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The original Caribbean paradise, Jamaica conjures images of white sand, blue sea, swaying palms, reggae and rum

But let’s not forget soaring mountains, roaring rivers, and forests that buzz with life, making adventure – easy, now – just as viable an option as relaxing beachside with a nice, chilled cocktail.

 

Top holidays in Jamaica

Culture and history

Perhaps more than any other island in the Caribbean, Jamaica has very strong ties with Africa – particularly Ethiopia, the promised land of Rastafarian doctrine. And it’s the Rastafarian movement that influenced the reggae music we all know and love today, and shot everyone’s favourite Rasta Bob Marley to fame in the sixties.

It won’t be long after landing before you hear a familiar tune ringing from a nearby bar, restaurant, street, boat or beach…

As you’d expect, Rastafarianism is widely practised in Jamaica, but the biggest religion is Protestantism. There are also Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities. 

Aside from the fast-paced bustle of life in Kingston, day-to-day life on the island is slow and easy-going, and locals are usually very friendly and welcoming. Familiar social conventions apply so you shouldn’t make any faux pas.

The food on the island is a real treat, from jerk chicken, rice and peas, to some of the best coffee you’ll ever taste. The rum is tasty but quite punchy, or if you prefer a cold beer to a cocktail then the local brew is Red Stripe.

Currency

Dollar - The currency is the Jamaican dollar, divided into 100 cents. While technically illegal, the American dollar is frequently used, so it’s a good idea to double-check what dollar your price is being quoted in before paying.

Passports and visas

You’ll need a passport valid for at least six months from the date you plan to enter country. British nationals don’t require a visa.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Timezone

Jamaica is five hours behind GMT.

Electricity

American-style flat-pin plugs are mainly used. Mains voltage is typically 110 volts (50 cycles), although some places also use 220 volts (60 cycles).

Language

English - English is the official language, but many islanders also speak Jamaican Patois.

Tipping

10% is usually added to the bill at hotels and restaurants, if not then a 10-15% is expected for good service. It’s worth noting though that tipping is banned in many all-inclusive resorts.

Climate

The weather in Jamaica is generally warm all year round, ranging from the low 20s to the low 30s during the day, and cooling down through the night.

You’re most likely to see rain in May and October, but it’s a good idea to pack a raincoat no matter when you travel. Hurricanes are most likely to occur between June and November.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

The population is around 3 million.

Jamaica occupies an area of just over 4,000 square miles, making it around the same size as Cyprus. It’s the third largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba and Hispaniola.



Climate