Jamaica is a country rich in culture with beautiful beaches, great hotels, scenery second to none and good local fare. Once you have visited this caribbean island you will want to go back.
If you have never been and plan to go in the near future, here is what you should know before you go:
- Jamaicans speak English (the official language of Jamaica) although you may be forgiven for doubting this after listening to a lively Jamaican debate on the island. What most Jamaicans speak among themselves is really a "patois" of broken English, archaic English words and phrases which have survived on the island, a little Spanish and some surviving language forms from Africa thrown in for good measure. However, most Jamaicans will speak intelligible, often beautiful, English to a foreign visitor.
- Electricity: 110 volts / 50 cycles standard.
- Drugs: Possession of marijuana, herb, weed, ganja, coke, crack, or any "Hard" drug is illegal in Jamaica and brings stiff fines and imprisonment.
- Entry Regulations. Canadian & US citizens entering Jamaica need a valid passport or an original, certified copy of US birth certificate plus a picture ID such as a driver's license and a return ticket. All other visitors must carry a valid passport. All visitors must pay a US$25 departure tax on leaving the country.
- Public Holidays. August 2nd - Independence Day; October 18 - National Heroes Day; December 25 - Christmas Day; December 27 - Boxing Day; January 1st - New Year's Day.
- Currency. Jamaica's currency is the Jamaican dollar, not to be confused with the US $$. The value of the Jamaican dollar fluctuates. The US dollar is widely accepted.
- Credit Cards: In Jamaica most major credit cards are accepted by most hotels and all types of businesses including Duty Free shops, restaurants and night clubs etc.
- Tax Free Status: Due to a tax treaty between the US and the Jamaican government made 1981 all expenses incurred for holding a meeting or convention in Jamaica are tax deductible.
- Driving Licenses. Holders of most foreign driving licenses are entitled to drive in Jamaica for 12 months from their date of arrival, provided the license is valid for all of that period. For a longer stay, a Jamaican license must be obtained. No person under 17 years may drive a car or a motorcycle.The U.S. dollar is honored throughout the Island.
- Marriage Licenses. Visitors can obtain a special license after a 24 hour period on the island. You must produce your passport and two witnesses. If either ~ has been divorced or widowed, necessary documents must be produced to vouch for their current status. Young people under 21 years of age must produce written consent from a parent, signed by a notary public. Call Mr. Percival Thompson at the Civil Registrar of Marriages at 37, Market Street, Montego Bay. 952-3782
- Vendors are not hookers.
- Credit Cards: In Jamaica most major credit cards are accepted by most hotels and all types of businesses including Duty Free shops, restaurants and night clubs etc. Tax Free Status: Due to a tax treaty between the US and the Jamaican government made 1981 all expenses incurred for holding a meeting or convention in Jamaica are tax deductible
- Taxis: Your taxi might be an ancient Ford, a shiny new Lada or anything else on wheels, but it should have a red "PPV" license plate to indicate that it is a licensed public passenger vehicle. If not, it is an unauthorized taxi, commonly known as a "robot". Beware - It often appears that Jamaicans are holding a contest as to how many bodies can squeeze into one cab. Do not compete. Get a cab for yourself and set the price clearly, before you set off.
- Flying Time: Miami: 1 hour 15 mins; Los Angeles: 5 hours 30 mins.; New York: 3 hours 20 mins.
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