Exercise Caution When Traveling to Jamaica

The violent crime rates in Jamaica are very high, with armed robbery, kidnaping, and murder being relatively common. Foreign travelers are also at risk of becoming victims of petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching.

Road Travel Road are not build or maintained to the same standards that exist in the United States or Canada. Local drivers are also known to drive while under the influence of alcohol or at excessive speeds.

Public Transportation Riding the bus may seem like an inexpensive alternative to taxis, but in Jamaica busses are often over crowded, dirty, and a hub for petty crime.

Know the Emergency Numbers This is good advice when traveling to any foreign country. In Jamaica you can reach the police, ambulance, and fire in an emergency by dialing either 112 or 911. You can also reach the police emergency services by dialing 119.

Understand Visa Requirements Jamaica does not require a visa for visitors staying less than six months. Jamaica does, however, require visas for both students and business persons. Overstaying a visa is a serious criminal offence and can lead to imprisonment and deportation.

Don’t Drink the Water Tap water in Jamaica is not clean to Western standards and drinking water that has not been boiled can lead to intestinal discomfort.

Be Careful of the Food You Eat Food preparation areas in Jamaica can be unclean and food not held at proper temperatures. This can lead to bacterial grown and food poisoning.

Illegal Drugs Drugs, even marijuana, are illegal in Jamaica. Prison sentences for drug offences are also very harsh. Your best bet is to avoid drugs while in Jamaica, and under no circumstances should you try to smuggle drugs out of the country.

Helmet and Seatbelt Laws Helmets are required to be worn by anyone riding or operating a motorcycle or motorbike. Likewise you must wear seatbelts even when riding in taxis. Failure to wear a helmet or seatbelt can land you with a heavy fine.

Fraud and Theft Credit cards, ATM cards, and debit cards are often stolen in Jamaica. Even if the thieves don’t obtain your actual card they could be trying to employ measured to get your card number and pin.