Jamaica

Jamaica

Use Normal Level of Caution
Use High Level of Caution when visiting the following provinces: Saint Catherine and Saint James

Jamaica is an island nation south of Cuba and in the Caribbean Sea. Jamaica, along with Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico make up the Greater Antilles archipelago. The population is about 2.8 million people.

Jamaica achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. The government is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the English monarch. The head of government is a prime minister.

The Jamaican economy depends on services, mining, and tourism. The country faces problems such as high unemployment, serious crime and gang violence. For years, Jamaica has had one of the highest murder rates in the world. Many areas and resort areas are relatively safe, and Jamaica receives about 1.3 million tourists annually.

Currency JMD: Jamaican dollar
Language English. National language is Jamaican Patois
Capital Kingston
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert December 14, 2019 - State of Emergency Extended in Five Parishes and St Andrew South Police Division - Jamaica

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Jamaica. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Hepatitis A

There is a high risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Jamaica through contaminated food or water. Infection can still occur at tourist destinations and resorts.

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Jamaica.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks occur throughout Jamaica.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Ciguatera poisoning occurs sporadically in Jamaica.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in this country, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in Jamaica. However, this country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country/territory with risk of yellow fever transmission, and including travellers transiting through Jamaica arriving from a country/territory at risk for yellow fever transmission.

Rabies

Rabies may be present in bats.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Jamaica.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission in Jamaica. However, this country requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for travellers 1 year of age and older arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country/territory with risk of yellow fever transmission, and including travellers transiting through Jamaica arriving from a country/territory at risk for yellow fever transmission.

Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine is recommended for travellers whose activities or employment may bring them into contact with bats.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Jamaica.

Anti-malarial Drugs

There is a low risk for acquiring malaria in Kingston. The WHO and the US CDC do not recommend anti-malaria medication for Jamaica.

Safety and Security in Jamaica

Emergency Numbers

911
119

Personal Safety

The crime rate is relatively high in Jamaica. Travellers should be alert and aware of their surroundings and personal security. Gang activity and violent crime does occur in urban areas. To minimize risk, avoid signs of wealth, such as expensive clothing or jewelry. Ensure that travel documents and personal belongings are safe at all times. If robbed, do not resist as this can lead to more violence. Check local news for unexpected curfews.

Never leave food or drinks unattended as there have been cases of people being drugged.

There are tourist police near resort areas and are identified by white shirts, black pants, and white hats.

There have been reports of robberies when travelling to private accommodations from the Norman Manley International Airport. When travelling from the airport to your accommodation, keep windows up and doors locked.

Reports of sexual assault have been made in Jamaica, including at resorts. Always remain vigilant to your personal safety and security, avoid isolated areas, including in your resort area, especially at night.

Exercise caution when driving. Although main roads are generally well maintained, roads in the interior may not be well maintained, may be narrow and winding, or may not be well marked or lit. Reckless driving is common in Jamaica. Keep doors locked and do not stop if flagged down by pedestrians. Driving in on the left.

Avoid taking public transportation due to high risk of crime and overcrowding. Use only taxis authorized by the Jamaican Union of Travellers Association (JUTA), identifiable by their red and white PP licence plate and lime green JUTA sticker on their window. Taxis do not use a meter; arrange a price in advance.

Exercise extreme caution when participating in outdoor adventure activities as safety standards may not be adequate. Also exercise caution when swimming as currents may be strong and unpredictable. Ensure travel and medical insurance is purchased before departing and ensure your insurance policy covers outdoor adventure activities and medical evacuation, before participating in these activities.

Wearing, buying or selling camouflage clothing is illegal.

LGBTI travellers should note that same-sex sexual behaviour and same-sex marriage are illegal in Jamaica. There is a lack of social acceptance for LGBTI people, although there may be more tolerance in resort areas. Nevertheless, avoid public displays of affection.

Hurricanes occur off the coast of Jamaica, especially between May and November. Flooding, landslides, major damage to infrastructure and disruption to travel plans may result. Monitor weather reports closely. Jamaica may also experience earthquakes due to its location in an active seismic zone. If a natural disaster occurs, follow advice of local authorities.

Areas To Avoid

Exercise a high level of caution in Saint Catherine and Saint James due to high levels of violent crime and heavy police and military presence. If staying in a resort in these areas, avoid leaving the resort or do so only with organized tour groups.

Avoid the following neighbourhoods in Kingston due to high levels of violent crime: Tivoli Gardens, Whitfield Town, Payne Land, West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Arnett Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Harbour View, Central Village, Spanish Town, Mountain View, Trench Town, Cassava Piece, Canterbury, Norwood and Rose Heights. You should also avoid some parts of Montego Bay, namely St. Clavers Avenue and Hart Street, Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights and Mount Salem.

Political Unrest

Avoid demonstrations and other political gatherings as they can be unpredictable and dangerous. Roadblocks may be set up on main roads during such gatherings. Do not attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended.

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