are required to complete the Immigration / Customs C5 Form online before arrival in Jamaica. The C5 online form is free of charge and can be completed before your journey via the PICA: Enter Jamaica website. Travellers are advised only to use the official free online service and avoid misleading sites asking for payment.
British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Jamaica. Visitors are usually granted entry for a maximum of 90 days.
The date by which you must leave Jamaica will be stamped in your passport. If you wish to extend your stay beyond this date you will need to apply to the Jamaican Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency . Overstaying without the proper authority can result in arrest and/or a fine.
For further information about entry requirements, see the website of the Jamaican High Commission .
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. There needs to be room for entry and exit stamps, but there is no minimum number of blank pages required in a passport for entry.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website .
Arrival and departure taxes
Arrival and departure taxes are usually included in the cost of your ticket, but this isn’t always the case for charter flights. Departure tax is US $35 for air passengers. Check with your carrier if you’re unsure whether the tax has been included in your ticket. Landing fees for cruise ship passengers are usually included in the cost of the cruise.
You can bring local currency (Jamaican dollars) into the country. However, you must declare on your customs form all currencies and monetary instruments over the value of US$10,000.
Personal imports of meat and dairy products from the UK are banned. Customs officials may search baggage and will destroy banned foodstuffs.
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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Jamaica travel advice
Latest updates: Assistance - updated information on the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica
Last updated: November 3, 2023 12:00 ET
On this page
Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, jamaica - exercise a high degree of caution.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to the high level of violent crime.
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Violent crime, including armed robbery and murder, is a problem in large cities and tourist areas, including parts of Kingston and Montego Bay, despite the presence of police to counter criminal activity. The availability of firearms is widespread, and most violent drug- and gang-related crimes, especially murder, involve firearms. There is a risk of becoming the victim of crossfire in these areas. Tourists are also at risk of crimes of opportunity, especially theft and robberies.
Crimes tend to be concentrated within what the police refer to as “traditional hot spots” or “high-risk communities”, but can take place anywhere and at any time.
The following areas have a significant gang population and high incidences of violent crime:
- Arnett Gardens
- August Town
- Cassava Piece
- Delacree Park
- Denham Town
- Felstead Pen
- Grant’s Pen
- Greenwich Town
- Hannah Town
- Harbour View
- Lower Cockburn Gardens
- Mountain View
- Olympic Gardens
- Rennock Lodge
- Riverton City
- Seaview Gardens
- Tavares Gardens
- Tivoli Gardens
- Trench Town
- Waltham Gardens
- West Kingston
- Whitfield Town
- Central Village
- Spanish Town
- Hart Street
- Mount Salem
- Norwood Gardens
- Rose Heights
- St. Clavers Avenue
If you decide to travel to these areas:
- maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times
- avoid visiting or travelling at night
- follow the advice of local authorities
- avoid walking alone, even during the day
- go out in groups with people that you know
- avoid visiting isolated areas and beaches
If you’re threatened by robbers, don’t resist, and hand over your cash and valuables. Resistance may provoke the use of violence.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, are common in major tourist areas and crowded places.
- Ensure that your belongings and travel documents are secure at all times
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- Don’t show signs of affluence
- Use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- Protect your cell phone, which is a popular item for theft
- Use the hotel safe to secure your valuables
- Don’t leave valuables in plain view, even while you are in your hotel room
- Enquire with reception upon check-in on security precautions related to theft from hotel rooms
State of emergency
Local authorities periodically declare a state of emergency in various parishes to fight against gang-related crime.
When a state of emergency is in effect, security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest.
If you are travelling in an area where a state of emergency is in effect:
- be aware that you may be subject to searches by security forces
- always cooperate with military and police officers
- carry valid ID at all times and be prepared for various checkpoints
- allow extra time to reach your destination
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local news to stay informed on the current situation
2SLGBTQI+ travellers have experienced harassment and verbal or physical abuse.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Women's safety and sexual assault
There have been reports of sexual assaults at tourist resorts carried out by resort staff and, in some cases, by other tourists. Women travelling alone are often harassed.
