When’s the best time to go?
With world-class beaches, superb food and a charmingly chilled-out atmosphere, the best Jamaica travel advice we can give you is to book your break as soon as possible. Holidays to Jamaica could see you enjoying traditional jerk chicken, listening to the laid-back strains of the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, or even shooting the rapids on the Rio Grande.
Set in the Caribbean Ocean, the island enjoys a tropical climate with temperatures rarely dropping below 25°C. However, if you really want to make the most of the sunshine, book your break between July and September, when the temperature hovers between around 30°C and 33°C.
Jamaica does have a rainy season, which tends to fall between September and October. During these months, the humidity shoots up and the rains hit the island (usually heaviest in the afternoons and evenings). If you’d rather be under a beach umbrella than under a brolly, aim to arrive in the summer.
What should I pack?
Anyone getting ready for their holiday to Jamaica should be sure to pack sunscreen; the weather can get very hot, with a high UV factor, and it’s all too easy to end up lobster red rather than film-star brown. Wear clothes that are light and comfortable, such as loose tops and bottoms made from linen and cotton. While you’ll definitely be packing a swimsuit, it’s worth remembering that these should only be worn on the beach, or you could find yourself attracting unwanted attention.
Up there with sunscreen should be insect repellent. While the still, sapphire lagoons and lakes add to the island’s romance, they’re also the ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Repellents containing Deet are the best way to ensure you don’t come back sporting itchy bites.
Those watching the pennies might prefer to take their own scuba equipment, which can be more cost-effective than hiring.
Passports and visas
Do I need a passport?
You will need a valid passport to visit this stunning island. In addition, while there’s no risk of yellow fever in Jamaica, you will need to present a yellow fever certificate. For further information on Jamaica passport requirements, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/jamaica/entry-requirements
For further information on yellow fever certificates, you can read more at: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/113/jamaica#Vaccine_recommendations
Do I need a visa?
If you’re a British national, you don’t have to have a Jamaica visa to enjoy your holiday to the Caribbean. This concession lasts for up to 90 days and the date by which you are obliged to leave will be stamped on your passport; not a problem if you’re only going for a week or two.
Health and Safety
Should I get travel health insurance?
Travel health insurance offers financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, such as illness, accident and medical emergencies. Policies can vary between providers, so it’s well worth checking yours to see exactly what is and isn’t covered. In addition, if you’re planning to take part in specific activities while on your Jamaica holiday, it’s a good idea to check that you’re covered for activities like diving and climbing.
Any other tips?
- It might sound a bit odd but try and avoid clothing that is orange or green. Each colour is associated with one of the major political parties and you might not want to unwittingly pledge your allegiance to one or the other.
- If using taxis, be sure to agree on the price before you get in.
- Be sure to exchange your pounds and pence for Caribbean Dollars before you go. While there are ATMs in Jamaica, the fees to use them can be high.
- If you hire a car, remember that Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road, and you are likely to encounter potholes and wandering cattle around most bends.
- Recreational marijuana is illegal in Jamaica and possession of even a small amount is a criminal offence. Police perform regular vehicle checks.
- The tap water is safe to drink, so there’s no need to fret about only drinking bottled water. Similarly, ice and salads are considered to be safe.