Where is Jamaica located?

What countries border Jamaica?

Jamaica Weather

What is the current weather in Jamaica?


Jamaica Facts and Culture

What is Jamaica famous for?

  • Family: Most Jamaican families are headed by women. Jamaicans adore children. About one-third of Jamaican women have their first child during... More
  • Fashion: Though Jamaican clothing and fashion is not as popular as European and African clothing it is defined by the use of primary... More
  • Visiting: Table manners are Continental style -- the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right... More
  • Recreation: Jamaica's sports are soccer and cricket and horse racing. Children enjoy watching television, playing electronic games and basketball. Adults like... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Jamaicans are generally outgoing and like to have animated conversations. Good table manners are considered an important social refinement. Jamaicans... More
  • Diet: Ackee and Saltfish is the Jamaican national dish. The fruit of the ackee tree, poisonous until its outer casing has... More

Jamaica Facts

What is the capital of Jamaica?

Capital Kingston
Government Type parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Total Area 4,244 Square Miles
10,991 Square Kilometers
Location Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Language English, patois English
GDP - real growth rate 1.1%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $8,800.00 (USD)

Jamaica Demographics

What is the population of Jamaica?

Ethnic Groups black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, mixed 7.3%, other 0.1%
Nationality Adjective Jamaican
Nationality Noun Jamaican(s)
Population 2,808,570
Population Growth Rate 0.7%
Population in Major Urban Areas KINGSTON (capital) 571,000
Predominant Language English, patois English
Urban Population 52%

Jamaica Government

What type of government does Jamaica have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: yes citizenship by descent: yes dual citizenship recognized: yes residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 5 years More
  • National Holiday: Emancipation Day, 1 August (1834); Independence Day, 6 August (1962) More
  • Constitution: several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at... More
  • Independence: 6 August 1962 (from the UK) More

Jamaica Geography

What environmental issues does Jamaica have?

  • Overview: The Island of Jamaica is perhaps best noted for its lush and scenic tropical beauty: the rugged spine of blue-green... More
  • Climate: Jamaica enjoys a favorable climate. Daily temperatures average 79°F, with an average maximum of 86.5°F and an average minimum... More
  • Environment - Current Issues: heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution... More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine... More
  • Terrain: mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain More

Jamaica Economy

How big is the Jamaica economy?

Jamaica News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Jamaica?
Source: Google News

Interesting Jamaica Facts

What unique things can you discover about Jamaica?

  • A Christmas treat is sorrel, a dark red drink made form soaking sorrel leaves in hot water and adding sugar, ginger, or lime and rum. The sorrel plant blooms only at Christmas time.
  • After the birth of a child, some rural Jamaicans bury the placenta and umbilical cord in the ground, then plant a sapling over the spot. The tree is known as the baby's tree or "navel-string" tree.
  • Allspice, which tastes like a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper, is really ground from the seeds of a single plant, the Jamaican pimento.
  • Anancy tales are based on a folk hero called Brer Anancy, half-man, half-spider, who lives by his wits.
  • "Daddy" Sam Sharpe, a Baptist preacher, led Jamaica's last slave rebellion in Montego Bay during the Christmas of 1831. Although the revolt failed, slavery was finally abolished a few years later.
  • Ian Flemming, author of the James Bond series of novels, wrote most of his books at his Jamaican home, called Golden Eye.
  • In 1998, Jodi Ann Maxwell, Jamaica's Spelling Bee Champion, was the first non-American to win the US national competition.
  • Jamaica's bobsled team is the subject of the comic Walt Disney movie Cool Runnings.
  • Jamaican Courtenay Walsh was captain of the West Indies cricket team and has played more matches (500 wickets) than any other bowler in the history of cricket.
  • Jamaicans refer to their major crops in terms of gold. Sugar is brown gold, while bananas are green gold and bauxite is red gold. Citrus fruits are sun gold.
  • Jamaicans use fruits and vegetables for their healing properties. Papaya helps relieve indigestion, while guava leaves treat diarrhea, and tamarind soothes itchy skin and chicken pox.
  • Louise Bennett-Coverley's book of poems, Jamaica Labrish (1966), was the first to be published in the Jamaican dialect . She lives in Toronto.
  • Most Jamaicans living abroad try to return to their homeland to celebrate Christmas with their families.
  • People descended from the Kromanti tribe in Africa were the largest group in Maroon communities; the Kromanti language is still used in Jamaican Maroon festivals.
  • Some Jamaicans hold nine-day wakes for deceased persons. The wake is a time for respecting and honoring the departed soul. For nine nights, relatives and friends share food and sing hymns, thus saying goodbye to the departed one.
  • Some women work alone or with children selling fruits, vegetables and snacks. Known as "higglers," these solo, often middle-aged women are able to provide income for their families when the only alternatives are unemployment or difficult domestic work.
  • The British imported the mongoose to help eradicate the cane rat in Jamaica. In the process, the mongoose also fed on snakes.
  • The colors of Jamaica's flag are symbolic. Black signifies the strength and creativity of the people; gold, the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and green, hope and agricultural resources.
  • The cottonwood tree is said to be the favorite residence of duppies (ghosts).
  • The dogblood herb is taken internally for bruising and hemorrhaging.
  • The majority of university students in Jamaica are women. Many women also attend community colleges and business schools.
  • The most famous Jamaican bird is the national bird, the indigenous swallow tail hummingbird or "doctor bird." The male has a distinctive tail that splits into two long sections, which stream behind as he flies.
  • The Pocomania (also called Pukkumina and Pocco) and the Revival Zion groups are two of Jamaica's cults. Pocomania adherents invoke earthly spirits, while Revivalists worship angels, saints and the Holy Spirit.
  • When a child loses a tooth, at night the Rolling Calf comes rattling chains to take the child and their tooth away. They put the tooth in a tin can and shake it hard. The noise keeps the Rolling Calf away.