Be particularly vigilant if you are staying at a smaller or isolated establishment with less security. Compounds that are gated and guarded are considered the safest accommodation option in Jamaica.
- Be wary of strangers who seem friendly
- Refrain from excessive drinking, especially at all-inclusive resorts
- Ensure that your hotel room doors and windows are locked
Advice for women travellers
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
- use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Internet romance scams via dating apps, websites or social media have occurred. Criminals especially target apps and websites popular among 2SLGBTQI+ travellers.
Assaults and incidents of robbery have occurred as a result of encounters set up through dating apps.
- Be wary of people who profess friendship or romantic interest over the internet
- Keep in mind that you may be the victim of a scam if you are travelling to Jamaica to meet an online contact
- Plan to meet in a known, secure location
- Be wary of inviting new acquaintances into your accommodation
Tourists have been targets of lottery scams. Scammers convince targets that they have won a prize or lottery, but must pay a fee to claim their winnings.
- Never send money to someone in Jamaica who says you’ve won a lottery or prize
- Never travel to Jamaica to claim a “prize” or money
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Criminals often use these events to pickpocket demonstrators.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common.
Not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags.
- Exercise caution when swimming
- Don’t swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
Tour operators may not adhere to international standards.
If you participate in water sports:
- choose a well-established and reputable company that has insurance
- ensure that safety equipment, such as helmets and life jackets, are available and in good condition
- ensure that your travel insurance covers the recreational activities you choose
If in doubt concerning the safety of the facilities or equipment, don’t use them.
Water safety abroad
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country. Coastal roads are in fair condition but driving in inland can be dangerous due to:
- narrow, winding roads
- insufficient road maintenance
- poor lighting
- inadequate signage
- poor lane markings
- damage to roads during the hurricane season
Speeding, as well as driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol, are common.
When driving between Norman Manley International Airport and Kingston, take the South Camp Road – also known as the Hummingbird Route – rather than Mountain View Avenue, where several robbery incidents have been reported.
Roadside assistance is available island-wide.
- Stay on main roads as much as possible
- Drive defensively
- Keep vehicle windows closed and doors locked
- Keep valuables out of sight
Public transportation is generally not safe due to high levels of crime and overcrowding.
Knutsford Express offers safe, reliable and comfortable bus transportation between major towns.
Avoid travelling on local city buses.
Taxis and ridesharing services
Avoid taking unmarked taxis due to the risk of robbery and sexual assault.
Use only taxis ordered from hotels and authorized by the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA). These are identified by red-and-white “PP” licence plates and a lime-green JUTA sticker on the window.
- Agree on the fare with the driver before departure, since taxis aren’t metered
- Don’t share a taxi with strangers
Ridesharing services are also available and generally safe. If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Jamaican authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada .
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Jamaica.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Canadian passports
Tourist visa: not required Work visa: not required Business visa: not required Student visa: not required
Immigration officers will generally grant visitors to Jamaica visitor landed status for 90 days. You must seek an extension if you are planning to stay up to an additional 90 days. You may request an extension at any immigration office. For stays beyond 90 days, you will require a visa.
Overstaying a visa or entry stamp is a criminal offence and can lead to prison time, heavy fines and deportation.
Persons found working illegally may be held in a local prison until arrangements for their return to Canada are made at their own cost.
Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency – Government of Jamaica
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
You must provide certain information to immigration officials. You can do this online before arriving in Jamaica, or complete and sign a Jamaican immigration landing card, usually given to travellers upon arrival at the airport or during the flight. If you complete the immigration landing card:
- present it to an immigration official at the airport
- retain the card and present it to immigration officials upon departure from Jamaica
Immigration/Customs C5 card – Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children .
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023
- Dengue: Advice for travellers - 23 October, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Salmonellosis is a common illness among travellers to this country. It can be spread through contaminated food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry and eggs, as well as fruits or vegetables.
