Jamaica

Jamaica is an island country that consists of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba, west of Hispaniola (the island containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Jamaica only has two cities: Montego Bay and Kingston, the capital city and business hub. Jamaica’s beaches and forests have earned the country its alias, “the land of wood and water.” Get your adventure mode on and go hiking and bird watching, or learn more about its history and heritage at sites like Trelawny. Lose yourself in the reggae music and dance the night away at some of the best clubs in Kingston. Visit Nile Mile where Bob Marley was born and buried. Head to Montego Bay for a shopping spree and snorkeling. Whatever you choose to do, Jamaica will make sure you have the best time and go back home with great memories.

SAFETY INDEX

See cities in this country

Is Jamaica a Safe or Dangerous Country?

Crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common in major tourist areas. It is recommended, as in any country, you avoid certain areas, especially at night. Drugs and alcohol are predominant throughout the island, so be alert especially in rural areas. Be sure to talk to locals and ask for advice before visiting some districts. It is best to avoid going to Jamaica during elections as there may be more violence. Organized criminal groups, commonly known as Posses, are widespread in Jamaica. They tend to be very politicized, but pose a lesser risk to visitors than the small, opportunistic petty crime groups on the island. During low tourist season (hurricane season), the security decreases.

It is important to note that, contrary to popular belief, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana (‘ganja’) in Jamaica. There are penalizations for all drug offences. Homosexuality is also against the law and may provoke violent reactions. Many Jamaicans are extremely generous and warm, so make sure to be respectful and return this friendliness. Jamaica can be safe as long as you use common sense and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. Follow the news on television and radio closely. Be aware of your surroundings at all times like you would in any large city.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Standard safety precautions are recommended in Jamaica as crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Muggings have happened in urban areas. People walking alone are often the targets, especially at night. In case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you like a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you. Credit card skimming is also common.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Public transportation is not considered safe due to high levels of crime and overcrowding. Make sure you book a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible as there have been reports of traveler being robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers. Knutsford Express offers trustworthy and comfortable bus transportation between major towns.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Since Jamaica is located in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean, it sometimes experiences significant storm damages. The hurricane season extends from June to November. Jamaica is also prone to earthquakes. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

There is no recent history of terrorism in Jamaica. However, they should not be ruled out, so remain vigilant for suspicious activity.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Many women travel safely without any issues. However, there have been reports of sexual assault throughout the country. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Remain extra vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.

Carte

Useful Information

Most countries do not require a visa to enter Jamaica. All travellers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Jamaica. www.doyouneedvisa.com is a useful website that can help you know if you need a visa or not based on your nationality and the country you’re visiting.
The currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar (JMD). The US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist places. ATMs (called ABMs in Jamaica) are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in main cities, but be careful of possible scamming and never leave your card out of sight.
Jamaica is tropical with hot and humid weather. The average temperature in Jamaica is between 80°F and 90°F (27°C-29°C).
The Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, is one of the largest and busiest airports in the Caribbean. It is also the most popular airport for tourists visiting Jamaica. If you’re looking for cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page