Jamaica is a lush Caribbean Island full of character, culture and charm. It is the third largest island in the Caribbean and is home to the best beaches, a rich and vibrant culture, amazing food and of course the home of Reggae music made famous by the local musician Bob Marley.
If you are Planning to visit Jamaica in High Season or spend Thanksgiving or the Festive Season in Jamaica, then you should be aware of how busy it will be. Traveling over the holidays can be notoriously busy and stressful, but with these top tips for travelling to Jamaica you will be well prepared and will be sipping rum punches on the beach before you know it.
Tips Before travelling to Jamaica
Have your Travel Documents for Jamaica!
All visitors traveling to Jamaica by air must hold a valid passport. It is important that your passport is valid with at least 6 months left before it expires. When entering Jamaica, all tourists must present a return trip ticket and proof of sufficient funds for the trip, while travellers planning on working while in the country or staying for an extended period of time must hold a visa, issued by the Jamaican Embassy before entering the country. We recommend you also keep a copy of your identification and passport with you at all times in case your luggage goes missing by the airline. Copies of rental car agreements, flight confirmations and hotel reservations are also advisable to have on hand.
Pre-book Fast Track at the airport
This is essential if you are travelling to Jamaica in high season. The airport is often very busy and by pre-booking your airport fast-track with Club Mobay (if arriving into Montego Bay) you will have a seamless arrival process. You will be expediated through customers and immigration and it will save you a lot of time in the queues. The fee for arrival is typical $50 per adult and if you opt to have this service on departure which also allows you to access the lounge with refreshments then it is $30 USD.
Book a resort or villa with staff
There are many wonderful resorts in Jamaica, the best ones include the Tryall Club, Half Moon Resort and the world-renowned Round Hill Resort. If you are travelling with children, then they will adore these luxury resort as you have the privacy of your own villa within them all plus access to all of the onsite amenities. These resorts are also great if you have avid golfers in the group, some of the best golfing can be found in Jamaica.
By staying in a villa in Jamaica you have the added benefit of having a full complement of staff including private chefs, butlers, housekeepers and security staff.
Book Your villa with a Reputable Company
If you choose to book a private villa make sure you book with a well-known villa rental company such as Exceptional Villas Jamaica, this will ensure that you are booking with a trust worthy company who will have beento see each of the villas they represent. Each of the team at Exceptional Villas has personally been to Jamaica and knows all of the villas and locations really well. They are true experts on Jamaica. Whats more Exceptional Villas have a concierge service provided complementary to guests who book their villas. Your concierge can assist with everything from car rental, drivers, airport transfers to restaurant reservations and excursions.
Get a full-timevan and driver
This is one of our top tips when travelling to Jamaica. Having a full-time van and driver is ideal for those staying in villas. Your full-time van and driver (12-seater) costs approximately $1,000 plus 15% tip for a week. The great benefits of getting a van and driver is that your airport transfers are included in the rate, you have a personal tour guide for you entire stay and they are on demand to take you wherever you need to go at any time.
Pack light but don’t forget your adapter.
Jamaica is one of the most beautiful Caribbean Islands. You simply only need a few essentials while travelling there including your bathing suit, light clothes and of course your sun cream and sun shades! What more do you need? You are also sure to pick up some souvenirs along the way!Pack a light jacket or sweater for cool evenings and don’t forget your runners if you want to enjoy some adventure while in Jamaica. Jamaican outlets are not standardized and vary according to your location on the island, so it's strongly encouraged to pack an electronic adapter.To avoid mosquito bites we would suggest packing some bug spray to use each day, especially at dusk or when out on nature excursions.
Tips While travelling in Jamaica
Bring some cash with you
Because ATMs can be hard to find in Jamaica, pack enough cash for the first day or two of your vacation and don't expect all vendors to accept credit or debit cards. US American dollars are very widely accepted, and many visitors opt not to change them for the Jamaican dollar.
Try the local food
The Jamaica food is one of the nicest in the Caribbean. We highly recommend you visit a restaurant that service local authentic cuisine such as Scotchies. Here you will find the most amazing Jerk Pork and Children cooked right on front of you. Typically, Jamaica dishes serve meat with spicy jerk seasoning with rice and beans. For breakfast you can try the ackee and salt fish with fried plantains which is a firm favourite of the locals.
Tipping while in Jamaica
Tipping - in tourist areas and larger restaurants, gratuity is usually included on your bill. In the countryside, and in small establishments, tipping is left to the discretion of the visitor. If you book a villa in Jamaica, then there is always an additional charge for tipping your staff which can be up to 15% of the price of the villa cost you paid. This is usually divided amongst the staff equally.
What to wear in Jamaica?
Despite its anything-goes reputation, Jamaica retains some conservative British influence from colonial days. Pack loose-fitting cotton clothing to help keep you cool during the day. We always advise visitors to wear whatever they feel comfortable in however shorts and swimsuits are fine on the beaches, but you should be covered up if you are going to a fine dining restaurant for example.
Safety Tips while in Jamaica
Often asked about Safety in Jamaica I can honestly say I never experienced any issues and I have travelled to Jamaica many times as a solo traveller. I would highly recommend visiting this incredible country. However, there are some tips we can offer to help ensure your utmost safety. We would recommend booking a villa with a security guard on site, if anything it more for added peace of mind. It is always a good idea to check with the U.S. State Department for updated travel advisories before traveling to any foreign country. Travelers should make sure to keep a valid passport and another form of identification on them at all times, with photocopies in a safe place in case the originals are lost or stolen. Just like anywhere else in the world it is advisable to keep your possessions locked in a hotel/villa safe.
Tips When Leaving Jamaica
We all know you will be sad to leave Jamaica once your vacation is over. The best advise we have is that you leave early. During peak travel times you will find a long line of people at the check in and security. We advise to arrive at the airport 3 hours in advance of your departure during peak times. To avoid these long lines, we would suggest you pre book departure VIP airport fast-track to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.
ABOUT EXCEPTIONAL VILLAS
Exceptional Villas is a luxury villa rental company featuring only the best hand-picked and personally inspected properties in the world. The company has clients from all over the world. Exceptional Villas have been in the travel business for over 25 years and offer a bespoke service to their clients. This service includes matching the perfect villa to each of their clients and providing a complimentary concierge service. This service includes organising all aspects of the client’s vacations such as VIP airport arrival, ground transportation, restaurant reservations, tours and excursions, water sports and pre-arrival stocking. Unlike some of their competitors, they do not provide a membership fee. Likewise, their villa experts are indeed experts. They visit every single villa and have a wealth of information regarding each villa, as well as each destination. Exceptional Villas take total pride in the customised service they offer. The company operates two other brands; Villas Barbados and Dream Ireland which are designated rental brands for Barbados and Ireland.
For more information visit http://www.exceptionalvillas.com/ or call + 353 64 66 41170 or toll-free from the US and Canada 1 800 245 5109 and UK 0845 528 4197