Practice safe food and water precautions . This includes only eating food that is properly cooked and still hot when served.
Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, those over 60 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.
Most people recover on their own without medical treatment and from proper rehydration (drinking lots of fluids).
- Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Travellers with severe symptoms should consult a health care professional as soon as possible.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects .
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Good to excellent medical facilities exist in all tourist areas and in Kingston.
Medical care and hospital facilities in remote areas are limited. Ambulance services are limited in both urban and rural areas.
Medical expenses can be very high. Clinics may require payment upfront or credit card information as a guarantee of payment prior to providing medical care.
Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .
Jamaican law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Other related offences include being in a same-sex marriage and the "promotion of homosexuality." Those convicted can face sentences of up to 10 years in prison, though authorities rarely enforce the law.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics.
Though violence against 2SLGBTQI+ persons and their allies has declined significantly over the past decade, 2SLGBTQI+ travellers should:
- carefully consider the risks of travelling to Jamaica
- be cautious and avoid public displays of affection with someone of the same sex
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences.
Departing visitors are thoroughly screened for drug possession. Many Canadians are serving prison sentences for drug crimes, in some cases committed unwittingly. When leaving Ocho Rios and Montego Bay by cruise ship, you may be searched for drugs by local authorities. You should have a witness accompany you if you undergo such procedures.
- Pack all luggage yourself
- Don’t carry anything through customs for anyone else
Jamaica decriminalized the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, which will be punishable by a fine and will not result in a criminal record. Smoking cannabis in public places, however, remains prohibited. Jamaican authorities continue to enforce strict laws against the possession and trafficking of narcotics, in accordance with international agreements to combat drug trafficking.
Don’t attempt to depart Jamaica and cross international borders with any amount of cannabis.
- Drugs, alcohol and travel
It’s illegal to:
- wear, buy or sell army or police camouflage clothing
- nudist bathing in non-designated areas
- use of indecent language
Imports and exports
There are strict import and export regulations on:
- fruits and vegetables
- animals, including pets
- animal products
Entering the country with a firearm or even a single round of ammunition is considered a serious crime.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Jamaica.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Jamaica, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .
Travellers with dual citizenship
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Jamaica.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Jamaica by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Jamaica to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Traffic drives on the left.
You can drive in Jamaica with a valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to six months. After 6 months, you must obtain a Jamaican driver’s licence.
It is mandatory to wear a helmet on mopeds, motor scooters and motorcycles, and to wear a seatbelt in cars and taxis. There are heavy fines for non-compliance.
You should carry an international driving permit.
International Driving Permit
If you plan on buying property or making other investments in Jamaica, seek legal advice in Canada and in Jamaica. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.
The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar (JMD).
Hotels and businesses catering to tourists accept major credit cards.
There is limited ATM availability outside Kingston and Montego Bay. Make sure you have enough cash to cover your expenses if travelling outside these areas.
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Earthquakes and tsunamis
Jamaica is located in an active seismic zone. It is subject to earthquakes and is at risk of tsunamis.
A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
In the event of an earthquake:
- monitor local media to stay informed of the evolving situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Earthquakes – What to Do?
- Latest earthquakes - U.S. Geological Survey
- Tsunami warning system - U.S. National Weather Service
- police: 119
- medical assistance: 911
- firefighters: 911
Jamaica Tourist Board offices are located throughout the island. They have direct radio links with local police and information on safe public beaches.
Jamaica Tourist Board
The High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, in Kingston, is closed from November 1 to 6, 2023. Consular services are limited to essential services. Online appointment booking and in-person services are not available.
Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada to Jamaica, in Kingston, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services .
take normal security precautions.
Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.
Exercise a high degree of caution
There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.
Avoid non-essential travel
Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.
Avoid all travel
You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.
- Our Ministers
If you’re travelling to Jamaica, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
Safety and Security
Local laws and customs, additional information, embassy contact.
High Degree of Caution
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter Jamaica for 90 days or less as tourists. More information is available here .
