If you are travelling to Jamaica and this is your first trip, some knowledge about the country can make all the difference to your visit. Here are some points that you should know about Jamaica.
Driving rules: If you have a US driver license, it is valid up to 3 months per visit to Jamaica. On the other hand, a U.K. driver's license is valid up to 12 months per visit. The speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour in the urban areas while it is 80 kilometres on Jamaican highways unless otherwise mentioned. Jamaica follows a left side drive.
Clothing: Jamaica enjoys a tropical climate and so light cotton clothing is recommended through out the year. On the beaches, you can opt for shorts and swimwear. A light sweater is recommended for the evenings during the winter months.
Time: Time in Jamaica is Eastern Standard Time. The country does not observe daylight saving time.
Internet: You’ll find internet kiosks at shopping centers in Kingston and other resort towns. Otherwise if you are staying in Jamaica villas, cottages, apartments and holiday homes, they will include internet as part of the package.
Food: Jamaica is a potpourri of different cultures and ethnic groups and the combined influences of these groups reflect in the cuisine. In Jamaica, you’ll find almost everything you could ever wish for. The national dish is Ackee and salt fish. And while there you simply must try out the jerked meat dishes, jerked chicken and jerked pork. Another thing is that Jamaicans will curry almost everything from goat to fruit.
Currency: The currency is $JMD or the Jamaican Dollar. However, note that the US dollar is also commonly accepted.
Music: Popular Jamaican music, Reggae, a music form that emerged from traditional indigenous Jamaican music with African and Black American roots, needs no introduction. Many reggae artistes have won international fame for original compositions, recordings and performances most notable amongst them being the late Robert (Bob) Marley.
Weather: One of the greatest attractions of Jamaica is the weather itself. The country enjoys idyllic tropical maritime climate with near constant average coastal temperatures ranging between 26°C to 30°C through out the year. There is a fall in temperature with the rise in altitude with the average being 18°C in the Blue Mountains. The rainy season starts between May or June and extends through November or December. However rain falls for short periods (normally in the late afternoon), and it’s quite possible to enjoy sunshine for most of your visit during these months.
When to visit Jamaica: Jamaica is an year-round destination; however the high season is between mid-December to mid-April. If you are planning to stay in Jamaica villas, cottages or apartments, it is advisable to book in advance to get the best deals and to avoid disappointment. However if you are planning to visit during the low-season, which falls between mid-April to mid-December you can avail of special discounts on Jamaica accommodation rentals and in stores and markets.