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Jamaica

Jamaica
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Jamaica is an island state and constitutes the West Indian British Commonwealth. On the northwest, it borders Cuba, on the east it shares its border with Haiti and on the south with Colombia. These all are the water borders. The capital city is Kingston. 

Jamaica has a tropical climate with trade winds. The temperature almost never changes during the year so the tourists can travel to Jamaica at any season. The normal temperature in Jamaica is +24 - +27°C. 

The most widespread religion on the island is Christianity. The official language is English but people speak Patois.

If you are looking for good beach holidays, choose Jamaica without hesitation. Its coastline is 1.022 km long and it’s crammed with resorts and fantastic beaches. The most popular resort is Montego Bay and its white-sand beaches  Mosquito Cove Beach and Doctor Cave Beach. In the western part of the island, there is one of the most environmentally friendly resorts in Jamaica named Negril. Negril is also well-known for its hot parties. If the travelers like nature and waterfalls, they should visit the resort Ocho Rios.

The Blue Mountains is an ideal place for horseback riding or hiking. The lovers of country holidays can visit the national park of Jamaica and very picturesque coffee plantations.

Jamaica offers anything and everything for such activities as surfing, diving and rafting. On the South Coast, one will enjoy the beauty of the underwater life and catch a great ride in the waves. Rafters can share a raft with the others in the Black River and Martha Brae River. 

Get in

By Plane

The tourists from CIS countries cannot take direct flights to Jamaica. British Airways offers transit flights with a stop in London, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines fly through Amsterdam and Lufthansa and Condor offer flights with a stop in Frankfurt. If a transit flight involves the overnight stop in Great Britain, the tourists must obtain a transit visa beforehand. 

The airports in Kingston and Montego Bay accept the planes.

Air Jamaica offers domestic flights in Jamaica.

By Land

Due to the lack of trains and commuter trains the most popular means of transport on the island is a car. The tourists can rent a car on the island or take advantage of taxi services. 

Visa

It is a great advantage that the tourists from CIS countries can travel to Jamaica visa-free provided that they stay in the country will not exceed 30 days. For a longer stay in Jamaica (within 90 days), CIS tourists must obtain a visa. A visa is issued upon arrival at the airports of Kingston and Montego Bay. 

The tourists from Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and Romania must obtain a visa to come to Jamaica. The travelers from Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Sweden can stay in Jamaica for 90 days visa-free.

The citizens of Canada, Cyprus, the USA, Australia, Malta and the United Kingdom are allowed to stay in Jamaica for 6 months without the need to obtain a visa. 

Customs

According to Jamaican Customs legislation, the travelers can import any amount of money but it must be declared. It is prohibited to export and import national currency of Jamaica. The money the tourists export from Jamaica must not exceed the sum stated in the import declaration form.  

The tourists can import in Jamaica duty-free the following goods:

  • tobacco and alcohol;
  • 340 ml of eau de toilette and 150 ml of perfume.

In addition to the objects which can negatively influence the criminal situation in the country (harmful substances and weapons), it is prohibited to import in Jamaica the following items:

  • plants and flowers;
  • fruits, honey, non-canned products of any origin;
  • products made of goatskin (bags, rugs, everyday objects, and drums);
  • any pornographic or erotic production;
  • fake and toy coins;
  • coffee.

If you cannot leave your pet alone at home, you need to obtain a permit from the Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Anyway, it is strictly prohibited to import any birds in Jamaica. 

If the travelers want to bring from Jamaica some exotic bird, animal, leather and fur products or antiquities, particularly the ones found on the sea bottom, they will have to execute all the necessary documents and obtain a permit. 

Cuisine

In the Jamaican cuisine, the Indian cooking traditions are combined with the British and the Spanish mixed with African and Chinese cuisines. 

We strongly recommend trying the air-dried meat and fish. This is a delicacy not only for the tourists but for the locals themselves. Meat lovers will be satisfied by the taste of an air-cured lamb and grilled pig. Everyday meals for the locals include pork and goat with beans and rice as a side dish.

The gastronomic symbol of Jamaica is a fruit Ackee the taste of which reminds of omelet. Typically, they fry Ackee with tomatoes, pepper and onion. Usually, the serve this fruit for breakfast.