A valid passport is required for travel to Jamaica. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of at least 6 months. Passport cards cannot be used.
Visitors to Jamaica are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.
Citizens can also follow the Irish Embassy in Canada on Twitter @IrlEmbCanada to ensure access to relevant updates and alerts.
Impromptu demonstrations can take place in non-tourist areas of the inner city of Kingston. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes become dangerous. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
The capital of Jamaica, Kingston, is prone to high levels of crime and violence, including kidnapping.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Jamaica by dialling 119. Specific emergency numbers are:
- Police: 119
- Ambulance service: 110
- Fire Brigade: 112 or 119
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
As there is no Irish Embassy in Jamaica, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Ottawa .
Safety and security
Security operations are ongoing and Jamaican authorities may impose a State of Emergency or other measures, including curfews, with little or no notice. You must be cautious when travelling to affected areas, particularly at night, and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any restrictions. Security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest when a state of emergency is in effect. This may also result in road closures or travel delays, and the operating hours of some businesses may be subject to change.
Impromptu demonstrations can take place in non-tourist areas of the inner city of Kingston. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
The capital of Jamaica, Kingston, is prone to high levels of crime and violence, including kidnapping. You should always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- Avoid West Kingston and inner city areas.
- The motive for attacks on tourists is usually robbery. In such cases, do not attempt to resist.
- Avoid walking through the city at night, and avoid walking alone at any time.
Beware of pickpockets, muggers and bag snatchers, especially in areas where large numbers of people crowd together. We recommend that you stay in established hotels away from the inner city.
Lost or stolen passports
If your passport is lost or stolen, you need to report it immediately to the police. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you are able to provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Jamaica, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact the Honorary Consulate in Kingston or the Irish Embassy in Ottawa .
If you’re planning to drive in Jamaica, you should be careful as there is a high rate of road traffic accidents. Traffic in Jamaica keeps to the left as in Ireland, however much of the road network, especially outside the main cities, is in a poor state of repair. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
Avoid public buses and only use taxis regulated by the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association and ordered from a hotel for your sole use. Negotiate the taxi fare before departing your destination.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from July to October. You should pay close attention to local and international weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities. Always monitor local and international weather updates for the region by accessing, for example, the Weather Channel , or the US National Hurricane Centre website .
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
It is illegal for anybody to wear camouflage clothing in Jamaica.
The Jamaican authorities take the issue of illegal drugs in any quantity extremely seriously and possession of even a small amount of a prohibited substance can result in imprisonment. Conditions in Jamaican prisons are extremely harsh. The smoking of marijuana in Jamaica is not legal.
Entry requirements (visa/passport).
Irish citizens don’t need a visa to enter 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 at least six (6) months from the intended date of travel.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
There have been outbreak s of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) .
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Jamaica.
The international code for dialling Jamaica from Ireland is 001. The code for Kingston is 876. To call Ireland from Jamaica use the prefix 011 353. For example to call the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin dial: 011 353 1 408 2000.
Irish ATM cards displaying the Maestro and Cirrus symbols can usually be used in ATMs in Jamaica, but you should confirm this with your bank before you leave. Always be vigilant when using ATMs.
We do not have an Embassy in Jamaica, please contact Embassy of Ireland Canada. If you need urgent assistance you can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.
Embassy of Ireland Suite 1105 (11th Floor) 130 Albert Street Ottawa Ontario K1P 5G4 Canada
Tel: +1 613 233 6281 Fax: +1 613 233 5835
Monday to Friday 10.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Brian J. Denning Honorary Consulate of Ireland Penthouse - Scotiabank Centre Corner of Port Royal & Duke Streets Kingston Jamaica W.I.
Tel: 1-(876) 932-8423 Fax: 1-(876) 967-1949
Email: Email us
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Contact our Honorary Consulate in Kingston
Contact our Embassy in Ottawa for assistance
Know Before You Go
- Help centre
- Travel advice
Jamaica travel advice
On this page:
Jamaica travel alerts
Jamaica customs form.
