Jamaica Travel Tips & Safety Advice
Your best travel guide to the islands of the Caribbean and more.
Jamaica Travel Tips & Safety AdvicePosted on February 11. 2014
To many, Jamaica is one of the most quintessential Caribbean islands, and we couldn’t agree more. The island at the center of the Caribbean Sea sizzles with the sounds of reggae, the spices of jerk, and a terrain dotted with mountains, rivers, and waterfalls in the interior, and a beautiful blue coastline that rivals any in the world. A vacation to Jamaica will probably be one of the most fun trips you will ever take in the Caribbean, and here are some Jamaica travel tips to ensure you have a fun and hassle free stay.
The tap water in most of Jamaica is safe to drink. There are some rural areas though where this may not be the case, so it is recommended to stick to bottled water everywhere on the island. If you are forced to drink tap water though, a quick minute or two of boiling will make it pure enough to drink.
As elsewhere in the Caribbean, the sun in Jamaica can be brutal to the uninitiated, and as a result sun related maladies are the leading cause of health issues to vacationers. Avoiding the midday sun will go a long way to keeping you healthy, and even when out in the sun at other times of day, always wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and drink plenty of water. Apply that sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you head out in the sun, and then re-apply it every couple hours or after swimming. It is recommended to gradually get used to the sun as well, by limiting your exposure early in your trip so your body can adapt.
While adequate healthcare is available in Jamaica, it is not on a par with some other places in the Caribbean. The only true modern high level care is available in Kingston and Montego Bay, so it is recommended you bring a small medical kit with you if you are visiting the rural areas of the country.
There is no question that Jamaica has had its issues with crime and murder, and while your trip will almost assuredly go off without a hitch, it is worth being aware of. Most of the violent crime should in no way should affect your plans as it is usually restricted to urban neighborhoods that have historically struggled with these issues and is not perpetrated on tourists. Most crimes that affect tourists are petty crimes of opportunity like bag-snatching or rental car break-ins. Be aware of your surroundings and do not venture into areas you are unfamiliar with at night, especially in Kingston or Montego Bay and under no circumstances purchase drugs from anyone on the street. Keep your valuables at home instead of flashing them around, especially outside of resorts.
It is worth noting as well that Jamaica has gained a reputation as a place that is not extremely friendly to gay travelers. While the country is working hard at mending fences in this regard, a social stigma in Jamaica definitely exists around homosexuality, so make your plans and decisions accordingly.
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