The Jamaican cuisine is rich in fish and seafood dishes. Do not miss a chance to try roasted salt cod with boiled bananas and the plant callaloo.

At the end of the meal, treat yourself to cakes, puddings, amazing sweet potatoes ragout and Duckunoo (steamed coconut and banana pudding).

For the people in Jamaica, any hot drink is tea. The tourists should specify what drink they want to have. The locals like marijuana-infused tea. The most popular non-alcoholic drink is cocoa.

Rum Appleton is an undeniable leader among all the alcoholic drinks in Jamaica. On the island, they also make their own beer such as Real Rock lager, ginger beer and dark beer Red Stripe. The wines in Jamaica are mainly imported from Chile, Spain, Argentina and the USA.  

Money

The official currency on the island is Jamaican dollar (JMD).

In circulation are the bank notes (1-100 JMD) and coins (1-50 cents and 1-5 JMD).

The banks and exchange offices are open only in the first half of the day from Monday to Thursday. Some banks work on Fridays but only until noon. At weekends all the financial institutions in Jamaica are closed. The travelers can exchange currency at any time at the airports in Kingston and Montego Bay.

The cards MasterCard, American Express and Visa are accepted everywhere on the island but be aware that you can face some problems if your card is issued by the banks in CIS countries. So make sure you have enough cash.

Jamaica is one of the most crime-prone countries in the Caribbean. Street robberies and stealing from hotels happen very often. We strongly recommend you against walking along the streets at night, travel beyond the cities and carry large sums of money. 

Details of interest

Sightseeing in Jamaica

In Jamaica, there are three UNESCO candidate sites. 

  • If you happen to be in Surrey and Middlesex County, visit a fantastic Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. Here, the travelers have a unique chance to see endemic species of the animal kingdom such as Jamaican hutia, ring-tailed pigeon, Jamaican giant swallowtail, and tree-frogs. Blue Mountain Peak is the highest peak on the island (2.250 meters). Almost half of all the citizens receive fresh water from the reeks, lakes and rivers in the  Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park.
  • In Surrey County, all the tourists can climb down at the depth of 12 kilometers and enjoy the view of the Underwater City of Port Royal. The city was lost under the sea in 1692 in the result of the earthquake. In the past, Port Royal was a pirate capital in the Caribbean and today this is one of the most interesting historical and archaeological monuments.
  • In Saint Ann Parish in Middlesex County, the tourists will visit a cultural and historical Seville Heritage Park with its historical and cultural monuments.

Of course, there are many other interesting places in Jamaica where the tourists can go.

  • The capital city Kingston is a real treasure trove of historical monuments and museums. The tourists can go to the Museum in the Royal House, the National Gallery of Jamaica, the African Museum, the Money Museum of the Central  Bank of Jamaica, the Spanish Town Cathedral and, of course, the house of the legendary Bob Marley. Have a walk in the Emancipation Park, Caymanas Park, Botanical garden and visit the Twin Sisters Cave. 
  • Take a trip to Port Antonio and you will have a chance to swim in the bottomless Blue Lagoon and visit the Treasure Beach on the southern coast.
  • You will have a breathtaking experience from visiting Westmoreland and its famous resort Negril. There are wonderful beaches, diving centers and, of course, a mesmerizing tropical nature.  Anyone can go to the city of Appleton, the place where the best Jamaican rum is produced.
  • Runaway Bay is an ideal place for horseback riding, playing golf, snorkeling and diving.  Hedonism II nude complex is especially popular among the tourists. If you like country holidays, we recommend visiting the Dunns River Park and the see the waterfalls with the same name, Green Grotto Caves and the ruins of the Edinburgh Castle.
  • Mountain resort Mandeville is a destination for ecological tourists. They can see the Parish Church and the Clock Tower.

Jamaican Souvenirs

The most popular thing the tourists buy in Jamaica is the Appleton rum. On the second place is the coffee Blue Mountain. Jamaican cigars are an excellent gift for a boss or a good friend. 

Caps and T-shirts with the portrait of Bob Marley are extremely popular among the tourists.

Trade fairs of hand-made goods are held in Ocho Rios where one can buy wooden figurines and other crafts in the African style.

In souvenir shops, dried crab gift packs are sold.