Last updated: Thursday 7 th September 2023 1:47pm (UK Time)
Please check the travel advice for all countries in your itinerary .
You must check all requirements before heading to the airport.
Mandatory customs form
International passengers to Jamaica need to complete the digital C5 Immigration and Customs Form . This must be completed by all inbound passengers and presented on arrival to clear Jamaica border control.
For the latest entry requirements and more information, please check Visit Jamaica before travelling.
For fully vaccinated travellers
All covid-19 travel restrictions have now been removed for travellers to jamaica., covid-19 testing on arrival.
If you are travelling from a high-risk country or display symptoms when you land in Jamaica, you may be required to take a Covid-19 test on arrival, even if you presented a negative result at check in. In this case, you'll need to await results in your hotel room.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
UK and US passport holders can visit Jamaica for up to 90 days without a visa. If you don't have a UK or US passport, check Jamaica's visa requirements before you travel as you may need to purchase a visa on arrival.
You may need an ESTA for transit purposes if you're travelling via the USA.
For non vaccinated travellers
Please note, on your flight to Jamaica it will be your personal choice to wear a face mask onboard, now that mask-wearing is not a legal requirement in England. Please ensure you have a mask for boarding and disembarking and your destination airport. Masks remain available for anyone still wishing to wear one during the flight.
Spraying in the cabin
The process of disinsection is required by WHO (World Health Organisation) and local health authorities to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, e.g. Malaria.
On our Jamaica route, we spray the inside of the aircraft with insecticides, which is recommended under the WHO based on their safety and effectiveness.
The spray we use onboard is Phenothrin (1R-trans phenothrin), which dissipates within a few minutes after being sprayed in the cabin.
Our cabin crew will make an onboard announcement when the spraying of insecticides is about to take place. We encourage customers to use this opportunity to cover their nose, eyes and mouth if they wish to do so.
Jamaica airport guides
Sangster International Airport (MBJ)
Jamaica Travel Guide
Courtesy of Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61
Why Go To Jamaica
To many, Jamaica is the heart of the Caribbean. The birthplace of reggae music, the Rastafari movement and all-inclusive resorts (at least as we know them today, the concept originated with Club Med in Europe), Jamaica symbolizes many of the things most loved and, perhaps, most misunderstood about the region. A simple remedy to clear the confusion? Come to the land of sugar cane, coffee and limestone, and form your own opinion. Your new ideas are bound to be swathed in cream-colored beaches, bordered by rugged Blue Mountains and anchored in foamy waterfalls.
Most who travel here don't leave the comforts of their all-inclusive resort; those who do typically don't venture too far outside their immediate area. As the third-largest island of the Caribbean, Jamaica is hard to cover in one trip. Rather, it's best to choose your activities and vacation priorities, then make your hotel plans accordingly. Of the three main tourist pockets on the island, westernmost Negril is popular for its beaches and upscale accommodations; northwestern Montego Bay is well-liked by golfers; and Ocho Rios in the northeast appeals most to adventurous types who might be interested in climbing waterfalls like Dunn's River . Some visitors choose the eastern area of Port Antonio to try top-notch surfing at Boston Beach , hiking amongst the Blue Mountains and rafting on the Rio Grande River. If you want to explore areas of the island not often seen by tourists, sign up for one of the best tours in Jamaica .
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Jamaica Travel Tips
Best months to visit.
The best time to visit Jamaica is November to mid-December. That's when the island's already beautiful weather (ranging from mid-70s to the high 80s all year-round) is the most pleasant and the hotel and flight deals are the easiest to find. Rates are also cheap during the summer, but you'll risk the wrath of hurricane season (which runs from June through November). January to March is the peak travel season to the island – room rates can spike to more than $700 per night at some hotels .
Weather in Jamaica
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
What You Need to Know
It's the home of reggae From ska, rock steady and dancehall to anything by Bob Marley, you'll hear a lot of great music wafting through hotel lobbies and vibrating poolside.
