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Island Insights: Essential Jamaica Travel Tips for First-Timers

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You’ve just downloaded Bob Marley’s music onto your phone, all you can think about is eating jerk chicken, and you feel your winter-stiffened bones longing for the warmth of the Caribbean. Most tourists don’t seek to venture out of their all-inclusive resorts – we get it, Jamaica is home to stunning properties! But just in case you’re interested in getting insider tips and travel advice for your first time in Jamaica, we got you. To help you prepare and make the most of your vacation, here’s what you need to know before going to Jamaica.

Driving in Jamaica

As a former British colony, Jamaica adheres to left-hand driving, which, combined with winding and mountainous roads, can be challenging for some North American drivers. The solution: hire a driver and let yourself be driven. Not only is it affordable, but you’ll also be able to enjoy your newfound Jamaican tranquility.

Jamaica entry requirements: what do you need to enter Jamaica from Canada?

Canadian travelers wishing to enter Jamaica must meet certain entry requirements. 

  1. Firstly, a valid passport is necessary, with its validity covering the entire duration of the stay.
  2. Additionally, even though a tourist visa is not required for short stays, the travelers are expected to carry a return or onward ticket.
  3. Lastly, travelers must also fill out the Jamaica Digital Entry Form, also known as the Immigration/Customs C5 card. This form is intended to expedite the entry process.

The best beaches in Jamaica

Jamaica travel tips - vacances en Jamaique

The best beaches are scattered all over the island! That is especially true considering the natural beauty of the north coast.

Our favorite, if we had to choose just one, is Doctor’s Cave Beach. Beach vendors are banned there, allowing for a pleasant and peaceful beach experience.

Okay, here’s another one. We also fell in love with the sparkling blue waters of Boston Bay Beach in Port Antonio. It’s the preferred spot for surfers, who also go there to enjoy the BEST jerk chicken on the island.

Currency in Jamaica

The local currency is the Jamaican dollar. One Canadian dollar is equivalent to about 100 Jamaican dollars.

Although both US and Jamaican dollars are accepted in Jamaica, you’ll find it easier to deal in local currency. This will also save you the hassle of calculating the exchange rate when receiving Jamaican change for your US dollars.

Airports in Jamaica

Jamaica has three major international airports: Norman Manley in Kingston, Sangster in Montego Bay, and Ian Fleming in Ochos Rios. Air Transat flights land at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

What is Jamaica known for? Its culture!

Treasure beach Jamaica

Jamaican culture is rich and diverse. Following a colonial past, the Jamaican people have become a nation proud of the global reputation they have forged for their gourmet food specialties, abundance of tropical fruits, fabulous music, and an unmatched relaxed atmosphere. There truly is something for everyone here.

Once on the island, you can’t help but slow down. Everything happens at a Jamaican pace: so order another Red Stripe beer and relax.

As the third-largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is divided into three counties and numerous parishes. This colonial heritage is reflected in very British names, such as the counties of Middlesex, Cornwall, Surrey, and the parishes of Trelawney and Westmoreland. Jamaicans will tell you which parish they are from, and you will earn immense respect if you can tell them which county it is in.

Is it safe for tourists to travel in Jamaica right now?

In Jamaica as in almost all other destinations around the world, visitors are advised to exercise caution. This is especially true in certain high-risk areas such as inner cities. If you are feeling unsure or want to know more about Canadians in Jamaica, take a look at the government of Canada’s travel advisories.

However, it’s important to note that the overall risk for tourists is relatively low compared to locals. The truth is that the vast majority of tourists have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Follow local laws and customs, stay within designated tourist areas, avoid unnecessary travel at night, and keep valuable items secure.

Insider tips on the best things to do in Jamaica

hiking in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica - randonnée dans les Blue Mountains en Jamaïque 2024

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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