Watch video on Jamaica

What can you learn about Jamaica in this video?

Jamaica Guide YouTube, Expoza Travel

Jamaica Travel Information

What makes Jamaica a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Jamaica is a developing nation of over 2.7 million people. Facilities for tourists are widely available. International airports are located in Kingston and Montego Bay.

Crime

Crime, including violent crime, is a serious problem in Jamaica, particularly in Kingston and Montego Bay and other major tourist areas. While the vast majority of crimes occur in impoverished areas, random acts of violence, such as gunfire, may occur anywhere. The primary criminal concern for tourists is becoming a victim of theft. In several cases, armed robberies of U.S. citizens have turned violent when the victims resisted or were slow in handing over valuables. Crime is exacerbated by the fact that police are understaffed and often ineffective. Additionally, there have been frequent allegations of police corruption. Tourists should take all necessary precautions always pay extra attention to their surroundings when traveling, and keep windows up and doors locked while in a vehicle or in their hotel. Travelers should avoid walking alone, exercise special care after dark, and always avoid areas known for high crime rates. Under no circumstances should travelers accept rides from unknown individuals, as this is often a pretext for attempted robbery and/or sexual assault.

Each year the Embassy receives a number of reports of sexual assaults against U.S. citizens, including cases of alleged sexual assaults at tourist resorts, some of which involve resort staff. It is important to realize that sexual assault allegations generally do not receive the same type of law enforcement attention in Jamaica that they would in the United States. Local law also requires the presence of the victim at each stage of the judicial process in order for a case to move forward, and as a result most sexual assault cases languish in the Jamaican courts until they are eventually dismissed. In addition, victims in Jamaica cannot expect the totatility of victim’s assistance that is routinely offered in the United States. This includes hesitation to and/or lack of knowledge of how to perform rape kits, a prosecutorial/interrogation approach to victims on the part of the police and hotels, as well as a lack of counseling for victims. Victims will often have to ask for medication to avoid the transmission of STDs and to reduce the chances of pregnancy.

U.S. citizens traveling in Jamaica should maintain careful watchfulness, avoid secluded places or situations (even within resort properties), go out in groups, and watch out for each other. Don’t be afraid to ask or call out for help if you feel threatened or encounter individuals who make you feel uncomfortable. Report any suspicious activity to the U.S. Embassy, local police and, if appropriate, to the hotel’s management. As a general rule, do not leave valuables unattended or in plain view, including in hotel rooms and on the beach. Take care when carrying high value items such as cameras and expensive cell phones or when wearing expensive jewelry on the street. Women's handbags should be zipped and held close to the body. Men should carry wallets in their front pants pocket. Large amounts of cash should always be handled discreetly.

In the last several years, a number of U.S. visitors have reported being robbed inside their resort hotel rooms while they slept. Particular care is called for when staying at isolated villas and smaller establishments that may have fewer security arrangements. You may wish to ask your villa or small establishment if they have met Jamaica Tourist Board certification standards for safety and security.