It's the home of jerk seasoning This spicy-smoky rub tastes good on many types of meat, fish and even tofu. Try it for yourself and then take a few jars home.
It's the home of James Bond From his home on the north coast, author Ian Fleming wrote many novels and short stories about the British secret agent.
How to Save Money in Jamaica
Learn to haggle Bargaining for a better price is expected and encouraged in many souvenir shops. When visiting the craft vendors or taking a cab ride, don't accept the first amount quoted to you.
Pay for it all upfront Jamaica is the nerve center of the all-inclusive. Many of the resorts include more than just food and drinks in their packages (think: water sports equipment and gratuities for resort employees).
Skip spring break Throughout March and early April, prices at area resorts skyrocket thanks to an influx of spring break crowds.
Culture & Customs
Jamaican culture has often been lumped together with Caribbean culture – though it is true that the music, food and phrases from Jamaican culture have pervaded other nearby islands. But more so than other Caribbean islands, Jamaica's strong ties to its African history play a large role in its modern culture.
Jamaicans speak English, but use a number of idioms that may not easily translate for tourists. In fact, many have been adopted from the Rastafarian religion and culture. For example, when a Jamaican says, "all fruits ripe" it indicates that all is well.
Jamaica's currency is the Jamaican dollar; roughly one U.S. dollar is equal to about 151 Jamaican dollars. You can pay in U.S. dollars at most of the island's resorts, especially those that are all-inclusive. When dining out, servers in restaurants usually expect a tip equal to 10% to 15% of the bill; if the service charge is already included, travelers can add an additional 3% to 5% based on good service. Note that at most all-inclusive resorts, tipping is included in the cost. Don't worry about carrying cash with you at all times; most hotels and restaurants accept credit cards.
What to Eat
Jamaica is known for unique cuisine that fuses flavors and ingredients from different cultures. Seafood is a staple, and no Jamaican vacation is complete without sampling some of the island's fresh produce or main courses enhanced with some zesty jerk seasoning. Where to dine largely depends on where you're staying, but many area restaurants serve traditional dishes like ackee (the island's national fruit) and saltfish, callaloo (a stew-like soup made with callaloo leafy greens) or fried plantains. To try some spicy jerk seasoning, look for the nearest roadside stand and order a jerk chicken skewer or jerk pork with rice and peas.
Although many travelers choose to dine from the all-inclusive options at their hotels , Jamaica has hundreds of restaurants – some of which are worth venturing off the beaten path for. The beachside Blue Mahoe Restaurant in Negril, attached to Ocean Cliff Hotel Negril, earns high marks among travelers for its views (especially at sunset) and diverse menu. Scotchies is an affordable restaurant known for its delicious, local fare in Montego Bay. Meanwhile, Miss T's Kitchen in Ocho Rios serves up a colorful experience and a menu of healthy plates.
Keep in mind that some parts of Jamaica are safer than others. Exercise caution when moving around at night, avoid traveling in buses and stay in groups when at all possible. Petty theft has been reported in the past, so make sure to keep your valuables near you at all times. According to the U.S. State Department, violent crime can occur too, even at all-inclusive resorts. Areas of Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town are particularly prone to violence. Visit the state department's website for more details.
Getting Around Jamaica
The best way to get around Jamaica is by taxi, whether you're coming from one of the airports – Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport (MBJ) is the most accessible to the tourist areas – or making your way around town. Renting a car is also an option, but driving on the left side of the road can be confusing, road signs are unhelpful, drivers can be aggressive and potholes are rampant. Many cruise lines, including Carnival , Celebrity and Holland America , make stops in Jamaica. They usually head for Montego Bay on the northwestern side or Ocho Rios in the northeast.
Entry & Exit Requirements
Entry and Exit Requirements:
All United States citizens will need a passport for entry into and exit out of Jamaica. And keep in mind that customs officials may ask you to provide evidence of sufficient funds for your stay plus evidence of a return trip to the U.S. or an onward journey. A departure tax is generally included in the cost of your airfare; you won't be charged an additional fee upon leaving Jamaica. For more information on entry and exit requirements, visit the U.S. State Department's website .
This Port Antonio shore has some of the best jerk food on the island, plus waves that will satisfy most beginner surfers.
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Jamaica travel guide
Where to stay, food and drink.
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Why you'll love it
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White sand, endless sunshine, rum on tap — what’s not to love? Add to that dramatic, jungle-clad mountains and locals as laid-back and straight-talking as you’d hope, and you’ve got yourself an island worth spending some quality time in.
Jamaica has long attracted the great and the good to its shores, despite a troubled history — from colonisation via pirates to an 18th-century economy built on slavery. During the 20th century there was a more benign boom: tourism. Stars, royals and dignitaries flocked to Jamaica, from Elizabeth Taylor, the Queen Mother and Marilyn Monroe to Lucian Freud, Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming. Hotels sprung up and resorts prospered, catering to a new influx of visitors hungry for a slice of blissed-out Caribbean charm — then Bob Marley exploded onto the scene, bringing Jamaica’s own brand of ganja-fuelled beats to the world.
Stars, royals and dignitaries flocked to Jamaica, from Elizabeth Taylor to the Queen Mother
The island’s appeal hasn’t faded over the years, although it still has a few tricks up its sleeve. From the contemporary music scene of Kingston to coffee tours of the Blue Mountains or the grand old plantation houses reinvented as grown-up adventure playgrounds, Jamaica is a place to turn up and tune in.
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Main photo: Montego Bay, Jamaica (Getty Images)
While it’s tempting to stake your spot on the beach and spend your entire holiday moving between sand, sea and rum cocktail, you’d be missing the whole point of Jamaica. This is a thriving island, with a fascinating culture and a ravishingly gorgeous coast as well as an interior that merits at least a few days’ exploring.
The big-name resorts are along the west and north coast, from Negril, via Montego Bay (or Mo Bay), to Ocho Rios, all with white-sand beaches and a huge choice of hotels, bars and restaurants. The northeast has a very different vibe, centred on sleepy Port Antonio and its jungle-clad hills — and Frenchman’s Cove, one of the loveliest beaches on the island . A little further east is the Blue Lagoon (known locally as the Blue Hole), open to the sea, but fed by freshwater springs that give the water its hypnotic jade hues. River rafting on the Rio Grande, also in the northeast, is a dreamy way to spend half a day. You can raft on the Martha Brae and the Great River, near Montego Bay.
The northeast has a very different vibe, centred on sleepy Port Antonio and its jungle-clad hills
Back at Ocho Rios, Dunn’s River Falls are hugely popular, where visitors can climb up the rock pools and watch the water fall right into the sea, while Mystic Mountain is a chair-lift ride that takes you up through the rainforest, with the option of a zipline or bobsleigh to barrel you 1,000m back to sea level. Head to Luminous Lagoon, also known as Glistening Waters, after dark for a boat tour of its spookily bioluminescent waters.
The best beaches include Doctor’s Cave Beach Club in Montego Bay, named for the water’s apparent healing qualities, and James Bond Beach, near Ocho Rios, where Sean Connery watched Ursula Andress emerge from the water in Doctor No . Perhaps the most photogenic, though, is the white-sand stretch of Seven Mile Beach in Negril.
Make time for a drive around the spectacular Blue Mountains, and for a taste of authentic Jamaican culture spend a few hours in Kingston, for a plate of curry goat and a guided tour of the Bob Marley Museum, where he recorded many of his albums — and yes, you may well find yourself taking part in a group rendition of One Love .
- Best things to do in Jamaica
Most visitors make a beeline for the resorts of Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. Negril, with its clifftop bars, beautiful Seven Mile Beach and laid-back nightlife, is the most relaxed, while Ocho Rios is at the other end of the spectrum, known for its all-inclusives and cruise ships. Here, the historic Jamaica Inn has long been a favourite of Hollywood stars (Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller honeymooned here), while a little further east is GoldenEye. This stylish collection of cottages, villas and beach huts, owned by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records and Bob Marley’s producer, includes Ian Fleming’s former villa.