The U.S. Embassy advises its staff to avoid inner-city areas of Kingston and other urban centers, such as those listed in the section on Safety and Security, whenever possible. Particular caution is advised after dark and in downtown Kingston and New Kingston. The U.S. Embassy also cautions U.S. citizens not to use public buses, which are often overcrowded and are a frequent venue for crime.

To enhance security in the principal resort areas, the Government of Jamaica has taken a number of steps, including assignment of special police foot and bicycle patrols. Some street vendors, beggars, and taxi drivers in tourist areas aggressively confront and harass tourists to buy their wares or employ their services. If a firm "No, thank you," does not solve the problem, visitors may wish to seek the assistance of a tourist police officer, identified by their white hats, white shirts, and black trousers. These officers are only located at or near tourist areas.

DRUGS:Illegal drug use is prevalent in some tourist areas, leading to numerous U.S. citizen arrests and incarcerations in Jamaica every year. Possession or use of marijuana or other illicit drugs is illegal in Jamaica. U.S. citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding, or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances. There is anecdotal evidence that the use of so-called date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, has become more common at clubs and private parties. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other illegal narcotics are especially potent in Jamaica, and their use may lead to severe or even disastrous health consequences.

SCAMS: U.S. citizens are often the target of international financial scams originating in Jamaica. The most prevalent scam in Jamaica is the lottery scam, also known as Advanced Fee Fraud. U.S. citizens receiving calls from Jamaica with claims of winning a prize or lottery should be wary and never send money up front. It is illegal to play a foreign lottery, and if you did not enter a foreign lottery or drawing, then it is not possible to win one. Scammers may also seek to entice victims to travel to Jamaica to “collect their prize.” Such invites can lead to the victim being kidnapped for ransom once in Jamaica.

Additionally, relatives of U.S. citizens visiting Jamaica and U.S. citizens who are prisoners in Jamaica have received telephone calls from people claiming to be Jamaican police officers, other public officials, or medical professionals. The callers usually state that the visitor or prisoner has had trouble and needs financial help. In almost every case these claims are untrue. The caller insists that money should be sent by wire transfer to either themselves or a third party who will assist the visitor or prisoner, but when money is sent, it fails to reach the U.S. citizens in alleged need. U.S. citizens who receive calls such as these should never send money before consulting the embassy for additional information.

The U.S. Embassy has also received reports of extortion attempts originating in Jamaica where the caller threatens the victim if they do not send a sum of money. Another financial scam reported is the ‘ Damsel in Distress ’ where a partner met over the Internet falls into a series of alleged mishaps and requests money with the promise of rewards at a later date, such as an in-person meeting. Contact the American Citizen Services Unit of the Embassy's Consular Section at KingstonACS@state.gov and provide as much detail as possible regarding the nature of the communication. Additional guidance on such crimes is available at the Department of State’s web page on International Financial Scams.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Jamaica, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have some form of identification with you. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Jamaica, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what is legal and what is illegal where you are going.

Persons violating Jamaica’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Jamaica are can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Airport and dock searches at cruise line ports are thorough and people attempting to smuggle illegal drugs are often apprehended. Several U.S. citizens currently incarcerated in Jamaica prisons for drug smuggling say they were arrested for carrying bags that friends or acquaintances asked them to deliver to someone in the United States. In one case, the U.S. arrestee claimed that she express mailed a package for a local taxi driver who claimed not to have his identification with him. U.S. citizens should never accept packages/baggage in such circumstances.

Jamaica has no tolerance for violations of its firearms laws and persons can end up serving years for possession of a firearm. Bringing ammunition into Jamaica is also illegal and can result in heavy fines and/or imprisonment.

Prison conditions in Jamaica differ greatly from prison conditions in the United States. Prisoners are provided only the most basic meals and must rely upon personal funds, family, and friends to supplement their diets, provide clothing, and supply personal care items such as toothpaste and shampoo. Most prisons are very overcrowded. Prisons do not supply bedding to prisoners. Packages shipped from the United States to prisoners are subject to Jamaican import taxes and are undeliverable when the recipient lacks the funds to pay the duties.