The historic Jamaica Inn has long been a favourite of Hollywood stars
Montego Bay has the main airport (there’s another in the capital, Kingston), plus long, white-sand beaches, manicured golf courses and a big choice of restaurants, hotels and bars. Here, the best-known hotels include Round Hill, an elegant beachside hotel with rooms styled by Ralph Lauren. Half Moon is the smartest of the all-inclusives.
GeeJam, near Port Antonio, has pretty bungalows hidden in the rainforest, with a hip bar and its own recording studio that has hosted Amy Winehouse, Snoop Dogg, Rihanna and Katy Perry among others. Up in the Blue Mountains is Strawberry Hill, with its posh, whitewashed plantation-style cottages and views over Kingston.
In Negril, Rockhouse, perched on the cliffs, has a boutiquey feel with rooms dotted in lush gardens, and a pool built into the rocks. Its sister property, Skylark, recently opened right on the beach, sporting a cool 1950s Miami Beach look. Laid-back, off-beat Jakes is in Treasure Beach in the rugged southwest, a very relaxed offering with colourful cottages by the sea.
- Best hotels in Jamaica
- Best villas in Jamaica
- Best all-inclusive hotels in Jamaica
Food is everywhere in Jamaica, with wooden roadside stalls selling everything from coconuts, jackfruit and mangoes to spicy meat-filled patties and jerk chicken in tin foil, hot off the smouldering coals. As an aside, it’s safe to eat at them as street food and drink vendors have to be certified. The big resorts and hotels do, of course, run the full gamut of international food, if that’s your thing.
For some of Jamaica’s best-known fusion food, head to The Houseboat Grill, moored in Montego Bay Marine Park, a two-floor boat with gorgeous views of the sea and coast. Miss T’s Kitchen in Ocho Rios is a colourful, traditional spot for Jamaican favourites such as jerk shrimp and saltfish and ackee, while local superstar Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records has outposts in Montego Bay and Kingston, serving jerk chicken, burgers and a wide selection of rum. There’s more jerk — of every variety, plus rum ribs and grilled catch of the day — at Scotchies, also in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
For an authentic plate of curried goat and roti, seek out Moby Dick on an unassuming street in Kingston. And for beautiful sunset views — and of thrill-seekers hurling themselves from the cliffs into the sea — head to the always-busy Rick’s Café in Negril.
Hire a private (certified) taxi and spend the day exploring the Blue Mountains. The mist-snagged peaks and lush valleys are swathed in tropical jungle, where the flowers are the size of trumpets and every turn reveals a ridiculously photogenic waterfall. The interior is dotted with small farms growing bananas, sugar cane, yams and coffee — stop off at the Old Tavern Estate to buy beans, and at EITS Café for seasonal, farm-to-fork food and epic views from the veranda. You can visit Greenwood Great House, the home of the poet Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, or Rose Hall, which is notorious for its former owner, Annie Palmer, who murdered her three husbands and today is said to haunt the 18th-century mansion. For a full day of outdoorsy adventures — river rubbing, canopy ziplining or dune-buggy rides — opt for River Bumpkin Farm or the Good Hope Estate, centred on a Georgian mansion dating back to the 1700s.
Know before you go
The local currency is the Jamaican dollar, but US dollars are accepted everywhere.
Jamaica might have something of a reputation for violence, but the government has gone to great lengths to make sure visits are safe and hassle-free, and it is extremely rare for tourists to come across any trouble. Having said that, be sensible and don’t flash your cash or walk anywhere alone after dark.
The best time to visit is during the British winter, from mid-December until mid-April, when the weather in Jamaica is at its driest. April to July is also relatively dry, and hotel prices tend to be lower. Hurricane season is around September to October.
- Best time to visit the Caribbean
Take me there
Inspired to visit Jamaica but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from Tui and Virgin Holidays .