If you are arrested in Jamaica, authorities of Jamaica are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, perhaps because you are also a Jamaican citizen, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care is much more limited than in the United States. Comprehensive but basic emergency medical services are located only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are located in each parish. Emergency medical and ambulance services, and the availability of prescription drugs, are limited in outlying parishes. Ambulance service is limited both in the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles in remote parts of the country. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost $15,000 - $20,000 or more. Doctors and hospitals in Jamaica often require cash payment prior to providing services. The Embassy’s website contains information on medical services and air-ambulance companies. Please alert the American Citizen Services Unit to such cases by calling (876) 702-6000. U.S. citizens travelling to Jamaica are urged to buy medical evacuation insurance prior to their trip.

Safety and Security

Violence and shootings occur regularly in certain areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. Embassy employees as well as private U.S. citizens are advised to avoid traveling into high-threat areas including, but not limited to Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, and Arnett Gardens in Kingston, and Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street and Hart Street in Montego Bay. Sudden demonstrations can occur, during which demonstrators often construct roadblocks or otherwise block streets.

Jamaican media reports on fire safety indicate that nightclubs and other places of entertainment are often not in compliance with fire safety regulations. Overcrowding is common and travelers should remain aware of their surroundings at all times.

Jamaica currently lacks the infrastructure to provide shelter and protection for travelers who temporarily become destitute during their stay on the island. U.S. citizens should be aware that under such circumstances they may be stranded without recourse unless and until family, friends or the Embassy can provide appropriate assistance. In some cases the Jamaica Tourist Board can also help.

You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or by calling a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Take some time before travel to improve your personal security—things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Jamaica, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

Drivers and pedestrians should remember that, unlike the United States, driving in Jamaica is on the left-hand side of the road. Breakdown assistance is limited in urban areas and virtually unavailable in rural areas. Nighttime driving is especially dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible, especially outside of the cities of Kingston, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril. Heavy rains, which can occur at any time of the year, frequently leave roads impassable and result in life-threatening flash floods. Drivers should monitor media reports for information on road conditions and closures. Gullies in particular should be avoided as they are prone to flash floods capable of sweeping away vehicles.

As noted above in the section on Crime, public buses are often overcrowded and are frequently a venue of crime. Travelers who use taxicabs should take only licensed taxicabs having red-and-white PP license plates or taxis recommended by their hotels and should not accept rides from strangers.

Most roads are paved, but suffer from ill repair, inadequate signage, large pot holes, and poor traffic control markings. Roads are often subject to poorly marked construction zones, pedestrians, bicyclists, and, occasionally, livestock. The lack of pedestrian crosswalks requires special vigilance for all pedestrians. Driving habits range from aggressive speeding and disregard for others to inexperience and over-polite behaviors creating uncertainty and hazards to pedestrians. Several times a year, U.S. citizen tourists in Jamaica are killed while attempting to cross busy stretches of road. In many cases, people are hit by an overtaking car after another vehicle stops and waves them across. Roads in rural areas (including near major tourist resorts in Montego Bay and Negril) are often traveled at very high speeds and pedestrians should take special care when attempting to cross.

Drivers should maintain special care when entering traffic circles (“roundabouts”), which are often poorly marked and require traffic to move in a clockwise direction. Motorists entering a roundabout must yield to those already in it. Labeling of roundabout exit points is exceptionally confusing, often making it difficult to determine which exit to take to continue toward the desired destination. Failure to turn into the correct flow of traffic can result in a head-on collision.

The A1, A2, and A3 highways are the primary links between the most important cities and tourist destinations on the island. These roads are not comparable to American highways, and road conditions are hazardous due to poor repair, inadequate signage, and poor traffic control markings. The B highways and rural roads are often very narrow and frequented by large trucks, buses, pedestrians, bicyclists, and open range livestock. Highways are traveled at high speeds, but are not limited-access.

Drivers and passengers in the front seat are required to wear seat belts, and motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets. Extreme caution should be used in operating motor driven cycles. Several serious and even fatal accidents take place each year involving U.S. tourists riding in taxis without seat belts. All passengers are strongly encouraged to use vehicles equipped with seat belts.

Official emergency response to a road accident can be slow, given traffic, road conditions, distance from metropolitan areas, and a limited number of responders. In practice, many victims of vehicular accidents are assisted by fellow motorists.

All Countries
Afghanistan Akrotiri Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory British Virgin Islands Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Cabo Verde Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Clipperton Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands Coral Sea Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curacao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dhekelia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Eswatini Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia, The Gaza Strip Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Holy See Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Jan Mayen Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, North Korea, South Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Islands Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russia Rwanda Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Sudan, South Suriname Svalbard Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States (US) Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Vietnam Virgin Islands Wake Island Wallis and Futuna West Bank Western Sahara World Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe